Friday, August 6, 2010

Information Literacy Tips 2

Schedule as many classes as you can in the first few weeks of semester. This isn't because that's when the lecturers want the students to learn how to use the information resources that the library provides for their resources, but rather so that you can run around totally stressed out, shouting things like "I hate Summon!" at random passers-by. Librarians find public displays of insanity fun.

It's particularly useful in this context if your University Librarian considers that the only reason teaching is busy at the beginning of semester is because you, the librarian, have decided that's when you like to teach, not when the need is. This will make your life much easier, particularly if the powers-that-be have decided that your job is only required to be part-time.

As a part-time librarian, you will be required to do a full-time load of information literacy instruction in your part-time hours. What's awesome in this context is when a public holiday falls during Week 3, so your available preparation hours are further reduced.

Weight Loss Challenge

Having collapsed due to Tony Ferguson and since then returning to old habits (i.e. eating my little heart out), I've decided to enrol in MPOW gym's "Weight Loss Challenge" over the next couple of months.

Part of the reason for enrolling is because I go to New Zealand with friends in about a month, and we're doing hiking, skiing, and other "energetic" activities. The other reason is because I have been told by my doctor for years that I need to exercise for a chronic health problem I have, and that I need to exericse if I want to have kids, but I am not naturaly active so I need to be motivated (read: bullied) into doing it. So having a personal trainer "encouraging" me is really helpful . The third reason is: I'm super competetive. Did you see those prizes? Three day break at the sunshine coast. 10 pack of PT sessions. 3 month gym membership. AWESOME. It's like the biggest loser, only without the total humiliation :-)

I bought a "starter" 3 pack of PT sessions a couple of weeks ago and have already started with my Personal Trainer, who I really like. I can almost leg press my weight (I have very strong legs!) and I've even managed to do two whole non-PT exercise activities in the last week! My BF and I went on a lovely walk along the river last Sunday and I went to a spinning class last night. So the total challenge is over about 10 weeks. If I could lose 10kgs in that time I reckon I'd be laughing. 5 might be more realistic though. Hmm I might need to go back on Weight Watchers too. I wonder if that would be considered cheating for the prizes?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Information Literacy Tips

When teaching a Library Skills class, ensure you have a whiteboard marker handy.

Do not, under any circumstances, use the miscellaneous marker that is left in the whiteboard's vicinity without checking what kind of marker it is.

Failure to follow this instruction may lead to the use of a permanent marker to draw a Venn diagram on the whiteboard, and to illustrate truncation.

A failure of this magnitude will leave you cleaning the whiteboard for half the time that the class went for. Of course, if you were planning on going to the gym, this counts as exercise so you can skip it and have another Caramello Koala instead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I learned from my hideous EndNote class

OK, so I bitched & moaned about the evilness of the class I had to teach this morning. It was primarily evil because the technology was of the suck. But I was also very nervous about teaching EndNote because I'm not a big user of it myself. I try. And in theory I can see that it's a great concept. But in reality? Bugs, bugs and more workarounds for the bugs.

But that's not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to do some positive reflection.

What I learned from this EndNote class was:
  • I can teach even when the technology fails me - even on a platform as reliant on the technology as EndNote
  • The use of other (old school) media like a white board, can really save you when technology fails :-)
  • having a handout with even a very basic layout of what you're going to teach is invaluable
  • Being forced away from the computer and out from behind the podium can really enhance your teaching - you engage more with the class and can show them individually how to get to things HOWEVER the downside is this can be very time consuming
  • EndNote really isn't intuitive. File - New doesn't give you a new reference. It's References - New Reference. Which you don't know if it's not in front of you and you're not an EndNotePhile.
  • I know EndNote better than I thought I did
  • I know EndNote better than the students learning it from me
  • MPOW has EXCELLENT EndNote resources
  • my colleagues are very supportive
Also, I think I'm going to do a Cert IV in Training. That is all. I have to go to the gym. And get skinni.

EndNote: The New, New Evil

A selection of tweets from my (now protected) account. In the box of "be careful what you wish for dread":

But I don't FEEL like teaching a three hour EndNote class! #tantrum

I have 18 students enrolled in EndNote & I'm not sure I'm competent. #crisisoffaith #hyperventilating

@Suelibrarian @rockchicklib @haikugirlOz thx. yes. Breathe. I do know more than they do. I am smarter than endnote.

@fionawb I *hate* endnote. Passionately. Why oh Why did I say I would teach this class?

@andvanessa nope. it's a 3 hour special class coz they asked me to.

@andvanessa it's my first one flying solo is all. I usually have a safety net. But I organised this one at short notice & no backup

Well, that #endnote class wasn't nearly as evil as expected. It was so much more evil you couldn't have dreamed up a more evil situation.

#EndNote #Evil Part 1: Overhead Projector of Computer Screen goes kerfluey, have to do first hour without visuals.
#EndNote #Evil Part 2: Half the class have brought their own (Mac) laptops which don't download export files the same way as windows

#EndNote #Evil Part 3: 1/2 class w Mac laptops don't follow along when I show them how to download filters so when we export they're lost

#EndNote #Evil Part 4: While I'm teaching with no visuals I have an IT guy failing to fix comp asking inane qs like "where's the remote?"

#EndNote #Evil Part 5: A couple of random undergrad science students decide to join the specialised database session I'm doing for PGs

#EndNote #Evil Part 6: Those random UG science students don't know how to search databases or reference. EndNote is kinda about those things

#EndNote #Evil Part 7: Did I mention the computer went kerfluey because my colleague tried to make it better? #trainingroomfail

#EndNote #Evil Part 8: Students are told to use EndNote. EndNote is not intuitive, nor usable. So we have to teach it.

#EndNote #Evil Part 9: EndNote classes normally go for 3 hours. This was an additional class for students who had 2 hours. Over lunchtime.

#EndNote #Evil Part 10: Due to rush, we had fifteen minutes to cover using word for referencing and in-text citations. #sigh

@malbooth I know. was in a mtg last week & future of libraries discussed. Someone said "if our future is teaching endnote we have no future"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interview Panic

So I have an interview tomorrow. It's a "group assessment". It will go for three hours. I'm kinda freaking out.

