From the floor: You're quite opinionated about wider library issues on your personal streams - do you think you should be?
by tosca on Monday, November 26, 2012
I'm still doing the 'From the floor' posts, I'm just doing them so infrequently as to be virtually non-existent. I also don't do them in the order in which I receive them. It's sort of random-ish, depending on what's going on either personally and/or professionally. As we all know, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans (so said John Lennon). Just as a reminder, the 'From the floor' posts are where I answer questions some of you have sent me about why I do what I do with our work streams, or about social media in libraries in general. I figured that some of you might find this useful. And if you don't, no harm no foul. I'm not much of a one for disclaimers, however I want to reiterate that I'm not an expert. I'd probably get pissed at anyone who said they were. I am, as ever, a girl with a laptop, access to random thoughts and a fondness for cheap booze. Really cheap booze.
by tosca on Friday, November 9, 2012
Sibling watching me highlight passages in my 'journal.'
Sibling: Is that your new Twitter?
Me: *colouring in* Shut your face *silence* Yes.
You know that moment where you make a decision that you think is a good one, and then it turns out to be kinda crap but you're stubborn times infinity and therefore not prepared to admit you were wrong? That.
I miss the vibrancy of Twitter. I miss the funny people, the quickness of conversations and topics, the ability to bounce ideas back and forth and either share them or refine them or help others with theirs. I miss talking about libraries and ways to make them stronger and/or more relevant. I miss talking about zombies and James Bond and Supernatural. I miss movie/song recommendations and bookish chatter. I miss the ALL of it.
One thing I've noticed just over the last couple of days is that I'm having fewer random IRL (in real life) conversations. Before, I would have approached anyone and everyone and started all kinds of discussions about whatever. I've always kinda felt that I am online as I am IRL - loud, opinionated, quick talking, rarely rational, quick to cry over books/films/pictures of fluffy babies or animals, and with ideas kinda spewing out at nineteen to the dozen. It's almost like my stopping in one place (Twitter) means that it automatically follows that I'd stop IRL as well. Is that strange? Talk about drama llama *rolls eyes* I am queueing up work blog posts like a woman possessed, so yay, there's that. Journal pages below of my brain mostly without Twitter.
by tosca on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I bought an exercise book (it's bright green because that's how I roll) and am using it to jot down anything and everything that, ordinarily, I would push out into the twittersphere. So much noise in my head. Which I've uploaded here. Because I can? I'm not sure. This isn't even a half of what went through my head today - this is just what I remembered to note at the time. Maybe by the end of these three weeks I'll be a better writer. Or a little bit crazier. Or have learned to better reign my thoughts in and focus them. Mmm. Maybe.
by tosca on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I adore the visual cacophany that is Twitter. It moves at such a furiously fast pace and at any time you can jump on (and in) and see links (and people, comments, statements, and discussions) that are ordinary, amazing, sad, inspiring, ridiculous and whatever other label you can think to slap on it. Each crazily beautiful in its own way. Where others find noise and chaos, I see a playground of infinite ideas and possibilities to both feed OFF OF and INTO. Half the fun is putting it all in some kind of context I can understand and work with, and then sharing it or using it to shape a half-formed post or thought. (In my head it's all a giant puzzle just waiting to be solved). Sometimes, though, I find it hard to shut my brain down, and so I end up overdosing a little (ok, a lot), and end up feeling slightly burnt out. Like maybe now.
My problem is that I find Twitter far too engaging for my own good because it's full of brilliantly magical people who talk about wondrously fabulous THINGS and CONCEPTS and who attend stunningly awesome EVENTS and GIGS and I feel like I need to/want to/have to see it all. Which is so much bullshit because I don't. I have two speeds: hell for leather enthusiastic about everything OR I want to sleep. I don't seem to have an in between. I need to learn to switch off. Which is what I'm doing, hence this post. I'm going offline for at least the rest of this week. Realistically, it'll be closer to two or three weeks. My tone this week has been a little bit 'off' and I feel like I've lost my mojo. Granted, my 'style' (and I use that word loosely) on my personal stream is somewhat madcap and #randomasbro (yes, I put a hashtag in there) and I don't filter my thoughts (I figure if people don't like me or my style they can unfollow - I would never hold that against them) BUT I feel like it's been a little more bizarreballs than usual. Which means it's time to disappear for a bit until I get my groove back. (Sure, I'm Stella, I mean why not?).
