At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Being stuck in the Plains, I often drool over library job postings in more appealing locales, like this one. If only I knew Italian...

I went here to see this band last night. The newspaper described them as "alternative rock," but they were too rootsy for that categorization. Their original material was boring enough that their covers of Tom Petty and John Mellencamp, artists I normally despise, actually sounded quite good in comparison. On the plus side, the drinks were cheap, although they didn't have any vermouth for martinis and they hadn't even heard of a Manhattan (most people in the bar were drinking blue collar stuff like Bud Light or Jaegermeister). I suppose I'll keep trying a few more times to find some decent live music. Surprise of surprises, there's a concert here in town with a couple of local Christian bands playing in a restored theater. I'm not normally a fan of Christian rock but in the Bible Belt it's hard to escape, so it might be a good idea to squeeze whatever enjoyment I can out of it.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Jimmy Guterman, rock journalist and web master, offers these suggestions for a music industry worried about being bled to death by Kazaa and other Napster clones. But I don't see the logic: people aren't pirating music just because it's convenient, but because they want something for nothing. Cool how technology, which made recorded music possible, may now make it obsolete. If copyrights are impossible to protect, and 99% of people are greedy bastards who don't respect intellectual property, then no one will bother spending the money to record and release a record--there won't be enough profit in it. Could the long-term consequences be welcome? Maybe music will become primarily a live event, and exotic regional varieties which were bred away by national radio programming will sprout up again.

In that vein, I think I'm gonna go to Lubbock to check out a band from DFW playing at the "Blue Spot."

Hmm, I haven't had many comments lately. I better express some provocative opinions. Let me try this:

Massively overrated rock artists:The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, The Ramones, Nirvana, Elvis Costello.

I found that the Bushmills was a little flavorless (tho' stiff) and the Amaretto too sweet. That's what I get for betraying my true love, Lady Geneva.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Criminal Justice put in their requests. No printed matter in the bunch--all of the items are videos.

The library staff is so small here that we all have to do a little bit of everything, which I find more helpful than distracting as far as my collection development work goes. At the reference desk I can get some idea of what information students are looking for and whether our collection can meet their needs; it was a reference question that led me to discover that we don't have a biography of Walt Disney. I've also had to man the circulation desk occasionally when a student worker is busy or absent, and on one such occasion someone checked out our paperback copy of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, which I noticed was falling apart--so I ordered a new, hardbound copy.

French DVD o' the week: La Seule Fille from 1995, starring a young Virginie Ledoyen as Valerie, a proud, beautiful teenager who, alternately sullen and argumentative, has difficulty relating to everyone around her. The story made an almost convincing case that being beautiful has its problems: at work most of the women envy and distrust Valerie and most of the men pester her. No one can deny the appeal of Ledoyen in a short skirt, but this film's rigid devotion to cinema verite makes it occasionally boring. In the service of realism it is filmed in real time and does not flinch from the mundane: unedited scenes of Valerie walking down corridors, waiting at elevators, making her face. The ending was a bit irresolute, too, but I guess that is also supposed to reflect real life. In its favor, I enjoyed the acting and there was enough interpersonal melodrama to make up for the slow parts. Grade: B

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

To illustrate just how much thought profs put into their book requests: I found the exact same book circled in two different catalogs.

Thanks to "Felix" for this link to a story about shoddy book review practices. Shows how hard work and integrity can be a positive hindrance to success in this world.

For those who despair over the disagreements and ecclesiastical balkanization among sola scriptura Protestants and start hankering for the supposedly pellucid and infallible teachings of the RC church, it is instructive to see how, in response to the current Iraq crisis, even faithful Catholics are disagreeing in their interpretation of the Catechism on just war.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

A friend of mine has been encouraging me to take up home brewing, and this story might just be inspirational enough to get me started. (Thanks to my brother for the link.)

In my devotional reading I've finished Proverbs and started Ecclesiastes. The motto for all bloggers: "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity."

Sunday I went to church at St. Christopher's in Lubbock for the second time. Too bad the interior of the church is so drab. The front wall, being the visual backdrop for the altar and the sacred mystery that goes on there, should present some intimations of the divine, but at this church the wall is paneled in 1970s faux-oak and only bears a simple cross, sans corpus, and some abstract rectangular molding. The stained glass windows along the side walls are mere slits. There are, however, some nice little mosaics of biblical figures placed along the wall at regular intervals; at first I took them to be the Stations of the Cross.

After the service I attended the young adult group that is just getting started. There were four of us, plus two middle-aged women leading the discussion. I felt somewhat out of place since the other three students were all Texas Tech undergraduates much younger than myself. (I suspect that this sense of dislocation is, at this point in the game, a permanent feature of my life.) The one other male of the group, a young Army vet and Sports Physiology major with a buzz cut, Texas drawl and muscled physique, seemed very enthusiastic about making the group a social outlet as well as a spiritual community, and showed touching concern about me being alone in a new place. He's the son of a Baptist preacher but found that church too stifling. Two female students showed up as well, one extremely attractive in a German racial-purity sort of way, and very open and personable as well, the other not as pretty but more intelligent, with a somewhat edgy personality, speaking loudly, quickly, and articulately, and wearing a beatnik dress and kerchief. I'm predicting that this group will be too small and heterogenous to maintain long-term stability, but we'll see.

Nothing much new happening in the library biz. A prof in the political science department asked if he could keep videos we purchased with his department's library budget! Some people can seem like members of another species.

Monday, February 24, 2003

I'm getting a lot of video requests from faculty. Fully half of the biology budget, for instance, has gone to Insight Media and Are our students dumb or are our profs just lazy?