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Sunday, September 9, 2007

After a long hiatus, the Informatician Extraordinaire has returned--make that the electronic litigation hold discusser, over-achieving crafter, digitization misclassifyier, and lack of sleep-er. Oh yeah, conference and event season is upon us! Sigh...

What does this mean? Well, yours truly has basically over-extended herself. But when everything seems most hopeless, yes, she'll pull herself out of the morass of lethargy she's wallowed in for so long. Even Miss Elodie has reappeared from the mist. Come back soon for more elucidation and elevation!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yes, They're Real

One of the Informatician Extraordinaire's guilty little secrets is that she likes to get dressed up in historical costume and go to various reenactment balls. Yes, some of you are shaking your heads, but no matter! She is quite partial to the Virginia Reel and has been known to commit the heinous crime of reminding her escort that they have just announced the reel and that they must get out onto the dance floor posthaste! As you know, The Extraordinaire does nothing important to her by halves and so she is usually tricked out with a six-hoop-skirt, false braids, and a low cut ball bodice. She always attracts attention in this get-up but this time the attention got a little up close and personal.

This event took place at the re-enactor's ball in Jefferson where, during the Virginia Reel--in the middle of the set, mind you--a middle-aged woman and her friend approached The Extraordinaire saying, "Are they real?"

When this question is asked, the speaker usually references particular anatomical features. While The Extraordinaire is endowed amply enough, no one would suspect that her d├ęcolletage is "enhanced." This being an unusual and rather impertinent question to ask in the middle of a dance, all The Extraordinaire could reply was, "Pardon me?"
The woman clarified her statement, "Your shoulders, are they real? They're so white, like porcelain, we thought they were covered in some kind of fabric or gauze or something."
"Hmmm," thought The Extraordinaire.

The speaker turned to her friend and said, "They're real!" and the other woman reached over to The Extraordinaire and ran her finger over the porcelain shoulders and crooned "Oooh." Both these women had been among the party that had snuck the flasks in. Teenagers, you are not the only group that works hard to get around the laws of a dry Texas county...
"You are beautiful," said the interrogator then she turned and floated off with her friend hobbling after her.

The Extraordinaire has been waiting for the public to acknowledge what she has known all along, but really, why come over and state the obvious in the middle of a set of the Virginia Reel?!

Yet in the end, even The Extraordinaire's lovely shoulders could not stave off disaster: before the reel was completed, her beautiful hairpiece came off in her hand. (See "All is Vanity" in Miss Elodie's Diary) Exhibiting all the Presence and Verve for which she is famous, The Extraordinaire popped off the dance line, threw the braid at her seatmates, then dashed back and led the final set of the reel with her own short and now messy hair. The Extraordinaire takes her responsibility as the lady of the lead couple very seriously and was not about to shirk her duties to her partner or her admiring public. Her shoulders are real and squared in adversity even if the hair on her head during the reel isn't!

Friday, May 11, 2007

In the Cards

It's no secret that yours truly, the Informatician Extraordinaire, is a card player. No, not poker--that is a popular game right now and the Extraordinaire rarely jumps on the current bandwagon, but spades and other bidding games. She plays just about every day with her esteemed colleagues at work and her devotion to the game is such that she comes into work an extra half-hour early every morning so as to be able to ride the first park-n-ride bus and go home with her vanpool.

What is it about those 52 cards and four suits that are so appealing? Is it that the Extraordinaire triumphs so often or because she and her associates sometime laugh so loud as to cause serious harrumphing among her other co-workers. Why does the game sometime tie her stomach in knots? Perhaps she is trying to appease a picky partner (you know who you are!) or count cards so she doesn't embarrass herself too much? We'll never know. Meanwhile, if you hear a deck being shuffled in the 9th floor small conference room, you know where The Extraordinaire is playing...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tech Geeks: Ya Gatta Get One!

This is a tribute to the oft-maligned and misunderstood tech geek. Yes, they are easy to poke fun at: they dress badly, are very rumpled, often play silly role-playing or computer games, and sometimes don't smell that great. Yet they are really useful to have around: they can move furniture, take the dogs to the vet, and even tell you that the reason your computer isn't working is because the mouse is unplugged.

