Daily Thoughts 195: Updates From Last Week

Author's selfieI’ve been working on Drive-By Stories this past week. I was excited to see the news about Galaxy Magazine on Archive.org. The collection includes 355 issues from 1950-1976. Each issue can be read online or downloaded in a variety of formats including PDF scans (lovely for the artwork and correct text) and .mobi (Kindle) format. The OCR conversion isn’t without errors but I find that I can read past those without too much trouble.

Cover art Galaxy Magazine

I’ll be reading issues! I’ve started with the October 1950 issue. It kicks off with Clifford D. Simak’s Time Quarry serialized novel.

Drive-By Stories

My focus this last week has been mostly on Drive-By Stories. Much of the work has been behind the scenes and style tweaks, including switching to a two-column view for the stories.

Screen capture of Drive-By Stories

The site is functional now. Not finished, there’s still much to do. The artwork is a default placeholder that will be replaced with story artwork once I get that created. I plan to replace the default image too with something else.

I’ve created the site so that it’s easy to add new stories using a flat file method rather than a database. I’ll continue to refine and improve that structure as time allows. Right now it works, I added a new story titled “Go Ahead, Indulge” yesterday. I have several other transcribed drafts to work on as well.

Librarian Portfolio

Yesterday I also put up an empty placeholder site for my portfolio at librarianportfolio.info. I’ll be developing that over the next month before the semester starts on August 23rd. I want to have the site functional and ready to go by then. Now that Drive-By Stories is working, I plan to shift my attention more to the portfolio project.

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 155: Last Gasp of the Semester

I’m very nearly done with this semester! I would be done, except for an assignment for bonus points that I don’t really need. But why not? My final project hasn’t been graded yet, so the bonus points might turn out to be welcome. I’ve still crossed the finish line. Now I’m just in that bonus round grabbing as many extra coins as I can.

I’ve probably mentioned this already, but I’m also excited because this means that I’ve completed my classes in the MLIS program! The only thing left is the e-portfolio in my last semester this fall. After going to school full time for the past two years this feels like going on vacation. I’m still working, but not having weekly deadlines for several classes is great. I’ll keep learning—on my own schedule!

This Week

I’m not tackling anything new this week. Or next! I’m taking some time off before I set new goals. I have a great many projects I want to tackle but first I want to relax and take a break. Play some games. Read. Watch some movies. Speaking of which, I saw this yesterday:

Loved it! Great fun. I’m planning on seeing a couple other movies soon. I also have a backlog of movies to watch!

This is going to be fun!

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 151: Count Down

9 Days

I’ve spent most of this sunny day in front of my computer. Sometimes standing at my portable stand, sometimes sitting, but mostly I’ve been at the computer since early this morning. I did the same thing yesterday. The result?

I turned in one of my final papers.


I’m tired. I still have a couple more projects to finish over the next two days (both are already in progress). Then I have some final presentations to finish up over the next week and I’ll be done. At least with this semester. I have one more semester in the Fall, to finish up my e-portfolio.

I can’t wait. There’s so much more that I want to do with everything that I’ve been learning. It’ll be great to be back on my own schedule (outside of work).

Daily Thoughts 129: Late Night Studying

Author's selfie It’s late! I’ve been busy all day working on assignments and studying. We did take a break at one point to run out and do some quick errands in town, but mostly I’ve been in front of a computer screen all day. It’s nearly midnight. Time to get to sleep!

Gnome Efficiency Team

One of my assignments today—a game designed for library folks.

Example of gameplay

This shows the game in play (from my demo on how to play). More information about the game is available over at Shush Games.


On my walk this morning I spied a little chipmunk. I named him Waldo. Can you find him? I think this picture would make a good jigsaw puzzle.

Picture of a Chipmunk named Waldo

Daily Thoughts 122: Network Analysis and Games

One of my tasks today has been working through analyzing networks with an example from 2007 Senate voting data, using NodeXL in Excel.

Graph of Senate voting clusters (2007)

It’s interesting to see how divided the clusters are in the Senate and to see which Senators are the ‘bridge’ members. It’d be interesting to explore the data for multiple years.

Game Assessment

For another assignment, I created a visual assessment of the game Mice & Mystics.

Game Assessment chart

Creating the assessment graphics took time (probably more than necessary), but it was fun. I particularly enjoyed creating the cheese wedges to use for each area of the assessment. Assignments like this are a welcome excuse to learn more about using Illustrator.

Other than work for my MLIS, I didn’t do much else today. Except I did go out and work on the yard for a bit.

Daily Thoughts 56: Forbidden Island and Games

Author's selfie I’m tired this evening! I left for work before 6 AM today, in order to get out to the Ocean Park Timberland Library on the coast. Several of my co-workers went with me to cover the library while the staff attended training. It takes almost three hours to get there! Our library encompasses a large geographic area.

When not at the library, I’ve been busy with my classes in my MLIS program. My main focus today: playing games!

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island boxI enlisted the help of my family to play Forbidden Island tonight. It was exactly a requirement for my gamifying information course, but it was an additional activity suggested that we could share on the discussion boards. The game offers an entertaining mix of fantasy, adventure, and cooperative play. I also enjoyed the random elements that promise a lot of replay options.


Aside from playing the game today, I also enjoyed lectures and articles about games. One the tasks to tackle? Defining ‘game.’ What is a game? It’s one of those terms that describes a range of activities. It includes games like Forbidden Island, poker, baseball, and Minecraft. The articles offer various definitions of games, but we’re tasked with developing our own definitions and writing a discussion of that definition, with references to the materials. Plus we’re to write peer reviews of work by our classmates.

