October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

reindeermeep.jpgI love Halloween!

7pm update: 9 trick-or-treaters so far (2 cats, 1 batman, 1 pirate, 1 superman, and a few I wasn't sure about)

almost 8pm: 4 more since the last update (another pirate, a cat, and 2 others that were hard to decipher...)

One parent suggested that we might be celebrating the wrong holiday here...

Posted by Emily at 07:17 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2006

links for 2006-10-31

Posted by Emily at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2006

Ready for Halloween!

Spent the day getting ready for Halloween -- carving our pumpkins, making cookies and dressing up for Amytha's Halloween party.

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Posted by Emily at 09:34 PM | Comments (25)

Happy Birthday Liz

Happy 21st birthday today to Liz! Woohoo!!

Posted by Emily at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2006

Bowling!

The bowling alley near us finally reopened last week, so we invited John, Ben & Trish up to check it out with us tonight (after a nice Thai dinner). The place is great! Very high tech, plus a sports bar with pool tables and an arcade with air hockey! I bowled a 107 and am looking forward to more practice now that its so close by.

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Posted by Emily at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

MH Centennial Recreation Center

Today is the grand opening of the City of Morgan Hill’s new Centennial Recreation Center. We went to a bit of the opening event and took a tour of the really nice facilities which include an excercise center, gym, gorgeous pool, teen center and senior center (all in one building!). Here are a few photos:

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Posted by Emily at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Romanian Hay

Alan has the photos and essays from his recent trip to Romania up on the Hay in Art site! I think the ones of the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta with the painted headstones are my favorites.

(I'll get the database updated sometime this weekend...)

Posted by Emily at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Prop Endorsements

The endorsements and voting guides are rolling in by email during these last few days before the election. I still need to read through the full guide, but here are some pointers from other groups:

Pro Choice Voting Guide

American Cancer Society: Yes on 86

Feminist Majority:
No on Proposition 85 Limits Abortion Access for Young Women
Yes on Proposition 86 Tax on Cigarettes
Yes on Proposition 87 Tax on California Oil Producers
Yes on Proposition 89 Clean Money & Fair Elections Act

CA Dems:
Yes on: 1A-E, 83, 84, 86, 87
No on: 85, 88, 90

SEIU:
Yes on: 86, 87, 89
No on: 85, 88, 90

And of course there is a great summary from Speak Out California:

ballotprops06.gif

SJ Mercury News
Prop. 1A: Transportation funding protection: Yes
Prop. 1B: Highways and transit: Yes
Prop. 1C: Housing and shelter: Yes
Prop. 1D: Schools and universities: Yes
Prop. 1E: Flood prevention: Yes
Prop. 83: Sex Offender Initiative: No
Prop. 84: Water and parks: Yes
Prop. 86: Tobacco tax: Yes
Prop. 88: Education Initiative: No
Prop. 89: Campaign-Finance Reform: No
Prop. 90: Eminent Domain Initiative: No
Morgan Hill Measure F: Yes
Santa Clara County Measure A: Growth-control initiative: Yes
11th Congressional District: Jerry McNerney

Posted by Emily at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

The Thirteenth Tale

n188569.jpgStayed up very late to finish The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield last night. Kathryn at work had lent it to me and from the first page I was hooked.

Web Site for the book (including a chance to win a leather-bound edition)

Its another real booklovers book (here's a list of the character's favorite books and has a strong dose of Jane Eyre running through it.

Reading Group Guide

Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons. Vida's tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.

Posted by Emily at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2006

Introducing 'Zik'

I'd like to introduce you to 'Zik' (pronouced Zeke, short for Zikit (as in Ha-Zikit Ha-Mevulbelet) which means chameleon in Hebrew. He's "emerald jade" colored (a lovely greenish grey). 'Kissy' has gone on to a new home, so Vered has a new friend to get used to in the garage. Zik was chosen, among other reasons, for his very good gas mileage...

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Posted by Emily at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

links for 2006-10-27

Posted by Emily at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2006

SB61

We experienced our first home owners association meeting tonight, we missed the official annual meeting but then they didn't get the number of proxies they needed (new legislation changed all the rules recently) so had to call another general meeting within 30 days and then they didn't need as high of percentage. Our brief experience there has definitely cured us of any aspirations to run for the board... eegad.

Posted by Emily at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

Woog's World

Dan Woog wrote a lovely piece about Grandpa for the 10/20 issue of the Westport News: Ralph Sheffer: A Man And His Town.

Here's a copy of the column in case the other sites stop archiving it:

In the fall of 1953, Ralph and Betty Sheffer’s third child, Jonathan, was born. Ralph stayed up all night, then took the train to New York City to work all day as an advertising executive. That evening he attended a coffee for candidates for the upcoming Representative Town Meeting election.

“In those days, lots of people ran in every district,” his daughter, Ann Sheffer, recalled last week. “There were 15 candidates, and everyone spoke for two minutes. When my father got up to talk, he fainted. I think he got the sympathy vote from all the women.”

Ralph Sheffer won that election. He went on to serve 16 years on the RTM, 10 of them as moderator. He chaired the Nike Site Committee, which developed the North Avenue property where Staples High School and Bedford Middle School now sit. As moderator he also helped the town of Westport purchase Longshore Club Park.

Sheffer – who died last month at age 93 – did much, much more for his adopted hometown. He was a driving force behind the Westport Public Library, Westport Arts Center and the Westport Historical Society. He helped build Coleytown Elementary School. He even donated his talents to the “Coleytown Capers,” a PTA fundraiser starring enough entertainment professionals to stock a Broadway show.

All those accomplishments have been highlighted in the weeks following Sheffer’s death. But underlying his half century of devotion to Westport is the question: “Why?” What makes such a high-powered man – a Columbia University rower, Iwo Jima hero, Madison Avenue businessman and fundraiser extraordinaire for the United States Olympic Committee – devote so much time and energy to causes like local government and an elementary school?

“After World War II, a lot of our parents got married and decided they wanted a different type of suburb than where they grew up, in New York and Long Island,” Sheffer’s daughter Ann said. “Something about Westport attracted them. It had a bit of an edge. I can’t imagine what the old Yankees who were here for generations thought.”

Westport was not unfamiliar to the Sheffers. Betty’s parents, Aaron and Clara Rabinowitz, came here in 1928 to join their friend, social reformer Lillian Wald, whose South Compo Road home Eleanor Roosevelt often visited. When Ralph and Betty got married in 1947, the Rabinowitzes gave them a five-acre plot on Bayberry Lane (the site today of the Westport-Weston Health District). The Sheffers built a summer home there, and became full-time residents in 1951.

“As often happens with newcomers, the men got pulled into suburban life by their kids,” Ann said. “All week long, the town was filled with women and children. The men were in New York from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Family life was packed into the weekends.”

Despite their long hours at work, and aboard the less-than-glamorous New Haven Railroad, the men of Ralph Sheffer’s generation found time for civic involvement. For some, it was both an extension of their day jobs – a competitive, masculine environment – and a chance to make an immediate impact.

It was also a challenge. “When my father ran for moderator, the RTM was pretty partisan,” Ann said. “The Republicans – Herb Baldwin and his kitchen cabinet – ran the town. Then all the young Democratic liberals came in and tried to change things.” RTM meetings ran until 3 a.m. Members debated issues like saving Cockenoe Island from a nuclear power plant, recalling Board of Education chair Joan Schine, even whether the U.S. should withdraw from Vietnam.

“Westport has always been a contentious place,” Ann Sheffer said. “But out of that contentiousness comes amazing action.”

Her father, she said, “found something in Westport that motivated him. He loved selling, and succeeding. Raising $5 million to build the library was challenging. He didn’t care about the credit; he just wanted to get it done. The Olympics were rewarding, but he really liked using his skills to help the town. I think selling Westport meant more to him than selling cars or soda.”

Ralph Sheffer was not the only man who dedicated himself to this town, of course, and he did not work only with fellow Democrats. Ann Sheffer said that for years, her father and Republican town attorney Ed See worked together to set the RTM agenda. Allen Raymond, another Republican, was president of the library board when Sheffer ran its capital campaign. “They were very different people, but they worked together well. They each knew what they were good at, and appreciated other people’s skills.”

Ann Sheffer also credited “old, thrifty Yankee Republicans” like Herb Baldwin and John Boyd for their contributions to Westport. “They were used to getting their own way,” she said. “But they accepted anyone who wanted to work on projects to help the town.”

Ralph Sheffer’s generation – which includes women like Shirley Land – helped lay the foundation for the current crop of civic volunteers. “There are lots of wonderful people here who put enormous time and energy into Westport,” Ann Sheffer noted. However, she said, the RTM – one of her father’s passions, and a body on which she herself served – has seen a drop-off in interest. “A lot of members now are retired people. I understand – it can be draining. It’s tough if you’re out in the world all day, and have a couple of kids.

“Sometimes I think people’s motives are more personal today. But then I look at someone like Rick Benson. I disagree with him politically, but he does so much for the town. He’s involved in the Rotary Club, he helped build the Compo Beach playground – he’s doing what he’s good at, just like my father and all those other people did.”

Ann Sheffer sees parallels between the Westport her parents found in 1950, and the town she still lives in nearly 60 years later. “For years this has been a place that cares,” she said. “We tackle big causes and important projects. If people choose to live here, they ought to take advantage of Westport. For the new people here, we have to find a way to celebrate all the fun and the good things we’ve done in the past, and make it clear there’s a lot more for everyone to do. This is everyone’s town.”

