Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolution Time

1. Continue with the brand new workout regimen. Goal: no more huffing and puffing at the top of stairs, no more surprises when standing on the scales, plus the ability to lift fifty pound boxes.

2. Be more patient and less selfish. (Doesn't everyone promise this?)

3. Expand my professional horizons. Sure, I'll be part of a panel discussion at a conference this spring (GULP), but if I'm ever going to rule the planet, I need to network better.

4. Actually play some golf this year. And not just at a course with windmills and (non-golf-playing) clowns.

5. Blog more regularly, and to keep up with all you folks who actually take time to read this stuff.

Finally, I hope everyone has a happy and safe year. Congrats to some of the regulars here who had (or will have) significant events in their lives -- BA and his new son, Sports Chic and her recent marriage, Susie Cupcakes and her forthcoming wedding. And to everyone else, all of you who are bored enough to keep coming back, thanks for all the laughs,the trivia, and the nutty links.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Holiday Message

Yes, time for Archivalist's traditional holiday message to my many, many readers. During this high-stress time of overeating and overspending, remember to do your part by, well, overeating and overspending. Big business, your bank, and the credit card companies need support during the holidays too.

All those good intentions and New Year's Resolutions can wait, right? Here in Maine, I figure I've got four more months of winter to work on undoing my indulgences since Thanksgiving. At least, I hope it's only four months...

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Trashman Cometh

No, I'm not dead. Or resting, or pining for the fjords. Or even snowed in (yet). What was a busy few weeks became a busy couple of months, and now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I have a little breathing room again. So what's been going on since I've been away? Let's summarize:

...the Red Sox won the World Series. There was dancing in the streets in Maine. Really. I heard it myself. Silly fans.

...the Wife and I moved to a new (for us) apartment. We're on the second floor, away from the drafty house and the loud, motorcycle-infested street corner. has snowed five times so far, with more due imminently. See the new sidebar attraction at right.

...the Packers are 11-2! 11-2!!! So what if the Pats are unbeaten -- THE PACK IS 11-2! Unfrigginbelievable.

...the college football teams representing my alma mater, my former place of work, and my current place of work went a combined 10-24. And none of those teams was Notre Dame.'s a test to see if you're still reading: Which of these four is NOT the name of a former or current breakfast cereal? (No Googling!) 1. Optimum Slim 2. Product 19 3. Milk Floats 4. Body Buddies.

...I bought an iPod. Welcome to the 21st century, finally.

Wow. Such excitement. It's no wonder I took three months off from blogging.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

By Their Tote Bags Shall Ye Know Them

Or, Impressions of Chicago, SAA 2007.

Shuttling in from O'Hare, admiring the architecture in downtown Chicago, and not paying attention to the street names, when I see it. Black, lumpy, with that unmistakable logo on it. Then, another one! And again, and then a DC 2006 one! Tote bags! We must be near the hotel, even though the van's windows are closed and I can't smell any Mylar; sure enough 2 minutes later we're pulling in to the hotel cul-de-sac. I hop out, wait for my luggage, rummage through my pockets, and hand the driver some bills. I fleetingly hope I didn't give him $60 but feel it would be uncool to stop and check...In the hotel, a two-hour wait for my room...Registration, and--what is this? A rucksack? Suddenly I feel the need to speak German and sleep in a hostel...Dinner at Navy Pier, next to the "McDonalds of the Future," truly a scary, scary thing.

A rousing Plenary Session, thanks in no small part to the presidential intro by Bruce Bruemmer. More laughs in one speech than a whole season of 'Two and a Half Men'...Morning session: "Open Source Software Solutions for Collection Management and Web Delivery." Interesting, and gives me more websites and products to check out...The afternoon brings a visit to the Chicago Art Institute, where I spend a delightful 2+ hours. Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawks' is out on loan, causing me to weep uncontrollably, and somehow I missed the Van Gogh room...First afternoon session "MP-LP Comes Home to Roost: Applying the Greene-Meissner Recommendations Broadly Across an Institution," featuring nearly every professional from the state of Minnesota...Dinner at My Thai on Michigan, where our waiter is a gas -- when he brings our food, he stands at the end of the table and deadpans "Curry chicken, curry chicken, curry chicken" until someone raises their hand. For every order. And he refuses to split our check more than two ways. I hope I got that receipt...The day ends with the "Archives and the Movies" thrill-a-rama, in which Hollywood shows its love for our glorious profession. Seriously, Leith Johnson deserves kudos, or at least a massive pay raise, for getting a room full of serious-minded archivists to laugh at his archival jokes ("Those vampires sure know encapsulation."). Miss it next year at your peril.