I've found quite a few resources online that talk about group interviews, but for the most part they're aimed at retail & sale positions - which is where I have experienced group assessment before - and not at professional positions. This article is by far the best of all that I have read, and has given me some useful tips.

The first one being - Don't Panic. Ha! Easy for you to say. But OK, let's work through this.

I am currently in prep mode. Which, for me, involves frantically researching everything at once.

So I have:
  • looked at all the programs the library service offers and thought up some additional ones to suggest
  • investigated the demographics of the catchment area and made some notes regarding trends and target groups
and I have yet to:
  • read some articles on management and teamwork and get "buzzword-ed" up
  • investigate team/management scenarios and solutions
  • figure out my key 3 skills
  • read back over my application and figure out why the hell I thought I was suitable for this job
I remember applying for the job and being very confident that I could do it, looking at what they asked for and knowing that I was capable of meeting the requirements, and doing a good job. I just need to rediscover that confidence, and re-find my mojo.

Wish me luck.

PS Interview outfit is sorted. Business-like dress, purple patent heels and new earrings I just bought for the occasion. At least I'll look the part!

Friday, July 2, 2010

On Publishing

I can't remember who was commenting during #blogeverydayofjune about the dearth of Australian Library publishing. And I'm too lazy right now to find it.

But here is a GREAT opportunity:

Seeking Submissions for Proposed Anthologies from Practicing Librarians

1. Library Collaborations with Writers, Artists, Musicians and Other Creative Community Members
How local writers, artists, musicians and other creative people and libraries help each other and their community. These creative members (who are also voters) appreciate the resources and stimulus libraries provide the creative process and like making their work known. Librarians are asked to share successful activities and collaborations with these patrons.

2. Library Services for Multicultural Patrons to Encourage Library Use
How to make the multi-cultured community members regular library users. A how-to for librarians restricted by time, money, and staffing: creative librarians using various outreach methods to overcome language and cultural barriers to serve all those in their communities and turn them into regular patrons.

Publicity Methods to Keep Libraries in the News
An anthology by and for librarians striving to spread the word what their libraries offer, what they do, their service role. Changing economics and life styles presents challenges to librarians often restricted by cutbacks in staff, hours, and money: how creative librarians using many publicity methods to promote their libraries and make them recognized as an essential resource for all ages.

Publisher: Routledge Books
Articles: 3000-5000 words; 1 author or 2, 3 co-authors
Compensation: complimentary copy, discount on more
Librarians outside the U.S. encouraged to contribute

Editor: Carol Smallwood, MLS
Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook, American Library Association 2010

Librarians as Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook, American Library Association, 2010

Thinking Outside the Book: Essays for Innovative Librarians, McFarland, 2008

others by ALA, Peter Lang, Linworth, Scarecrow, Libraries Unlimited

Please e-mail in a Word .doc (older version) attachment 4 topics/titles each described in 2-3 sentences by July 25, 2010 and a 75-85 word 3rd person bio: your name, library of employment, city/state location, employment title, where you got your degree, awards, publications, and career highlights. Please include publisher/date for books. If co-authored, a separate 75-85 word bio on each contributor. Please: no long resumes or abstracts-your selected title/abstract/bio composes a tentative table of contents for Routledge. You will be contacted which of your topics are not duplications, inviting you to e-mail your submission if Routledge decides to publish; your bio's will appear in the anthology. Please place COLLABORATION; MULTICULTURAL; or PUBLICITY/your name on the subject line:

On overcommitting

I've decided to take a leaf out of Hoi's book (blog) and title some posts "On ..."

This one is on doing too much. Or more correctly, on my attitude towards doing too much.

It's odd, because secretly I think I'm a quite lazy person. (Not a secret anymore I guess!) I watch a LOT of TV, spend a lot of time on teh intertubes, tweeting, blogging and reading blogs, reading silly stuff about celebrities, and chatting to friends or whatever. Oh, and I love sleeping.

But I actually do a lot. I work. I volunteer for ALIA (some say too much!). I do yoga. I spend a lot of time with my family, friends and pets. I occasionally date. I occasionally diet and exercise (small steps). And I've just submitted a mammoth proposal to do a huge research project on a conference mentoring trial.

It wasn't until I had submitted the 14 page document detailing the outline, methodology, timeline, budget and (projected) outcomes of this study that I realised that I had effectively given over the next year of my life to this project. And I also realised that I'd thought I needed to get everything done within a year - rather than complete the project, and THEN submit the deliverables within a year after that.

"Is it for a Masters or a PhD?" people keep asking me. "Um, no." "Are you getting paid for it?" That would be a "No" again. So why are you doing it?

The best answer I can give actually came from @restructuregirl : Fun, joy and networking.
Why add study to that? Chill out

I'd add: because I think it's a really important initiative for new graduates, and supporting new professionals is really important. And I absolutely love conferences, and want others to have the best experience possible.

Further lessons in chilling out came (apart from the multitude of Darth Vader clips @restructuregirl proceeded to send to me - she's obsessed!) from various sources.

Kay Harris, the awesome Convenor of Information Online where I'll be running the Conference Mentoring trial, offered me all sorts of assistance and help (including some volunteers to help out! Yay!), and in a follow up email wrote:
small steps my dear - plenty of people to help

My very best library friend (and one of my very best friends of all time) virtually a librarian talked me down from my anxiety ledge around the research project and gave me some salient advice around managing multiple projects and work.

@KatyKat and I had a great natter last night around life, libraries, study, work, ALIA and everything in between which left me feeling more invigorated and supported and part of a team that will achieve stuff! (Go NGAC!)