Ralph Sheffer certainly made that clear, in his six long, productive and very important decades here in Westport.

Posted by Emily at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Brian on the Move!

Looks like Brian is taking on a fantastic new job as Director of New Media at Cone!. It sounds like a fantastic company and a great opportunity! He'll be starting there around his birthday...

DIRECTOR of NEW MEDIA
Description

Cone, a brand strategy and communications agency in Boston, is looking to hire a Director of New Media for its Brand Marketing Group. The ideal candidate will have spent significant time spearheading and activating online communications strategies and have case studies to share of strategic and successful programs he/she has developed.

The Director of New Media will be the responsible for monitoring and identifying emerging technologies and playing the primary leadership role in the positioning, strategy development and implementation of these technologies for communications programming for the agency. The technology focus will be specifically related to emerging products and processes that will enable Cone to engage in leading-edge communication channels with consumers and other stakeholders. He/she will play a key role to educate internal staff in the use and application of these new technology services.

The Director of New Media will also take on an external role, serving as Cone’s expert at client meetings, speaking opportunities, and other related market environments as needed. The Director of New Media will also be the primary resource to identify and build strategic alliances to assess, cultivate, and develop new resources and potential business opportunities.

The Director of New Media will be also asked to identify appropriate partners and other vendors to help take advantage of resources that will keep Cone abreast of emerging technologies for potential use in communications programming.

The early focus of this position will be to develop the user-generated media product offering (blogs and other online communications), refine the role of technology to help hone the Cone one-to-one influencer website, identify new resources and positions regarding best practices in online measurement of public relations programming, and identify technologies and services that competitors may be using to gain market share.

Posted by Emily at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

links for 2006-10-26

Posted by Emily at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2006

IL06, Day 3 Confgrunt

Notes from Day 3 of Internet Librarian 2006

More raw notes from the conference... to be filled in further later...

Morning Keynote: Shari Thurow
Search Friendly Web Design
an engaging speaker, but a topic too focused for a keynote

  • user-friendly web site design that can be easily found on both the crawler-based and human-based search engines
  • 5 Basic Rules of Web Design: Easy to Read, Easy to Navigate (provides 'sense of place' and 'scent of information'), Easy to Find (externally and internally), Consistent in Layout & Design, and Quick to Fownload
    people will click as long as they believe they're making progress
    search engines as 3rd browser
  • Search Engines do 3 things: index text, follow links, measure popularity
    if you do not place text on your pages and create a site navigation scheme that crawlers can follow, your library site will not rank well in the search engines
    need high quality links from 3rd parties
  • Primary Text: title tags, visible body copy, text at top of page, in and around hypertext links
  • Secondary Text: meta-tag content, alternative text, domain and file name
  • MPABS: "most people are basically stupid" - you have to tell people what you want them to do on your site
  • site map should provide context, have an intro paragraph
  • Yahoo + Wikipedia = good high-quality links to get
  • glossaries and dictionaries - especially illustrated glossaries - are good for rankings
  • Gerald Spool, usability expert
  • cross-linking

Session One: Trends in Mobile Tools and Applications for Libraries (B301)
Megan Fox, Simmons
http://web.simmons.edu/~fox/pda

Session Two: Training Tutorial Tour and Tips (C302)
Greg Notess
http://www.notess.com/teaching/

Photo_102706_001.jpgSession Three: What's Hot & New with Social Software (D303)
Stephen M Cohen
A quick A-Z of some of the current hot sites -- most of which I use, but I will definitely by checking out the Muppet Wiki ASAP!
A - Ajax
B - Beta, Browster
C - CoComment
D - Digg
E - Econsultant
F - Flickr
G - Gmail
H - Hype
I - Image Editors (resizr.lord-lance.com, pxn8.com, snipshot.com)
J - Jenny Levine
K - ?
L - Library Thing
M - Moo, Meebo, Media Convert, Mojeek, Muppets Wiki
N - Netvibes
O - OCLC
P - Pandora, PureVideo
Q - ?
R - RSS
S - Snapper (two sessions mentioned snapper -- I don't understand the appeal -- I absolutely LOVE FastStone capture and was going to mention it in the comments section of the talk but their site is temporarily down -- its SO much better and more flexible!) , Slideshare
T - Typo of the Day
U - utube (oops - they apparently got hammered after the YouTube acquisition)
V - ?
W - Wikis
X - ?
Y - YouTube
Z - Zoho

Session Four: Blogging Update: Applications & Tips (D304)
Walter Nelson, Karen Coombs, and Aaron Schmidt

Closing Keynote: Social Computing and the Information Professional (renamed All the World's a Game...)
Elizabeth Lane Lawley

Posted by Emily at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Susan

Happy birthday Susan, who I miss working with so much!!

Posted by Emily at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

Westport Library Book Blog

I've been so excited to see that the Westport Public Library started a book blog but haven't had a chance to blog about it (the timing of finding out about it was bad, but I've been subscribed to the feed.) I noticed a post last week about mysteries featuring psychics and left a comment about the Ophelia and Abby Mystery series featuring a psychic librarian (I've blogged about it before and I think Susan read it at that point) But anyway, I happened to check back on the site today (since I saw their post about Triangle -- which we had read in bookclub) and noticed a comment after my comment responding that they bought the whole series for the library! How cool is that! (Disclaimer - its not a great series, but who can resist a mystery with a psychic librarian!)

Mom -- you should read Triangle and then go hear Katherine speak there on Wednesday, November 15 at noon. And I think Aunt Susan would like the book as well.

Posted by Emily at 01:07 PM | Comments (816)

IL06, Day 2 Confgrunt

Day 2 of the Internet Librarian conference, more hits and misses, but generally a good day (ending with cookies, which can redeem most any conference)

S dropped my off (since Monterey isn't all that far from Salinas and since I was going to stay over so it was silly to have my car) and I was there nice and early to do my work remotely before the first sessions only to find that the wireless wasn't working and there was no staff there yet to deal with it. So I went up the street to Starbucks and camped out there for a while.

Photo_102406_004.jpgFirst up was the presentation of the Mashing Up the Library competition, won by my old SHS classmate John Blyberg (who I tracked down later at the exhibit hall and said hello -- see photo)

Keynote 2: Challenges of Cyberinfrastructure and Choices for Librarians
Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information
My notes are pretty scattered for this since it wasn't really in my domain overall, but I was interested in some of his comments about the museum world, special collections collecting digital formats, and some other random things noted below
mostly about how science has been affected by the internet and high performance computers, etc. (aka eScience)
while accepted in the sciences, more controversial in the humanities -- though that will evolve (as he explained in a strange example, "physics progresses one funeral at a time")
He mentioned the National Virtual Observatory projects, the European Digital Library initiative
digitization in the museum world -- they monetize access to out-of-copyright material which they are holding as public trust -- Getty Museum and others are digitizing public domain materials and making them available as broadly as possible
special collections - see NYTime article on Salmon Rushdie's email
dealing with changes in the way people approach life/digital forms
can't deal with the scope of records -- like corporate litigation
new job rol e- "data scientist" (like bioinformatice)
library as labratory of the humanists
for science, the main role is to pay for journals
collabotroeis - cross institution, cross countries
access to this cyberinfrastructure for undergraduate and K-12 students


Session One: Determining and Communicating Value (B201)
Joe Matthews
I realized that the reason some of this talk (esp the public library part) was so familiar was that I had written one of my culminating papers on proving the value of the public library to the community/elected officials, but it gave me a few ideas on how we should be promoting and measuring our special lib
communicate the value of your library to the people who count
should have 3-4 elevator speeches (15 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 3 min) (the moderator pointed out that those should be Springboard conversations (go S. denning!) and that you should have tiers including a 15minute Starbucks Latte version and a 20 minute get a hot dog from the cart and sit on a bench version)
adding value - ease of use, noise reduction, quality, adaptability, time savings, cost savings (Robert Taylor?)
how do we add value for our customers?
our customers have a choice to use us or not -- it costs them time and energy to use us
why demonstrate value? show library's contribution to meeting the organization's goals and objectives, show accountability, advocacy and marketing tool, be proactive
to show value: address priorities of the whole organization, demonstrate how the library furthers the goals of the organization, use their jargon (understand the decision makers and what is important to them)
outcomes measure if we're doing the right things, efficiency measures just measure if we are doing things right
Taxonomy of Results (Rutgers): cognitive results, affective results, accomplishments in relation to tasks, expectations met, tme aspects, money estimates
Academic Libraries - a considerable proportion of students borrow NO materials from the library, a small proportion is responsible for the majority of the borrowing (usually grad students doing dissertations), assigned readings and reserves make up the majority of circulation, amount of borrowing varies by discipline and field, correlation between library use and academic achievement is weak at best
School Libraries - 10-20% higher test scores for schools with stronger school library programs, to make the case for the library, talk about the impact on children's lives
Public Libraries -
Social benefits: use of leisure time, informed personal decisions, literacy, support of education, local history and geneology, access to technology, technology training, library as place, community awareness, support for democratic society
[formalized relationships between libraries and schools result in a 5pt increase in test scores!]
Economic Benefits: for individuals - savings from sharing rather than purchasing own copies, information for personal investors, tech access, health info. Local businesses - busines and career information, economic development. Local community - library as employer, purchaser of goods and services, library as destination (Seattle impact study), attracting commercial and industrial development
cost benefit analysis, continue valuation methodology
for every $ you invest...
calculate the services, local price in the community for that service from an equivalent supplier, amount of use (circ, etc.), and then multiply out the value and compare that to the budget
Special Libraries - transform perception of library into a recognized organizational asset that affects the bottom line
Hospitals (Quinn & Roger, Marshall)
Banking (Marshall)
Government (Marshall) - better decision making, reduced risk, saved time
Koenig - improved productivity
saving time - substitution of professionals time, time spent reading (Griffiths & King), current awareness bulleting (Harris & marshall, 9:1 ratio)
Outsell 2001 survey - reduced product development time, 14hrs/project
Cost aspects - Griffiths & King, relative value approach, consequential value approach
ROI - Griffths & King, Tenopir & king, Portugal
Action Plan: Know your audience, determine your value, communicate value by focusing on benefits, use their jargon
His books: The Bottom Line (2002), Measuring for Results (2004), Institutional and Library Assessment in Higher Ed (forthcoming)
ARL LibQual survey (modeled after retail one), gap analysis, ask users for min and desired scores
what difference does the library make?
* collect personal success stories (we could ask people to describe a time where the library has helped them...)
search for: Stephen Abram, value of libraries