Morning spent at the College and University Section meeting...The afternoon session on "Rethinking Access and Description" sparked (provoked?) some interesting discussion, as those who saw it will agree. At least no one rushed the stage, and no shots were fired...After that, the session "More Product, Less Privacy? Applying Minimal Processing with an Awareness of Sensitive, Confidential, or Restricted Collection Materials" is a tame affair...That night, the event the whole conference leads up to: The All-Attendee Reception...Great food, great company, and: quarter-mile long food lines, $10 drink bands (mmm...Miller Light), rapidly disappearing desserts, hidden bathrooms, and piles of rowdy archivists. Met seemingly the entire DC archival blogosphere, including Order From Chaos (aka Stroller Guy), Friends Told Me I Needed a Blog, Archives Next, and non-bloggers NJM and C in DC. I was truly humbled...Wrapped up with dinner at Russian Tea Time, where we drew another cranky waiter -- when asked to split the check, he replied "You no say this at the beginning," then stalked off. I think we were all overcharged.

Leaving early, so only time for soccer on the tube (Tottenham v. Fulham), and a quick walk to Millenium Park, which ends early when I find I have just 1 picture left on my camera...O'Hare proves less daunting than projected, except I go through security twice by mistake (don't ask)...Finally it's back to Maine, where we're given free lobsters, moose meat, and Whoopie Pies upon landing.

See you next year, San Francisco!

Finally, some (estimated) stats from this year's meeting:

attendance -- 1700

# of Starbucks cups spotted at sessions -- 5789

# of college degrees in attendance -- 4075
amt. of outstanding student loans -- $61.6 million

# of sessions -- 64
# of sessions mentioning Meissner-Greene -- 64

# of exhibitors -- 70
# whose products you hate -- 29

% of attendees from NARA -- 33
% of attendees from Harvard -- 33

amt. of The Glenlivet imbibed in hotel rooms -- 207 gallons

# of naps among audience at sessions -- 199
# of naps among presenters -- 12

former co-workers met -- 10
former co-workers whose names I forgot -- 2

# of times I talked about lobsters -- 2
# of times I talked about snow -- 37

Pics are forthcoming...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

MacGuyver's Archival Glossary: Exhibits

Definition -- A curious and rarely rewarding affair in which you are asked to do one of three things:

a) fill a large, inadequate space with few items, and to avoid too much text;

b) fill a tiny, inadequate space with many items, and to avoid not having enough text;

c) fill a hopeless space with a sad collection, where no amount of text will save you.

If your institution has none of these problems, you may continue to laugh derisively at the misfortunes of others. I know I do.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baseball Geekery

Thanks to Brave Astronaut, who runs the Order from Chaos blog, my long-dormant interest in baseball trivia is being slowly reawakened. So to "celebrate," here's a small quiz for you to consider. The first question is a softball -- no pun intended -- and the second question asks you to identify a series of players. All players are pitchers, and to my knowledge all are still alive. No Googling! (Oh, and blame BA for this.)

1. This active -- and not grossly overpaid -- player has compiled a record 19 consecutive seasons with double-digit wins, and should hit twenty shortly. Who is he?