So I'm going to revisit my proposal, and make a coupld of adjustments to the timeline, and treat it more as fun and less as work. Because the reason I signed myself up for this stuff is not to to make myself stressed out: it's to help others and make a difference, and (hopefully) create a program that will be of lasting value to the profession. And to have fun while doing it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my 32nd Birthday.
I took the day off work, slept in, ate bacon & eggs & tomato & toast, drank lots of tea, had a massage & spa, visited my best friend where I saw her daughter (finally!) walking (yay!) and ate chocolate cake and brownie (yum!) and read same daughter some stories, went to dinner with my Mum & brother, and now I'm having a cuddle with my cat.
I also stressed about the study grant I put in last night, because the project has turned out bigger than Ben Hur, and I'm afraid that it will be too big for me to do justice to if (and when) I move to full time work. It seems to get bigger every time I think about it, and is now kind of looking like a Masters thesis. Goddess help me.
However, it's my birthday so I'm not going to stress about that anymore, at least until tomorrow. When I will continue to blog. Thanks to all who were involved in #blogeverydayofjune, I've loved it and I will continue my online journey with you all, if you'll have me.
@nomesd aka SkinniBitch

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Peer

Yesterday a talked about finding a career mentor, or a guru. Today I want to talk about finding a peer mentor.

You probably have some unofficial peer mentors already. People you studied librarianship with that you've stayed close to, or who you may have worked with or been on professional committees with. I have a great professional network in this way, partly because I studied my library quals internally at QUT and did a lot of group work, and partly because of my continuing work with ALIA and my love of meeting new people (some call it networking). Also, I'm mouthy and loud and tend to go up to people and say "HI! I'm Nomes! Be my friend!"

However, if you are starting in a new job or position or workplace, it can be very useful to find someone who works in the organisation that you work in, who is in a similar position to you, but is a couple of years more established in the role. That way they can provide you with tips and advice on how to do the job, but they are not your manager or team leader, so you may be able to be more open with them about concerns you have, issues you're struggling with. And if they're relatively new to the role and organisation (say, less than three years) they will likely still remember enough about what they didn't know when they started, and still know where to find and therefore pass onto you, those useful bits of organisational knowledge that people who have been there longer don't even realise they know, and never pass on.

Peer mentors don't have to be of a similar age to you, but in some circumstances it can be helpful. This is particularly pertinent if you work in an organisation where, for example, most of the professional staff are over 40, and you feel a bit like a fish out of water. I've found having another new grad-like person to talk to about issues at MPOW has been really valuable. For one thing, apart from the library's official twitter account and our university librarian who tweets, we seem to be the only librarians at OPOW that are really into social media. We both tweet, and we're both involved in #blogeverydayofjune.

I'm very lucky in this way, to have found a peer mentor that I have so much in common with. We already knew each other - studied together - but we have not had a lot to do with each other professionally until I moved to OPOW. She's been here a few years, and has a much better lay of the land than me - but I have a lot more professional association experience, and other LibraryLand experience than her. So we're mentoring each other - it will soon become official, through OPOW staff development program, and hopefully we will both gain a lot from the experience. I have already gained more enthusiasm, a greater feeling of support, and I feel like I have somewhere else to turn to with my questions (I am a big asker of questions!)

Before I leave on this topic (for now), I must mention the number one important part of any mentoring relationship: TRUST.

In order to have a really effective relationship that you need with a peer, I think you really need to have a good idea of what kind of person your potential mentor is. You are likely going to be asking questions about your job that some people would assume you should "just know". That, of course, is rubbish, but if there's anything I've learned from working in so many different library sectors and cities it's that people who have been at the one organisation for years think everyone does things the way they do things. It's the old silo effect. So you need to be sure that you are comfortable talking to your peer mentor about uncertainties you may have, and that you can trust them not to gasbag, or talk to your or other managers without permission. Of course, if you have real issues with your workload you should always speak to your manager, but for advice like "How do you find approaching academics works the best?" or "What coding do you use in your blog to ensure the pictures authenticate?" it's often best to talk to a colleague, a peer.

Once again, happy to hear how others have found peer mentors and any other tips you might have for mentoring relationships.

Tomorrow is my birthday so I'm not sure what/when/how I'll be posting, but I plan to continue blogging beyond the #blogeverydayofjune challenge. I've really enjoyed getting to "know" all the library boggers and commenters, and my weight loss journey is far from over.

So stay tuned for more from SkinniBitch!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Guru

On the comments of my last post, a couple of people wondered how I had been successful in finding a mentor. My answer is simple: ask.

The more in-depth answer is, as usual with me, not going to fit into dot points. (Sorry @katiedavis!) I am quite active in ALIA, and it has been the glue that has held my professional life together over the last few years, as I've worked in different jobs and sectors that haven't always been in LibraryLand, or provided me with everything I need professionally. (I'm an extrovert - fixing database records was NOT a suitable job for my personality!)

So I spoke to an ALIA staff member, whom I have worked with as an ALIA volunteer for over two years, and whom I trust. She agreed that it was about time I thought strategically about where I wanted my career to go, especially as I am now settled back in Brisbane for the foreseeable future. She asked me what sector I wanted to be in - the answer is: I'm not sure. I like both public and academic libraries. Basically, I like large library services, and in terms of my interests and personality, they suit me best. Then she asked me where I wanted to be in the long run. The answer is: I want to lead, and manage a team. My joke is that I want to run LibraryLand (into the future and beyond!)
She knows a lot of people in the sector and said she'd think about who might be available, and within a week I had a name. I haven't asked this person if they are OK with our burgeoning relationship becoming public, so at this point I'll just say that they are high profile in the profession, and the leader of a library service. So, in many ways, where I want to be in the long-term.

I then emailed the object of my mentoring affections the following:

Dear retracted

I've been talking to retracted about the next step in my career, and now that I've returned to Qld and am settling back into life in Brisbane and in academic libraries, I really feel like it's time to start thinking about the future, and where I'm going professionally. I know that as retracted and running retracted Library you're very busy but I was wondering if you would have any time to consider a mentoring relationship with me? I haven't had a formal mentor for some time, and think I would really benefit from one. As you're based in retracted I would think it would mostly be via phone, however if you ever make it to Brisbane I would love some face time :-)

I understand if you don't have time, but if you could let me know either way that would be great.


I received this response:

I'm out of of the office today, 3 June, If its urgent please contact...

Oh no! They will be too busy, for sure! Then a couple of days later:

I'd be happy to give mentoring a go.