Session Two: Information Skills and Enterprise Collaboration ("Sharing Library Skills in an Enterpirse Collaborative Effort")
Christopher Connell, Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA)
Sounded relavant in the description, but since it was very much centered on MS Sharepoint, there wasn't too much I took away from it unfortunately
librarian as e-collaborator
adapted their skills in information resouce evaluation, compilation, organization and user design in a successful e-collaborative effort
librarians "pointing the way"
offer e-journals, e-books, databases, federated search and print collection
Article: Fichter, D (2005), The Many Forms of E-Collaboration. Online 99 (4), 48-50
Lotus (1996), Meijer (2002), Teufel et all (1995)
Advertisement - never underestimate the importance of a librarian (with librarian as part of the team at a surgery)
skills: evaluation/selection of information resources, "bibliographic" compliation, current awareness strategies, classification/organization of information, effective search queries, attention to presentation style/UI
holistic organizational view -- unique content integration opportunities
provide open literature content in support of work, open-URL search query string
* link to "recent articles on xyz" and then lauch search query against EBSCO host

Photo_102406_006.jpgLunch with Kelly (decent fallafel)

Session Three: Mashup Applications
John Blyberg and Chris Deweese
I wanted to go to this one to see John, who I haven't seen since high school, and because mashups are cool and I didn't go to any of the other sessions in the mashup track -- how cool that there was a whole mashup track?!!? Not directly helpful since the OPAC stuff would require getting our system to put out XML and I've already played some with the google maps API (link to my map here?), but I picked up a few things to think about
John:
2 kinds of mashups -- useful mashups and "statement" mashups
one of his catalog mashups takes: Bib# -> ISBN -> Check Google -> Cache Results -> Link to Google Books if there, right in catalog hit list
URI
XML + NS + xmlschema
RDF + rdfschema
web ontology language (OWL?)
REpresentational State Transfer (REST)
xml/rdf/schema
aadl.org/rest/top/books/10/2
Patron Rest (PatRest)
Ed Vielmetti (Superpatron), Wall of Books
gadgets John submitted to Talis competition - blyberg.net/files - click "add to google"
Why let the public mash up your stuff? sense of stewardship, unlock potential braintrust, encourage innovation, benefits other libraries, solicits high-quality feedback, promotable as service, puts library data into new contexts
output from catalog -> massage into XML form
screen scraping (ugly, but it works)
Chis: Mash It Up Google Style
get google API key - google.com/apis/maps
Get hello world program -- /apis/maps/documentation/#The_Hello_World_of_Google_Maps
add your key
map.addControl(new GSmallMapControl())
GMapTypeControl
need long/lat coordinates (now will generate from address -- geocoding -- instead of having to copy from URL)
#using_XML_and_Asynchronous_RPC (ajax)
lcls.org/api/query/?method=lcls.members.getDeliveryRoute&RoutheID=1...
generates XMLS doc to plug into GoogleMaps
cdeweese.blogspot.com

Session Four: Web Lessons
Pamela Gore, HP Labs Research Library and Jenny Spadafora, Intuit
This one was fun because the speakers do very similar things to the types of things we're doing -- and are at similar types of companies. The third speaker, Pamea Clark from AIG had to cancel unfortunately
Pamela - A FAQ on FAQs for Libraries
FAQ Purpose - save time, help users find answers more quickly, reduce number of questions staff must answer
Tupes: general info (policies, procedures, location, etc.), research questions (how to use the research tools), combination
Can increase credibility and user confidence in the entire site and library
Good: clear, concise, well-organizaed, scannable, searchable, accurate, up-to-date
Bad: wordy, difficult to scan, too much detail, marketing material
Gather questions: actual user questions from users and staff, narrower questions within broader questions, related questions
Don't try to think of every possible question!
Writing Style - concise, eliminate unnecessary detail, answers stand alone (don't need the question to understand answer), broader questions broken into multiple questions, bullet points for longer answers, paragraphs = 2-4 lines (1 sentence paragraphs are fine for the web) -- not big blocks of text
conversational style without wordiness, avoid library jargon (if you must, define the term briefly), active voice (the library offers... rather than these are offered by the library), avoid marketese, questions should be in first person, answers in second person, bold important words and phrases (use judiciously)
provide complete answer in text (not just referral to another source)
repeating information between questions is ok
step-by-step instructions should be numbered, just one action per step
check grammar and spelling
have staff review
List all questions forist like an index
logicially organiza - most frequenly first or simpler to complex if just a few, categorize if more than 10 questions
adequate spacing between question links
include "top" links to get back to index
keep visited link color
they had categories along the top (General Services | Digital Services | Customized Services | Books | Jounrals, Magazines and Newspapers..._ and then each category with the list of questions underneath it linking to further down the page with each question with the answers below
Include FAQ in site-wide navigation and on home page
point to specific questions within context
include in search engine index and on site index/site map
FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions should be in title, url/filename and metadata
Review FAQ regularly to update, remove outdated, add new questions -- regularly scheduled reviews
Didn't find what you need? Have a comment or suggestion? let us know!
print the FAQ and see what it looks like printed
Photo_102406_009.jpgJenny - Social Software to Work Smarter (not harder)
(she has a super cool title - community evangelist, innovation lab, intuit)
presentation is at 12frogs.com/12/work/il2006
Blogs, feeds (follow more in less time, control the info flow), wikis (we can post it, we can fix it = living documents), del.icio.us (social bookmarking: find + share + remember), and social software (tagged interests and abilities + search/browse = find my right people)
she very wistfully commented, "imagine if the corporate directory worked that way" (they're working on an internal project called "watercooler" which sounds like an inside-the-firewall Facebook)
The Future is MMOW: Blogs, wikis, feeds, Facebook, Myspace, Second Life, etc. will enable Massively Multiplayer Online Work
wikis @ work -- they're using media wiki, hooked into corporate directory for group permissions
federated identity management
book to find: Day in the Life

Session Five: Intranet Content: Surfacing Full-Text News
Barrett Jones, IMF and Elena Maslyukova, World Bank
From all reports, I should have gone to the "RSS & Javascript Cookbook" session instead...
Computers in Libraries article is part I of this presentation, 2 ways to set up Intranet News
link to individual articles, link to a source, search
Factiva select, all in xml, 90 days of news, download to their servers
benchmarked the news against Yahoo news, etc.
Article: Information management Best Practices: Next-Gen IM - Moving Beyond the Repository, Outsell?
people inthe field in Africa get access to their page and its news sources via satellite
on homepage, there's a box with "Resources for" and a list of roles (task managers, researchers, clients, etc)

Stopped by the SJSU SLIS reception and then had a nice fish and chips dinner at a pub around the corner with Trish and then we sat and talked and played with our Treos (I managed to beam my new favorite Google Map app to her!) and ate pretty darn good cookies.

Evening Session: Scholarship in Chaos! Flying High on the Web? or in Free Fall?
Rich Wiggins from Michigan State University moderated with an interesting style which included correcting the pronounciation of one of the speakers and asking really bizzarre questions and referring often to his wife, who is a librarian, including telling the Elsevier rep that she does use Scirus and when she got up he announced that his wife was leaving him... he also apparently is bitter that his post about his "radioactive cat" isn't a top hit in google while the one that is has incorrect information...
Panelists: Anurag Acharya from Google Scholar, Jay Girotto from Microsoft's Academic Live, and Joris van Rossum, Elsevier Scirus
someone in the audience asked a question about scholarly publishing on ephemeral blogs and how that can be captured and archived, etc. and things spiraled out of control for a while when the panelists misunderstood and didn't really answer and then the audience called them clueless... after a while Trish and I left...

Tomorrow my plan is to attend Web Presence for Internet Librarians (morning keynote), Trends in Mobile Tools & Applications for Libraries, Training Tutorial Tour & Tips, What's Hot & New with Social Software, and Blogging Update: Applications & Tips, and then Social Computing & The Info Pro (closing keynote)

Photo_102406_011.jpgI'm sharing a hotel room tonight with Nicole from What I Learned Today (pictured here working on her presentation)

Posted by Emily at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2006

Mobile blogging

This is a test of blogging from my Treo! I'm so excited about being able to blog now from pretty much anywhere. Typing on this is going to take a bunch more practice...

