Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rejoice the Return of the Sun

We have made it through again!  No more sleeps, the days are getting longer.  The happiest day of the year. :-)  Hope you enjoy your own celebrations this season and I will see you in the new year.  As you know from my summer vacation, when I am on vacation, I am oooonnnn vacation. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

exercise book

 My mother and I decided some time ago, on the principle of use it or loose it, that in order to exercise our 'little grey cells' we would begin memorizing poetry.  We both are old enough that it was a school exercise when we were young, but we have taken it up again.  She has reviewed "Listen my children and you shall hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere".  I took up Humpty Dumpty's Recitation by Lewis Carrol.  A couple weeks ago she called to say she wanted to memorize the "Night Before Xmas".  She wasn't able to find a single copy in the book shops, could I make her one?  And could I make it so that she could glue in the pretty Christmas cards she gets.  Sure enough.  The book shops came through in the end, but I was already well on the way in making her a copy so she's getting it anyway.  She will get exercise in memorizing the poem: A visit from St. Nicholas (the actual title) and I got exercise designing and making the book.  Word of advice, don't chat with a friend at the crucial time of gluing the text block together.

My plan for the text was easy.  I pulled the poem off the net to save typing, then I corrected all the minor mistakes against the version in my 1959 Treasury of Poetry. Oh the intertube.  Reminds me of a game of telephone.  What was the original message? 

I spread the text of the poem over several pages of 8.5 by 11.  Then I cut half inch wide strips of cardstock to go between each page at the spine so that when the pictures are glued in the book won't bulge (as much).  And this is where I got into trouble.  I had meant to glue a strip to each page, then hole punch the whole thing, then lace it up with the covers with ribbon.  But a friend was over using my scanner, and we chatted while we worked.  And I glued the whole text block together.  Never say die.  I hauled out the hammer and nails, solving the problem in a jiffy.

I am planning to memorize the Grinch. Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

9 sleeps

Theoretically I did not walk from the Law Library to the Main Library in my sandals, it is winter after all and in reality, not theoretically, it must be two feet of snow and minus twenty C.  But I enjoyed my theoretical walk.  It was to the Christmas potluck.  I baked a bread sun to celebrate the upcoming First Longer Day...nine sleeps.

Just got the phone call. The sun won second prize in the yummy eats contest.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ted talks and says much in a small space

I was introduced to Ted Talks a couple years ago, and while I don't spend a great deal of time online, I do, every once in a while wander over and have a look at what's new.  I recommend Hans Rosling and Sir Ken Robinson.  The other day I saw a title that caught my attention:  Dance vs. Power Point.  It agrees with so much of the way I look at the world.  Learning new things.  Visual learning.  The fact that knowing what you're talking about is more important than how cool your power point is.  And art.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

15 sleeps

I stand in the crabapple grove, with five magpies arrayed on the branches with the brown apples, all of us enjoying the sunshine of a short afternoon.  I think, two weeks, fifteen sleeps. And when I wake up on the fifteenth day it will the First Longer Day.  The best day of the year for me, perhaps, when viewed that way, the most sacred day of the year.  It is the day that fall, our long fall into darkness, is over, the sun stops and turns, and returns.  Winter begins.  The Light grows, as though in a mother's belly, until in early February, even the sleepiest of us awakens to awareness that the days are getting longer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today's count

Spring, just passing through, but continuing the decades long banishment of cabin fever.  The last winter I actually had cabin fever was 1984-85.  Snow came on October 16th, 2 feet of it, and did not leave until nearly May.  In February, going mad, we cranked the heat in the residence, played the beach boys and ran around in shorts, drinking from umbrella-ed drinks and having water fights.  It was a great relief.  But there has never been a winter since that has been as bad.  And today, spring stopped by for a visit. On my walk to the crabapple grove there were five children, building a snow person.  From my angle she looked like a wide prairie farm wife with a pioneer bonnet. Two piles of ice chunks released from the road way while it was possible to dislodge them.  An eight car train calling its way across the train bridge.  The wind, moving the branches of the pines as though they were ships in the sea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Theory

In theory, according to Newt Gingrich, I was not out salting the ice covered sidewalk this morning because it had rained in December in Saskatchewan.  In theory I did not ice skate my way to work.  I did not stand in the sunshine of a low winter sun with a March wind ruffling my hair, the smell of fall leaves turning to the wine of soil and think of daisies budding out.  No, in theory, according to Mr. Gingrich, I was wearing my overcoat, my beautiful big blue overcoat, and not my jacket.  I was, in theory, wearing my rainbow scarf and my red hat, and my black leather mitts: because it is December in Saskatchewan and it is therefore -20 degrees Celsius, not +2.  In theory there is snow on the ground.  About a foot of it, and lovely packed trails along the walks and in the parks.  Trails on which the snow crunches underfoot and allows me to stride along. Today is all white and blue and crisp, in theory. Not grey and brown and slippery. Ain't winter beautiful. In theory.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