Yes we will need to do most of it by distance (phone, email, Skype) however I do visit Brisbane reasonably often so could meet f2f at times.

Its probably best if we can arrange a time to discuss how we would like this to operate.

Over to you.

After a few emails ascertaining a date and time, we had our first session this morning on the phone. We spoke for about half an hour, where I gave my mentor a brief rundown of my immediate history, and sent them my CV. We then discussed career mapping. I haven't done a structured career plan, so my mentor suggested that I do so, based on something I could find quite easily on the internet. They suggested that I include in personal goals (family) and ALIA or other professional activities as well as work goals.

I've found these so I'll have a look and a think and a mind-map before we next talk in a fortnight.
Creating a Career Map
How to create a Career Map
Seven steps to create a career map
Developing a strategic vision for your career plan

Have you found any good resources in career mapping? Any other suggestions for finding a mentor?

Tomorrow: Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Peer

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let's talk about the weather

I started a post on what is going on in my personal life, and then realised it's just not appropriate. It's not my story to tell. But trust me when I say I have very good reasons for skipping a few days of blogging every day in June. Plus, I have done extra on quite a few days so ... whatever, it's not a competition.

Speaking of competitions, I got the news this evening that I was unsuccessful in securing a place in a mentoring program that I really wanted. There were an overwhelming number of applicants (it was an international program) and I was very close to being selected, but no cigar. I know that you can get mentors in other ways - I have just recently approached someone to be a professional mentor, and someone else to be a peer mentor, but with this research project I am undertaking I could really use a research mentor. And I work a lot better when there is a structured program. A very good friend of mine spent quite a lot of time convincing me that my not being selected for this program does not make me a failure. And she's right, of course. It just makes me not as good as the six people who were selected :-P I guess I can deal with seventh. Who am I kidding? I totally suck :-(

In other news, I bought a new pair of sneakers today. And not vanity shoes. They're cross trainers, for ACTUAL exercise. My brother and I went to A-Mart All Sports and he bought about $600 worth of running gear for under $250 (super special on Reebok compression gear til July!) because he suddenly got the urge to go running. I don't have any great urge, but I am going to New Zealand in September so I need to get fit/strong in my legs for skiing. Also there's the issue of that 20kg that I need to lose, which if I recall is why I started this blog. And seeing as I've been eating fun sized Picnics for breakfast, lunch and tea lately, it's about time I did something about that again.

Oh, and Brisbane is pretty balmy. It got up to 21degrees C today, and is expected to get down to a low of 7 overnight. There's been some light cloud coverage but no rain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Like a virgin

I've realised why I've been so down today. It's not just because I liked Rudd. It's not just because he cried. It's not just because I've totally abandoned my diet and become addicted to cherry ripes. It's because I've lost my political virginity. And I wasn't prepared.

I'd heard about it, I suppose. My Mum and Dad and history teacher all talked about how their illusions were shattered when Gough Whitlam was ousted. But I didn't really ever expect it to happen to me. For one, I thought the whole Governor-General/Liberal conspiracy to take over government would never happen again. For another, I didn't think I was that invested in the process.

You see, I don't really follow politics. That is, in between elections. As I've tweeted, I hate the news. It depresses me. And politicians never answer questions. That annoys me.

But when there's an election on - holy hell, I become a crazy person. The night before the 2007 election, I told anyone who would listen that if Howard won again I do something bad. Alternatively, if they voted for Rudd I would do something great. As some of my readers are my professional brethren I won't go into details as to what those bad/great things were, but use your imagination. Then on the night of Kevin 07 I was glued to the TV, to the point where I couldn't leave for the party I was all dressed up for until it was for-definite-sure that Howard was gone, and Our Saviour was in.

But today, that hope, that belief, all came crashing down. The first Prime Minister elected during my adult life that I had a part in electing (i.e. didn't hate to the point of distraction and actually preferenced instead of putting his party last on the senate form, which I number individually) was ousted. And not by the machinations of the Liberal elite, but of his own party.

And that, my friends, is not a pleasant way to lose your virginity. Even if it is to an intelligent redhead without a penis.

Spill Fatigue

We have a female Prime Minister. Last night I was excited about this proposition. I even added a twibbon to my avatar. Today I'm sad.

Sad that the hope I felt 2.5 years ago was so quickly eroded. I remember that when I awoke to a brave new world of no more Howard I facebooked (the old Twitter) that "I will never be sad again". And now, all I feel is sorrow. I'm sad that the media, the "worm", the factions, the polls, have led to the toppling of a Prime Minister who, I think, was doing a pretty good job over all. Sure, he was looking pretty crap and weak on some major issues lately, but I tend to agree with this article.

I'm also sad that there are still a lot of people out there who don't think it's a woman's job to run our country. According to @katiedavis, B105, Brisbane's popular (mainstream) music station had people saying horrible sexist things on her drive to work. That sickens me. It also makes me sad that this is how we get a female PM - through the factional back-stabbing. Not that I expect that any female politician should be above such things - they have as much right to play the game as the men. And Julia plays it well, and I respect her for that.

Now don't get me wrong. I like Julia Gillard. She's a redhead. Portentously, I dyed my hair red(der) on Tuesday night. She's a strong, intelligent, confident woman who I very much wanted to become our first President. And she seems to be doing great. I've never been a huge fan of Question Time but I've been glued to it all day. Well, my ears have. I've been pretending trying to do real work as well. I will totally vote for her, and I think she will win.

But I'm a sensitive little flower, as anyone who knows me really well will attest to. And watching Kevin Rudd's goodbye speech made me cry. A lot. Because you know what, I'm proud too. Proud that I helped to elect a government (through preferences, but still) that did do some important things. Say sorry. Ratify Kyoto. Keep us out of the recession - that was AMAZING. And I'm proud that he tried for the mining tax. I'm sad that didn't work, too. I'm proud that Rudd worked on reforming health care. I'm proud that he changed a lot of the Draconian measures that Howard had put into place around same-sex relationships. I'm not proud of the internet filter, or the backing down on climate change, or backing down on whaling, or allowing Peter Garret to speak about anything, ever. But dammit, Rudd, I believed in you. You were a smart, nerdy, leader who gave us hope when we needed it. You were the first Prime Minister of my adult life that belonged to a party whose politics I could vaguely stomach. I am really really sorry for you. I was getting really sick of hearing your voice, but in a funny way I will miss you.