Posted by Emily at 03:58 PM | Comments (2905)

October 23, 2006

IL06, Day 1 Confgrunt

Photo_102306_006.jpgHere's my raw notes from day one of the internet librarian conference. Trish has a whole blog with her notes.

Apparently there are about 1415 people participating in the conference (1250 paid attendees for the sessions), 48 states and the District of Columbia are represented (not sure why there were no people from Deleware or Mississippi), and from 9 other countries. There are 130 speakers and moderators presenting.

Photo_102306_001.jpgKeynote: J.A. Jance was the keynote speaker. Apparently not only does she blog but the character in her book Edge of Evil blogs as well. It was a funny and interesting (if completely unrelated to the conference) talk, and she sang the Janice Ian song "At 17" and did The Last Blues Song (complete with the "Woh-woh-woh-woh-woh-woh-woh-woh") as an encore!

Session One: Increasing the Use of Online Products (C101)
with Peter Simon, Lesley Williams, Lare Mischo and Jeff Wisniewski
i was pleasantly surprised on how many points carried over from academic libraries to our corporate library needs... lots of things to think about in restructuring our online services page


    Lesley Williams:
  • Best Practices — Five Proven Ways to Increase Use of Paid Online Databases
  • organizae the online database page -- language patrons understand and good descriptions of each ("click here to search news articles from 19XX to 2006, rather than name-of-vendor-providing-db)
  • test the links!
  • Lesley Williams article from library Jounral, Making “E” Visible
  • Library Terms That Users Understand by John Kupersmith
  • provide "multiple finding points" for online services
  • title index to complete magazine and journal collection (print and online)
  • put online resources into the catalog
  • Portland, ME - good descriptions of their online services
  • Get other sites to link to us -- right to the online services
  • inspire.net IN state library page, promotes statewide db access
  • iconn.org marketing survey results
  • advertise the ones with the most general appeal, and also do targeted marketing
  • "We have to stop doing marketing as if we were running for student council president!"
  • people can use Reference USA to make mailing lists
  • Thompson Gale, accessmylibrary.com, find out local libraries that subscribe
  • Wall Street Journal article on Big Help for Small Business at the Library
  • become the "bottled water" -- advertising created that huge market

Jeff Wisniewski:
  • no better way to increase use of online services than federated searching
  • metric - click throughs to full records/full text
  • webfeat
  • PowerUsers (and professors) appreciate the A-Z database lists
  • add a message to the page you get if there are no search results with tips (did you mean to search for articles?)
  • make it obvious, easy and ubiquitous

Session Two: 30 Search Tips in 45 Minues (A102)
Mary Ellen Bates
She's great and I learned a lot of great search tips! I'll go back through and add the links when I have more time

  1. Use search engines' "Answers"
  2. Squidoo
  3. Use Rollyo.com, Yahoo Search Builder or Gigablast's Custom Topic Search to build customized search engine
  4. Put that customized search engine on users' home page (and also links to online catalog and other resources)
  5. Google's synonym-finder
  6. Google Co-op
  7. Google Trend Search
  8. Google Notebook
  9. Google's News Archive
  10. Yahoo's Search Subscriptions
  11. Yahoo's Mindset Feature
  12. Yahoo's Site Explorer
  13. Exalead
  14. Gigablast.com
  15. MSN's cool synonym-suggestion tool
  16. MSN's misspelling-suggestion engine
  17. Zibb.com
  18. Kosmix.com
  19. pathfinders and subject guides
  20. Tara Calishain's Kebberfegg
  21. Scandoo.com
  22. NationMaster.com
  23. AccessMyLibrar.com
  24. Eurekster's Swicki
  25. TaxonomyWarehouse.com
  26. Mining podcast content, chunking of search results
  27. Qwika.com to search wikis
  28. Furl.net
  29. Use LibraryThing to find related books ("People who own this book also own")
  30. Data visualization on Factiva

Session Three: New Search Strategies (A103)
Greg Notess
Search Engine Showdown
Feature Chart

  1. Search Transfer
    between search engines (try his bookmarklets), between databases on a site
  2. Refine and Explore Terms (expand/narrow, related terms, directory terms)
    Ask.com, Exalead, Clusty, NortherLight.com
  3. Search as You Type
    Google Suggest, All the Web (Yahoo)
  4. Definitions
    answers.com, wikipedia, Yahoo! Reference, Google define:
  5. Search Societies
    Del.ici.us, Furl, Connotea (scientific)
  6. Field Searching
    site: gov, site:harvard.edu, inurl:library
  7. Expanded Search
    Rollyo, Live Macros (under more, Find Macros)
  8. Filetype Searches
    filetype:pdf (Google, Live, Exalead), orignurlextension:pdf (yahoo)
    tips for pdf searches: leave off the first letter, add spaces between letters
    Exalead Analysis -- shows breakdown of results by file type -- that could actually come in handy at work!!
  9. Link searching
    link:http://xyz
    Google only shows a fraction, Yahoo and Live are much more detailed
    Live: linkfromdomain:loc.gov site:hr (where do they link to? Library of Congress -> Coatia)
  10. Phrase Searching, proxminity at Exalead
  11. Cache to the Past (most include the date of the crawl - exp Yahoo)

Session Four: Cool Tools and Mashups
Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone
From where I was sitting I couldn't see the bottom of their slides with the URLs, so here's the titles from the tops of each, and I'll have to go look them all up later
Font Tester, Meta Tag Expert, URL Investigator, Link Popularity Check, eXactMapper Lite, Google Sitemap Builder, Wink, Powerbullet Presenter, PHP Editor, PH Expert & Debugger
aws.amazon.com, google.com/apis/maps, api.search.google
suprglu.com, communitywalk.com, Frappr, yourmap.com, mapbuilder.net, google.mapbuilder.com (sucks in data from a spreadsheet and maps it)
pull in covers and reviews from Amazon
book carousel, virtual carousel
developer.yahoo.com/yui
Flickr Fun - captioner, colr pickr, Flickr toys
gliffy.com
community toolbar from Conduit, conduit.com
Firefox extension: duplicate tab, tab x, tails export (microformats), goodle notebook, Measure It, IE Tab, Linkification, Zotero
retrievr, adblock, web developer toolbar, accessibility toolbar, html tidy
Google Code Search
northstar.net community in a box
Digref listserv
lifehacker.com
programmable web

Session Five: Library Redesign: Making the Data Work Harder
Steve McCann (this was supposed to alo be Amanda Hollister, who unfortunately called in sick)
I shouldn't have gone to this one... oh well, you can't win them all

Session Six: Keeping One Click AheadPhoto_102306_008.jpg
Gary Price and Steven M. Cohen
One Click Ahead -- Gary Price's presentation
Information Overload is a Myth! -- Steven M. Cohen's presentation

Posted by Emily at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

IL06

I'm at the Internet Librarian 2006 conference in Monterey (mon-wed). There's wireless in the lobby, so I'll probably be able to provide a few updates now and then. I'm really looking forward to seeing people I know (Hi Trish, Hi Kelley), people whose blogs I read regularly, and all sorts of new people!

If you're here too, let me know!

Posted by Emily at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2006

Live and Become

l_live_become.jpgWe saw the film Live and Become this afternoon as part of the San Jose Jewish Film Festival. It was a really interesting tale of a young Ethiopian Christian boy sent by his mother with the airlift of Jewish Ethiopians to Israel in 1984 and who spends his whole life pretending to be Jewish and trying to fit into that society and his new adoptive family. I felt it was a bit slow at times, but really engaging and definitely worth seeing -- both for the story of the boy and his family and for the history it portrays. I don't think we'll be able to make any of the other films of the festival, but hopefully they'll be available on NetFlicks eventually.

Posted by Emily at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Happy birthdays to BobbiLynn and Alan

Happy birthday today to BobbiLynn and Alan!

Posted by Emily at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2006

Sharks 1, Wild 4

Karen (from work) took me to my first Sharks game, and they lost 4-1 (which may mean that I'm not allowed to go to any more games). It was a ton of fun though and so convenient to be able to park at work and walk to the arena.

Photo_102106_001.jpgPhoto_102106_002.jpgPhoto_102106_003.jpgPhoto_102106_004.jpg

Posted by Emily at 11:46 PM | Comments (2)

Happy 97th Birthday

Happy 97th birthday today to my grandmother in Pittsburgh!

Posted by Emily at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2006

links for 2006-10-20

Posted by Emily at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2006

Happy Anniversary Brian and Karen!

Happy Anniversary to Brian and Karen (flashback to 2003 wedding photos) I finally got to see the super amazing wedding video that Hanna had put together when I was in Westport a few weeks ago.

Happy anniversary to cousins Jenn & Matt as well!

And a Happy birthday today to uncle Jonathan.

Posted by Emily at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

links for 2006-10-19

Posted by Emily at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2006

Brian in NYO

Brian's in the New York Observer in an article about "Angry Data Nerds Rain on Democratic Parade." He writes about it on his blog

“If we don’t win back Congress, we’re unbelievably dumb,” said Brian Reich, senior strategy consultant with Mindshare Interactive Campaigns and a former briefing director for Vice President Al Gore. “But we are not, in fact, going to be winning back Congress: We are inheriting the results of the Republican Congress’ failure to keep a majority.

“The Democrats are only going to take the House by a seat or two,” he continued, “because the Republicans have picked out the critical districts that they need to keep the majority, and know how to get voters to come out.”

