Monday, January 31, 2005
Too much Trivial sleep=cheerful Jennifer
Or, Soon: off to the studio

Would you believe that, to help us with a Garruda (a large-point, important, usually very tough question at the end of the contest), a Quebecois member of the Canadian National Ultimate Frisbee Team actually called us back in order to find out how he could help? Without knowing a thing about why we were asking? And was polite and nice? Turned out he hadn't been at the game in question, so he couldn't help, but we thanked him profusely all the same.

Our rival for third place talked to the Ukrainian exchange student who wrote an entry in the Wisconsin Capitol Building guestbook, waking her up at 12:30 am tonight at her host family's home in Rio, WI, and she couldn't remember what she wrote? So they didn't get the Super Garruda (normally, no one does, but they came awfully close). And we are still third.

We just heard that one team (with the euphonious name of Gurgledurr), during the mad dash to answer the above 100-point question, got a phone call from a friend in Madison saying, "Dude, I'm in the Capitol but I can't find the guestbook!" They asked how the f*** he got into the State Capitol building at 1:15 on a Sunday night/Monday morning, and he said he tried a couple of entrances and found one that was open, so he went in. I can just picture some guy with a cell phone, rummaging around the Information Desk in the rotunda in the silent dark, wondering where they put that guestbook. Keep in mind, this was not a desperate team member out to get the question any way he could, this was a pal living in Madison 100 miles away, who heard the question over the webcast and decided he would see if he could help!

When the Trivia Grand Master told this story over the air, he added, "We'll be having the awards ceremony on campus in about half an hour, so the teams that placed will want to come on down, except for Gurgledurr...they should probably just keep driving until they're over the state border."

We're leaving for the awards ceremony. Congratulate us! We're back in the top three!

Saturday, January 29, 2005
Surfing the crests and the troughs
Or, My Old Trivia Home

Chinese food just got this won't be a long post. Trivia is going spottily this year. Our current problems are a) lack of people (the Whitewater crew always goes to Beansnappers on Saturday night, and the mainly male team doesn't seem inclined to guilt-trip them about going and drinking at a gentleman's club en masse during a busy time) and b) our network keeps going down, or rather, slowing down just when we need it. Google searches that take 45 seconds, etc. It's really irritating.

My big successes so far have been on the 'net; I don't seem to have that social spark that leads to successful phone jamming this weekend. I always say it's not Trivia Weekend until I've kept a phone answerer on the line through two questions. I got close early on, but the cell phones are very staticky so I was having trouble hearing the other person and she got frustrated and hung up. Since then I've stuck to land lines as much as possible.

Standings: We were in third for awhile. We don't know where we are now, but we're forging on; we just managed to serve ourselves Chinese food and get a question answered at the same time. Good for us! When we next get a spreadsheet update I'll post more standings info.

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Slogging along
Or, Iowan for a weekend

Stressful week as I prepared for Trivia, attended two Jararvellir Choir rehearsals for a performance I'm not in, prepared materials for the CAPHIS election, finished my 12th Night tokens and Bardic Madness flyers for Eithni to deliver at Twelfth Night, and attempted to have a social life as well. Every night I've stayed up way too late getting things done, then slept well beyond when I'd planned to wake up. Sigh. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my inability to wake up on time, refreshed and ready for the day.

I can tell the stress is getting to me. Tuesday night after a full night of choir, dishes, and e-mail, I looked at my shower and thought, "I don't believe I've cleaned that since before Thanksgiving." So I cleaned it. It is never a fun task. Between the smell of the new shower curtain, the cleanser I used, and the Raid to kill a potato bug that had wandered in, plus the fact that it was 1:30 am, I was not feeling so well by the time I finished. I tumbled into bed and had weird dreams involving just about every fictional place I have ever visited in my dreams (yes, including the luxury apartment hidden under my parents' back yard).

Surprisingly, I dreamed Flori had told Owen she was not going to marry him after all. My reaction was two-fold: 1. sympathy for Owen, and 2. a sense of almost blinding anger at Flori. Not unexpected reactions. I just hope it doesn't actually come to pass.