And now all I want to do is cry, and sleep. And hopefully tomorrow I will be excited that we are led by a woman. But I will leave the real celebrating til when she has the public's mandate. And if Tony Abbott wins, I will be selling my hand in marriage on eBay, and moving anywhere but here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I guess the thing I just realised about Twitter here is summed up in this tweet I can't send because twitter is borked at this moment:

@discobisc there will be a lot of people who learn about it tomo like normal news. i would never have known if not for twitter.

I am not a news junkie. I went for days without knowing that BP had destroyed the world's oceans. I avoid the news like the plague, because it generally has that effect on me: death, dying, depression. But tonight I got to participate in history. Coz of twitter. Summed up here:

RT@miss_melbourne This is why we all heart Twitter. Witnessing history in the making & sharing smart arse remarks with your friends. Freaking brilliant.

#spill is not just for oil

I had a bit of a personal upset in my life today. A quite major personal upset. Not for this forum.

I was mindlessly watching some TV and waiting to speak to someone in my family about the upset while mindlessly flicking through my Twitter stream. I saw #spill, and didn't really understand, but didn't pay much attention until I realised that it was a leadership battle the likes of which haven't been seen in this country since 1991. Coincidentally, an ad had just been shown on Channel 10 for the new show Hawke highlighting the leadership battle between Hawke and Keating in the 1990s. Tonight's drama is in some ways more acute than that, as it was unexpected (Gillard has not been grumpily waiting in the wings for years while Rudd promises her the mantle yet refuses to pass it on) and she was, at least at the outset, refusing it.

It seems now that there will be a leadership battle vote in the morning, which I'm sure will be over by the time you read this, but the real fun of this whole thing - apart from the possibility of having a female Prime Minister with red hair - is the instantaneous information spreading through Twitter.

Everyone else is going to write about this better than me, I'm sure, but for me it was a very "where were you when" moment, and great to be at the coalface knowing more about what was going on from the tweets than was on the TV and other news media. When I finally got to talk to the family member I was waiting to talk to, I mentioned the breaking news to him, and he was distracted from his troubles for some time while he checked Twitter and saw that Rudd, Gillard, and #spill were worldwide trending topics, even beating #ifihadapenis.

Thanks to stellar journalists like @
annabelcrabb and other ABC online journalists who keep the tweet stream awash with information, live blogging from the punch, and of course #lateline.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The 'Berra

I know, I know, I'm a bad little #blogeverydayofjune-er coz I went away to Canberra for three days and failed to blog. BUT I'll have you know I did try to blog on my iPhone but I couldn't successfully upload photos so what was the point, ya know?

So here's what you missed.

I packed WAY too much for a three night stay. I thought I'd freeze my extremeties off because Canberra is so cold compared to mild ol' Brisbane, but I forgot that
a) I've spent the last two winters in Melbourne
b) the two winters before that were spent in London
c) I lived in north-western Ontario for a year where the temperature + windchill factor gives you a temperature around -70degrees C.
I was FINE.

I drank way too much on Friday night with my lovely friend Dot - so much so that I forgot to take any photos. Sorry!

I made the bride super pretty on Saturday with hair and makeup that one of the guest's thought was professional - so I have something to fall back on if this librarianing thing doesn't work out - but didn't get any photos taken of me coz I was quite cold in my sleeveless dress and quite hungover.

The Catholic Blessing Ceremony was quite nice, mercifully short (not a big fan of the bloke on the clouds, me), and they reaffirmed the vows they took three weeks or so ago in the UK in front of Australian family and friends. Here's a picture of the stunning couple in the not-so-stunning carpark of the Southern Cross Club Carpark.

Aw! So handsome!

So after the reception where the 800 or so kids in attendance played in the gauze curtains, the blokes went off to watch Australia suck in the World Cup, and the bride and I caught up, which was lovely.

I ate way too much on Sunday starting with breakfast with Dot and friends and then catching up with an old family friend at Koko Black - Brisbane doesn't have one so it was good to revisit the hot chocolate, like an old friend :-)

Then it was a library geeks/tweeps meetup back at Debacle where I got to meet @brucebits from the NLA and NGAC, and @KatieTT IRL, which was AWESOME. Also caught up with @SonjaBarfoed and a couple of great @ALIANational staff, Robyn & Janetta. A super night!

I library nerded it up on Monday at the NLA, with @brucebits showing me some ephemera collections, Dot showing me around manuscripts, and I met someone in Reference who has an awesome job going. I was tempted for a while but have decided to stay in Brisbane - I only just got home, after all! Then @aldellit took me to the airport and gave me entrance into the Qantas lounge - awesome times! Oh, and I had my first IRL @
TurnbullMalcolm sighting. I saw @KevinRuddPM a couple of years ago, when I still had hope :-/

Then I got home and got the awesome news that @katejf and I got our abstract accepted for #ALIAIOC!!! So now we get to write a paper on the use of social networking for professional development. You can bet your bottom library dollar that #blogeverydayofjune will be in there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Me! Me! Meme!

Thx to@fionawb for the meme, and whoever she copied it from.

Two names you go by:

1) Naomi
2) Nomes

Two things you are wearing right now:
1) purple shoes
2) fishnet stockings

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
1) Love
2) Humour

Two things you like to do:
1) sing
2) shop

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1) motivation
2) to lose 20kg

Two things you did last night:
1) packed for Canberra
2) spent 2 hrs on phone to Optus (grrr)

Two things you ate today:
1) toast
2) tea (it's only 8.30 am that's all so far)

Two people you last talked to:
1) Senior Library Assistant at work (Jack)
2) Exec Director's PA (Hollie) who's leaving today to start her MPhil in History!

