Saturday, October 23, 2004

Boyhowdy, With A Keyboard, In The Library 

Lying down and standing up hurt too much, and for some reason, the ergonomically-sound desk chairs at work are the only chairs that take the pressure off my sciatic nerve. So most nights in the past few weeks I've found myself in an otherwise closed and darkened library, my only company thousands of books, dozens of computers, and the knocks of the radiators behind the ancient portraits of ancient founders and donors, settling into myself as the campus outside "my" windows grows quiet and cold.

It's quite peaceful, actually. Except when the security guys come through on their nightly lock-check, which tends to scare the hell out of me no matter how predictable their timing, because who watches the clock in a timeless and unpopulated universe?

Anyway, staring at a screen only takes up so much of my time, and it's too creepy to read, so I've taken to letting the ol' mind wander, gathering thoughts thunk in the dark. Here's today's "what I've been thinking about" trifecta, an especially disconnected set of randomalia -- must be the vicodin, or maybe all those surrounding walls of words or something?
  • If I could have any pet in the world, I'd have a screech owl, and handle her barehanded (those claws can pinch, but not so much they puncture, and they tend to weigh less than a pound -- they're mostly feathers). Since it's not legal to own birds of prey, though, second choice would absolutely be a hedgehog. The two used to me my favorite animals to demonstrate way back when I worked the stages at the Boston Museum of Science. Pity I'm better with the kinds of livethings that can prompt you to take care of them, which is why I tend to kill plants. Pity, too, that the cat and dog would destroy either one if we ever actualkly had the chance to get one or the other.

  • Darcie told me she and Willow saw Norah Jones on Sesame Street singing Elmo a version of her hit song while waiting for a visit from her friend the letter Y. You know: Waited by the house of fun...don't know why Y doesn't come... Stuff like that. Those guest shots used to be my favorite bits on Sesame Street, and the Paul Simon episode of the Muppets is still my favorite to watch with Willow -- we saw it today while Darcie napped, in fact, before thermos hot chocolate on a cold blanket-wrapped afternoon at the big Varsity Football game against Andover. How odd is it to wish I had time to get to Sesame Street more often?

    [Update 9:19 p.m. Wish you'd seen Norah on Sesame Street? NetMusic Countdown reports the episode will repeat Nov. 5.]

  • Gee, this new Info Commons rocks. I especially love the 42 inch screen and long umbillical cord keyboard at the half-ovoid table, which shows how powerful a change in workstation environment can be; where group projects used to end up overwhelmingly driven by the kid who sat in front of the screen and keyboard, calling into question the actual albeit desired collaboration occuring, I find that the distance from screen-to-users, and the chnaged relationship between users and screen that results, makes for an actual and perceptual even distribution of ownership in normal group use. Of course, the really smart kids have learned that holding the keyboard and sitting next to the screen makes them the presenter and the rest of the group the audience, but that kind of positioning is so counterintuitive I've only seen one kid "get it" (and she was supposed to be presenting to the group, and she's also one of my bestandbrightest workjob kids in that space, so it's all good).

posted by boyhowdy | 8:28 PM |

appropriate (and torturous) celebratory gesture: redesign!

I dug it when Stevie Wonder came on da Street and sang that bizarre and funkified version of the theme song.

"OOOONE TWOOO THREEEE - Seasame Streeeeet!"
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