me vs the ipad: round five

We had a meeting today.  I was asked to take notes.  I was asked to take notes with Henry.  I like Henry, you know that.  His cute smudgy little face and all.  But notes...I wanted to strangle him, or perhaps the note taking feature, or more likely the person who created the note taking feature.  Okay, not strangle, twap upside the back of the head though. Like Gibbs in NCIS.  All the way through it was 'did you mean this?', did you mean that?', and if I didn't say no each time it would put in the incorrect word. Grrrrr.  I mean, sure if I poke and prod Henry enough, somewhere there will be an off switch for this stupidity, right?  But where?  Really, where? I am all for the exploring like a two year old, but sometimes, at my age, I just don't have the time. I  switched pen and paper.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Law in and out

Snow has come, the walks are shovelled, most of them.  And the University being a large institution, and the season being winter, has turned on the air conditioning.  Co-workers gather at the window to see the snow outside, hoping for spring inside.

Friday, November 18, 2011

metals and merit badges

What is old is new again.  How odd when you consider we continue to have the common denominator in the system.  I discovered today that there is a movement to give people online badges for learning.  There was even a competition for designing them.  Mostly Mozilla at the moment, and I can't say, cute as dinosaurs are, that I find the winner appealing, but, I think this is a great idea.  I loved sewing new badges onto my girl guide sash.  It is the best way to go; positive reinforcement. Best teaching method available my mother says, for dogs and children.  And husbands I can only guess. It also gives an online record of what you have learned, which can only be good for the resume. Mind you we will have to produce some standards, as will inevitably happen as the common denominator settles into its new environment.  The standards will hopefully help save us from such statements "are there any research" on the subject.  Oy.  "Is there any research" thanks muchly*.  But we shall not get me started on the fracturing of the language today.  Like wanting "a place on the table" during a negotiation.  It's a good thing 80% of our communication isn't verbal.

**Heard a Southern Gentleman use this word and I love it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Leopard contest!

Yes, it is true, they are having a contest and you can win a handmade book: The Pink Penguin.  You do need to produce a piece of art and send them a jpeg of it, it has to involve a "Painted Cookie" which is the name of the bistro in the story. Check out the details at Happy Leopard Chapbooks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yup, the s-word has come.  Not that we are all that surprised it's just we had such a glorious fall.  I have seen since the leaves rolling along the surface of the snow like rushing hordes across the steppes, or the plains.  Tip to tip they turn, propelled by surface wind.  It is completely different from the way they move on the ground.  Or perhaps it is only that because of the snow their movements are so clear to be seen.  I also saw green leaves on snow as I walked home along the lower path by the river.  A whole section where the leaves would not give up summer and are now scattered brightly across the snow in blue shadows and yellow patches made by the setting sun.

100 more handmade books

Those babes and babers are at it again at Happy Leopard Chapbooks.  A new book is out in time for Christmas raising money for Farmers Helping Farmers. This story is a comic for grown ups about a pink penguin who "goes with the floe" to find out where he belongs in the world.  And he belongs on the Edge Islands at a cafe called The Painted Cookie.

Watch the Happy Leopard site, I hear there is going to be a contest!  You could win a book.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today's count

November flowers!  And spring flowers at that. Two lady bugs, three people, two of them in red against the brown rust colour that most things are now.  And the few crabapples hanging on.

me vs the ipad: round four

Okay, this really was a physical fight.  The cases arrived for Georgina and Henry and I had to get them into them.  First I had to wrastle the cases free of their cases, known as packaging.  I find within, after a large knife and some tricky yanking are employed, a case which will allow each ipad to stand up like a little tv screen, a protective screen for that little screen and other odds and ends, such plug ins for all the holes that the ipads collectively have, instructions which make little sense, cardboard and plastic bags to protect the covers inside the plastic packaging. 

Soooo, first I am supposed to, and I do, separate the protective screen cover from its film and there will be static cling that will enable it to attach to Georgina's and Henry's faces.  Problem, the static for Georgina's film comes off on the film, so instead of a nice clear sturdy cover through which she can see out, and we can see in, she now has a thin cover that makes her look like a teenager's facial nightmare.  Henry's cover got its static right.  Then came the final knock down drag out.  Again, Georgina got the worst of it.  I had to push them into the little clips that hold them into their cases, and ... her cover won't shut.  Nope, no way, unun, forget it baby.  Henry's is little better, but with effort he can be contained into the tiny protective space.