I’m out of time tonight to finish that up, so I’ll continue the work on it tomorrow.

Daily Thoughts 54: New Beginnings

Author's selfie I haven’t been feeling the greatest the past couple days. Headaches, upset stomach, and tired. Nothing too serious, just not on top of my game. It doesn’t help that I’m also down with the news about my grandfather’s death. Earlier, while listening to the Great Courses recording, the lecturer talked about Margaret Atwood’s “Happy Endings” story. They die and happy endings are a lie. Not really something to focus on when you struggle with depression, but Atwood does point out that “beginnings are always more fun.” She also talks about savoring the bits in between. I think that’s good.

New Beginnings

Tomorrow kicks off the Spring 2017 semester and the start of my final set of classes in my MLIS program. I’m going to be very busy! Besides classes, I have a trip coming up, work, and everything else. Two of the classes start tomorrow, and another on Monday. That last class (Seminar in Library Management: Political Advocacy) is a short 4-week class which I’ll follow by another (Social Network Analysis and Social Analytics) for the rest of the semester.

I’m looking forward to the new semester! It should be fun.

Once I get into the classes, I’ll have a better sense of how much time I have for other projects, my reboot efforts, and the rest. I need to focus on classes first, that’s the top priority. If nothing else, I’ll have more time once summer starts. And in the fall I’ll only have my concluding e-portfolio project to work on.

Daily Thoughts 31

Author's selfieI didn’t get much sleep last night. My son had issues with nightmares, which left me sitting up in his room to keep him company until late. I finally got into bed around 11:20, marking another late night for me. Maybe I should have resisted taking a nap! I’m planning an earlier night today.

Spring 2017 MLIS

This morning I took a look back at the school site and discovered that the last syllabus I needed had been posted. I updated my Trello board with the details provided (I love organized faculty). Now I have cards for every class on my board.

Snapshot of Spring 2017 Trello Board

I also ordered the additional text book that I need for the class, Seminar in Library Management: Social Network Analysis and Social Analytics (INFO282-11). This is the final course I need for the Advanced Certificate in Digital Assets and Services, focusing on the Data Analytics and Data Driven Decision Making. It starts later in the semester, March 1st. Another course I’m taking, Seminar in Library Management: Political Advocacy (INFO282-14) runs just through February. Between these two courses I’ll get 3 credits. My other two classes, Seminar in Contemporary Issues: Globalization and Information (INFO281-13) and Seminar in Information Science: Gamifying Information (INFO287-11), are each 3 credits and run the full 15 weeks.

These are my final classes. After this, I’ll have a portfolio project to complete in the fall.

It’s interesting, pursuing a degree again. I’m learning a lot. I’m also discovering so much more that I want to learn. I’ve picked up a slew of books to continue studying topics on coding and data. It’s clear that I’m not going to be done learning when I finish the degree!

Zombies, Run! Writing Opportunity

I saw this tweet today.

I read the details. It looks like a fantastic opportunity. I love what Naomi Alderman and Six to Start have done with Zombies, Run!. I use it each day on my walks (gradually transitioning to running). It looked very tempting to apply for a chance to work with the team, travel to London (much of the work is done at a distance, but there’s a 10 day trip needed), and potentially make some money and contribute to a great project. Between my work in the library, the MLIS program, and anticipated work on my massive reboot and other projects, I’m not planning to apply. I’m going to focus on my personal work. Still, if you think you might be interested—go for it! It can’t hurt to give it a shot.

Daily Thoughts

Author self-portrait It’s been a long day! I spent the day completing my final project report and demo for the Big Data Analytics and Management course in my MLIS program at SJSU. I wanted it done today so that I’d have tomorrow free to celebrate the end of the semester with Kate and Xander.

Project Demo

The project demo is a brief overview of some of the research I did on my Unstable Ground: A Decade of Oklahoma Earthquakes project. I uploaded it to YouTube to share on the class board, so I’ll include the link here too.

I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted with the project—there just wasn’t time. I had ambitions to do much more, ambitions that had to be scaled back to fit the scope of the project.

Stuffy Battle

Father and son playing in a hammock.A more immediate celebration was having a stuffy battle with Xander—in the hammock with an epic music collection playing (thanks to Amazon Music). Stuffy battle, in Xanderverse, is a bit like a Pokemon battle or a pet battle in World of WarCraft. Only I have no way to know what’s possible, or how I’m doing, except for Xander telling me. Strangely, I usually win. I think it’s because he wants ‘my’ characters to keep leveling up so he can continue the story. Today ended with my opponents escaping with the blackberries, followed by a cinematic with the evil clam character.

Winter Break!

If it wasn’t already clear—I’m done with the Fall 2016 semester! Grades should be available right before Christmas. I think I did fine this semester, though my GPA did dip a bit with INFO285 (I learned a lot, though). Nothing to worry about. The only thing left to do for this semester is to save discussion posts so that I can use those in my e-portfolio. I’ll be on winter break until late January, giving me time to work on other projects (and begin reading books for next semester).

Screenshot of Trello Board

It’s weird (but good) to see my Trello board empty. This semester was a bit more stressful than some previous semesters. I’m looking forward to Spring 2017—my last semester of classes (with my e-portfolio in the Fall).

TurboTax Self-Employed

I also started work on my taxes today, using TurboTax Self-Employed. I’ve used TurboTax in one form or another for a long time. I’m glad to see they have a version focused on self-employed people, including those with a day job earning some side income. One of my goals for 2017 is to work more on our business at Glittering Throng Press.