September 23, 2008

It's not lurking least not according to Knowledge Management jargon.

In KM, lurking is called "legitimate peripheral participation." Which kind of begs the question: exactly what would constitute "illegitimate" peripheral participation?

In any case, my classes this semester are taking up a lot of valuable knitting and blogging time, and the work/school schedule looks pretty brutal through the end of October.

So if it seems like I'm not posting as frequently or not commenting over the next few weeks, just remember, I'm still participating in the knitblog community.

Just, you know, peripherally.

September 20, 2008


It's official! I'm going to Rhinebeck.

Anyone else going?

September 19, 2008

A teachable moment

So last night for my Collection Development class we did a “walkabout” through the Simmons library. The idea is that you can pick up a general sense of materials usage, patron activity, and impending facilities problems by wandering through your collection. Which was kind of a neat practical exercise and a whole lot more fun than sitting in a lecture.

But you know what makes that kind of exercise even better? When your professor totally supports your master plan to test out the compact shelving’s infrared sensors by attempting to squash one of your classmates between the moving shelves. Sweet!

Turns out, you really can’t close the shelves when someone is standing in the aisle. Barring infrared sensor malfunction or possession by some evil force intent on crushing the life from all in its path (it could happen! And if it does I will be the only one who is not surprised – and I will be PREPARED! Also I should maybe watch fewer movies about demon possession).

I guess I can finally cross “irrational fear of compact shelving” off my list of reasons not to become a librarian when I finish my degree.

Maybe next week’s class will include an awesome learning opportunity that will help me get over “actively disliking the public” and “a deep and abiding love for the f word.”

September 17, 2008

Librarians - it's time to booze up and riot!

I know this is mostly a knitting blog, and I don’t generally rant about politics. But this Time article about Sarah Palin belatedly came to my attention today.

I won’t get into my other objections to Palin's candidacy (and I have many as a liberal feminist), but this portion of the article is more than enough for me:

[Former Wasilla mayor] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

So it’s possible that, as mayor, she wanted to ban books from the library and then threatened to fire the librarian who stood in her way? Now *that’s* the kind of person I want a heartbeat away from the presidency. If this pisses you off - and it should - let someone know. Blog about it. Tell your friends. Tell your families. Talk to other librarians. Or librarians-in-training. Or anyone you know that cares about freedom of speech and the separation between church and state.

For the ladies - consider contributing to this blog. (I know I have a handful of male readers – apologies, dudes). The blog started with an email sent to 40 women asking them to share why, as women, they felt Sarah Palin did not in fact represent *them*, despite Republican claims. The blog has since received 100,000+ responses from women all across America. If you feel that Sarah Palin does not represent you as a librarian, a free speech advocate, a reproductive rights supporter, whatever, consider sending them your reasons. Details below:

[W]e invite you to write to womensaynopalin AT gmail DOT com with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation. Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence.

And, for you non-librarians, libraries get requests to remove materials all the time. Most of the time, the answer is a firm no. To get an idea of the kind of materials library patrons have objected to, check out the American Library Association’s annual list of “most challenged” books.

If you’re like me, you can also look at it as a list of “Awesome Books I Need to Read.”

September 15, 2008

And drinking beer will cure all infectious disease

I came across this quote in my Knowledge Management (KM) textbook this weekend:

There is a definite correlation between KM and economic growth, as evidenced by a significant contrast in the social and economic indicators between the developed and developing countries...An analysis of these developed and developing countries...reveals a significant difference in the KM factors that have contributed to the considerable disparities not only in wealth, but also in education, population, GNP per capita, adult literacy rate, infant mortality, health services and other indicators of poverty and prosperity.

Um, yeah. The real problem with global hunger, poverty, illiteracy and inequality is inadequate Knowledge Management.

Now, I’m as guilty as the next librarian-in-training of having self-aggrandizing visions of what the information professions can accomplish. Information is power, and public libraries (for example) are uniquely positioned to help everyone, not just the privileged and the well-educated, gain access to the power of information. I like to think of it as sticking it to the Man, one book at a time.

But to claim that Knowledge Management principles have already "resulted in economic benefits and healthy competition in every sector and all aspects of human life?" Seriously?

So in the spirit of making unfounded and ridiculous pronouncements regarding the potential impact of our daily activities, I would like to announce that through knitting I will soon become RULER OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE.

Obeisance to your Supreme Ruler may be made in the form of yarn.

Let the fawning begin.

September 8, 2008

It's not you, it's me

Dear Firewalker,

We’ve spent a few weeks together now, and they’ve really been great. Your pattern repeat is perfection, not too complicated to work on while watching TV, but not so mindless that you bore me. And the way your red and the orange stripe up on the bias, sweetly sprinkled with a few bright yellow stitches? Endlessly charming.