2. These eight pitchers managed to get over 200 career wins without ever winning 20 in a season. Identify each one:

a) I was the first to accomplish this "feat." I played 17 seasons, starting with the Orioles and ending with the Cubs. I came within a pitch of hurling a perfect game. I was also a bit of a pain to get along with during my career, and 25 years after retirement got into an on-air argument with the ump who "ruined" my perfect game. I'm also one of the few who struck out three batters on nine pitches in one inning, in 1971.

b) Before the '07 season started, I had the most wins of this bunch. I too started my career with the Orioles, and finished 23 years later as a reliever in Atlanta. I revived my flagging career in the '80s with a team that no longer exists.

c) My seventeen-year career (most of which occurred in and around La-La-Land) is probably best known for the off-the-field antics of my celebrity ex-wife, including our own well-publicized dust-up.

d) My nineteen-season career was pretty unremarkable until two incidents within the past two years (yes, I'm still pitching!). Hints: I told that camera guy to get out of my face and of course I never doctored that ball.

e) I pitched for 25 seasons, beginning as a quality finisher before a mid-career revival as a starter in the Lone Star State. If you don't knuckle under the pressure, you should guess my name.

f) Although I was a Cardinals draft pick in '67, I made my mark with two other traditional NL powers in the 80s and 90s, one of which finally beat their hated rivals in 1981. I ended my career playing for six teams in three seasons, and am currently an announcer for one of those "traditional powers."

g) I started my career in the early '70s as the second best pitcher on my team. Considering the "other guy" was maybe the best pitcher of his era, that was fine by me. I was a flame-throwing kid who hurt his arm and was reborn a junkballer, but still amassed nearly 3000 strikeouts in my career. I never did make it to the World Series, and retired in 1993 after pitching for both the Mets and Yankees that year.

h) I've had two 19-win and three 18-win seasons, so you could understand why I hate being on this list. But I'm still pitching, so there's hope, right? I'm the third member of this gang to begin his career with the Orioles, and currently am paid quite handsomely to pitch so-so ball. Based on the guys around me, I should have several Cy Youngs and World Series titles to my credit already, but I have neither.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Your Maine Summer Travel Guide

Yes, summer has been with us for over a month, and it's even stopped snowing here in Maine. But now that August is here, it's officially high travel season here in Stephenkinglevania. With that in mind, and as a one-year Maine resident with almost no credibility, I present to you a few travel tips to help you get the most out of your next trip to Maine.

1. Enough with the lobster jokes already. We've heard them all, believe me.

2. Bear in mind that, on any road, people will pull out in front of you regardless of how close you are to them. They will also swerve out of their lane and into yours to avoid something. Relax -- this does not mean they don't like you ... unless you're from out-of-state.

3. Mainers love their motorcycles, and the louder the better. So make sure that hotel room you're overpaying for doesn't face a road. Pony up that extra c-note for the waterfront view.

4. Don't drink the Moxie. Trust me. And avoid the red hot dogs.

5. On any day over 75 degrees, expect one in every five males you see on the sidewalk to have his shirt off. There is no correlation between, say, the desirability of seeing this and the person doing it.

6. You must visit L.L. Bean. It's the law.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Side Trip to Vermont

The wife and I just took a snappy little trip to Vermont the other day, driving to Montpelier one day and back to Maine the next. Given that the 140-mile trip took nearly 4 hours, the drive wasn't so bad except for the fool who nearly killed us when he almost pulled out 50 feet in front of us.

This was our first trip to VT, so here's a quick list of what we did and didn't see:
1. No Bob Newhart. Ditto Larry, Darryl, and Darryl.

2. Several nice little used bookstores in Montpelier. Lewiston isn't even close in this regard.

3. No hotel-sized Ben & Jerry's on the New Hampshire border, a la the casinos on the Utah/Nevada border in the middle of nowhere. This was a serious disappointment.

4. Lots and lots of green, rolling hills and fields. Vermont may be the prettiest state in New England, although I haven't yet been to Maine's Acadia or Mount Katahdin, so stay tuned.

5. Maine lobster is way more expensive there than it is in, say, Maine.

We're going back again soon (long story), so if anyone reading this has any reccomendations in Montpelier, let me know.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Carolina Day

I have been completely remiss and forgot all about that new holiday, Carolina Day. One year ago, June 20, 2006, to be precise, the South's #1 hockey team made all my dreams come true. So to celebrate, here's a link to a Happy Carolina Day tribute on YouTube. Oh, made by a Calgary fan. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Cup Runneth Over

For the Sens, that is. Did anyone else think that we were seeing the overhyped and underperforming Senators of recent years last night? Instead of the scrappy team that fought past Buffalo, we got a team that played hard for about, oh, 20 minutes, and not consecutively.

