Daily Thoughts 83: Operation 451, Superheroes, and Librarians

Author's selfieWho is the hero—Clark Kent or Superman?  I think a show about Kent could be interesting, one in which the whole business of stopping crooks, fighting monsters, and catching missiles is a distraction from his true calling as an investigative journalist.

Consider Smallville, which was about Kent growing up and getting to the point where he becomes Superman. It had that potential, except everything in his ‘real’ life ended up being a mask for all of the superhero activity. Imagine instead that the story is about an investigative journalist who is driven by ideals of truth and justice, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. Okay, so the journalist has some special powers (super hearing, x-ray vision, speed, and that whole bullet-proof thing), but is really a driven professional who sees the whole superhero side as a frustrating distraction. One who cares about relationships, friends, and family. One that struggles with the ethical dilemmas of having these abilities. I think that could be an interesting story!

It also gets to some basic questions. Investigating and reporting on the truth potentially impacts and shapes the human conversation. It is something that librarians share with journalism, this adherence to facts and truth.

#LibrariansResist

There are real-life heroes. Librarians have mobilized, as Lisa Peet reports for Library Journal on a whole bunch of librarian/heroes including Rebecca McCorkindale, who created a viral storm with her inclusive artwork. Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth created Operation 451, which just launched Mission4—focused on the 4th article of the Library Bill of Rights.

“Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.” – Library Bill of Rights, Article IV

One of the things that I love about all of these efforts is that they didn’t wait for approval. They care about these topics and went with the ideas. A lot has been written about the impact of the recent U.S. election, and it has had a mobilizing effect on many people. These issues aren’t limited to this election, the 45th President of the United States, or this country. I appreciate that the same point appeared on the Operation 451 blog. I’ve had that discussion before with librarians. Do you think something should be done differently? Is it something that requires your administration’s approval, or is it something that you can do on your own?

It might be easier to do some things on work time. It also might not be legal or appropriate. Sometimes it’s much easier to tackle things outside of your job, on your own.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Morning sketchThis morning was one of those days when it seemed like I didn’t have time to get in any drawing. As it turned out, I just needed to allow myself that 5 minutes. Surely, I could afford 5 minutes? I’d like to spend more time, but I could at least do that much. It doesn’t take too long. I managed to do my quick sketch and then headed out to work.

Writing Challenge

I also continued the writing challenge today, adding another 637 words to the story. I’ve been coming in a bit higher than the 400 words planned. My main point, though, is the consistent habit 5 days out of the week. Each day is a new day, with a 400-word goal.

Daily Thoughts 82: Talking to People, Drawing, and Writing

Author's selfieTonight I attended the regular Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees meeting. It’s an opportunity for the public to have input with their trustees. That doesn’t often happen. Tonight we did hear from Cheryl Fambles of the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development council. They heard about ways that TRL can work with PacMtn, including an initial partnership on providing Chromebooks for job seekers in the libraries in Pacific County.

Talking to People

While on my morning walk this morning I listened to an audiobook about talking to people. It’s a challenge faced by writers as well as librarians. So many of us are introverted by nature, which is interesting when considering that both are focused on other people. Writers explore the inner life of their characters. Librarians reach out to help everyone. Yet many of us find it difficult to simply talk to people. It reminds me that I need to make an effort in both arenas to talk to new people. Something else to work on going forward.

400-Word Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge BannerThis morning I continued working on the story I started yesterday, Lost Book. I ended up writing 633 words, more than yesterday because I was resuming a story already started. That makes it easier. I’m having fun with the story. It feels good to get something written. I’m still not done with this story, so I’ll continue to chip away at it. I’m having fun.

Daily Sketch Challenge
Today's daily sketch of a frog

This morning, before heading off to the library, I took another five minutes to do my daily sketch. I went a little bit over my time. I was thinking this morning about how it doesn’t have to be perfect. The point is to have fun and practice, building the habit of drawing each day. This could be a warm-up exercise on days when I have more time, or on days like today it may be all that I end up drawing.

Daily Thoughts 81: Challenges Day One

Author's selfie I got to spend time in Olympia today. This was my library to go to as a college student. I’ve had opportunities to work here over the years including acting as the Circulation Supervisor during one transition and as the Library Manager during another. I enjoy having the chance to spend time in this library!

Sketch Challenge

Daily sketch for 2/21/2017I started my daily sketch challenge this morning and recorded it as I worked. It’s funny what thoughts immediately boil up to the surface of my mind about what disclaimers to put on this video. All the ways that we tell ourselves you’re not very good. Maybe that’s true (see, there’s one). My point in doing the challenge is simply to do it. To put in the time. To practice.

