Archive for August, 2005

This morning I easily managed to get the UIUC’s Office of Continuing Education to fax the info to me that they had sent in the mail yesterday. However, that was just the beginning of the adventure. With my “NetID” in hand, I was able to set up my email account. With my UIUC email account set up, I was able to get the info that had been emailed to me about activating my account on the Graduate School of Library & Information Science’s online learning server (a.k.a. LEEP). Unfortunately, I hit another snag. Apparently I didn’t have a LEEP account yet, so I had to put in a call to the GSLIS tech support. A little while later I had a LEEP account. With my LEEP account set up, I was able to attend class. All told, I think I have about a half dozen different accounts with UIUC now. Hooray for Password Wallet, which is remembering all those passwords for me.

The class went very well. The LEEP server provides a live audio stream of the professor and a java chat environment for synchronous interaction with the professor and the rest of the class; and a bulletin board for asynchronous interaction throughout the week. A large part of the class seems like it will be posting on the bulletin board—both in the public discussions and my private journal. There are over 20 people in the class, and most of them seem to be taking it as continuing education and/or professional development. The content of the course is highly applicable to my job. In fact, this class is probably the most applicable of any library science class that I’ll ever take. As for books, I was thrilled to discover the other day that all of the books that I need are owned by the Covenant Library, so the cost of books for this semester will be a big fat $0.

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1. What if any instrument do you play?

I used to play the clarinet a long time ago. Not as long ago I took guitar lessons. So the answer is, no, I don’t so much “play” an instrument… anymore.

2. If you could choose to play an instrument what would it be?

The clarinet and the wood frog. (Sounding familiar to anyone yet?)

3. If you were in a band, what would your bandís name be?

I’m already in a band: The Mummified Popes. Granted, it’s a non-existent, imaginary band whose only members are me and my friend Kevin who lives in Delaware now.

4. What type of music would your band play?

We’re “the saints of experimental rock”, which means we play whatever the heck we want to play, and no matter how horrible it sounds, we can still call it music.

5. Would you continue to be good for years to come, or would you and your band end up in Branson playing for bus loads of elderly?

Experimental rock is neither good for any length of time, nor good for the elderly. We’d probably get run out of Branson.

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Can you believe it’s almost time for the fall semester already? This summer went by super fast. The Covenant students have another week and a couple days before they start up, but I’m supposed to be starting my fall semester class tomorrow night.

Yes, I said, “supposed to”. With less than 24 hours left to go before the first scheduled online session of LIS 590 TL – Theological Librarianship, I still don’t know how to actually access my class. How did this happen, you ask?

First of all, I’m taking this class through the University of Illinois although I’m enrolled in the Library Science program an the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mizzou doesn’t have any classes on theological librarianship—in fact, I don’t think any school did until the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) teamed up with U of I to do this course. Now, not being a student at U of I, I’m not familiar with whatever system they use to disseminate info about their upcoming classes. Instead, being an ATLA member, I kept my eye on their site and their listserver (Atlantis).

So, finally, when I find out some information about how to enroll in the class (which didn’t happen until a few weeks ago), I discover that, as a formality, I have to contact a particular Dean in the department in order to get the necessary blessing to enroll. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up the phone that day thanks to busyness at work and a little bit of old fashioned procrastination.

A couple weeks ago, when I finally realized how close the start of the semester was, I got in touch with the aforementioned Dean, but the person whom she had to contact to see if there was a spot for me and who would tell me how to register was on vacation. Having received promises from the Dean that she would get the ball rolling as soon as this other person got back, I went back to being busy.

During Friday of last week, having realized that the beginning of the semester was getting extremely close and that I hadn’t heard anything back about my enrollment in the class, I fired off an email to the Dean to inquire of my status. Not much later that day, I received a CC of an email from the Dean to another University official asking about available space in the class and telling them to help get me enrolled. Yes, the Dean apparently forgot! (Is anyone really surprised?) Not much longer after that, I received an email from the other University official directing me to a website where I can actually sign up for the class, which I did promptly.

Today, I received an email from yet another University department informing me that a bunch of important sounding information such as user IDs and passwords is in the mail. That sure sounds like it would be useful to have tomorrow evening around 4 PM. Even if the postal service were fast enough to get it to my mailbox by then (as if), I’ll be at work! I’m hoping they’ll agree to fax it to me.

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Today’s mail brought the fun results of my first Woot—a Gravis Eliminator Rumble USB Gamepad 3 Pack for $14.99 (incl. shipping, what a deal!). Finally, I can play emulated Mario Kart on my computer the way it was meant to be played—with a gamepad!

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Last year I decided to give the MUNY (the musical theater in Forrest Park) a shot, and I went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s, figuring it would be good since the movie is so popular. Unfortunately, by the end of the first half, I wanted to kill all the characters. Holly Golightly was loathsomely conceited, and all the guys fawning over her incessantly were utterly pathetic. The only reason I didn’t leave at intermission was my pesky hope that there would be some redeeming value in the end. I was wrong.

When some of my friends from small group began making plans to go to the MUNY to see West Side Story this week, I decided to give the MUNY a second chance. After all, West Side Story first became famous as a stage musical. This time I was pleased. There were a few things that bugged me, such as how Tony and Maria fell madly in love from opposite ends of the stage in all of 2 seconds. However, this reworking of the Romeo & Juliet story was overall entertaining, emotional, and thought-provoking.

Here’s one provoked thought… In the course of the story, the Puerto-Rican gang girls break out in song about how great America is compared to Puerto Rico. My question is how to take this song. Is it a comical celebration of American affluence, or is it a satire on American materialism? In the context of the stage musical it seems to me to be more of the former. However, the movie version (as I discovered this evening) changes the context by having the Puerto-Rican gang leader interject cynical comments about institutionalized racism, which makes the rewritten movie version strongly satirical. It is also interesting to note that Five Iron Frenzy (one of my favorite bands, BTW) took the chorus of “America” and used it in their song “Beautiful America”, which is a scathing attack on American materialism:

The man on the television said I need to drink this, and sleep with that, in order to be cool. And you know that I would do anything, to be like that guy on TV. I know that if I had just the right outfit and hairstyle that could be me. Don’t you know you can’t be cool if you dress dumb, I need to have that ’cause everybody’s got one. I think I’ll start smoking, that would make me intellectual, that’s what I’ve always wanted to be. I need to lift weights, that would make me more sexual, and that would be good for me.

Chorus:
In America it’s wonderful,
all you have to do is fake it.
Own anything you want,
all you have to do is take it.
Live for today,
don’t think about tomorrow,
have a good time in America-Gomorrah.

What are you looking at, you better not make me mad. I’ll drive by your house and shoot your dog, and mom, and dad. I don’t need you or the Bible or anything to tell me what is the law. With a good enough lawyer I can do anything in Beautiful America.

Chorus

I want to be in America
Okay for me in America
Everything’s free in America
For a small fee in America

(Lyrics by Dennis Culp & Stephen Sondheim; from the album Upbeats and Beatdowns)

What do you think? Does the original musical have a more positive view of wealth and the U.S. than the later movie version? Or did the movie just make more explicit that which was already in the musical? Or is it a little bit of both?

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