It sure looked like only a few Ottawa players bothered showing up. Daniel Alfredsson basically willed the two goals he scored into the net, but who else came to play? Antoine Vermette looked sharp, at least until his penalty shot "attempt" rolled off his stick. Chris Phillips looked good, at least until he scored...for Anaheim. Patrick Eaves, Christoph Schubert, and Anton Volchenkov looked okay at times, but where were Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza? Spezza played as well as I did last night (from the couch, no less), and then had the nerve to tell off his coach. Niiice.

Anyway...I thought Anaheim played a smart, tough, and relentless series, and was clearly the better, even dominant, team. Who knows how much of their team they'll keep together (gotta figure Selanne is a goner), but they could another Cup run next year.

Now I need to break out my Carolina Hurricanes DVD and watch Game Seven from 2006 again. Ah, memories....Sniff...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Day

Since I have nothing else to talk about at the moment, may I say "Happy Birthday" to me. (29 again, btw)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Things an Archivist Should Never Say (Work Version)

"I can do that project in ONE week!"

"Just set your coffee on these papers over here."

"You know all the rain we had this weekend? Well, I took some records home with me on Friday, and..."

"Our budget is big enough already, thank you."

"Oh yeah? Then keep your damn records!"

"You really are a strange person." (To prospective donor)

"I don't think this EAD thing will catch on."

"Autographs for sale! Autographs for sale!"

"Of course archivists don't throw anything away."

"Finding aids are way overrated."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Well, %#!*!

It's snowing. Again. Madame Nature, apparently miffed that I missed the eight inches of snow Maine got last week while I was freezing in Georgia, is visiting this cursed stuff upon us again. We're expecting 6-10 more inches of sleet and snow today and tonight.

But it's not all bleak up here. A new restaurant opened recently, right here in sunny Lewiston: Fuel. The Wife and I went this week, after my return from Golfing Wonderland, and really enjoyed it. (For the record, I had the Steak Frite, while she had the butternut squash soup, Caesar salad with white anchovies, and potato and leek gratin.) So much so that we're going again with the co-workers this weekend.

If we can get out the door, that is. #$!@&!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ten Things from the Past Week

I'm back from my trip to that little golf tournament in Augusta (Georgia, not Maine)! So for those of you who are curious, or merely bored, here are a few observations from the week that was.

1. It was cold, as this pic shows. Not Maine cold, but cold for Georgia in April. Temps were in the 50s and low 60s, with steady winds topping 10 mph and gusts up to 30. More like football weather, but still preferable to hot and humid days any time.

2. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Masters is that you're not gouged by high food prices. $2.50 for a chicken sandwich, $1.50 for all others and any sodas, and water and candy for a buck. Don't remember the beer prices, since I didn't drink any. You can be there for an entire day (our days usually ran from 9 til 7 or so) and eat for less than ten dollars.

3. You really, really can't appreciate just how hilly the course is on TV. You are constantly standing on slopes while spectating, and I believe there are only 18 flat and level spots on the entire course -- the tee boxes.

4. Fashion alert! (For you, SusieC) Sure, there was a preponderance of all-black outfits and a disturbing amount of sweater vests, but some of the outfits had to be seen to be believed. Like Englishman Ian Poulter: Here's his Sunday getup. Nice shoes too. Here he is from Friday -- yes the shoes matched the pants. I liked Swede Henrik Stenson for being the only golfer I saw give in to the chilly weather on Saturday. Then there's this collage of another of Poulter's digs (shoes were pink, too), a few random belts, and Darren Clarke's lovely plaid trousers. And here's Clarke again as a Limey. Finally, there's Shingo Katayama, who always wears those silly hats. (And read this for more on Poulter, or go to his website and click on 'Media Gallery'.

5. Unless you just despise golf, you have to go to the Masters if you get the chance, even if just for a day. It really is greener, prettier, and just better than it appears on TV, despite the constantly gushing coverage. And if you like laughing at the obnoxious (and who doesn't?) then this is the place for you. Actual overheard conversation: "Dude, where are you going for break?" "Dunno. Went to Vail last year, but it's so boring. Maybe Bermuda. Wanna go?"