Posted by Emily at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Carrie H

Happy birthday today to Carrie!
COOKDAY_0604_L.jpg

Posted by Emily at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)

Family Dinner in Santa Cruz

We went down to Santa Cruz for a lovely evening with Margaret, Alan, Alan, Andrea and Sacha. We even got a sneak peak at Alan's amazing hay photos from their recent trip to Romania (can't wait to see those posted on his site!) and some spirited conversation around the baseball game.

sc1017a.jpgsc1017b.jpgsc1017d.jpg

Posted by Emily at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2006

Congrats to Aunt Susan

As seen on Westport Now: Longrtime Westport artist Susan Malloy was among those honored at today’s Westport Town Hall 13th annual Westport Arts Awards celebration. She received the Patron of the Arts Award-2006 for her support of the arts in Westport.

susanmalloy10150601pop.jpg

Posted by Emily at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

And more remarks

Here are Uncle Doug's remarks from the Memorial Service for Grandpa. Others can be found here and here

(Note: I ended up losing some of the nice comments people left recently about the service)

Opening Remarks

(Strike gavel)

Be it RESOLVED that THE meeting of this community of Ralph’s friends shall take place at the Westport Town Hall ¬– 11:00 am Monday Oct 9th, 2006 lasting a period of 1 hour. During said time, interesting facts shall be presented, won derful stories and memories shared and beautiful music created in honor of one RALPH SHEFFER.

All in favor of this RESOLUTION signify by raising your right hand and say AYE !

I always wanted to do that, all those years my dad moderated the RTM

My name is Doug Sheffer and I’m Ralph’s middle son, here today to preside over these proceedings.

During our time together, you will hear from seven (7) people:
3 from my dad’s distant past
3 from his less distant past
and 1 from his more recent past
I’ll let them decide where they fit into that scheme

BILL HEINEMAN – an old FRIEND (with the emphasis on the word friend)
ALAN RABINOWITZ – my uncle, Ralph’s brother-in-law, originally from Westport
ALLEN RAYMOND – fellow RTM member and TOWN HISORIAN
DOUG SHEFFER – your “presider” of today
DIANE FARRELL – immediate former 1st SELECTWOMAN
BRIAN REICH – Bostonian grandson
JONATHAN – Ralph’s other son

I would like to also point out other family members who are here today but will not be seen speaking: my aunt Susan Malloy, sister Ann, brother-in-law Bill Scheffler, wife Barbi, friend Christopher Bailey and honorary stepmother Lois Schine. Brian will introduce the grandchildren of his generation.

NAVY FACTS:

Entered service 1 JAN ‘43
Shipped out on destroyer GWIN 7 APR ’43
GWIN sunk 13 JUL ‘43
Shipped out on battleship North Carolina 29 JUL ‘43
Disembarked North Carolina 15 SEP ‘45
Discharged 15 FEB ‘47

Ralph Sheffer
as remembered by son Doug

Simply put, my Dad was a complex guy with a myriad of interest and talents. Yet in the complexity of his daily life he had just a few simple passions.

He was passionate about his town, his country, his friends, his wife Betty, his family, later Lois Schine and her family and SPORTS..

Whereas Betty was the athlete of the family and mother of our childhood, Dad was both the grandpa and grandma of our adult life as well as THE SPORTS FAN. There was a time in his life where he was a walking encyclopedia of sports trivia and statistics, storing hundreds of players batting, running, pitching, jumping and kicking records in his head.

From Baldwin, LI to NYC to Westport, he studied Law, excelled in the field of Sports Advertising and the business of building a town.

A private person with a public persona.

The man Paul Newman played in the movie “Rally ‘Round the Flag”

A Naval officer, a coxswain and a sailor. He once told me a story about WWII which went something like this: (torpedo in moonlit night on USS North Carolina)

My dad was sunk once downed once in an airplane, drowned once and revived in that War. All this from a guy who really wasn’t much of a swimmer and didn’t particularly like to be around the water.

As a coxswain at Columbia, he discovered the shocking news that he would have to learn how to swim in order to graduate. Not an easy task at that age. Although he never surpassed Jonnie Weissmuller’s records, he tried and did manage to pass Columbia’s swimming test.

Here are some other rapid-fire impressions of my Dad:

An adman - could turn a phrase
An organized guy - the sock drawer
Simple tastes - drove a Plymouth
A solid citizen - RTM, Historical Society, The Arts Center, The Library
A moderator - lived life by Roberts Rules of Order
A loving, devoted husband - proud father
An educated guy - Columbia at an early age
An executive type - the ubiquitous yellow pad
A guy with high expectations of people, causes and projects
A guy who liked a job well done
A guy who liked a good laugh and to be well entertained


It’s interesting that golf Legend Byron Nelson passed away on the exact same day as my Dad. Byron Nelson was the Tiger Woods of his day achieving an astounding11 tournament winning streak in 1945 which stands to this day as the most remarkable year in the history of Golf.

Dad once wrote a pamphlet on Golf as part of a promotion package. It was entitled “Play it Pro” and I still have a copy in my golf bag in Colorado.

In one of Byron’s last interviews in 1997, he had this to say about his life.

I don’t know very much
I know a little bit about Golf
I know how to make a stew
And I know how to be a decent man

Sounds a lot like my Dad

Well maybe not the part about the stew.


I’d like to personally thank all the caregivers, other than immediate family members, who were around my dad in his later years.
Gem, Kofi, Joan, Lois Schine, and Jimmie.. and his cat Mittens.

You were a big part of his life, a second family


In closing, Winston Churchill once said:

You make a living by what you get
You make a life by what you give.

That sounds more like my Dad.


Posted by Emily at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Baseball Brian

Brian's featured in today's Billy Ball daily newsletter:

Bottom of the 3rd OUR MAN ON THE SCENE Brian Reich filed this report –

I was sitting next to the players wives and I should also note, as an aside, that the rally cap really does work. When the Cardinals were giving away the farm, run after run with no out, I flipped my hat around and inside out, the inning ended. Then, with the rally cap still in place, the Cards started to make a comeback. But I think the baseball gods knew I was a visitor and when only a few rally caps popped up in the crowd, the momentum stopped.

Jim Edmonds fulfilled the ultimate defense/offense great baseball moment... A fantastic over the shoulder, Willie Mays style catch in center, then a homerun the next inning.

The Mets shortstop, Jose Reyes, tried a little trickery - 'flubbing' a liner from, I think, Scott Rolen, in an attempt to force a double play. The umpire used good discretion in calling it an out and we all got a good laugh out of it.

With the rain today, the local news is already saying that the game may not start today until 10pm (11pm EST) - if major league baseball wants to start a game at 10pm. Otherwise they would obviously lose their travel day - play tomorrow then go to NYC.

Good fans, but a lot of them left early when the Cards got down. That's sad - this is the playoffs, not just some ordinary game. Maybe I don't have the perspective these guys in STL have, because my team, the Mariners, aren't in the playoffs every year. But I think every game in October is special, every inning provides new life - even in a game as lopsided as the one last night became. But the stands should have been filled to the end and they weren't.

Thanking you, Brian.

He also writes about his Latest Sports Adventure on his blog.

Posted by Emily at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Hanna!

Happy birthday Hanna -- who, if everything goes as planned, we'll actually get to go and visit in December. Yay!!!

Posted by Emily at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Hanna!

Happy birthday Hanna -- who, if everything goes as planned, we'll actually get to go and visit in December. Yay!!!

Posted by Emily at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2006

Renaissance Faire

It took us until the very last day, but we finally made it to this year's Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta. It was truly amazing how many people in the crowds came in full costume (or rented them there I suppose, though most seem to come in from the parking lot completely in character.) We stayed for a joust and one of the comedy performances, walked around, bought some local organic spices, and tried out the faire food. Not great, but fun, and I can see how people totally get into this as a hobby.... not my cup of tea however...
faire1.jpgjoust1.jpgjoust2.jpg

Posted by Emily at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2006

Man of the Year

f10.jpgWe went to see Man of the Year tonight at the local movie theater and I loved it. The reviews seem pretty bad, and maybe its not as good as it could have been or the best of the political movies out there (I'm partial to American President, Dave and Wag the Dog among others of course), but tons of laugh and great political campaign digs and all my political friends and family really should go and see it...

Posted by Emily at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

links for 2006-10-14

Posted by Emily at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2006

links for 2006-10-12

Posted by Emily at 12:27 AM | Comments (2)

October 10, 2006

No On 85

Finally had a chance to phone bank tonight for the No on 85 campaign. There's lots of ways to get involved between now and Nov 7th if you're interested.

No on Prop 85

There were some great volunteers there making calls tonight -- some of the best phone bankers I've heard (and I've done a lot of phone banking for different campaigns). I was really impressed!

Posted by Emily at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

More remarks

I'm collecting the remarks made at yesterday's memorial service for Grandpa. Brian's can be found here, Uncle Jonathan's, Uncle Alan's and Allen Raymond (Westport's Historian)'s are below:

Jonathan's remarks:

First, I want to echo what has been said already, and to thank you all for being here today. The response of friends and family to this occasion has strengthened all of us, and we thank you for that. I suppose there is nothing unusual about children and grandchildren speaking about their loss, but it doesn’t make it easier. Doug and I both found that we had been thinking about what we might say today for a long time. Still, the moment is here now, and grief is always surprising, now matter how well you prepare.

Our father lived a long life, didn’t he? 93 years is a long time. I think this surprised him, because he had a superstition about living longer than his father did. Once he passed 60, I think he really believed that the rest of his life was a gift. Maybe that explains the equipoise that settled over him in the last period of his life; maybe it was a lot of things. If his last years taught us anything, it was about his resiliency. His was a life of accomplishment, but also of great sadness; yet he always managed to survive the terrible events of his life and invent newer, better ones.