I'll be updating our work streams as usual (albeit in a more focused way than I've been doing for the last fortnight), so I'll be around in a professional sense. I just won't be responding to everything on my personal streams as often/as quickly as I usually do. Some of you have my email, some my cell phone number - feel free to use them. If you don't have either of those and need them, leave a comment or message me on Twitter and I'll flick you my details. Otherwise, lovely people, I'll catch you on the flip side. Do EVERYTHING I wouldn't do and remember: pics or it didn't happen.
(Post title is a lyric from Lit's song "My own worst enemy")
by tosca on Monday, October 29, 2012
Hi, remember me? I used to blog regularly, and then life happened. And for some reason, some of you still follow/read/ask questions. I apologise for being a slacker, and will try to make more of an effort to keep this up-to-date. I went away to Toronto for a couple of weeks and, when I came back, saw that I'd received a few emails from people asking if I'm likely to feature some more 'From the floor' posts, and the answer is, "Yes, absolutely, I just get distracted by shiny, pretty things and wander off track for ages." Some of you may remember, from my last post, that I was going to make an effort to answer your queries out loud (albeit anonymously). I've randomly pulled this one out of all of the ones you've sent, and I want to make something clear before I answer it. I'm not a guru. Not by any stretch of the imagination. If I heard anyone else refer to themselves that way I'd probably get up and leave and/or spit tacks. I rate 'social media guru' right up there with 'carpetbagger.' Harsh? Probably, and yet I'm unrepentant about voicing that. I'm just a girl with a laptop, and broadband, and a whole lot of opinion.
From the floor: Did you deliberately set out to gain a large (for NZ public libraries) number of Twitter followers?
by tosca on Monday, September 17, 2012
I received quite a few emails after my last post, all with queries about how or why I do things how I do them on our work tweetstream. I've responded to them all individually (I'm three steps away from marrying the copy and paste function, seriously). I thought I'd post some of the questions here, and my answers. Maybe this will be useful to some of you. (And, as ever, maybe not). The first question for this (strange and unprecedented - for me, anyway) type of post is: Did you deliberately set out to gain a large (for NZ public libraries) number of Twitter followers? I want to make something clear right from the start: I'm not an 'expert.' I'd be wary of anybody who said they were. At heart, I'm just a nerdy girl with a laptop, access to the interwebs, and an inappropriate love of Jensen Ackles. (Sometimes, the three go hand in hand and then I win at life).
by tosca on Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Often, people ask me why I don't speak - either 'at all' or 'more' - at library conferences, weekend schools or get togethers. There isn't a single answer. So I'm going to do my best to answer why I don't/won't right here.
by tosca on Monday, August 27, 2012
"As a child, my number one best friend was the librarian in my grade school. I actually believed all those books belonged to her."
~ Erma Bombeck
Libraries are about more than just books. Right? Right. Libraries are community spaces where people come to socialise, learn, study, create, celebrate. (And possibly lots of other words that I hadn't thought of at the time I wrote this post). I know this. I believe this. As much as I know it, though, I find it a somewhat disturbing statement. If libraries are about more than books then maybe we need to put that to the test and remove the book element altogether. Just take it away. If we do that - and by 'we' I mean 'libraries' and not the organisation I work for in particular - then what are libraries about?
It's all right. Take your time. I'll wait.
"If a trainstation is where the train stops, what's a workstation?"
I've worked in libraries for almost thirteen years. Two helping out in a school library, two at a tertiary library, and nine with a public library. Thirteen seems like a long time but, really, it's not. After all, I knew a colleague, a few years back, who retired months short of her fiftieth anniversary. Not just 'in libraries,' but with the same organisation. I think that is both phenomenal, and admirable.
by tosca on Thursday, June 14, 2012
"Those that choose to fit in should expect to avoid criticism (and be ignored). Those that stand out should expect neither."
