At Home He's a Tourist

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lemony Snicket on HPL

Had a useful meeting with the education department in which I let them know how much money they had left (especially since the ERIC database is now free). I passed around a list of their standing orders, hoping that they would want to cancel the Children's Literature Review and Something About the Author subscriptions which eat up thousands of dollars a year, hog shelf space in the reference section, and gather dust. In fact they didn't even remember requesting that they be put on standing order to begin with. However, last year I sent the list to the dept. chair by campus mail and asked that he review it for titles no longer necessary. He sent it back with no revisions. I guess this is an object lesson in the value of meeting with people face to face.

I decided not to extend my San Antonio trip into a weekend vacation--I need to save my money and energy for the Japan trip next week. Don't worry, though, Felix; I've already made my Texan hajj.

Monday, April 18, 2005

It's that busy season when we need to spend all our money before the end of the FY. The book review blurbs and publisher catalog clippings I've saved all year come in handy now. We spent a few thousand on religion titles today. That critical edition of Beethoven also took a hefty chunk out of the surplus. But we still have about $20k that needs to be spent by May.

I have to take a last-minute business meeting to San Antonio on Wednesday. It's a trip that our distance librarian would have taken except that he had knee surgery today and won't be mobile for a few weeks. I'm wondering if I should make it a vacation, since the flight at least is free.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Getting back into DVD watching. This weekend:

Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind--An early Miyazaki recently released on DVD. Similar to Princess Mononoke, at least as far as I can remember (warrior princess defends ecosystem against an invading early-industrial society). The synth soundtrack is a little dated, but otherwise it's a typically high-quality Studio Ghibli product.

Time of the Wolf--This second pairing of director Michael Haneke and actress Isabelle Huppert didn't make quite the impact on me that The Piano Teacher did, but it was still strangely engrossing--maybe because I kept hoping we'd find out the nature of the event which has apparently destroyed European civilization (a hope which was ultimately futile). It's a convincingly grim look at the state of nature, although not quite full-blown Hobbesian because some of the characters manage to maintain relationships that are grounded on something beside mutual self-interest. The movie made me grateful for property laws and police forces--I would have been eaten alive in that situation.