Samuel Ralph Sheffer was born in Baldwin, LI, and grew up over his father’s dry goods store. Oh, perhaps you didn’t know he had his name legally changed before he graduated from Columbia. I found his high school yearbook when I was 12 while snooping around the house. I stared at what was clearly his picture, and his nickname, “Sammy.” I was stunned. When he returned home from NY in the evening, I yelled out, “Hey, Sammy!” I think that night was when his hair started to turn grey.

A few years ago, when he was getting a little vague about what really happened and what sounded like a good story, he told me that the reason he was born in L.I. was that the family had to leave 138th St. and Grand Concourse in the Bronx because his sister, Isabelle, had fallen madly in love with a gentile. A few years ago he told me he met Gertrude Stein once. Who’s to know now, anyway.

My father had three older brothers, Harry, Simon and Eugene. “Simmy” as he was called, had swallowed one of those hissing whistles you put on your tongue, and to remove it, his thyroid gland was also removed. As a result, he never grew taller than about 4’10”, and I wore his cast off suits when I was a teenager.

My Uncle Gene played an enormous role in our lives. He contracted dystonia as a teenager, which caused his nervous system to degenerate into violent spasms that he endured his entire life. I called him “Uncle Wiggley” when I was a kid. Gene lived with us on and off during periods of convalescence, and despite this, was a hugely popular professor of French at Columbia, and had a lively off-campus life at his bungalow in East Hampton in the 1950s. He was a powerful presence in my father’s thought. Having Gene around made us a better family, and this quality of determination and grace that seemed to be a Sheffer trait, was shared by my father.

Although Dad didn’t discourse endlessly about himself, he never seemed to get to the end of a story in a hurry. I remember one Thanksgiving at which he took so long to tell a joke that many of the guests simply left the table. His Moses-like slowness of speech leant a certain gravity to his words; it probably also prefigured the silence of his last few years.

Being rendered nearly mute was just the last challenge of a life filled with dramatic difficulties. Dad saw the breadlines of the Depression as a teenager, and emerged from college and law school with a lifelong anxiety about money. As he became successful in sports advertising, he became a wealthy man always who felt himself to be poor.

My father wasn’t one of those veterans who go on about their service; in fact I learned about it only second hand. It’s impossible for me to imagine the devastation of being bombed into the wild, wide ocean, yet it doesn’t surprise me that he returned a battle-weary man. This part of his life was usually told to me by one of his oldest friends, the late Ruth Lipton, with whom I lived when I moved to NY in 1975. She said he used to stare out the window of their apartment for hours, finally forcing himself to get back into the swing of life.

Everything we are we get first from our parents; the rest is just chasing our own dreams. Whenever I think about music, I’m thinking of my mother. Whenever I watch sports on television, or even hear the drone of a sports announcer on a distant TV, I will always think of him. You’ve heard how much sports meant to Dad, from his days as the little man on the championship Columbia rowing team, to his career raising corporate support for the Olympics.. He played tennis on weekends, although “played” is perhaps not the right word to describe the men’s game that terrorized the suburbs. It was more of a pitched battle between men who never wanted to lose their competitive edge. It’s no wonder none of us ever took up tennis. Who could ever compete with that?

Even if they were not the ones he might have wanted for me, who else put those dreams there? He left us all with plenty to ponder. From my father I learned how to be short in the world; and how to charm women. I must have learned ambition from him as well, and what it means to try and rule your own world. Dad’s life was about conquering the terrible odds put in his path. As easy as my life has been in many respects, his was marked by some fairly awesome difficulties.

After the War, he found his calling professionally and built his family with my mother. The years rolled out, commuting daily on the train to NY, weekends of tennis and football and baseball on TV, and eventually his local political career. Home movies recorded children’s birthdays, marching bands on Main Street, graduations, and the rare vacations we all took together. It was all pretty much according to some unspoken plan, at least until my mother’s death in 1977.

His biggest struggle came in the years after my mother’s death. We all felt isolated in our grief, and Dad had to learn how to live without the world he so depended upon. I began to notice a change here and a change there, as he tried to connect to our mother through the things that she loved. He became so much more aware of things, like the fact that the house had a kitchen. One time I brought some friends from NY by, and somehow we ended up in my mother’s closet trying on her dresses and wigs, which were still hanging there. I found it very therapeutic. Dad called me the next day, convinced that one of my college friends, Peter Kazaras, had stolen a silver spoon from the kitchen. Peter and I both lost parents young: he used to call the decor of his apartment, “early dead mother.” We joked about the spoon for years; I told him last week he could keep it. We laughed.

In addition to discovering the kitchen, my father continued the subscriptions to the Boston Symphony that my mother attended religiously for years. Fortunately for me, his whole focus shifted in the last 25 years of his life, and he became much more aware of things like concerts. He loved coming in to Eos events in NY, and the night the orchestra performed for the Clintons and a distinguished audience at the White House in 1998 was a proud moment for him, a night of a lot of glamour, and a lot of forgiveness.

So many moments I remember: he once said to me while I was laboring through my Bach as a child, “You know, guys who play boogy woogy at parties are very popular.” I remember stuffing envelopes for his RTM campaigns, and I remember going to the meetings, so proud that my father was the one who got to tell Republicans (and some long-winded Democrats) to sit down. I remember him flexing his biceps when I was a kid, and when he was older, grabbing his fat stomach and bemoaning his lost abs. I remember fights in the car on drives to NY to see musicals, and the Darwinian struggle to find a parking place in Manhattan. I remember going to Yankee Stadium and getting the royal corporate treatment as we watched Mickey Mantle hit home runs, and Y.A. Tittle pass for the Giants. We were at his last game, when he knelt, exhausted in the end zone, his helmet off and his forehead bloodied.

Last, I want to acknowledge his genteel kindness to my partners. Christopher said last week that my father always made him feel welcome, even loved. Loss makes us all recall the joy and sadness of life. I want to thank my sister for her vigilance over the past years, which allowed me a measure of freedom. And Jamie, his most devoted helper for the last three years. Today we all recall him in our own ways, our words creating newer, fresher memories that others will pass on for us. In this way, we may live forever.


Alan Rabinowitz's Remarks:

draft October 5, 2006 for the October 9th Town Hall meeting

Greetings to those of you who knew Ralph as one of the grand old men of Westport. I thought it would be appropriate to add a bit of family folklore about the time, soon after World War II, when he got married to my oldest sister Betty and shortly thereafter moved to the community that I had known in my boyhood as a town of about 2,500 people. Ralph became a member of our Rabinowitz family just 60 years ago as my first brother-in-law. How I looked forward to having another male in the family, for I had only two older sisters and acres of older first cousins on my father’s side, all girls except for one male my age living far away. And both Ralph and I were, technically, Navy veterans, but I was still in training and he was home from the wars, laden with real stories of combat, the likes of which had not been heard in our house before. Beginning in the late 1920s, my parents spent three or four summer months in Westport, Dad with a daily commute to Manhattan. In the 1930s, they bought the Reynolds farm on Crosshighway and Bayberry Lane, for Westport then was full of farms. In fact, during the war I worked for Bob Warner on his Blue Ribbon Farm, plowing with a team of horses on cornfields he leased on North Avenue, fields that later became the site for Staples High. So it fell to Ralph and Betty to be the ones to teach my family of Manhattanites what it meant to be part of the national march of the GI Generation to the suburbs. Part of the land my parents owned became the site of Betty and Ralph’s first house of their own in Westport, and another part became a radar site during the Cold War. And there my stories can end, for there are folks here who know the reality far better than I do of the way in which the farms disappeared and the way suburban entrepreneurs like Ralph, commuting to the daily strife on Madison Avenue, developed the representative town meeting as a new form of governance and converted the Westport of my youth not only to the Westport of “Rally Round the Flag” but to the Westport of a great library, great schools, and great civic spirit. My thanks to you all.



Allen's Remarks:

Ralph Sheffer Memorial Service
Westport Town Hall

October 9, 2006


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen:

This is an amazing event, and it is being held in a remarkable room.

During Ralph Sheffer’s 16 years of service on the Representative Town Meeting – ten of those as the RTM’s Moderator – Ralph made history in this room, because this is where the RTM holds its monthly meetings.

And today, in this room, you and I are also making history.

We have come here from all walks of life, and all political persuasions. And we are – you and I – united as one as we gather in this room to honor Ralph.

I suspect that each one of you has a story to tell about Ralph, and I have a suggestion: When this memorial service is concluded, why not mingle with Ralph’s friends and perhaps ask a complete stranger, “What did Ralph Sheffer mean to you?”

Some will answer, “Ralph had the patience of Job,” and by that they’ll mean Ralph could keep his cool when all about him were losing theirs.

Others will answer – as they have to me when I ran into them this past week at a Rotary luncheon, or at a meeting of the Flood & Erosion Control Board, or as we talked on the telephone – that Ralph was “a really nice man.”

It doesn’t get any better than that.

I know each of you has stories you could tell us about Ralph – stories that invariably highlight his kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. For me personally, Ralph put himself on a pedestal when, in 1957, as a fellow RTM member, he became the architect of my campaign to become Moderator, succeeding Herbert Baldwin, who had just been elected First Selectman.

(Incidentally, two years later Ralph Sheffer succeeded me as Moderator.)