~ Seth Godin, Not both
I follow @sweden. I've made no secret of that fact. I admire what they've done, what they're doing and, very probably, what they'll come up with next. Some time back in April I wrote a post for Sally Pewhairangi's Finding Heroes site; Opportunities as seeds, in which I expressed the thought that libraries could benefit from trying a modified version of this social experiment. I've received a few emails, comments and private messages that have all highlighted articles like this one with NYTimes.com, Swedes' Twitter voice: Anyone, saying (blush) almost anything, and others. (It'd take far too long for me to link all the ones that I've received). Everyone has asked the same question: "Would you take your statement back?" I thank you all for your concern and comments. And no, I won't take my statement back all the same, thank you. I stand by it, still.
by tosca on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
~ Nellie McKay, Mother of Pearl
My first introduction to Nellie McKay's music was thanks to a TED Talk performance (the one above, actually) of Mother of Pearl. The first time I watched it I thought, "Jesus Christ, is she serious?" and it left me with that feeling where you're not sure if you should laugh or swear. So I watched it again, and then I got it. I think. It was a list of feminist issues reduced to little more than stereotypes. I'm not sure that's all it is, though. Is she implying we take it all too seriously and should, really, lighten up a little? It makes me want to babble incoherently about misogyny and satire and irony and lots of other words along those lines. It grew on me. So much so that I looked up more of her stuff and came across a piece that she did for NPR Music's Project Song where artists are given two days to write and record an original song. Fascinating process watching McKay work her way from music to lyrics to recording. It kinda made me fall in like with her work, and her style, a little bit more. Have requested anything/everything we have of hers at work, most of which are contributions to concept albums.
by tosca on Monday, April 9, 2012
...or something a little like it, anyway.
Most nights I can't sleep. And then some weekends I do nothing but sleep. Go figure. For the nights when I can't sleep I have a fanfic soundtrack that I like to listen to over and over. It contains acoustic songs/performances that are all quite introspective. Some nights, though, it isn't quite enough. So I play in YouTube. This clip is one of those finds. Lisa Hannigan (Irish singer) performing on NPR Music's channel, in particular their Tiny Desk Concerts. In this performance she plays a ukulele, a guitar and a mandolin (not all at the same time, I'd like to point out), and is joined partway through by John Smith. Yes, that *is* his actual name. Her voice is like oh. I've requested anything/everything we have of hers at work.
by tosca on Wednesday, April 4, 2012
"I have had much to learn from Sweden's poetry and, more especially, from her lyrics of the last generation."
- Knut Hamsun
A bit of a break from my norm. (And then I realise that I don't have a norm. Huh). I lovelovelove to look up international idol/talent audition clips on YouTube. That's probably not such an odd thing I mean, people look up all sorts of stuff on YouTube. Where I may differ slightly is in that I watch them, am constantly blown away by the performances, and then bawl my eyes out. Especially if they're kids/teens. I'm not sure why. I just know that I do it, and I enjoy it. (Both the music, and the crying). Do I speak Swedish, German, Dutch, Bulgarian, etc.? Good grief, no. I can't understand a single word they're saying. But I can read their faces and their body language, and something about European idol/talent competitions is a little less composed than its American counterpart with stonefaced judges. I revel in the judges' ability to let loose and sing along, utter a curse word or two in appreciation, clap in time and, just generally, be greatly encouraging of the contestants. It's a lesson we could all take away from it, I think. In this post I'll stick to past Swedish audition clips of some sort or another. Also? I'm moving to Sweden, dammit.
by tosca on Monday, April 2, 2012
...A la rose s'assemble
Sur la rive en fleurs riant au matin..."
Lakmé, by Léo Delibes
Confession: I like opera. And it's got nothing to do with my name. If anything, Tosca is the least of my favourites. (Although she was a vengeful woman and that I can get behind). My most favourite opera ever is La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. That's not to say I don't like anything else. I do. Just not in their entirety. Usually certain songs, more than anything else. Such as the one in today's clip.