But they do sit up nicely in the cases and now I have to wipe the finger prints off their mask and not off their faces.  Progress.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Random sample

The Law Library here has a wonderfully high ceiling.  In places, five stories.  I can stand on the third floor and look down on all the baby lawyers, and one must face facts, baby business people too, as they study.  I stopped to watch them today.  In the howl of the digital worship around the world I found what I saw enlightening, and to my paper booked little soul, comforting.  Of the 47 students I could see from my vantage point, 2 were asleep, 7 were working solely with computers, 8 were reading from paper (4 books, 4 printouts), the rest had computers and were surrounded by paper and were bouncing between the two technologies.  Like the pencils that went into space with the Russians, some technologies have staying power.  Even when new ones claim they are dead.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Heeerrre

The Library 2.011 worldwide virtual conference is this Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 - 4, all online, all free. As of today, we have 5,000 registrations for the conference from 151 countries!  Amazing!  The conference schedule is also now online, with all 160+ sessions, and an individual hour-by-hour schedule calendar for each of 36 different time zones--and the live links to the session rooms will go up later today and tomorrow. Be sure to register by joining the site at the link above.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the f word

EEEEEK, it's in the weather report for tomorrow:  flurries.  That white stuff that we avoid mentioning by name this time of year.  Oh say it isn't so, say it will be rain.  The garden would love a little rain.  My one joy at a weather report like this is the small, but visible, bumps on the tiny branches of the trees, little leafs all curled up ready for spring.  Don't get me wrong, I also take great joy in a wide smooth white expanse dotted with evergreens and crowned by blue as far as you can see, but I am not in a rush for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

making it up

As we go digital the equipment needed for certain book repairs becomes rare indeed. Cerlox binding or Comb binding is a dying art and all the places near me that were capable of replacing a broken comb have gone to join the dodos. I first used a cerlox binder when I worked at a photocopy shop in the early 1990's.  I used to make homemade calendars with it.  But long use causes the plastic spines to break and not only is the photocopy shop closed, the printing department on campus has closed down all but its main branch. So I had to make the repair up as I went along.  I decided a perfect bind was the best, but there were those large rectangular holes cut up the spine side of the paper:  making for a very weak spine.  So I used my hand binding experience and strengthened the spine with a paper lacing before I proceeded with the perfect bind. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yesterday's count

a view of the city from the end of the crabapple grove
it's there, honest!
And today's too.  Yesterday I saw a hawk twice.  Once sitting disdainfully on the top of a post observing the world, its kingdom, from the look on its face, and once aloft with a crow and about fifteen magpies.  When I first saw them I thought the hawk was after the crow and the magpies were trying to save it.  Could be the magpies thought so too.  But abruptly the magpies flew off, silence reigned.  The crow and the hawk circled higher and eventually separated amicably.  Today the birds I saw were the flotillas of geese on the river by the big island.  They wait, ready for that which we all know is coming.  The leaves are more and more on the ground and the sky looks bigger for it.  I love the sense of space bare trees give.  Of course by March I am pining for a little green, but let us find the joy of the moment and enjoy it.  Today the sky is blue, the downed leaves are turning orange and brown and I am still biking.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Digital Library Plenary

Yeah, but will the architecture be as nice in the Digital Public Library of America? J

Today's count

A hawk flying low to the ground.   A ground covered in leaves, brown with red highlights.  A group of shrubs sporting spring green, burnt orange of late fall, and bright yellow of early fall.  Yesterday I lay down at the end of the crabapple grove and saw the world as blue, with pale white streaks at the edge of my vision, and a green fringe. The unmowed grasses looked as tall as buildings. Behind me a poplar cackled with the wind.  Today a grounds keeper spread noise and air pollution around with the leaves, supposedly in the firm believe that the wind would not whisper by and move them back again.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A book start to finish: part 4 publication delays

This kind of thing often happens in the publishing world.  The author (me) is late getting the manuscript done for one reason or another ( I am taking Legal Writing and Research to enhance my abilities to help the law students in reference and my mind is currently being bent into a pretzel - ouch is the word, but it is a good ouch, like a new yoga pose), or the publisher changes editors (not happening here), or the illustrator breaks her wrist grabbing her two year old out of the way of her four year old who is pretending to be a bulldozer (also not likely here), or the printer has had a flood and all their paper is soaked and on drying racks so the publisher has to wait for a sunny day and the paper to dry out (remote, but not impossible), or the truck delivering the goods to market has a flat (I might have a flat on my bike bringing the book over to donate it to the library, but I can still walk the distance, so no worries there).  It is just the way of things. 

And if the e-book kiddies out there are feeling smug just remember you also have authors who have lives, and uploads that get eaten, and digital jigjags, and incompatible files.  Oh, and the battery on your e-book reader just died and you have a flat tire and can't get home to plug it in.  Too bad it doesn't have a little solar panel, you could hang it up with the paper.