The relationship with Paul is not ending quietly. I knew it wouldn't, but it's hard blundering through this period of self-questioning on both our parts. I'm not cutting off contact because I like him and I'd still like to be friends. But I can tell he's not comfortable with how things ended. He has to find his own way through this. I don't think I'm the person to help him. It's hard enough helping myself.


I am really looking forward to Trivia. This week has to end better than it began.

Has there been anything positive about this week? Sure. I went to the Wisconsin Division of Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning division meeting, where I heard Libby Burmaster, the State Superintendent of Education, spread perkiness and optimism on all our heads for about an hour. There was a potluck-type snack spread (someone brought a big bowl of Lindor ball chocolates, so I was happy) and then we watched a presentation about the proposed new DPI website design. I wonder if the miscellaneous education-type employees there are aware of how few websites have this many librarians working on a website redesign (at least three R&L librarians are on the committee). The new design has a lot of good things going for it.

I finally got the Bardic Madness challenges publicized, and I have all but three patrons assigned (once I check my e-mail, I'll probably be able to assign the remaining three). They'll have to wait on getting posted to the website--that's a task for next week. I'm about six weeks late on getting the challenges published. This is what happens when one has a sudden, time-consuming, alternately pleasant and stormy relationship evolve and devolve over the holiday season: some things go by the wayside. My Laurel never did see fit to comment on the challenges, but this isn't unexpected. I got feedback from the Midrealm Bardic Madness provost and from my drop-dead deputy, as well as lots of good ideas from bardic friends, so I don't feel like I put the challenges together in a vacuum.

Well, I guess my normal optimism is unavailable today, huh? Maybe tomorrow...

Tomorrow I work 9-3, assuming I can manage to be up at 7:30 or so (yeah, right), then leave for Appleton right from work. I never did get a chance to raid the public library, and I'm too shy to ask my boss if I can borrow a few choice reference plums from the R&L collection for the weekend. So I guess I'm just going to bring some stuff from my personal collection.

I just feel kind of weighed-down. Ashamed and not worth much. Ugly. Unable to deal with reality. It's not a pleasant feeling.

Saturday, January 22, 2005
I don't feel so much like a snappy title for this post. But I am doing better than most of my SCA friends have seen me in the last week or so.

Paul and I came to the conclusion that our ways of carrying on a relationship were not compatible. That is, I wasn't able to fulfill his needs and he wasn't able to fulfill mine. So after six weeks together, we are no longer together. Things are amicable, but that doesn't mean we've recovered. This relationship was something both of us jumped into with both feet and a full load of hope, only to discover it wasn't going to work out. So if you see either of us around, don't tiptoe around us, just be friendly, and don't dwell on the breakup.

Last week was tough while I was pondering all this. Thursday night we talked and came to the above conclusion. Friday I felt slightly better, more like myself. Today, despite sleeping until 2, I actually got something done: I finished my most recent illuminated scroll and updated my Scribal Page with a link to it. And I also finished the book I was reading. These are not inconsiderable accomplishments, considering the shape I was in earlier in the week. So I'm pleased with myself. Tomorrow: the laundry.

Last night I had an odd experience. It was snowing pretty hard when I left work, and I had been planning to go to Mom & Dad's for a dinner of ribs Mom mail-ordered (mail-order pork? I still don't totally trust the idea) and then to Temple. So I called Mom and said I thought I should just get home. It took me an entire hour just to get to Midvale, whereupon I stopped at Sequoya Branch (also known as my childhood library) to get a video. I figured, if I was going to be effectively snowbound for at least part of this weekend, I'd want to check out a video I hadn't seen before.

So I picked out Topsy-Turvy (which I haven't watched yet, so no review) and was idly browsing the stacks, when I heard two men arguing in the men's room. Now Sequoya has never been a state-of-the-art facility. As the photo shows, it's in a strip mall. Despite the highest per-square-foot usage in the city, its bathrooms are still just individual lockable rooms, one person per bathroom. Unless it's a mother and toddler, you're not supposed to hear more than one voice coming from the bathroom. (Come to that, you're not supposed to hear even one voice coming from the bathroom, but I suppose some people enjoy their own company just that much.)

