July 22, 2008


This is a link to a post on The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies blog in Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a great description of what a processing archivist (i.e. ME) does. My archives has collections related to the University and very few personal letters, but it's mostly the same.

A Day in the Life of an Archivist...or...I read your mail

July 10, 2008

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie

By Jordan Sonnenblick

I've read another book by this author and I really enjoyed it. He writes from the teen male perspective really well. He does a really good job of telling stories that you could imagine really happening. I'm not, nor have I ever been, a teen male, but I almost feel like I can relate to the main character because he is so real and his voice is so true. (how's that for a pretentious phrase)

Steven is just starting high school and trying to figure everything out. He's lusting after the hot girl in class and working hard to be the best drummer in the all-city jazz band. His life takes a dramatic turn when his little brother, Jeffrey, gets sick. Everything changes and he has to figure out who he is and learn what he can and can't do to affect his situation.

It's a great story, and a quick but satisfying read.

Slaughterhouse Five

By Kurt Vonnegut

Every now and then I like to read a book that falls into the "literature" category. Normally, I gravitate towards very light, general fiction within the young adult sphere, but I recognize that there are good books out there that I might not immediately think to read. This is one of those books. People like to talk about how they had to read it for a class in high school or college and what they did or didn't get out of it.

It was creatively written in that it was a story within a story, kind of like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I thought that was interesting. And it kind of centers around the bombing of Dresden during WWII, which I will admit I don't know much about, but made for an interesting centerpiece. But other than that I didn't really like it. It was just weird. When the literary types rave about a book and say how it had deep meaning and all that, they lose me. Here's a direct quote from the back of the book: "Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know." What?! That sounds so pretentious and it means nothing to me.

It's a book about a guy who writes a book about a character who was a prisoner of war during WWII and managed to survive the bombing of Dresden and who gets "unstuck" in time so keeps popping in and out of different periods of his life, which include a number of years when he was abducted by aliens and placed in the "human" exhibit in their zoo. Again...WTF? If the description of the book was ever actually clearly stated anywhere I wonder how many people would actually read it.


By Chris Van Allsburg
2002 - Houghton Mifflin Company

This is a picture book so I almost feel like I’m cheating by having it on my reading list, but I really don’t think the quality of a book can be judged by it’s length or whether or not it has illustrations. Chris Van Allsburg has quite an imagination so reading any of his picture books is a treat. This particular book is loosely a sequel to Jumanji. Both books have been made into very clever and fun movies, but I have to say I almost always like the book better.
This book is a more simplified version of the movie (which I saw first) and I like it because of that. It’s still a great imaginative adventure in outerspace, but it’s quick and engaging without really over-thinking anything. Two thumbs up.

Love, Rosie

By Cecelia Ahern

I heard about this author because she got a lot of buzz because her father was the Prime Minister of Ireland from 1997 until just recently. I imagine she had trouble being seen as a successful author apart from who her famous father was. I, for one, think she has talent. Her first book was P.S. I Love You, which was adapted into a very sad, yet touching movie.

This book, Love, Rosie tells the story of two best friends, Rosie and Alex, who become best friends at the age of 6 and remain tight for years and years. It follows their lives, but the twist is that it is completely told through correspondence. You read about their lives through e-mails, letters, IM conversations, birthday cards and more. It’s so creative and rather well done. It does take a little while to get into it because there is no narrative so you have to pay attention and kind of fill in the blanks yourself. But it’s not hard and it's fun to see what happens next. The two main characters are a bit of a departure from the goodie-goodie hero and heroine that are the usual fare in books. You are definitely rooting for them as you read, but you laugh along as they get in trouble and make sketchy decisions. I also love that it's set in Dublin. I’d say it’s worth picking up and reading at your leisure.

4th of July

This year for the 4th of July, my parents came to visit for the day. It was a truncated visit since they had to make it back to MI for a wedding on Saturday, but we stuffed as much into their time here as possible.
We got up early (kinda) Friday morning and headed to Naperville to catch the Metra into Chicago. Once we were in the city we headed directly to the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park to experience the food and crowds and craziness that is “The Taste”. It was a total blast! It took some discussion and observation to figure out buying the tickets (which are used in place of cash at all the booths) and then there was more discussion about which booth to hit up for Chicago Style pizza. Pizza in hand, we then walked around a bit looking for a good place to sit and finally found a bench right across from the Buckingham Fountain with an excellent view of the lake.

More eating, more walking, taking a picture of our reflection in "the bean" and a slight delay at Union Station and we headed back to Romeoville.
After a short siesta to rest a little and brush our teeth, we headed down into Joliet to attend a Joliet Jackhammer’s baseball game. It’s the minor league team in the area and our seats were pretty close (7th or 8th row up, behind the home team dugout). It was pretty normal baseball fare except that they kept hitting foul balls that went out into the crowd or above our heads out of the stadium. I don’t go to many baseball games (or watch many games on TV for that matter), but I thought it was unusual. The most exciting bit during the game was the “foul ball of death” that almost killed us. We were so used to the balls going out into the stands and the street that I kind of stopped watching where they went. One ball went up over our heads and I lost sight of it and assumed it had gone out of the stadium until it landed on the seat right in front of my mom and bounced off the seat next to her and calmly rolled away. It caused quite the ruckus. Everyone around us was talking about how if the people who were sitting there had been in their seats (which they had been except both sets of people got up to get food so they weren’t their when the ball came down) they would have gotten hurt, etc., etc. Needless to say I was very vigilant of all the foul balls for the rest of the game.
After the excitement of the game (The Jackhammers came back from 5 to 1 to tie it in the 8th inning and win it in the 9th) there were fireworks set to really peppy and exciting classical music (you know the type I mean). It was a great show and there were appropriate oohing and aahing noises all around.

On Saturday morning we got up and went to play a round of miniature golf. I found a place online that is relatively new (I think) and right next to a small airfield so we were playing on a well cared for course and watching small two-seater plans take-off and land. It was all very exciting. The weather was perfect for being outdoors. The best part of the morning was when my dad got a call from a salesperson on his cell phone and said “I’m actually on the golf course right now so I can’t talk”. Ha.
It was the most fun I’ve had on the 4th of July in a long time. The only thing missing was my bro, but he was off having fun in WI.

USF Security Cart

I started my job at USF in January so this is my first summer on the campus. One of my favorite things that came out of storage when spring arrived was the security golf cart. How can you not think that’s cool? I’m not sure if it necessarily intimidates would-be hooligans, and I’m pretty sure I would start giggling if I actually saw any of the security staff riding around in it, but it sure looks good sitting in the quad outside their office.


My last golf lesson for the summer has been cancelled due to inclement weather. While it's true that I don't want to stand in an open field during a storm with a lightning rod in my hand I'm disappointed not to be going. Maybe that's a sign that I need to take this sport up seriously. hmm. I'll ponder that while I sit in my dry apartment tonight.

July 3, 2008


I am taking a class at Joliet Junior College to learn the basics of Photoshop. So far it is 50% exciting and 50% frustrating. I still have a long way to go to make believable looking photoshop pictures, but I'm off to a pretty good start. I thought I would share my amazing works of art. Enjoy.