Can I seriously not make five minutes for drawing each day? Has my life gotten that busy? I hope not.

Writing Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge BannerI also started the 400-word challenge this morning and ended up with 457 words after redrafting my dictation. Dictating is just like sitting down to a blank page. I basically talked to myself, brainstorming until I came up with an idea that I liked. I based the idea on the Wizardly Librarians game concept. I thought it might be fun to set a story in that universe. I picked one of the characters from the game and started a short, simple story. It isn’t done. I’m curious to see where it goes. Tomorrow!

Daily Thoughts 80: Game Videos Posted and Other Challenges

Author's Selfie I’ve had a busy weekend! This morning I enjoyed an opportunity to play test my game Wizardly Librarians with my victims (family). The play testing showed clear areas for improvement in the game. I filmed the test. The result (speeded up) is posted on the website at Shush Games. I also posted an introduction to the gameplay and some more images of card text. In the next iteration, I need to spend time working on the cards. It’s too difficult to add titles right now. That won’t be soon. I’ve got too much to do—including developing more games for upcoming assignments!

400-Word Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge Banner The 400-word writing challenge starts tomorrow. I plan to dictate on the drive to work. At this point I’m tracking manually with the spreadsheet template I’ve used in the past. I’ll post updates in my daily thoughts post, and track progress in the sidebar. I want to track the streak in terms of weeks, the number of weeks in a row in which I write 400 words for 5 days out of the week. I can take two days off each week, they don’t have to be sequential. Since I plan to dictate I should be able to meet the goal. I may not always have time to redraft what I dictate. We’ll see.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Artwork for 2017 sketching pledgeDo I need another challenge? No. Am I going to try another challenge? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. I know I have more than enough to do. The thing is—

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I’m not doing this to produce finished drawings. I may not spend more than a couple minutes on a sketch. It could be a sketch of anything. A pencil. A rock. Shapes. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to sketch something and stop. I’m keeping the sketches small. No bigger than that challenge image. Template for sketch challengeIn fact, I’m going to use it as the template (minus my drawing of our dog). I’ll put the date at the bottom of each and share them here. It’ll give me a consistent frame in which to work on the challenge. Same rules as the writing challenge: draw 5 days each week, for 50 weeks. It’ll be a good practice to get out of my way and stop worrying about whether or not a sketch looks good. I’ll start it tomorrow as well.

 

Daily Thoughts 79: Wizardly Librarians

Author's Selfie I didn’t get much sleep last night. As I mentioned in my last post, I stayed up late. I’d meant to sleep in but as it turned out I didn’t. In fact, I woke up at about 3 AM and then stayed pretty restless and unable to sleep for the rest of the night and finally gave up a bit after 6 AM. Today still went pretty well, despite being tired. I finished a number of things for school.

Wizardly Librarians

Mostly, I’ve focused on my game for INFO287-11. Admittedly, I’m carrying it too far, but once the idea popped up I needed to make the game. I spent a good part of the day creating the 129 cards for the game (plus play order cards). They aren’t done. It’s a rough, initial alpha version to test out the gameplay. We played one game tonight and tomorrow I plan to record a game so that I can post a video to the website I also created for the assignment.

Did I mention that I took this too far?

screenshot, figuring out card distribution
Figuring out card distribution.
View of librarian cards
Librarian cards (artwork pending)

Okay, maybe I did take it too far. But I’m having fun!

Although set in a fantasy world, Wizardly Librarians focuses on an everyday process in libraries—filling hold requests. It’s a daily scavenger hunt. The game incorporates many other elements of libraries in a fun and engaging way. I’m looking forward to filming the video tomorrow.

Daily Thoughts 78: Standing Up at the Midnight Hour

Author's Selfie Midnight approaches! I hadn’t meant to stay up this late, except I had a lot to do for my classes, so late night studying! Most of the time I don’t have to stay up. My schedule this week made studying a bit more difficult.

Standing Up

At work, I have an adjustable height desk and spend most of my days standing up. I’ll usually only sit down when I take breaks, or when I’m working on things where I need to spread out work on the desk. Part of the reason I end up standing comes from years working in public libraries, standing at the desk.

Standing laptop deskI didn’t have a similar option at home until today. I ordered this height-adjustable laptop desk the other day. It didn’t take too long to put together. The whole thing is on wheels, easy to move, has space for textbooks and my thermos. The adjustments are manual, but it can also go down to a sitting height as needed. I find standing is helpful for my productivity—and it certainly helps me stay awake when I need to!