When my brain has been thoroughly lawified I will get back to the manuscript of George Cecil Harris and his memorable fender.  Don't give up hope, I am only on the closed memo. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

me vs the ipad: round three

My epiphany.  To interact properly with an ipad one must think like a toddler.  Plunked into a world without language or point of reference just poke and prod ( I actually advise against putting the ipad in your mouth as a method of exploration, or biting it, though I have yet to discount the pleasure of smacking it, it really isn't its fault it is so frustrating to work with) until it does something that pleases you.  Then make it do that again.  If you can, or more to the point, until you can. Repeat. While this learning method is frustrating for an adult (and as the parents of toddlers will attest, the toddler too), it is an excellent exercise for the brain, the determination, and the patience.  Henry is as yet unsmacked, and he came with me today on a refreshing walk through the crabapple grove.  Fall is here in earnest.  The air is sharp, the yellows are bright.  The apples are turning to wine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A book start to finish: part 3 finding George

This should really be called the research section, but what is so title grabbing about part 3, research?  The first thing I found out about Cecil George Harris, was that he wasn't called Cecil, or Cec, he was called George.  Lucky him in my opinion.  The myth about the internet is that it is the fount of all knowledge.  It ain't even the fount of all information.  I contacted first the local lawyers among the library staff and asked from whence the case on George had been heard, which court house was it?  Considered consideration brought the consensus to Kerrobert.  From websites I did find out about the courthouse and the closing there of.  But George had to be sought elsewhere.  I called the Public Library because I knew they had a local history room.  The woman at the local history room was gem.  She found for me a history on the area which gleaned information such as George's wife's name:  Bessie Mae Duke.  And that they had two children:  Donna and David.  I also went to the Saskatchewan Archives, a branch of which is on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan and there I found George's obit.  Which, among other things said he was an IOOF.  Huh?  Out came the dictionary of abbreviations and it turns out George was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Friday, October 7, 2011

me vs the ipad: round two

So, I can now take pictures and email pictures with Henry.  And he so kindly lets me know that the emails are from himself the ipad.  What a great advertising gimmick.  No flies on that Steve Jobs, no there wasn't.  But it turns out Henry has something of a small mail bag, (oops, didn't mean that), he can only carry five photos at a time and after that he will only let me delete or print.  Okay, I can batch, I am a clever child.  But Henry is not.  He will label the photos one through five.  Every batch.  And when the batch arrives my computer, not surprisingly, offers to overwrite the last set of one through five or cancel the transaction. I have to go into my pictures file on my computer and change the names before I can send more pictures.  So in terms of Henry being useful for my requirements on this, my round.  Henry can't do the job without a lot of extra work from me.  But he's still so cute with all those smudgy finger prints on his face.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today's count

An October wind, strong and warm, so strong it has raised the leaves from talk to song.  A chipmunk along a high branch of the crabapple trees considering the well ripened fruit.  A class of grade school kids gathered tidily on the bluff above the river, their abandoned bikes laying on the yellowing grass, their attention possibly on their teacher taking about erosion, possibly on the wind, the warmth, the river, the geese gathering in battalions below waiting for final take off.

A book start to finish: part 2 the inspiration continued

The Discovery Channel phoned because they were doing a segment on strange and or outrageous wills.* Could we do some photos of the fender for them.  Sure. I took some shots and sent them a copy of the case report in the 1948 Canadian Bar Review vol. 26. But the glare off the glass was too much for them.  More photos please.  More photos were taken.  Contact info to the professional who had taken a shot for the On Campus News was offered.  Nope.  Could the case be opened?  Sure, we’ll just find the key…..key? What key?  The key to what? Who would have that key?  Try this key?  No?  This one?  No?  The Discovery Channel offered to pay to have the case broken into.  As no key continued to be found the break in was arranged.  Facilities Management sent their experts, the case was taken into the Head Librarian's office, and behind closed doors, shhhh it’s a library, the case was opened and a new lock installed.  The fender was removed briefly and thoroughly photographed. 
Oh, that key.

Then Discovery Channel asked if we knew anything else about Mr. Harris.  And I was off.  For years I had seen the fender as everyone else had seen the fender, as evidence, as a noteworthy case in estate law, but as to the person who had actually lain trapped under the tractor all those years ago, breathing through the pain, scrabbling to get his knife out of his pocket and scratching those words into the side of his tractor?  He had disappeared.  I set out to find out what I could about him.

*I don't know what title they decided on in the end, or even if a show was finally produced on the subject. 

You can see why Discovery Channel didn't want my poor little photos.