So I listened, and the dialogue consisted of one guy throwing some kind of guilt trip ("Dude, I just think it's f***ing ungrateful of you, I been driving you around all week and hooking you up") and another guy sort of falling apart ("I don't need this, man, I'm prob'ly going to jail, I just wanna get high, what do you want from me? More money?"). This went on for about ten minutes, mostly variations on the above. Obviously a drug deal between people who are a little closer to being actual friends than dealer and customer usually are. When I realized what I was hearing, I moved away so that if they came out, they wouldn't catch me listening.

Then I thought, um, this is actually illegal, and it's taking place in a public library. If I were on staff, wouldn't I want to know about this? The answer, of course, since I'm sort of drug-phobic, was no. I would want to smile at cute children, re-stock the pile of bibliographies entitled "Hot Historical Reads!", and have my biggest problems arise from late-fine disagreements. (Hope this last sentence doesn't get me disqualified from any public library jobs I may be up for in the future. Prospective employers: I can actually deal with my phobias a little better than that; I'm just being idealistic here.) So I wondered what to do.

A page (male, large and burly, thank goodness) walked past me from the stacks; I figured he would have heard the bathroom conversations too and I wouldn't have to inform anyone of them, but then I noticed he was wearing an IPod turned up loud. So again I was probably the only person who'd heard.

In the end I checked out my items and left without telling anyone, wondering if I'd done the right thing. At 7:30 on a Friday night in a snowstorm, could a (probably reduced) staff really have dealt with two men doing drugs in the bathroom? Would police have been able to arrive in time to get them, and would the ensuing scene be disturbing to the patrons? I suppose one can't make decisions on illegal activity based on whether solving the problem would disrupt patrons' library experience. But I know I would have freaked out, especially as a kid--and I spent lots of Friday afternoons at Sequoya between the ages of 11 and 14. Maybe I wasn't there until 7:30 pm (Mom would come get me at 5:30), but still, I stand by my point. I would not have wanted to come back to the library after witnessing such an arrest. I wouldn't have felt safe.

Anyway, I'll be back at Sequoya sometime this week to pillage books for Trivia. This is the first time I've done this in Madison. The last seven-or-so years I was delighted that neither the Marshfield and La Crosse Public Libraries had, effectively, any limit on how many books you could check out. Videos, sure; CD's, absolutely; but no limit on books. So every year I gleefully checked out a couple of dozen good resources for Trivia.

This year I feel a little inhibited; it took me some time to figure out why, since the Madison PL rule is no more than 100 items total on your card (I'm not going to even approach that many). Know why I felt weird, thinking of loading up a couple of boxes with books? Because my parents always set limits on library materials for us, and since Sequoya was our library, that's where they were effective. Ah, but I must remember, I am an adult now. I can do what I want at the library, as long as it's legal, follows library policy, and doesn't bother others. It's a funny thing to encounter an inhibition from childhood and confront it so baldly. I think I will feel proud of myself when I get those boxes of books loaded into my back seat this year...!

For those SCA friends who may read this, yes, going to Trivia in Appleton means I will not be at Nordskogen 12th Night. There are a lot of people I would love to see there, but this year is the first time in the 7 years I've been in the SCA that the two events conflict. This would have been my 8th straight 12th Night, but this will be my 15th straight Trivia year, and my 7th with my current team. Let's just say, some weird activities, I've been into since well before I joined the SCA.

As a matter of fact, several SCA friends in the past year, on hearing my Trivia spiel, said they thought they might be interested in participating, but then the conflict with 12th Night reared its ugly head. This had better not happen again next year. Not only would I like to go to both events again, I also would like to contribute actual people to my team, something I've never been able to do!

I leave for Trivia next Friday afternoon. Wish us luck.

In other news, my job is still LTE (limited term employment), but the person whose duties I am partially taking care of will not be able to return to work full-time for awhile; she is working half time from home, but says that she is exhausted after just four hours. So I will be working my current schedule for the foreseeable future. I rather like this idea. The job is interesting and relaxing, the people are nice, the hours are wonderful, and the low pay/lack of benefits problem is something I can deal with for at least a year if needed.

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