 

Daily Thoughts 77: Early Start, Busy Brain

Author's Selfie Today started early! And it followed a night when I couldn’t sleep. My schedule always has a degree of variability to it, but most of the time my morning routine is consistent. Not this week! Different days, different start times, it’s been all over the place.

Busy Brain

via GIPHY

I love new ideas! Too much sometimes. I think of a new idea and want to run with it right away. Being back in school encourages this behavior.

One of my classes focuses on gamification of information, or how we can use game elements to help with learning, exploration, and creation. I have an assignment to create a game this week. Not finished, polished, and beautiful, but a game with an information science focus.

I came up with a wonderful idea the other day in the shower. The idea didn’t work for the assignment, but then I realized I could use the same or similar game elements for a game targeted for the assignment and that led to even more ideas! I have other things to do over the next several days but I’m excited about this idea. I plan to have a working model of the game in a couple days so that I can film an initial gameplay attempt to turn in for the assignment.

The game idea keeps pulling my attention. I lay awake last night thinking about details. Hopefully, tonight will go better.

 

Daily Thoughts 76: Challenges

Author's selfie I managed to sleep most of the night without waking up! That’s a big deal for me. I did wake up an hour or so early, and then tried to sleep more but at that point, I was done sleeping.

Challenges

A few weeks back I posted about excuses and suggested a 400-word challenge. I hesitated at taking on the challenge slash made excuses for why it wasn’t a good idea.

via GIPHY

As if I didn’t know better. Seeing as that’s the case, I’m going to take on the challenge anyway!

2017 Writing Pledge Banner

Plus I made this pledge banner. The original said ‘novel’ but I’m not writing a novel. I plan to focus on short stories. I want to write more stories for DriveByStories.com and I want to write stories to submit for publication in some magazines.

Tracking

Of course, with any great challenge, comes great tracking. I’d like to have the awesome plugin that I thought about this morning. I’m not waiting for that to happen. Instead, I’ll track manually at the start and then if I end up creating a plugin, great! Or maybe I’ll find a plugin that I can use. I do have one I created, but I want to do it differently now.

I’ll post my progress in the sidebar on the site, and of course point out when I complete new stories.

Start?

I plan to start this next week, on the 21st, so that I get a full week (looking at my Tue-Sat work week).

Daily Thoughts 75: Procedures, Hurrying, and Legion

Author's selfie Back to work today, catching up on a variety of tasks that happen behind the scenes in libraries, e.g., one thing I worked on today was our internal list of performers. Exciting, right? That one thing took working with the software used on our intranet, checking files, updating records, and talking with other people who care about what is tracked and who does what with the information. That was only one thing. Look around when you’re out. Notice how many businesses and government buildings there are around you. Try to get a sense of how many people work in that location. What do they do? How many details go into everything we do? It’s one of the things that often gets lost, simplified, and trimmed down in fiction. Mostly, I think, because it is seen as an uninteresting topic. Unless you’re writing a police procedural, then maybe you’ll get a sense of some of the procedures involved.

Hurrying

No matter what I’m doing, I try to fight the desire to hurry. It’s hard. I have more to do than I have time. More novels to write, things to learn, pictures to create, programs to write, and changes to make. There’s always a sense of wanting it now. At least when I don’t just want to go to sleep. My desire to sleep wars with my desire to get more done and is ultimately the undisputed champion. Sleep wins sooner or later. Like death, just less permanent.

Legion

Yesterday we watched the first episode of Legion.

I enjoyed it! Not much of a surprise. I also enjoy the other Marvel shows (and movies). Originally I was always more of a DC fan (can you say Batman?), but Marvel has done a good job with the movies and shows. I’m looking forward (when I find the time) to seeing more of this one.

 

Daily Thoughts 74: Valentine’s Day

Author's selfie I’m tired today! Packing up a library yesterday (moving all of the boxes from the library to the container) left me worn out. I logged over 17,000 steps yesterday on my FitBit. I had errands to run this morning. The car needed an oil change and I needed to get my cholesterol tested. I took today off work. Normally I’m off on Monday. Since I ended up working, I took today instead. Not the most romantic day!

Other than errands, fasting this morning, and feeling worn out from moving the library yesterday, I spent most of the day working on an assignment for my Gamifying Information class. It included a graph (assessing Pokémon Gothat took me too long to figure out how to create:

Pokémon Assessment graph

On the other hand, it was a great exercise to learn some additional skills. The rest of the assessment was more narrative-based.