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.

Daily Thoughts

Self-Portrait of the authorMy focus today has mostly been on the semester’s final assignments. I did come across this post at BoingBoing People really, really suck at using computers, which reports on The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think over at NN/g. The summary makes the overall point of the article clear, “Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.”

Every day librarians help users with computer-related tasks, and we’re starting to do much more. The article makes another crucial point not included in the summary, “In total, across the OECD countries, 26% of adults were unable to use a computer.” A quarter of adults are unable to use a computer.

Librarians provide a key resource to help the 95% of users that lack high computer-related skills. This next week I’m planning to share a plan to provide more opportunities in our libraries.

Planet of the Apes

I’ve always enjoyed the Planet of the Apes movies (except for the terrible ending of the Tim Burton version). I’ve enjoyed the recent series of movies and was excited to see the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes.

I plan to be in the theater to see this one! The new Spiderman: Homecoming trailer looked like a lot of fun too. We don’t tend to go to the theater often. With the improvements to our local theater’s seating and operation, it’s much more enjoyable to go see a movie than it used to be. I’d like to get over to see Fantastic Beasts, and we’ve got to see Rogue One (of course)!


No, not the video game. The quakes in Oklahoma that I’m studying as part of my final for this data analysis class. I thought I’d share this quick visualization graphing the magnitude and depth of earthquakes each year. It’s pretty boring until 2010—and then watch out! One more tiny piece in this final project.


Daily Thoughts

Author's Self-Portrait Went out tonight to lock up our surviving chickens, and only Patty was in the coop. I put on boots and tromped up and around through the woods looking for Third without any luck. No sign of her. Nothing visible in the snow to show any sign of intruders. I got back to the coop, knocked the ice out of the water and took the empty bowl to the house to get it filled.

On the way back my light flashed across something by the back corner of the house—wait, what was that? Third!

She’d roosted on a tomato cage leaning against the wall. Snow covered her back. With the black and white feathers, in the dark with the snow, she was nearly unnoticeable.

Kate said that they’d been hanging out by the back door. We figured that when it came time for them to go to the coop it was already snowing hard. They probably walked along the back of the house until they were close to the coop, at which point Patty walked on through the snow and into the coop. Third, having never been in snow (she’s several years younger, we haven’t had snow like this since she’s been around), must have chickened out. Instead of walking through a few inches of snow she decided instead to perch on the very thin—cold!—wire tomato cage.

I picked her up and carried her to the coop and put her inside to keep Patty company. Crazy chickens.


Cover art for Definitive XML SchemaI’m finishing up my final for my XML class tonight. Nearly done with the test, but not the subject! Comments aside about the class (I’ve submitted my evaluation), I have much more to learn. Next up on this topic is a big book, Definitive XML Schema by Priscilla Walmsley.

Daily Thoughts

Self-portrait of the author I’ve been having trouble with the website lately, hopefully, it’ll get resolved. I’m getting 504 Gateway Timeout errors doing normal functions, like trying to access the dashboard and create a post. I’ve tried a few different hosts and I’d rather not switch again! Thanks to SiteGround’s excellent support I have a number of things to try out for improving the site. For now, I’ve disabled just about all of the plugins and will work on other options from there.

Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Waste water injection in oil wells in Oklahoma has apparently contributed to an increase in the incidence of earthquakes, as well as stronger quakes.

Graph of Earthquake magnitudes in Oklahoma

This graph summarizes both the increase in earthquakes and the increase in the magnitude of quakes. I’ll have a lot more in my final paper for this class.

Glittering Throng Press

Since I don’t have content right now at Glittering Throng Press, I’m going to use it as a test case for some new website work.