But it’s just not enough, I’m afraid. And I think you know what the problem is, because we tried this once before. Back when I foolishly thought just changing from a size 1 to a size 2 needle would be enough. You were too small back then, but rather than presenting Megan (of the dainty feet) with yet another pair of tiny socks, I was willing to give it another try. I increased you to 82 stitches, and you were still beautiful.

And yet, here we are, back in the same place we were all those months ago.


I’m so sorry to do this to you, but it’s just not going to happen, you and me. You see, even at 82 stitches on a size 2 needle, you just aren't going to fit my undainty feet.

I wish you all the best in your next incarnation. I’m thinking you’ll make a really lovely pair of fingerless mitts.

Best wishes,

September 7, 2008

Paying it forward, vegetable style

I so appreciated the recipe suggestions you all gave me early in the summer, back when I was drowning in greens.

So I thought I’d return the favor, now that my CSA has been looking more like this:


This is loosely based on a recipe from The New Vegetarian Epicure, called “Summer Vegetable Pasta.”

I call mine “Christ! Eggplant Again?!? Pasta”. This recipe has many virtues - one is that it uses up a lot of those late-summer vegetables and, more importantly, it's the one and only eggplant preparation I have ever found palatable.

Servings: Will thoroughly sauce 1 lb. of pasta. Because I know how many of you appreciate getting thoroughly sauced.


Prepare this stuff first, through Step 2:
- 1 or 2 medium eggplants, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 2 large onions, chopped medium

While the eggplant is draining and the onions are caramelizing, you can prep this stuff:
- A few tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 red, yellow or green peppers, cored and thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped, saving as much juice as you can, or 2 small cans diced tomatoes in juice
- 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- A few tbsp. chopped fresh basil or parsley

Accompaniments: A nice shaving of parmesan, a crusty baguette, some good wine and the foxy companion of your choice would not be unwelcome additions.


Step 1: In a large colander, toss the cubed eggplant with a few pinches of kosher salt. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes.


Step 2: Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy sauce pan or dutch oven. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and golden. 15-20 minutes.


Step 3: Squeeze excess liquid out of eggplant.

Step 4: When onions are almost completely caramelized, increase heat to high and add sliced peppers and squeezed eggplant to pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggplant and peppers have softened and have little brown spots.



Step 5: Reduce heat to medium, clear out some space in the bottom of the pan, drizzle in a bit more oil and add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant, about thirty seconds.


Step 6: Add chopped tomatoes with their juice to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through and tomatoes have just started to break down. Turn off heat.



Step 7: Add olives and fresh herbs to pan and stir just to combine.

Serve sauce tossed with chunky pasta (penne, ziti, rigatoni, etc).


Ingredients: As with my knitting, actual quantities and measurements are basically just estimates. Unlike my knitting, there’s really no way to screw this up, as far as I can tell. The key thing is just to cook the onions for a very long time, the peppers and eggplant until just tender and the tomatoes hardly at all. Then throw in the extras, like basil and olives and cheese, at the last minute.

I’ve made it with: 1 white eggplant, 3 peppers (1 red, 1 green and one big mild chile), and 4 fresh tomatoes…. OR … 2 eggplants (1 white, 1 purple), 2 green peppers, and 2 fresh tomatoes…. OR ….2 eggplants (1 white, 1 purple), 1 green pepper, and 2 small cans diced tomatoes in juice (1 can regular and 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles). All were delicious.

Step 1: I’m told by reliable sources that salting and draining eggplant this way improves both its flavor and texture. I don’t actually like eggplant at all, and I love this dish. Which makes me think salting and draining the eggplant is a magical, mystical step that should not be skipped.

Step 2: Caramelizing the onions over low heat takes for-freaking-ever, but is totally worth it. They add a really nice sweetness to the sauce.

Step 4: The original recipe has you cook the onions in a separate pot from the eggplant and peppers, presumably so the onions don’t overcook. I’m lazy and prefer to use as few pots as possible, so I just cooked it all together. But do keep an eye on the onions to make sure they don’t overcook at this point.

Step 6: If you are using canned tomatoes, add them a few minutes earlier than you would the fresh tomatoes - before the peppers and eggplant have completely softened. Canned tomatoes need to cook a bit longer than the fresh ones.

September 3, 2008


One of my college friends finally got with the baby-making program and produced a baby girl in August. I've mentioned before, babies are so not my thing. But I am all over the instant gratification of teeny baby knits.

There's just one problem. This particular baby is gonna be a total badass.

See, her mother named her Honoria, after a Roman noblewoman who refused to marry, had ridiculous amounts of inappropriate sex and conspired with Attilla the Hun to try to bring down the Roman Empire. That's a whole lot of name.

So, what should I knit for my friend's sweet bundle of badass?

I just don't think a hat and booty set is gonna cut it...