Joan Sutherland & Huguette Tourangeau in Lakmé by Léo Delibes. In particular the Flower Duet (1976). Cliche, I know. So sue me.
This is going to be playing in my head all day.
by tosca on Tuesday, March 20, 2012
...I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
~ Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name
What fucking genius came up with this combination of musicians? Because I'd like to meet him. I surely would. Shake his hand. Maybe buy him a drink. Or her. Or they. Whatever. Whoever it was. I can see it now, they're sitting around one day contemplating string theory and the meaning of life and then, suddenly, they go, 'Holy shit! What would happen if we chucked Chris Thile, Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan IN THE SAME ROOM?' Et voila, THIS is what happens. Magic times a zillion. Here's a combination of musicians I'd pay blood to see. (I say that not believing in vampires. If such a thing exists, however, I'd like to take that statement back, please and thank you). Also, NPR Music's YouTube channel? *swoons* FULL OF WIN. They've introduced me to so many new artists I'd never have heard about otherwise. And so! The clip.
That is all.
by tosca on Thursday, March 15, 2012
I only ever wanted to be three things in life: a singer, a teacher and a librarian. That's it. I did sing for a few years and it was fun. And then I didn't sing anymore. When I left tertiary I took a job at a local primary school as a Maori teacher aide. Enjoyed it so much I became an LAT (where you have a limited authority to teach), briefly considered applying to the (then) Auckland College of Education and realised something quite crucial that held everything up: I didn't actually like children. Not enough to be amongst them all day, every day. Weirdly, instead of going to ACE to obtain a teaching degree, I ended up working there in the library instead at the same time as my BFF was there studying. Timing is everything.
People always ask me, "Why libraries?" and I tell them the truth (which always seems to disappoint them): "I'm in libraries for the books." I am, first and foremost (and forever) a reader who seems to have a knack for recommending books. I have worked in a school library, a tertiary library, and public libraries so I know that libraries offer more than books. They have homework centres, job clubs, book clubs, school holiday programmes, author talks, orientation sessions, database tutorials, study rooms, computers...they're busy, busy places. They are, after all, community spaces. These days more so than ever before, I think. And I love seeing that. But I never forget that I am always about the books - reading them, talking about them with others, promoting them, having quite firm opinions about book/reading related issues, and, although it sounds stupid, having what feels like an actual relationship with the book and its characters. I suspect that makes me strange. I suspect I don't care overly much about said strangeness. I also suspect I'll go on being about the book and nothing but the book for always.
by tosca on Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I spend the first part of my day catching up on RSS feeds for *screws up face and counts* some 260+ blogs/websites covering all sorts of things. Seriously, all sorts of things. What I leave till last, though, are the video clips! I'm not a morning person, so the idea of breakfast o'clock fills me with horror on any given day. If I must eat first thing in the morning, gimme coke and M&Ms. So, where some people eat breakfast...I catch up on RSS feeds. But it's the videos I love the most. And this morning? These ones in particular.
SillySparrowness builds a TARDIS
ADORE her reason for doing so TIMES A THOUSAND. (Yes. Caps were necessary).
Wrecking Crew Orchestra
Thank you, Topless Robot :)
Kristin Bell's emotional meltdown over meeting a sloth
Baby sloths are adorable! Grown-up sloths...mmm not so much. Really. And if you don't believe me, then check out this photo. That scares me a whole lot. Bell's meltdown? Aww! (And yes, this has been around for a little while now, and I've been meaning to see it but only did this morning and, even then, only because a J2 fanfic writer I follow had posted/mentioned it at some time or another recently).
