At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Spent all day finishing up that issue of Choice, and am pretty sick of it by now. My technique has been this: if a book is especially appropriate or highly rated, I go to our catalog to make sure we don't already have it, and then to our acquisitions spreadsheet to make sure it's not on order. Then I try to retrieve other reviews, mostly using amazon (they helpfully excerpt reviews from library and publishing periodicals) and Academic Search Premier (a convenient one-stop shopping source for both citations and full-text articles in all disciplines). Two opposite problems can arise: too few or too many reviews. One cause of the former problem is that Choice reviews books quickly, whereas reviews in academic journals can be printed over a year later. If there's no rush, perhaps in these cases I should put off a decision to buy a book until more reviews become available. When there is a glut of reviews, a simple solution is to read only reviews from more serious periodicals (ignoring newspapers, general interest magazines, etc.)

I can't imagine there is a bigger sky anywhere on the planet than on the Llano Estacado. Drive outside of town and there are no trees, buildings, or hills to block the view; just table-flat horizon stretching to the limits of human vision. The sunsets can be impressive.

I'm liking the Netflix experience very much. As a hermit in his cell might wait eagerly for his meal to be slid under the door after a long fast, I'm already anticipating the next batch of DVD's to be dropped through my mail slot to satiate my starved pop culture appetite. Tonight I saw "Italian for Beginners," which was filmed in an extreme cinema-verite style with unsteady hand held video cameras and no soundtrack. But despite the experimental cinematography, the storyline was a conventional tale of lonely people finding love. As is usual in movies, the actresses in these roles are implausibly good-looking, c.f. Michelle Pfeiffer as a mousy wall-flower in Batman Returns, Sandra Bullock as a computer geek in The Net...


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