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:
1) attending one of my best friend's sort-of wedding (Aussie version of UK wedding they had last month) in Canberra
2) I expect a fair amount of drinking :-)

Two Favourite Holidays
1) Turkey
2) Italy

Two favourite beverages
1) Tea
2) Red wine

Two things about me! Things you may not have known.
1) I have a three octave voice range (soprano)
2) I work part-time

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1) Call centre operator (insurance sales)
2) Christmas caroler

Two movies I would watch over and over:
1) Dirty Dancing
2) Spaceballs

Two places I have lived:
1) Kenora, Ontario, Canada
2) London

Two of my favourite foods:
1) Lasagne
2) Chocolate

Two places I’d rather be right now:
1) in London, with my choir friends
2) in Vancouver, with my best Canadian friend

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The not-post

I am too tired, too runny nosed, too grumpy and too chocolate deprived to put a post together today.

So I will simply say: I am the library cat.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Um, what was my job again?

Sometimes I do so much of my "volunteer" job, that I kind of get to the point where I wonder where I'm going to fit in my "real" job. I wonder if I should blog publicly about this though - does anyone else find this? Anyone else so active in ALIA or another professional organisation that some days they have deadlines that are not job-work-related, but ALIA-work-related, that just need to get done?

It is a slow time of year for me, it's true, as students are so busy in our 24 hour library making their own way through the soup that is their studying filth (seriously, the drawback to a 24 hour library? The smell of teenage boys. GROSS.) that they don't need the assistance of a library and information professional.

Sure, I have second semester textbooks to order, but due to the awesome efficiency of my Library Assistant we're all over that, baby. And yes, I have many other busy and important person tasks that take up my time (thank you, Twitter) but I'm not teaching four of the seven hours of my day like at the beginning of semester, and the time I spend on the desk isn't so full of students tearing their hair out and emails from lecturers tearing off student's heads (most of them seem to be in Asia - one academic emailed me telling me he'd been "Shanhaied" - very amusing, I'm sure) and wanting me to put them back on, that my days are actually quite relaxed, at least compared to other times of year. I even have time to read my email. So when ALIA comes a knocking with "Access newsletter copy due TODAY" and "website needs to be updated" and "review my paper it needs to go in for final copy tomorrow" I kind of go "Oh, OK, I can do that".

It's nice to be able to have time to do some of it at work, because normally I spend so many hours at home doing my library volunteering (committee meetings, writing up minutes and reports and so on) that it's kind of snatched. I'm lucky that my work is OK with me doing some of my ALIA work at work. No-one else really volunteers within my branch, but it's supported within the wider institution, and I've been told that I can work on my ALIA related research project at work - not that I've had time. Which reminds me. I have a grant to apply for...

Oh, and come to ALIA Access. Enrol in the New Graduate Program. It's gonna be awesome. And send any eligible new graduates you know to this blog to get details of how to attend the conference for free. You might even be eligible yourself...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm getting ready for going to Canberra on Friday, and part of this preparation was getting out the wax and the polish and going to town on my hairy legs and un-pedicured feet last night.

I must have the perfect grain of hair for self-waxing or something, because I just buy a pot of Nair Body Wax (just over $20 at your local supermarket) which you heat in the microwave, smooth in long strips down your legs, then rip off (no cotton strips required!) when it's cooled. I can do it quite easily till all the hair is gone - my flatmate in the UK was so impressed that she got a tub and tried it, and she found that her hair was too coarse - it just wouldn't come out. She wasn't nearly so impressed.

But last night it took about an hour and I had the heater on so I didn't freeze, but I now have silky smooth legs and underarms, and then I did a pedicure on myself. I frosted my toenails with two shades of purple - a dark and then a shine - so they're all ready to go for the wedding on Saturday. That is if they even see the light of day, which depending on the weather they may not. But, better to be prepared.

Yesterday I got my nails done - I'm not up to doing them myself, I haven't got the right tools even though you can buy acrylic much cheaper than you get them done at the salon - but I love the look of a French polish. And the gel makes them so shiny!

So I'm still tired but I'm on the way to being pretty for the wedding.

Monday, June 14, 2010

So tired

Well, I'm eating carbs again. And my energy has improved somewhat. But I'm still bloody tired. Keep falling asleep after a couple of hours of activity - not even that much activity, mind. Today I went to the shopping centre and got my nails done, and then came home and had a nap. I have a very full week ahead, with work and then going to Canberra so I'm still quite concerned. I don't know what to do.

It's Glee's fault

So I'm late with Sunday's post. And it's a link post. Sue me.

Glee did a Gaga episode this week so I've had their rendition of Poker Face in my head for days. I quite like it. I saw Edina Menzel in Wicked in London and she's just amazing. I love how they're getting real musical theatre celebrities on this show.

But then my friend pointed me towards Christopher Walken's rendition:

And of course there's the librarian version :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The why and wherefore

Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages, tweets, comments etc regarding my having to quit Tony Ferguson due to the carbohydrate-deprived exhaustion.

A lot of the comments and such have wondered why I'm dieting to begin with - or questioned my methods. If you read my introductory post you'll get some of the idea as to why I'm on this weight loss journey, but here I'd like to respond to some of the comments and queries directly.

First, some pictorial evidence. Here is me, prior to going overseas just over four years ago. I had managed to get off medication, and I'd been on Weight Watchers the year before and gotten back down to my pre-meds weight. My BMI at this point was 25 - I was at the top of my healthy weight range for my height. This is about the skinniest I get - at least since I was in high school. Without meds, this is about where I sit, or a bit bigger. But I'd never gotten above a BMI of about 27 before the meds.

And here I am a few months ago, with a BMI of at least 33 (with the gorgeous @katykat). I'm now down to 32, a few kilos lighter than I am on the left. But I still have 20kg to lose to get back to the above.

Now I really appreciate what some of you have said - things like that I look good how I am, that I don't need to lose weight. But the fact is - I am not just overweight, I am obese. I am in danger of developing type 2 diabetes if I don't get back to a healthy weight, and other illnesses.

I must admit that it worries me more that people are accepting of my size than if I was being called a fatty-boomba in the street. Granted, I don't want to be publicly abused, and it would likely make me cry, but it would be closer than the truth than saying it's OK for me to be this big. Because the fact is: it's not. It's not healthy. I'm not happy. It's not "me".