A thing that'd make me cry were it a Lifetime Channel movie where some person died of some awful disease but, instead, it makes my heart heavy
by tosca on Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The title of this post is, appropriately (??), 'A thing that'd make me cry were it a Lifetime Channel movie where some person died of some awful disease but, instead, it makes my heart heavy.' It is true. Every word. If somewhat longwinded. (As usual). My lifelong geek dream is to attend a San Diego Comic-Con. I'd love to be able to experience the spectacle of it. That, combined with being able to see the Supernatural cast (because you can bet I would) is enough to make it high up on my OHMYGOD I'd Die If I Never Got To Do This list. I've often heard it referred to as the 'Nerdy Olympics' and, considering my clumsiness and awkwardness when it comes to actual sport, I'm ok with that. I suspect that my being able to attend is going to remain nought but a constant on my wishlist for a very long time to come. As Mary Sue (the website) wrote, "Nerd Girl Problem #17: Your main goal in life is to get to Comic-Con." It's true. That is my biggest nerd girl problem. It's just not about to happen any time soon. Tickets sell out way too fast. (To be specific, they sold out in the time it takes for an episode of Doctor Who to screen). I tossed around ways in which I might actually get to Comic-Con and, really, all I could think of was that I would have to write some fantastical screenplay/book/series that would knock the socks off of somebody somewhere and get me featured as a guest. Yeah, nah. Ain't gonna happen.
So, I have a couple of choices: I can sit and cry about it, or I can get over it and find something else to fixate on. (At least until 2013, anyway). I'll be honest, I briefly mourned the fact that I wouldn't attend Comic-Con this year and then, just the other night, I decided that I would attend a Supernatural Convention in Toronto, Canada later this year. If my main reason for attending is to see and hear the cast of Supernatural, then that's what I'll do. I've never been to Canada. I've always wanted to ever since I saw Due South as a teen. I want a picture of a Mountie IN hat WITH a horse. Probably near impossible to see but that's what I want. Well, that and Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Failing bringing them home in my luggage, I'll settle for a pic of a Mountie please and thank you. Roll on October!
Image from Chron.com
by tosca on Monday, March 12, 2012
"And was this therapy successful in that you were able to suppress your homosexuality?"
"Nope, I was just as gay as when I started."
~ 8, a play about California Proposition 8
A twitter friend flicked me a link to a YouTube clip of the star-studded Prop 8 (as in California Proposition 8, more commonly known as California's gay marriage ban) play which, until that point, I'd only read about. The play is based, pretty much, around the trial's closing arguments. I watched it. I liked it. I don't know how long the link will be up, so I'll enjoy it while it is.
Thanks, Kylie, for the link :)
P.S. Have changed the blog. I'm feeling minimalist at the moment, and this may be the closest I get to it. No doubt a few months down the track I'll change it again. Meh.
by tosca on Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I adore Benedict Cumberbatch! I love Sherlock fullstop, and Benedict as Sherlock? *swoons* This clip is an interview (and I use that term very loosely) he had with Alan Carr :) Cheers Natalie for the link.
Also, I don't call myself a #cumberbitch :P
by tosca on Tuesday, February 21, 2012
We're not in Kansas anymore! Quick post. For once. A few thoughts, impressions, etc. from today.
1. Cafe du Monde is better at 2am than it is earlier during the day. If, that is, being in crowds is an actual effort for you. Or for me, as the case may be. I don't totally mind crowds, but I'm not a fan of them either. It just so happens that a lot of what I want to do involves people. Lots of people. Waitangi Day celebrations. Mardi Gras. Armageddon. So the moments when I don't have to be around crowds is something I live up while I can. So take it from me, Cafe du Monde is much nicer at 2am than it is earlier during the day.
2. BEIGNETS. Seriously, if you're in New Orleans, make sure to try beignets at least once. What are they? A pastry made from deep-fried dough. Kinda like a doughnut. Unless you're Maori, then it's more like a sweet fried bread. And they come loaded with icing sugar. Mmmm, don't come here on a diet.
3. Bourbon Street is pretty by night. True story. And if it happens to be raining it's even more pretty, just make sure to have an umbrella.