6. Sadly, I spotted no celebrities in the crowd this week. (In past years I've seen Jimmy Connors, Susan Anton, and Charlie Rose. I didn't say they were A-listers, did I?) But there were numerous golf wives to be seen -- all were tanned, most were blonde. In short, trophies. I don't know a one of them, but I'm sure they're all very nice, just darling. No sign of Elin tho.

7. Our chairs were stolen on Saturday, and this appears to be a more common occurrence recently. So if you're buying used Masters folding chairs on eBay, know that they've probably been stolen.

8. The hand-operated scoreboards around the course are a nice touch, and fun to watch as the scores are being posted. On Saturday, however, the wind blew one of the names (for Adam Scott) out of its slot and onto my head. No damage was done, but I'll get you Mr Scott. Just you wait.

9. Being away from the Northeast for a week, I haven't been deluged with all things Red Sox and Dice-K. Ah well, all good things must end.

10. Ok, enough golf. Now on to the really important stuff.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I just got Stupider.

On weekends, when the Wife and I are not driving to Brunswick or Portland, or fuming about another onslaught of snow, we (ok, I) watch a lot of sports. This weekend it was mostly basketball, with some hockey and golf Sunday. After watching the Penguins demolish the hapless Bruins, I lazed about watching Tiger win again and hearing the gushing about The-Deity-That-Is-Tiger over and over from the NBC crew. Which is where the title of this entry comes in.

Why, oh why, does NBC persist in having Jimmy Roberts constantly annoy us with his presence? Usually it's his garishly mawkish pieces on some forgotten or beaten-to-death item, carefully calculated to tug our heartstrings and move us to tears. Sunday, however, it was a brief "conversation" with some guy (name forgotten, but probably the PGA's version of Matt Drudge) breaking the news that Phil Mickelson was seen practicing with Butch Harmon after that day's round. So what, you say? Butch Harmon is not Phil's coach! Jimmy added his own little "the chat rooms will be on fire over this" comment, to help us figure out just how important this news really is. Proving once again that life really is like high school. I just hope Phil's coach Rick Smith will be, like, so totally over this by the Prom.

Oh, and remind me next month to stay out of spitting distance from this guy. Blech.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Still Alive

Too busy and cold to post; more coming soon, tho. Another wintry blast today -- the high will be 8, tonight's low -5.

But only one month until I get to go here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow, redux...

...or, Yet Another Sign I'm No Longer in the South. (Along with truck commercials advertising cheap plows with every new truck, restaurants with snowmobile stations, and a lamentable lack of hush puppies.)

By my count, here in happ'nin' central Maine we've had 9 snowfalls -- counting flurries and dustings -- totalling about 21 inches of accumulation. So Sunday I'm watching the local weather, and the weatherma-- excuse me, meteorologist-- says "Looks like we could get our first measurable snowfall on Wednesday."

Apparently, if you don't need to measure with a yardstick, it doesn't count. Expectations are for 12-18 inches of snow -- stay tuned.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Although we've had several small snows totaling about 7 inches so far this winter, today's storm is being called the "first snow of the season" by the locals. As a transplanted Southerner, I can only wonder at this perspective. But I must say I do like the lack of panic on the local news, and the fact that life seems to generally go on as planned. But I still can't wait for summer, and I've already stocked up on milk, toilet paper, peanuts, and beer. You know, staples.

In keeping with the semi-archival theme of this blog, here is an appropriate link for today, about the blizzard of 1996. I remember this storm, as I was living in central Virginia at the time. The snow measured 19" at our house when all was said and done, and my visiting sister-in-law got stuck with us for several days. On top of the snow, we had a deep freeze for a few days afterwards, and then another big storm (about a foot, iirc) not long thereafter. Our old Datsun froze solid (keys wouldn't work, couldn't shift gears once I did get in), and I didn't hear a car go by our house for nearly a week. My wife remembers saying at the time "I will never move to New England." Who says there are no cosmic jokes, eh?

So if you're in the northeast and reading this, enjoy the weather today. If you're in my old stomping grounds -- likely wearing shorts and thinking "Ha ha, sucker" -- I'll be thinking of you in August.