Monday, October 3, 2011

me vs the ipad: round one

I'd like to say I won that one, but perhaps I could describe it as a draw?  Our work group has been provided two ipads so that we might come to better understand the minds of the new humans.  At least if you follow all the hype you might think of them as new humans, almost a different species.  I meet them daily at the desk and they seem just like the old humans to me; that is, perfectly human and generally very nice.  Still, it is best, as the world turns, to keep up with the changes.  So today I introduced myself to the the ipad we call Henry (not that you can tell the difference between him and Georgina if it weren't for the labels I put on them) and said 'hello'.  We did not get on well from there because Henry kept his mouth shut and would not not assist me in any way.  I have been told the Henrys and Georginas of this world are suppose to be intuitive.  If they are, they are faking being obnoxious and obtuse to an excellent degree.  Of course you might say I am the one with the intuition.  True enough, I do, and a good deal of stick-to-ativeness, which is why I have managed, without breaking Henry over the edge of my desk in frustration, and a couple of calls to people with their own ipads, to take photos, front and back, and to send them to Henry's email (which I can open) and latest book repair underway.

Friday, September 30, 2011

past and future

audio books

Postcards of the past's future.  Pretty spot on for a 90 year projection (the artist was predicting 2000). Better guess about the future than George Orwell.  Mind you, given a bad apple or six and some hard times we may just make it to 1984 yet.  There are links all about to a more complete set of these (including fly by drink pickup).  Put "Villemard" in your google search will find them for you (I tried Bing because my work computer defaults to it, and once again....useless).  The most complete set I've seen is Tom Wigley's flickr stream. I tried to find out Villemard first name and after 10 minutes I can tell you with some certainty that it was probably Adolphe. 

video telegraph
I love the Edwardian feel of these images.  They are positively steampunk.  Makes me think of my favourite murder mystery series:  Murdoch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A book start to finish: part 1 the inspiration

The thing about a book, aside from the fact that you will still be able to use if after you've spilt coffee on it and it has been handed down from your great grandmother to you, is what is inside it.  What's inside it makes it worth hanging onto when your great gran passes it on to you and your uncle Dwayne drank coffee on it the morning of his wedding and knocked over his mug in a nervous action checking on the ring in his pocket. I have been planning a book for the library where I work because we've got a little story and that little story grew a bit over the summer and I thought it should have a little book to go with the bits left over from the event and the legends that surround them. 

The first bit is the sad bit.  In June of 1948, a farmer, named Cecil George Harris, told his wife he was going out to do some work and he'd be home around 10pm.  He did not arrive.  Mrs. Harris went out and found poor George pinned in a nasty manner by his farm equipment.  She got neighbours and they got George out, but two days later George gave it all up.  When his tractor was inspected it turned out George had not been entirely idle during his hours of captivity.  He had used his penknife to scratch a will into the fender of his tractor.  That fender was used a court case about George's will and proved useful because everything did indeed 'go to the wife'.  The tractor fender, now evidence pretending to be a tractor fender, was kept in the court house in Kerrobert.*  Many years later the court house was closed and in a fit of keen preservation the fender was presented to the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan.  They dutifully built a lovely case and the fender was set up in the Law Library on display.

Until this summer when I took a phone call from the Discovery Channel.....

*The Kerrobert Court House is now used as the Town Hall and an art Gallery.  And John George Diefenbaker, whose murder case seems to be responsible for its ghost, is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law and his portrait hangs over my desk and haunts me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

technology vs coffee

Student comes to the desk today for a reserve book.  He hands me his coffee stained appointment book with the library of congress number of the reserve item written on it.  Sorry, he says, its a bit of a mess.  No problem.  I get the book for him.  Handing back the appointment book I say, 'at least this survives having coffee spilt on it.'  Yes, he says, it went on my computer as well, had to get a new one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday afternoon in the crapapple grove

Stand at the far end of the crabapple grove, after walking its length in the hot fall afternoon air, over the browning green grass.  Hear the leaves of the poplar, now yellow and lime, rattle against each other in the breeze.  Tip back your head and look up. Above you is a cloud spread across the sky like an enormous feathery wing.  Between you and it the gulls fly, dive, and hang in the air, riding the wind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Signs of fall

My big blue tarp draped over my potted tomato plants. Street lights at 7:30 pm.  Small patches of condensation on the outer windows in the morning. Socks. The sunlight patch lying wide in the middle of my living room floor instead narrow of over by the window.  A killing frost which has halved the number of wasps banging against the outside of the building begging for a snug winter home.  Not in this wall thanks.  They really are hungry this time of year.  The other day out in the crabapple grove I found two of them licking out the inside of an empty beer bottle.  Yuck. I banged them out and removed the beer bottle.  Who wants one of those in the crabapple grove.  Also, I tend to gather up empty bottles and cans because a  friend of mine uses the money from bottles to buy cows for those in need of such items.  When I check her site I see that she has not updated in in a good long while...or has mooooved it?  But as I know her I don't bother to look at it.  She is, however at cow 50.  So I keep giving her the bottles I find. 

