At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Fall break. These three day weekends can be hard to get through, but I have an addiction which helps while the hours away. A couple of undergrad suppliers gave the stuff away at first to get me hooked. I'm talking about Squaresoft RPGs for PS2. After finishing Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X, I borrowed an older title, Chrono Cross, from one of the student workers. I've spent six hours on it today. There is a lot of frustration in wandering around looking for the next clue, or getting repeatedly beat by some formidable Boss, but the intense thrill of finally deciphering the puzzle or defeating the foe keeps me going despite glazed eyes and tendonitis. It occurred to me I could be doing more fulfilling things with my life, but when I considered alternate possibilities I came up blank.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Movie Time!

I saw Luther in Lubbock on the way back from a regional library meeting in the town of Lamesa. (Just one of many apt toponyms in the area, along with Levelland, Plainview, South Plains, Shallowater, Brownfield, Bovina, Earth, Cotton Center, etc.) There are some true stories which I find so interesting that I can easily overlook even major flaws in their cinematic presentation. For instance, I liked The Messenger even though Besson distorted Joan of Arc's character and story pretty significantly. Luther is a better movie, though it has its share of weaknesses. The portrayal of Luther misses the mark slightly, highlighting his deep spirituality, scrupulosity, and compassion, but underemphasizing his anger, sarcasm, and earthiness. Fienne's Luther, with his delicate features and puppy-dog eyes, comes across more like St. Francis than like a miner's son who called a theological opponent a "vile cloaca" and loved his beer and bowling. There are some icky sentimental fictions designed to add a human interest angle to the theological controversy: in one, Luther rebels against the religious teaching of the day to have a suicide given a Christian burial; in another, he befriends a young grimy peasant woman and her crippled daughter. Still, the basic outline of the plot is accurate, and hats off to Eric Till for ignoring a distributor's demand that he remove "all the Jesus stuff." (Imagine a movie about Abraham Lincoln without "all the slavery stuff.") Watching the movie reminded me that despite the things I find attractive in Catholicism, I still agree with the basic agenda of the Reformation.

I was planning to see Kill Bill and Intolerable Cruelty at the local movie house, because matinee showings are only $2, but after only a week they're both gone, replaced with a useless Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and a Cuba Gooding Jr. movie which looks disgustingly Heart Warming. So I'll have to drive down to the big city and plunk down the $7.

Thursday, October 23, 2003 offers a new feature, "Search Inside the Book," a full-text keyword search of "more than 122,000 books." The problem is that this function is "integrated into our standard search," but I can think of cases in which one would prefer to search only the bibliographic record--e.g. in searching for books by a particular famous author, it seems that now one will have to sift through books in which the author is merely referred to, however tangentially. But I haven't taken the time to play with it yet. Probably the search engine ranks items with the search term in the record higher than those in which the search term only appears in the text.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The first issue of Public Library of Science--Biology has been published.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I screwed up my old template trying to install the darn Weather Pixie, which is reporting three-hour old data anyway, so I'm not sure it was worth it. Rather than try to salvage the old template, I just chose a new pre-fabricated one; it's probably time for a little remodelling around the Biblioblog house.

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