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I’ve been catching up on some items in my Netflix queue, and I recently watched Waitress, a movie from 2007 starring Keri Russell.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. Russell plays a small-town waitress stuck in an unhappy marriage who gets pregnant and then starts an affair. It’s sweet, funny, sad and hopeful all at the same time. It’s a well-acted character film, with some wonderful supporting performances in addition to a very good peformance by Keri Russell. If it has a flaw, it’s that the husband character is such an ass that it’s not believable that she would have ever married him in the first place. However, the rest of the movie is so strong that I wasn’t bothered too much by that detail. And I guarantee that after you watch it you’ll want to rush right out and order some pie!

Why do I love my husband? Among other reasons, because he does stuff like this:

Eric’s cutting holes in our ceiling to install some recessed lighting, and he taped plastic bags over the areas where he’d be cutting to catch and contain the mess. How awesome is that? It’s working like a charm, too!

Yesterday we had the final inspection on the wall removal part of our kitchen project – woohoo! It’s a relief to have that signed off. The building inspector told me “your husband does really nice work.” When I passed that on to Eric, he said “he must see a lot of really crappy work if he thinks mine looks good.” The man can’t take a compliment.

I’ve been having a couple of weird issues with wordpress lately – formatting gets lost between preview and post, especially when images are involved; video won’t embed, etc. So I’ve been spending my little bit of free time trying to troubleshoot instead of posting. Hope to get back on the horse very soon.

Think you don’t like documentary films? Think again.

New York Doll tells the story of Arthur “Killer” Kane, bass player for the New York Dolls in the 1970s. It discusses the band’s history and influence, Arthur’s struggle with alcoholism, and his conversion to Mormonism and subsequent life, but the heart and soul of the movie is Arthur’s desire to get together with the band one more time. For a rock doc, it’s quite tender, and Arthur has a surprising innocence for someone who lived the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll life to the fullest.

The King of Kong: a Fistful of Quarters is one of those movies you have to see to believe. It’s the saga of suburbanite Steve Wiebe’s attempt to beat the world record score for Donkey Kong set in 1982 by Billy Mitchell. The vintage arcade game community has its own celebrities and sycophants, and you sometimes have to remind yourself that these are real people. However, it’s a great underdog story and clearly demonstrates how people who takes themselves way too seriously are just inherently funny.

I’m a little over halfway through Here Comes Everybody, and I’m reading with a box of Page Points by my side (of course, the book is a library copy – I’ll have to buy my own so I can leave my markers in place and go back to them later). I’m up to the 7th chapter now, but so far Chapter 3 is the one with the most passages marked. Shirky discusses the effect of the internet on more traditional media and the mass amateurization of tasks that used to be the purview of professionals. He gets right to the heart of some of the things we’ve been discussing in the library world, and particularly just this past week at Eureka. Here are just a few choice tidbits:

For people with a professional outlook, it’s hard to understand how something that isn’t professionally produced could affect them….Most professions exist because there is a scare resource that requires ongoing management…a professional learns things in a way that differentiates her from most of the populace, and she pays as much or more attention to the judgment of her peers as to the judgment of her customers when figuring out how to do her job….Sometimes, thought, the professional outlook can become a disadvantage, preventing the very people who have the most at stake – the professionals themselves – from understanding major changes to the structure of their profession….It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence. In any profession, particularly one that has existed long enough that no one can remember a time when it didn’t exist, members have a tendency to equate provisional solutions to particular problems with deep truths about the world. This is true of newspapers today and of the media generally….A professional often becomes a gatekeeper…Professional self-conception and self-defense, so valuable in ordinary times, become a disadvantage in revolutionary ones, because professionals are always concerned with threats to the profession. In most cases, those threats are also threats to society; we don not want to see a relaxing of standards for becoming a surgeon or a pilot. But in some cases the change that threatens the the profession benefits society, as did the spread of the printing press; even in these situations the professionals can be relied on to care more about self-defense than about progress. What was once a service has become a bottleneck.

This chapter really made me squirm. I don’t agree with everything Shirky says (and he does mention libraries as well as the media), but I think he brings some valuable insights to the discussion. I don’t believe that libraries and librarians are obsolete, but I certainly think we could become so if we focused on the wrong things. Anyway, this book is challenging me in a lot of ways, AND it’s really interesting. Read it, think about it, talk about it. I’m curious to hear what others have to say.

Eric got a lot accomplished while I was gone. The beam is in place, the wall is gone, and we finally have a sense of how things might work in our enlarged space. You can’t see it in this photo, but Eric has taped out some boundaries on the floor so we can see where the new cabinets would go, and the table and everything else. It’s much easier to visualize now that the wall is gone. We’ll live with it for a little bit and then make some tweaks to our plan.

In order to get this done, he rented a UHaul, took it to the lumber yard, had them hoist the beam onto the top of the UHaul, backed the UHaul up to the garage and slid the beam on top of the garage into a hole in the front of the house and into position in the attic. Pretty ingenious, don’t you think?

I’m still decompressing after a really amazing week at the Eureka Leadership Institute. I will try to write more about my experience after I’ve processed it a bit. For now, suffice it to say that if you work in a California public library and are at all interested in leadership, it would be worth your while to participate in the workshops and apply to the Institute for 2009. It’s a fantastic laboratory to learn, develop and practice leadership skills, and I guarantee you will leave inspired and encouraged, with a strong orientation toward the future.