4. Houses like to play dress up for mardi gras just as much as the people do!
5. People aren't sure what ethnicity we are. We don't fit anything they know of here in New Orleans. More often than not they seem to think we're a bit more exotic than we could ever be, really. The accent seems to throw people, and they're not shy about asking where we're from, how long we're staying and why we're here in the first place. There's a bonus in that people of all cultures and backgrounds will feel free to come up and start random conversations.
6. Locals are incredibly friendly, and incredibly helpful. More so than back home. And almost everybody greets you with, 'Hey, how y'all doin'?' I heart this city.
7. American men are more forward than Kiwi men. They think nothing of checking you out while you're standing right there in front of them. They also think nothing of asking to buy you a drink, or dinner, or asking outright if you're married/have a boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. It's extremely disconcerting.
by tosca on Monday, February 20, 2012
Another rambling-y style post from me in New Orleans. Really, do I know any other kind of post that isn't rambling-y? Non, bien sûr. 6 impressions from day two of my trip.
by tosca on Sunday, February 19, 2012
In which Tosca practises what the locals call 'lagniappe,' meaning 'extra.' If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook you'll see that I post umpteen photos there with little bits about them. Here on my blog, though, I'll give you lagniappe, a little bit extra, to go with whatever I'm posting.
by tosca on Saturday, January 21, 2012
...be an advocate for Maori"
~ Te Roopu Whakahau hui-a-tau korero, January 2012
Tena koutou. I've spent the last three and a half days at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae with some 70+ Maori who work in libraries and/or information management. Once a year we come together, from all around New Zealand, to discuss, debate and challenge each others' ideas and initiatives. Mostly, I try to avoid our hui-a-tau as much as possible because I'm not much of a one for communal living. It's intense, you're on top of each other for 3-4 days with nowhere to just disappear and collect yourself, and it's a huge overload on my social skills. Give me a keyboard and I'll rattle on until your eyes bleed. Put me in the hot seat and ask me to talk about myself in front of the group and I go into meltdown. I'll wait till no one's looking and then sneak out the door. Also, it's extremely hard to be my usual non-committal self when people start to expect things of me. This year, though, this year was different. This year it was great for a number of reasons, although I'm going to list a few that have meaning for me.
by tosca on Saturday, January 7, 2012
...for what he reads as a task will do him little good."
~ Samuel Johnson
If you're not interested in books then you're shit out of luck for this post because that's all this is: my to-be-read list for this year. As it stands at the moment, anyway. Truth be told, I'm quite disappointed there are only 22 titles listed so far. No doubt I'll be adding to it as the days/weeks/months go by. My 'one word' is ensuring that my reading choices are a lot more varied than they've been in a few years. A few months ago this might have disturbed me. This year? I'm not just liking it, I'm looking forward to it. A few of the titles are 2010, maybe a couple are earlier (Wuthering Heights, a re-read for an online initiative I'm participating in, and The slap, because I'd just read What I did and wanted to know why people keep saying one is like the other), but the rest are published this year. Someone asked me the other day where I find a lot of 'what do I read next?' ideas. The answer to that is, well, all sorts of places: Twitter, Facebook, conversations with customers/colleages, newspapers, magazines, RSS feeds (largest number from other bookloving bloggers), sides of buses (seriously), author recommendations, meetings, nephews, siblings, parents... Everywhere, everything, everyone has the potential to give me book ideas. I just have to be paying attention.
by tosca on Wednesday, January 4, 2012
...that people skip."
~ Elmore Leonard
If you could choose ONE word to live by this year, what would it be?
I've been absent for ages because 1) I'm lazy and 2) I don't feel I have the same almost-anonymity I want/thought I had and so I can't just go BURBLEBURBLEBURBLE about stuff. So, no posts about work. Except general stuff. When I blog about work...work gets nervous :P Although you (the invisible YOU) all know that nobody reads my blog. It is one voice among so many and is really just a place for me to talk about, well, not very much. Interesting to me, and that's about it. People have more interesting things to do. Don't you people? Doesn't mean I won't blog about libraries ever again, though. Just not specifically about mine. Meh. Enough about that. Let's get on to my non-resolution for 2012: one word.