Yes, the Extraordinaire possesses such a creature. His name is Russell and he's been upgrading her computers for the past nine years. Lately he's been kinda lonely, as the Extraordinaire's work and hobbies have been keeping her busy. He will often fix dinner (or at least ask "what restaurant?") and keep the boys' shots updated. So, cheers to the geeks whose software quality assurance jobs are located in another part of the country thereby allowing them to work out of their home office!! Love ya, sweetie!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Informatician Extraordinaire Goes Historical!

This spring I've been helping out my employer-public agency at a series of conferences and symposiums. We sell digital copies of maps from our archival collection as well as property and military records. There I sit at my laptop and do on-the-fly research for historians and historienteds <--Hey, I've just invented a word!!> who want to know about their grandfather's land grants. My years of training in the crucible of a checkout desk at a busy public library branch BARELY get me through the events. There's nothing like a bunch of middle-aged and elderly men crowding around simultaneously telling ancestor stories and giving me random names to look up while I and my colleague desperately try to write the orders in the arcane format required by our scanning lab! Ah, but I digress...

This is a new program wherein our agency promotes resources tailored for the given audience and potential customer. It seems to be working and I think I can take credit for some of its success. Thus far we've appeared at the Texas State Historical Association (where we presented a series of papers), the Hill College Confederate History Symposium, and the conference sponsored by Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground. There are more in the planning stages. Meanwhile, until you get a chance to chat with yours truly, the Extraordinaire, visit Save Texas History!

Can you spot The Extraordinaire in this picture?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's The Informatician Extraordinaire Been Up To?

Well you may ask, my friend. I've been involved in e-mail and electronic record retention policies. Sounds uninteresting? Well, not in this post-Sarbanes-Oxley world. Here in Texas, we only need to say "Enron" to impart the gravitas of this necessary CYA.

For those Informaticians who are more behind the times than the Extraordinaire (see previous posts to see how far She can be) there are some helpful resources out there. Most of these links are courtesy of the friendly folk at ARMA International http://www.arma.org/

To help you convince your boss that they really REALLY need to listen to you, have them read this:

Once you've got the head office on your side, you've got to get to writing. Here are some guides.

Then you've got tp educate the workforce and re-enforce the message again, and again, and again...

If this is something you are doing with your organization, drop the Informatician Extraordinaire a line and tell Her how its going for you...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bookmarklets - A 2004 concept the Informatician Extraordinaire Embraces

Wow! Here's another tool that's been around for a while I'm only now implementing. For those of you who, like me, are always going back and forth between Amazon.com and your academic library, here is the link for you! Follow the instructions for adding a bookmarklet that will allow you to search your favorite library catalog.

OCLC's xISBN Bookmarks:

Monday, April 9, 2007

New Words For When You've Been Out of the Classroom Too Long

Ok, its 4:45 am here and I've not dreamed up these terms: "Folksonomies" & "Metadata Ecologies." There was a time when I might have been on the cutting edge of this. After all, my job title is "Information Architect" so why am I so behind the times? (and this post-link is over two years old... Man, I'm losing it!) I've got to look up from the sugar project (*more on this later) and be a professional information person!


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Library Thing, How Did I Ever Live Without You???

For those of you who haven't met Library Thing, you've missed out on one terrific organizational resource. I had looked around the site a while back but didn't realize the variety of ways users can import book information. A couple of years ago I had photographed all of my books and began a catalog, but I didn't get more than a third into it. Now, I'll be able to finish up much faster AND the program includes images of the book covers where available. Thank Goodness for the Twenty-First Century!

Check them out!

My List

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Well, I guess Hell may be freezing over...

I said I would never start a personal blog, but lately I've been doing more presentations, both historical and professional, and so I thought I would give the world the benefit of my wisdom.

This may be less a discussion of my life than a place to post photographs, books lists, and announce happenings. Maybe I'll even give my friends the url...