Yes, that really is my great great grandfather's cow.  And yes, he named his cows after his daughters. And yes, Emma there won a prize in 1876 at local Centennial celebrations (that's USA Centennial, Canada is still only counting from 1867, though John Ralston Saul has been known to dispute that). 

And yes, some of the donation cows got named for these ancient and well remembered cows.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming in first for the environment....the library

In a contest between the book and the e-book, the library wins.  I sparked off this picture* because, being me, I wanted to know what happens after we are done with the tool.  What I have long suspected is true, books are the superior technology.  Using the quick comparison presented by Daniel Goleman books cause less damage in production, in transportation ("You’d need to drive to a store 300 miles away to create the equivalent in toxic impacts on health of making one e-reader"), and in disposal. Now, go to the library and use a book we all own, read it, and someone else will read it, and someone else will read it, and someone else....all without making more copies.

Libraries are brilliant.

*I found it on Stephen's Lighthouse, the original article by Les Grossman gives a bit more, but he is talking about a different aspect of the advantages of books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's count: one crabapple

If you stand by the window and gaze upon the beauty of the day you might be tempted to don your shorts and t-shirt.  But stick your nose out into the day and you will find it suddenly remembers what frost bite is.  The wind is coming down from the north as off a glacier.  So bundle.  Socks, jeans, jacket, in the early morning remember your gloves for biking.  In the afternoon you may leave your gloves in your jacket pocket.  In the shelter of the crabapple grove you may even take off your jacket.  The sun is strong. The crabapples are still more yellow than red, which is odd.  Though the fuchsia coloured ones are in full swing.  Brilliant.  I am sad to report there will be no pie this year, someone else has beat me to the pie apples and plucked the tree bare.  Sigh.  I shall have to make due with regular apples.  There was one wind fall, just fresh from the tree. Yummm.

Friday, September 9, 2011

today's count

More precisely yesterday and the day before and today.  Heat.  Lots of heat.  And not the heat granted us by this imaginary climate change of the planet which has caused increasing humidity in Saskatchewan over the last fifteen years, the heat the clings to you like a sick child.  No, this is the heat of memory, childhood memory, that brushes dry across your skin, lets you know it is all around you, a hot breath, but never more than touches you.  This heat I love, for its memories, for its separateness.  This heat comes under a cloudless sky.  This heat releases you the moment you step into the shade of a tree.  It can not follow you there.  This heat dries the sprinkler water from you before you get back to the office from your coffee break. This heat is the summer I grew up in, when blue was all above for weeks on end.  Put your feet in the river, sit under a tree and listen for the humm of the bees in the blossoms of the crabapple trees.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

laying it out

Hand making books, when the book is blank is easy peasy.  Just fold your sheets in half, sew them together with the top secret not to be revealed stitch pattern and attach to the cover of your choice and devising.  Sometimes, with a soft cover you have already done that.  But if you have created content (a bland all purpose word for what you put on your pages) then you will need to be careful about how you lay the pages out.  You can not create your pages in order.  They will come out all funny.  For me, hands on, I create a little mock up text block and write the page numbers, title, copyright placement on each page.  Then I separate them and I can be sure that pages which should lie next to each other for printing actually do.

                             In this way you get layouts* that look like this:
But when you put your book together, they come out looking like this:

*These layouts are from the Happy Leopard Chapbook Book of Days, their fifth fundraiser.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

scoring details

I had to add some reinforcement to the spine of this book, but it wasn't bad enough to need a complete spine replacement.  So I matched the tape colour as closely as possible with the book cover and put an inch of tape on either side.  Using a scoring tool---in this case the end of a pen---I marked in the three lines to match the design in the cover.  Little details like this help make the repair blend in.  Other good scoring tools are bic pen caps (I have used the business end of a bic pen, but only when the ink is good and gone), letter openers, knitting needles, and golf tees.  Bone folders are of course the traditional scoring tool, even the modern ones which are made of plastic and can there for, but aren't, referred to as plastic folders.  Plastic bone folders can leave a trail of plastic across what you are scoring, but in some cases so can the bone.  Be careful of the kind of surface you are scoring.  Test, especially, a dark colour first and if necessary lay a light sheet of scrap over top so that the score will mark through but the bits of the plastic or bone will not leave a trail.

Friday, August 26, 2011

spine's end

Most books get to rest on their ends.  Not like the good old days when the little (and big) monks and nuns knew that lay a book on its side and stacking them up that way was what was best for them.  In the 'modern' era when books were printed and made by machine (you'll note I did not say manufactured because as we found in an earlier post it means made by hand), we had so many of the darn things that stacking them on their sides was not space efficient.   Soooo, the ends get worn.