You may reply, “There is nothing remarkable in Ralph helping you to be elected Moderator – that’s just Ralph being Ralph.”

True, but there was more to it than that; there was a twist. I was a 34-year-old, wet-behind-the-ears campaign manager for Herbert Baldwin – a Republican – while Ralph was a prestigious 42–year old Westport community leader – and a Democrat.

And so, in 1957 when the RTM members were voting to elect a new Moderator, Ralph, as my campaign manager, was asked to help count the ballots. When he had finished – but before the results were announced – he slipped into the seat next to me and whispered, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, “You got it!”

What a friend! I have never forgotten that smile, nor those joyful words from Ralph – “You got it.”

That was the beginning of a long civic partnership between Ralph and me, a partnership that culminated in the construction of the new Library.

If you happened to read my comments abut Ralph in the newspaper last week, you know that as president of the Library during those tumultuous years – tumultuous because we were building it on a dump, for goodness sake – I indicated we never would have raised enough money without Ralph.

That’s true – he was magnificent.

He asked…and invariably, he got.

He convinced one donor to turn his $25,000 pledge into a $300,000 donation. He convinced another donor to match that gift.

He negotiated the sale of the old library for $2,800,000, and smiled while the partners in that deal – whenever they saw Ralph or me – would hold their heads in their hands, as if to imply, “Why have you done this to us?”

Well, those are my stories, and I have a zillion more.

But you have your stories, too, and when this memorial service is concluded I hope, as I suggested earlier, that you will mingle with each other and compare notes on the Ralph Sheffer we all knew and respected.

And finally, before we leave this remarkable building and this remarkable event, it seems fitting that you and I have the last word.

And so, with tears in our eyes but joy in our hearts, we say…

…goodbye Ralph – and thanks for the memories.


Allen Raymond

Posted by Emily at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2006

Photos from the Memorial

Here's the first set of photos from today's memorial.

Liz took these:

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These are from Dave Matlow
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Posted by Emily at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

Memorial Today

11 a.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Memorial Service for Ralph Sheffer

Brian's speaking on behalf of the grandchildren and sent me a copy of his remarks (as prepared, no doubt he'll adlib)

Hopefully they'll send me some pictures later.

Brian's remarks:

Good morning.

Ralph Sheffer was my grandfather. He was a great man. And I miss him.

And by the turnout today, I know I am not the only person who thought that, nor the only one who misses him. Thank you all for being here today and for your love and support of my family.

I have the privilege of representing Ralph’s grandkids. There are five of us in all: me, my older sister Emily, my younger sister Betty and younger brother Eduard, and my cousin Brooke, who is here today. I also want to recognize Liz and Annie, my two step-sisters, and Lois Schine’s eight grandchildren. My grandfather loved each of them like his own and I know they would say they are lucky to have had him, as Lois’ granddaughter, Cody, liked to say, as their ‘Spare Grandpa.” And, I want to introduce my wife, Karen. My grandfather absolutely adored Karen – he immediately welcomed her into our family and lit up whenever she entered the room – as do I.

When a person dies we have an opportunity to remember what made them special and the contribution they made to each of us. I have had the opportunity this past week to remember my grandfather, to read some of his papers, recall his jokes, and hear stories from friends and family.

In all that I have read and heard, something has become clear to me: I am on a path very similar to the one my grandfather took in life. My grandfather devoted a substantial part of his life to politics and public service. I too have the caught the political bug. My grandfather was a salesman and an advertising executive. And though the technology has changed some, I now work in the same field. And my grandfather was a generous husband, a caring father, and friend to many. I certainly hope that the trajectory of my life will follow that course as well.

But really, it was sports that that has always connected us. Let me share a few quick stories:

I attended the University of Michigan, and in 1997, my freshman year, the Wolverines went undefeated and were invited to play in the Rose Bowl. I immediately made my plans to attend. A few days before I left on my trip, I got a package from my grandfather in the mail. On the cover of the envelope he scrawled in his shaky handwriting “Brian – I was a senior when I made my first visit and you will do it when you’re a freshman.”

My grandfather traveled to Pasadena, California in 1934 to watch his Columbia Lions upset Stanford University 7-0. The game is considered the greatest sports upset in the last 100 years and remains Columbia’s only bowl victory in their history.

I believe that game served as inspiration to my grandfather, who went on to be an executive with the Spencer Advertising Company and helped to sell sponsorships, and develop programs for sports teams and events, including the Rose Bowl.

When I opened the envelope my grandfather had sent me, I found the official program from the 1965 Rose Bowl between Michigan and Oregon State, which my grandfather had helped to produce. Michigan went on to win that game, and the national championship.

I left Michigan after my sophomore year and a few years later, found my way to Columbia to finish college. My first order of business upon arriving on campus was joining the heavyweight crew team --- as coxswain. And two years later, in March of 2002, I helped honor my grandfather for his contributions to Columbia by leading a new boat, the Ralph Sheffer ’34, into a race on the Harlem River.

At the time, I wrote this for Columbia’s student paper:

My grandfather was a coxswain here at Columbia in the early 1930s. He was recruited during the first days of his freshman year because he was small -- his weight was just shy of 100 pounds at the time -- and joined not even knowing how to swim. By the end of his four years, he helped to lead what the yearbook described as "the finest long distance crew Columbia has had since the Championship 1929 eight” – a team that won the IRA Regatta, our sport's national championship.

Together, we swap stories about rowing. He tells me of the time that he was thrown into the Harlem River after a race, only to spend the remainder of the semester in bed recovering from pneumonia. He speaks fondly of the rowers from the crew his junior year who went on to represent the United States at the Olympic trials.

My grandfather's name can be found carved into the wood paneling of [the Columbia] boathouse, along with other rowers and coxswains who have proudly worn the "C" into battle. I proudly join that battle. Like he was, I am the smallest member of the team by far, and of course, the coxswain. I am the guy in the back of the boat who yells "stroke" and is thrown into the water after winning a race, just as he did more than seven decades ago.

My crew failed to win the inaugural race with the new boat, but the sleek yellow Empacher shell that bears my Grandfather’s name has delivered some key victories for Columbia and remains one of the jewels of the Lions’ fleet.

And lastly, there is my grandfather’s deep love of baseball – which I most definitely share.

In 1997, when I made a pilgrimage for baseball – driving the country and visiting all the major league baseball stadiums, the hall of fame, the all star-game, and even throwing out the first pitch at a minor league ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama – it was my grandfather who most understood the importance of the quest, and whose sponsorship made it possible.

You see, for many, baseball is just a sport, a form of entertainment. For my grandfather and I, the game of baseball is something more profound. Just as religion provides a structure and form to many people’s lives, baseball served as the foundation that my adult relationship with my grandfather was built on and the prism through which we viewed life together. To us, baseball was a religion.

True baseball fans are so consumed by the game [that] they devote their lives to their favorite teams, as parishioners do to their congregations. They read the daily sports pages in newspapers, devouring reports and features about their favorite teams and players as the devotedly read and re-read their holy scripture each day looking for guidance. They learn to speak the language of baseball, to dissect box scores of games, and to re-create narratives of at bats, innings, and series', just as the faithful tell of their religion's triumphs while evangelizing to the masses.

Of course, my grandfather worshiped at the House that Ruth Built – pouring his energy and focus into the Yankees more than any other team, in any other sport. All 26 of the Yankees championships came during his lifetime, and I am confident he watched every single one of them unfold. In fact, it seemed at times that he watched every game their ever played. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he liked my wife so much – Karen is a big time Yankees fan. Me? Not so much. But, even I would have welcomed a 27th championship for the Bronx Bombers if it meant my grandfather could have experienced that wonderful sensation one more time.

I only remember attending one game with my grandfather: a contest against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on a beautiful, and bright, Sunday afternoon. But nearly all our visits and phone calls were consumed with talk about baseball. Sports provided us with a shared sense of meaning and a common language. Each season, each time I visit a ballpark, every championship the Yankees win in the future will provide me with a chance to remember my grandfather and the time we had together.

I am grateful to all of you for being here today. And thank you for helping to celebrate the wonderful contribution my grandfather has made to each of us, and this community. We will all miss his humor, his wonderful stories, and his passion for life. I hope that you all find a little something in his life to carry with you, to use as inspiration when you get up in the morning and go forward. I know I will.

Thank you.