And I don't want it to be my friends either - not because I don't want fat friends: because I don't want unhealthy friends. I have a good friend who is currently trying to lose 70kg: she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes prior to her 30th birthday, and she's realised how important it is for her health. And I believe she can do it. She's doing it with Weight Watchers, and I believe I'll join her next week.

I remember when I put on weight the last time I was put on meds. I was babysitting for some kid that I didn't know that well, and he said to me "Your tummy is bigger than your boobies" - that was a wake-up call.

I don't want to be super skinny. I'm never going to be a size 8, or a 6, or a zero or whatever the anorexic models are. I have curves - even in the top picture you can see that I am a woman, not a stick-figure. But I do want to be healthy, and I do want to look good - to myself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carbs are my friend

Thanks to everyone for the comments and tweets and such regarding the kicking of Tony Ferguson to the kerb. Don't feel 100% but feel like my energy is returning thanks to TOAST but have a doctor's appt in a little while as apparently Glandular Fever is doing the rounds at my university so I'll need a blood test to ensure that that's not my problem. Please God let that not be my problem. I SUCK at being sick. That is, I'm damn good at it, in that I get 150% sicker than everyone else, take three times as long to get better, and get every illness under the sun when my immune system is down.

I've gotta tell ya, sleeping for the best part of a week isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm starting to feel slightly normal again, but I'm still quite tired. Add on top of that the stress that I always feel when I'm sick, the guilt for missing work, and worries about money (I have no idea if I have enough sick leave to cover this week, but I doubt it) and I end up feeling like crap again.

Plus while I'm back on the carbs I don't want to put on all the weight I've lost. I have to be careful. *sigh* I really wish I hadn't taken that medication last year and put on 15kgs in 6 weeks. It really f'd up my body. And it didn't even work. Poo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sometimes, you gotta quit

I've been in bed for two days. Which is why I have no idea what's been going on in the blogging or tweeting world, at least for the last 24 hours. Yesterday I kind of kept up, but today I slept for fifteen hours straight and haven't had the energy to read a blog or a tweet. Yep, it's bad.

Problem is, I have no idea what's wrong. I don't have a blocked nose or a sore throat. I don't have a sore tummy, apart from some issues on Monday night that lasted for only about half an hour. I have been feeling a bit down, as blogged about earlier in the week, but nothing so bad to be considered in-bed-for-days worthy. No-one died, I'm not having a depressive episode. I'm headachey but it's not one of my "humdinger" (neurologist's term) migraines. I'm just really fucking exhausted and can barely walk around the house.

The lovely virtual librarian pinged me about something else and I confessed my utter desolation at what the hell was happening to me, and how I really want to just have enough energy to go back to work. She convinced me to stop the Tony Ferguson diet, as the lack of energy seems to have really come on since I started it. Lack of carbs and all of that. So I'm quitting. Tonight I'm going to have the bolognese that I cooked a couple of nights ago with some pasta, and start eating carbs again. I'm still going to watch what I eat - but no more meal replacements, and no more low-carb diets. I remember years ago being told by a dietitian that my blood type is a carbohydrate blood type, whereas my Mum's was protein - so when hungry Mum goes for protein, but I need carbs.

So hopefully this will help, and next week I'll try and go to WeightWatchers, and continue the weight loss journey in a new direction.

Update: just spoke to someone at the Chemist and they said extreme exhaustion can be a side-effect of the TF diet, as the ketosis can have that effect on a (small minority) of people. Nice to be special :-P

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mal's TV meme

Thanks to malbooth for coming up with this one

Do you snack while watching TV?
Almost exclusively. Is there something else to do while watching TV?
What is your favourite TV show?
When it had Dr Tennant I would have said Dr Who, but Dr Smith hasn't totally won me over yet. So at the moment probably Glee.
What TV show makes you run to change channels?
Anything related to sport.
How do you view your TV guide: online, on-screen, newspaper, magazine, other?
On my iPhone.
Have you ever been surveyed for your TV-viewing habits or do you know anyone who has been?
Don't think so but I love market research so I might have been years ago. I always say yes.
Do you watch TV news and/or current affairs regularly?
Nope I hate knowing what's going on in the world. Way too depressing.
Do you watch any TV "soaps"? (Truth please, even if it is embarrassing.)
Yep, I watch both Neighbours and Home & Away often enough to kind of know what's going on in both. Though I much prefer H&A and have since I lived in the UK.
What other series shows do you try not to miss?
Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy.
Any previous series or shows you really liked?
Buffy, Sex & the City, Damages, BSG.
Do you have pay TV or are the digital channels enough?
Don't have either :-(
Do you only watch certain TV shows online?
Yes I watch a lot online, or from online - I have a supplier of downloaded TV who sends me series at a time of all sorts of stuff. He's a geek though so I get a lot more sci fi than I would usually choose to watch.
Do you regularly use services like ABC catch-up or other online replays?
Yep, if I miss Grey's or DH or Glee or something I use it. 7 has a good service, 10's is a bit crapper. ABC of course is the best.
Do you ever pay any attention to the adverts?
Sigh, yes. Wish I could switch off, but I can't.
Do you multi-task while watching TV & if so what else are you doing?
Absolutely. I'm almost always tweeting on my iPhone. If I have a computer that's working I might be on it. Otherwise I'll be very intently cuddling my cat. He's half on my lap and half on the keyboard right now.
Is there a TV show that makes you laugh out loud?
I haven't been laughing much lately, so I can't think of any. But I'm sure there is. Um... Oh yeah, 30 Rock. I love that show.
Have you ever said no to a social invitation to stay at home and watch TV? (Truth again please.) Mind telling us what the show was?
Probably. I really like to be at home for Dr Who on Sundays, DH on Mondays and Grey's on Tuesdays. If you invite me out on those days and I don't come you know why.
Do you record TV shows & if so why and how (VCR, DVD recorder, TIVO, laptop, etc.)?
No I don't have the technology. I have a supplier ;-)
Least favourite TV personality/actor/character?
That annoying sidekick of David Letterman's. Paul something. I just want him DEAD.
Most popular TV personalities/actors/character?
Hmm I can only think of movie actors. I guess Tina Fey. She's awesome. Oh, and Alec Baldwin. But only coz of 30 Rock.
Have you ever seen anything really memorable on TV (not news/events - made for TV drama, etc.)?
Brides of Christ. I was a teen, it seriously affected me.
Do you prefer TV series or stand-alone shows?
Series all the way! What is a stand alone show? I don't even like movies anymore now that you can get TV series from the DVD store!
Is there a specific show you find yourself recommending over and over?
I've recommended Glee to a couple of people, but not because I think it's great in a high-art way. Because I love singing and dancing and teen drama and it's fun.
Naomi's bonus question: What's your favourite TV based youtube clip?
Well that would have to be Buffy vs Edward!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Pet Post