It is not always needed to removed and replace the entire spine.  In this case cut away the torn bits, find a closely colour matching stiff piece of paper and cut it to slide down inside the spine.  If the end papers are separating from the covers it is good to have the paper run over the joints between the spine and the cover boards.  This was not the case with this book so I just made it the width of the spine.  Do have it go down a ways into the spine for strength.  Apply the glue, made sure the glue is facing out when you slip (push it gently) down into the spine and adjust it to match where the end of the spine should be.

After this you can make a tracing of the rough end of the spine and put in an extra thicker piece to finish it off, or you can take a piece of colour matching book tape and wrap it over the edge.  Just to tidy things off.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today's count

Nine small people taking advantage of the sprinklers on the museum lawn.  Five adults not quite taking advantage of, and not quite avoiding, the sprinklers in the crabapple grove.  Several smiles, a grin, and laughing.  Humidity 34%.  I was bone dry before I got back to my desk.

Monday, August 22, 2011

books for health

Long has it been suspected, and my eyes agree, that staring at the screen is wearing: tired eyes, more expensive glasses.  Today I checked out the new Dentistry Library guide and find that not only are they encouraging people to save their peepers with books by having a tab "Finding Books", they have an educational photo (scroll down) to demonstrate books are also excellent physical exercise.  Look at that lifting power. You can't get that with an ipad. 

Also I direct you to Stephen's Lighthouse where he points to studies (of a few people) who find they remember better when they read from print.  My guess is its because they are not straining their eyes so much, so they can focus on what they are reading.  The researchers have other theories. But in an aging population (and who isn't aging, I ask you) can better memory be a bad thing?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Holy Book Repair part lll

So, I suspect your glue is dry enough now, we can put in the endpapers.  Cut them out carefully.  They are a practice art to get right, and get in place right.  Remember lining up the text block with the green tape?  Yup, well this was why.  Sometimes, often times, it is nice to use a glue stick for this, but we very sure you have acid free. Don't trust the packaging, trust the words on the glue stick itself. We ran out of glue while making Jennie's Nighty and the Christmas Concert last year and I got glue sticks which claimed to be acid free, but they didn't actually print that on the stick itself.  They made the paper turn green.  Not good.  For this project I took my acid free glue stick and coated the inside cover and then half an in onto the first sheet of the text block.  Ever notice the first sheets are stuck together at the inside edge in a hard cover book?  This is why.  It helds to hold the text block in place, give extra support to the work of the mull.  Use your bone folder to smooth the endpaper into place.  Best to start it off from the outside edge of the cover.  If you have miss cut it you can always trim it to match the pages.  You never get another chance to make it line up and look good on the cover.  Run the bone folder gently down along the crease and close the book.  Repeat on the back cover.

And done.  It is good to put wax paper inside the endpapers and press the book a while.  Perhaps not as long as the two weeks I was away, but you can if you want to.  I took the finished bible to the adorable little old priest and he was so pleased.  He asked me what he owed me.  Well, I really didn't want to charge him full price, he is such an adorable little old priest, so I said, "Well, Dad, you can have it for Father's Day."  Saved me having to get him a card.*

* Roman Catholics and the like in the crowd do not panic.  My dad is a catholic priest, he just isn't a Roman Catholic priest.  Anglicans, and others, can marry.  (Fifty-five years this month. And yes, they are both adorable.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Watched crabapples never rippen: today's count

Millions of half rippened crabapples.  Just a wee bit tart.  That is just a wee bit tarter than normally tart crabapples.  But I have hope.  Two white butterflies cavorting, two red gold dragon flies taking a break and sunning themselves on a stick.  They are very sensitive to movement.  I was sorry to disturb their break, they have been working so hard, there are almost now mosquitos left.  Blue sky, huge fluffy clouds, warm air.  Quiet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can you paint petroglyphs?


Petrogylphs are carved into rock.  I can do a painting of a petroglyph, but if I painted on a rock it would be a rock painting, underground it would be a cave painting.  What did I learn checking to make sure my own understanding was correct?  What a morpheme is.  It is the smallest part of a word that has meaning.  Like 'un' as in unlikely, meaning not likely, or 'im' as in imperfect.  But not 'very' as in very unique, because there is no such thing.  Unique means one of a kind and you either is or you isn't.  There ain't no 'very' about it.

Now, of course, well not now as in now, but later, I will have to see if I can paint a painting of a petroglyph.  On canvas paper or the like.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Holiday 3: expected and unexpected

I'm baaaacccck.  And what a time I had.  Expected. I promised you a painting, but what I didn't take into account was that after nearly five months working on two large art projects I wouldn't want to paint.  Lucky for my word of honour it took me four days to figure that out.  This is a slightly out of focus picture of a postcard I painted for my godmother in North Carolina.  It is my favourite of the ones I did.  The storm is not quite that threatening in the background, the blue actually goes up, up, up and over you from there.