Hi Emily: My 98-yr-old mother was a friend of Ralph's in Westport. She is now in a skilled nursing facility here in Grass Valley, and she wanted me to find out all about Ralph's service for her. Of course I went right to your website. Thanks for the news coverage for those of us who couldn't be there today. I'll check back again for more photos.
Nancy
Posted by: Nancy Peach at October 9, 2006 06:10 PM

Hi Emily,It was a very wonderful memorial.Johnathans programs were perfect,very classy.All the speakers were so touching and lots of humour but Johnathan seemed to really let his feelings surface and I felt tears when he broke briefly.His music was beautiful,Doug commented that music like that should precede all such events as everyone had a chance to just listen to something so beautiful and reflect.Your family was amazing,your mom set the standard being so beautiful and composed. We had lunch at Brookside before heading home,once again your mom knew how to handle weary travelers.Lisa and John got on the 6a.m. ferry from the vineyard and made it just in time.The hall was absolutely full of people that your grandfather touched,I was proud to be there. Love,Linda P.S. We had our aging Bella when Dinah joined the family as the tiniest kitten .Bella was furious for days but they ended up being inseperable.
Posted by: linda at October 9, 2006 06:21 PM

It was a fabulous event ... Later, at lunch withe some of the out-of-towners we had a chance to tell Ralph stories .. I told a bit of your mom's story, nancy, so you all were there in spirit.
Posted by: lisa kimball at October 10, 2006 07:33 AM

Posted by Emily at 07:13 AM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2006

Sleepy Sunday

With S still out on his field study in SoCal (due back tonight! yay!), the girls mostly napped through the day. They pretty much stayed on opposite sides of the house all day, which kept things pretty calm (still a lot of hissing if they chance upon each other though)

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Posted by Emily at 06:51 PM | Comments (536)

October 07, 2006

2 Cats, Day 2

Well the two cats have now seen each other, and continue to hiss. Mittens seems to have won the hissing contests because Bonnie has retreated back to her favorite spot out in the garden for now. Mittens is hiding behind my desk, but did come out long enough for me to put her new collar on her in case she decides to explore the garden and figures out how to scale the walls (I wouldn't put anything past her... last night she opened up the door to the bathroom cupboard and slept there on the second shelf with the light bulbs)

Here's Mittens with the light bulbs

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Here's Bonnie keeping an eye on things from outside
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And Mittens crouched, ready to hiss at Bonnie when she comes near
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Posted by Emily at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Looking over the Propositions

My sample ballot and voter information guide (191 pages) have arrived for the upcoming Nov 7th election, so its time to start looking into the many different propositions that will be on the ballot. Here's what will be on the ballot in my district with links to some resources about them:

Proposition 1A: Transportation Funding Protection
Should the California Constitution be amended to further protect the state sales tax revenues for transportation purposes from general-purpose use and require any funds borrowed to be repaid to the transportation fund?

Proposition 1B: Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security
Should the state sell $19.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund state and local transportation improvement projects to relieve congestion, improve movement of goods, improve air quality, and enhance safety and security of the transportation system?

Proposition 1C: Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006
Should the state sell $2.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund housing for lower-income residents and development in urban areas near public transportation?

Proposition 1D: Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities
Should the state sell $10.4 billion in general obligation bonds to fund repair and upgrade of public schools, including kindergarten through grade 12, community colleges, and state universities?

Proposition 1E: Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention
Should the state sell $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds to finance disaster preparedness and flood prevention projects at the state and local levels?

Proposition 83: Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring.
Should California amend existing laws relating to violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters to increase penalties and monitoring?

Proposition 84: Water Quality, Safety and Supply. Flood Control. Natural Resource Protection. Park Improvements.
Should the state issue $5.4 billion in bonds for a wide variety of projects related to water safety, rivers, beaches, levees, watersheds, and parks and forests?

Proposition 85: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy.
Should the California Constitution be amended to require notification of the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion?

Proposition 86: Tax on Cigarettes
Should the state impose an additional tax of $2.60 per cigarette pack to fund new and expanded health services, health insurance for children, and expand tobacco use prevention programs?

Proposition 87: Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers
Should California establish a $4 billion Clean Alternative Energy Program to reduce California's oil and gasoline consumption by 25 percent through incentives for alternative energy, education, and training?

Proposition 88: Education Funding. Real Property Parcel Tax
Should the California Constitution be amended to levy an annual $50 real property tax on most parcels with the funds allocated to five K-12 education programs?

Proposition 89: Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Limits
Should eligible candidates for state elective offices receive public campaign funding that is supported by new taxes on corporations and financial institutions, and should contribution limits be imposed on those candidates that do not receive public campaign funding?

Proposition 90: Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property
Should the California Constitution be amended to require government to pay property owners for substantial economic losses resulting from some new laws and rules, and limit government authority to take ownership of private property?

Local Measures

Measure A: Land Use Initiative -- County of Santa Clara (Majority Approval Required)
Shall the County General Plan be amended to reenact and modify certain existing provisions and add provisions for hillsides, open space, ranchlands, and rural areas in unincorporated areas of the County, including limiting minimum parcel size on ranchlands and hilltops to 160 acres, with exceptions, limiting building size, and prohibiting the Board of Supervisors from making changes to the General Plan inconsistent with these amendments?

Measure F: Amend General Plan -- City of Morgan Hill (Majority Approval Required)
Shall an ordinance be adopted to amend the Morgan Hill General Plan and Municipal Code Residential Development Control System to allow 100 additional residential allotments for projects of up to 25 units within the Downtown Core; and allowing earlier starts and completions for projects located within the Downtown RDCS Boundary allotted in March 2006; provided that all projects are consistent with the Downtown Plan and meet minimum RDCS scores?

Guides
League of Women Voters Easy Voter Guide (Propositions)
Smart Voter.org

Endorsements
Speak Out California (lists endorsements from Speak Out, Cal Nurses, CLCV, CA Now, Sierra Club, CA Dems, and Cal Labor Fed)
Democratic Party Endorsements
California League of Conservation Voters endorsements

Posted by Emily at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Special Topics in Calamity Physics

calamity.jpgFinished Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl last night. Mom had raved about it and then passed it along to me when I was there last week. I, of course, loved it too.

The web site for the book is cool (though it reminds me of JK Rowling's)

Here's the official description:

Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a darkly hilarious coming-of-age novel and a richly plotted suspense tale told through the distinctive voice of its heroine, Blue van Meer. After a childhood moving from one academic outpost to another with her father (a man prone to aphorisms and meteoric affairs), Blue is clever, deadpan, and possessed of a vast lexicon of literary, political, philosophical, and scientific knowledge—and is quite the cineaste to boot. In her final year of high school at the elite (and unusual) St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, Blue falls in with a charismatic group of friends and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. But when the drowning of one of Hannah’s friends and the shocking death of Hannah herself lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instincts and cultural references to guide—or misguide—her.


Structured around a syllabus for a Great Works of Literature class and containing ironic visual aids (drawn by the author), Pessl’s debut novel is complex yet compelling, erudite yet accessible. It combines the suspense of Hitchcock, the self-parody of Dave Eggers, and the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt with a dazzling intelligence and wit entirely Pessl’s own.

Kathryn suggested The Secret History as a follow-up.

Posted by Emily at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2006

Welcome Mittens!

There's a new member of our household today, Mittens, my grandfather's cat, who arrived this afternoon and is currently being sequestered in the guest bathroom until she and Mitzy can get used to each other.

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Thank you to Martina for arranging the transport, to Mom for making the trip possible, and to Emy and my wonderful work colleages for all their advice on introducing a new cat.

Mitzy is not taking it well so far and is camped out in front of the bathroom making hissing noises, but hopefully they'll both come around and at least tolerate each other if not become friends.

Posted by Emily at 03:34 PM | Comments (19)

October 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Eduard!

Happy birthday today to Eduard!
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and happy birthday to Peter and Steve!

Posted by Emily at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2006

Institute for the Connected Society

Leading Media Analysts Launch New Institute for the Connected Society

Among the board of advisors: Brian Reich, Senior Strategic Consultant, Mindshare Interactive Campaigns

The newly launched Institute for the Connected Society convenes thought leaders across disciplines to understand, apply and experiment with technology-enabled media to create better-informed global citizens. More information available at http://www.ifocos.org.

Posted by Emily at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

Building Progress

Check out the latest views of the new library!

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Live web cam link

Posted by Emily at 11:17 AM | Comments (1)

October 03, 2006

2 More Books

2 more books read/listened to:

Charlie Bone And The Hidden King (Children of the Red King)
I just love Charlie Bone -- maybe even more than I like Harry P.

Elsewhere
by Gabrielle Zevin
This was a wonderful story to listen to -- and really nice to imagine the afterlife as such a nice place.

And 2 more came in the mail from the paperback book swap!

Dancing in the Dark by Mary Jane Clark
and
The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin

Thank you to everyone who is participating in the paperback book swap -- it's so much fun to open the mailbox and discover all these books!

Posted by Emily at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2006

Yom Kippur

Sunset tonight, BTW, is 6:48 PM here.

To entertain you in the meantime: Bad Attitude on Yom Kippur

Posted by Emily at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2006

Westport Now and Other Writeups

By request, here's another link to the Westport Now write-up of Grandpa, and a copy of the write-up in PDF

Here's what the Westport News had to say: "In a town with a long list of luminaries over the years, Ralph Sheffer, who died Tuesday at the age of 93, shined more brightly than many." Plus an obituary published there.

Also, this appeared in the NY Times on 9/27:

SHEFFER--Ralph. We mark with sorrow the passing of our beloved uncle and brother-in-law. We will miss his warmth, kindness and sense of humor. We will miss him terribly. With our love and respect. Susan Malloy, Jennifer Malloy Combs, Timon Malloy and the entire Malloy Family
Published in the New York Times on 9/27/2006.

I believe there were two others in the Times, but they're not appearing in their web search.

Plus I found this nice piece from 2002 that Brian wrote for the Columbia paper, Two Coxswains, One Legacy

And a random quote: "The fact is that you are concentrating, and the adrenaline is running like mad at that moment when you are in combat. It’s exciting, and you just have to be so damned alert."
- Ralph Sheffer, Battleship North Carolina, Oral History

Posted by Emily at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

Visitors

I got back to California late last night. Right before I left Westport, Katy, Meagan and their parents stopped by! It was so great to see them all!
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2 more paperback books came from the paperback book swap while I was away:
Bandit Queen Boogie by Sparkle Hayter
and
Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn by Kris Radish
both postmarked from Philadelphia

Posted by Emily at 08:46 AM | Comments (1)