I'm going to try and break from the self-pity that has plagued the last few days of my life for this post, and turn instead the pets. That's bound to cheer me up :-)

I am currently house-sitting for my Dad and step mum. They have a small, cute, but insanely idiotic dog. No offence intended to flexnib, but Polly is part-chihuahua, which may be partly why she is skittish and insane. To the right there's a photo of Polly waiting for me when I get home, and my adorable little cat Sebastian behind her.

Polly is a very spoilt dog. She has a dog-flap, but she rarely uses it. She waits by it until someone opens the big door for her. She gets milk for breakfast, and cheese (!!!) at 11am (I have not kept up the cheese regime, for one thing I work and for another !!!) Polly gets premium mince for dinner, probably more expensive than the mince I can afford for my bolognese. However this doesn't stop her from trying to eat Sebastian's dinner out from under his very cute black nose. (His mince is of the low-cost kangaroo variety. He eats it slowly and daintily while Polly scarfs hers like there's no tomorrow. He won't touch hers when she eats his though, even though it's of a higher quality. Weird!)

Polly loves being downstairs on the couch you can see in the background of the above photo. She will happily go down the stairs in the background, but will not go up them. My step mum thinks it's because she has trouble with her eyes. I beg to differ, as she has no trouble going up the stairs in the backyard in the total dark. She's just stupid :-P

Polly likes to sleep with humans. I'm fine with that, and luckily Sebastian considers her a friendly, and the spare room has a bed big enough for all of us. As the bed is quite high, Polly doesn't think she can get onto it by herself. She CAN, I've seen her do it (when I'm not in the bed) but when I'm in the bed suddenly the bed is WAY TOO HIGH for her tiny little brain. So, she paws at the side of it until I lean over to get her. Then she runs away, just out of my reach. She does this over and over until I have to GET OUT OF BED to pick her up and put her on the bed. This drives me slightly insane.

My lovely little Sebastian, however, is the loveliest little light of my whole life. He has been in my heart for almost two years now, since I found him at Ingrid's Haven. I spent over an hour meeting about 50 of the hundred or so cats she has there, until I finally found him. He snuggled against me for a cuddle and my heart just melted. He's so soft, and as time has gone on we've gotten a closer bond. I had to be away from him for a couple of months last year and it was hard when we got back together and I brought him back to Brisbane. But now we're closer than ever. He follows me everywhere. It's very cute. Well I think that's all for now. I hope you've enjoyed my pet post.


That's the sound of me falling off the wagon last night.

It started innocently enough. I'd had a pretty shitty day and after losing only half a kilo (yes yes I know I should be happy with that but I wasn't ok?) I made a vege-packed bolognese sauce (thx to virtual librarian for the tip about grated zucchini - you're right, I totally didn't notice it) and ate it with some notatoes (yes, you read that right, it's fake potatoes, made of cauliflower).

I was pretty full afterwards, but in that "I'm full but want chocolate" kind of way that happens when you're down. So I had a diet jelly. That just didn't cut it. So I had a diet ice cream. That was pretty good, but not quite chocolatey enough. So I had a Lindt ball - I ate it very slowly, basically sucking the chocolate off. Surely that will satisfy my craving?

No. So I had another one. Then another. Then they were gone. So I had some white cooking chocolate my stepmum had in the fridge (I'm housesitting). That was yum but not chocolatey enough so I had some weird chocolate cake thing she had in the pantry. By this time I felt a bit sick and wasn't enjoying any of it, so I had a hot shower and went to bed with my shame.

About half way through this binge I stopped enjoying the food - and because the TF diet requires that you stay in ketosis I know that now it will take another few days for me to get back there - falling off the wagon is a very bad thing on this very restrictive diet, and I may not lose any weight this week. In fact, I may put some on because of my bad mood.

So I am seriously considering switching to WeightWatchers in the very near future. I still want to see how I go until I get to Canberra for the wedding - just under two weeks to go - but it's a lot harder than I thought, especially if my mood isn't good, or stable, or whatever.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I have had an extraordinarily crappy day. Mondayitis doesn't even come close to describing how bad I have felt. I don't work on Mondays, but I usually have a pretty full day - I have appointments, run errands, see friends. Today I barely made it out of bed, and when I did, I climbed back in. I didn't even have the energy to watch TV, let alone read.

I had an ALIA teleconference this afternoon, which I had a) forgotten about (thanks Andrew for the reminder email) and b) had nothing really to contribute to. Luckily my team had lots of ideas to contribute to the brainstorming session. At yoga, I could barely summon up the energy to hold a pose for more than about three seconds. Normally I get energy from both of these things, but today I feel like it's all I can do just to hold the seams of myself together.

I weighed in - Monday's weigh day - at the chemist this evening and I've only lost half a kilo this week. Perhaps it would sound better if I said I'd lost a pound. At least that's a whole measure. I know that's still an acceptable amount to lose, but I really wanted to be losing around the kilo on this meal replacement diet, which I consider to be more hard-core than others I've previously been on. Plus, my doctor said she'd expect me to lose 12kg in 12 weeks - which is a kilo a week. But I have eaten more (good) fats and sometimes protein than they recommend - plus I have ignored the caffeine rule - so perhaps that's a factor. I don't know if I can go super hard core again though, it's not an easy diet. I wonder if by the end of June I won't have switched over to Weight Watchers, which is more flexible food wise and I'd likely be pulling similar numbers.