Expected.  My friend and I went to the Great Sand Hills.  Bet ya didn't know the prairies could look like this.   At least any time other than the Great Depression.  Next day we drove further south and headed east to the petroglyphs at St. Victor's.  Bonus points if you can find the face in this shot.  The view beyond the small rock outcropping was .... I felt like I was at the top of the world. Neither the photos nor the pan video I took of it did justice to the sensation.
Unexpected.  I did not expect geese at the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Swift Current, nor the many roosters, the duck, the turkey chicks, and morning fresh eggs, green ones.  I did not expect to help my friend start building her new deck while at her place.  I certainly did not expect to get a ride on my brother's motor bike.  Didn't stop grinning the whole time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Holiday 3

This is a holiday you don't get to come on today because I haven't gone on it yet.  I am leaving this weekend on an adventure to the Great Sand Hills of Saskatchewan and hopefully, if we can find them the petroglyphs of St. Vincent (Victor?...see what I mean about finding them), in the Badlands.  Then it is to the art table, unless my friend ropes me in to her move the dog pen, build the new front porch steps, finish painting the kitchen projects.  I shall remain strong, I shall paint. Right?  I will?  Of course.  I promise you a little painting.

Being a luddite at heart, when I leave on vacation, I go on vacation.  You shall not hear from me until the middle of August.  Have a great couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Techno lesson of the day

If you want people to be able to comment on your blog it is best to mark "anyone" in the settings.   Oh to be a luddite now that digital spring is here.

Holy Book Repair, Batman, part ll

 In wholing the book, returning the text block and the cover back to their unified state, I first lined up the new end paper (here secured by an ever handy brick) with the text block, then marked it with green painter tape.  I love green painter tape and use it often in my book repair work, and my art.  It holds, removes with ease and does not mark.  Once the green tape was in place to be sure the text block would be exact in its positioning I cleared the new end papers to a safe distance from whence they could observe, and proceeded to be liberal with the glue.  

It should be noted, just before you are liberal with the glue, that over the end of the spine, over the mull, I had placed a white strip of card stock, and when I spread the glue, it was from the end of the spine area on the cover out onto the boards where the mull would lie.  No glue is to go down the spine of the cover itself, or down the spine of the text block.  The mull is what is attached to the book's cover, not the spine.  Rather as though you glued your arms to the wall, but left your back free.  Why you would do this to yourself I am not sure, but the image should give you the right idea for what to do with the book.  With the book cover lying flat on the table, place a brick on either side of the text block to keep it in place and go away for a while.  A day.  A week if you want, it doesn't matter.  Go on a  holiday, go to Europe

When you get back your book will look rather like this.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

senior technology retains cache

Well, its coming in folks, the stats, and it turns out there are a goodly number of us who are still looking at the long term, and I might point out, long lasting, out lasting, and bio-more friendly, technology of print on paper over print on a screen (do you really want to know what screens turn into when they try to biodegrade?  ---- eeeeeekkkkk run screaming from reality).

Barry W. Cull has written a paper on the subject, my favourite quote from which is: students prefer to read on paper, although they also want the convenience of online digital text. Liu has found that graduate academic library users like the access provided by online electronic resources, but prefer to print the electronic documents in order to read them. 

My little bookmaking heart is filled with glee.  My poor eyes, currently starting at a screen, as are yours, think longing of ink on paper.  Even if that turns out to be e-ink on e-paper? Given the attributes of the common denominator I expect so (remember to run screaming from reality).  When, I wonders, are we going to start pronouncing that ei-nk (sounding remarkably like ink only longer in front), and what will the anthropologists think of us with such a large part of our vocabulary showing e's out front?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holy book repair,Batman! part 1

This adorable little old priest came to me and asked if I could repair his Bible.  Apparently he uses it a lot and its spine was coming apart.  I offered to build a new cover, but he liked the designs on the old cover so I mended it.  First I helped the text block complete its escape.  I gave it a new mull and picked out fresh end papers.

Then I prepped the cover for its reunion with the text block. I stripped off the old end papers and using a piece that discard, strengthened the spine from the inside.  I applied book tape down the outside of the spine and to the corners which were showing their age.  

Book tape comes in few colours.  Red, blue (the kind even a desperate boat owner having to purchase from the miss mixed paints wouldn't choose), brown, (the kind that makes you think of icky things), yellow (YELLOW), British racing green, a lovely burgundy (that goes well with many law books I work with at my day job, but did not match this Bible), and black (old faithful).  There is also white, but it reminds me of white socks with black shoes and I have never used it.  If you have an expense account and wish to go to Brodat's you can indulge in a dark brown (which makes you think of chocolate), and maroon.  It is always good to dream.  Still neither of the Brodat colours would have matched the Bible either, so I stuck with the old standard, black.  Matches the priestly robes and all.
Upcoming, the wholing of the book.