Archive for October, 2010

Assorted Things

I had an eye test the other week; back at Batemans, who are awesome people and who’d actually managed to keep my details on file from my last test with them in 2007.

During this particular eye test, I discovered two things:

1) I cannot now read the second line of the chart without glasses. (And if the top line had been something less blatantly an A- a C or a G or an O for example – I don’t think I could have managed that).

2) I’ve jumped prescription again since my last go and need something stronger. Which explains the afternoon headaches I’ve been getting (which is good, because it proves I was right to make the ‘Cataloguing + Headaches = Bad Eyes’ association).

Interestingly, since I was told that my glasses are too weak for me, and that the headaches are almost certainly caused by the same, they’ve got worse. Sigh.

Stupidest Book So Far
One of the things I like about this sort of job is the massive boost you gain to general knowledge. Today, for example, I discovered that there is a provision in the LCSH for a classmark that translates to “Motion pictures, specific aspects, lesbian vampire films”. A product of the 1970s, apparently. And there was me thinking Bill Watterson just made those titles up…

The other thing I discovered today is that it’s possible to get published with even a completely retar- uh, rhetorical- premise. I discovered a book which plugged it’s contents by asking something like “Are some of Shakespeare’s heroine’s actually saying sexually obscene but funny lines?”.

For the one person on the Internet who has never seen or read Shakespeare, that’s rather like saying “Did Shakespeare write plays?” Or, more accurately, like saying “I haven’t really read Shakespeare before now, but I want to write a book and seem a bit risque”. Impressed I wasn’t.

Still, it could be worse. It could be an Amazon marketing ploy.

Customer Relationship Management FAIL
Amazon, as all the world knows, periodically send you emails to nudge you in the direction of offers. This normally involves getting an email that says something like “As somebody who has previously bought Flashman and the Dragon we thought you might be interested in Master & Commander,” or “People who have previously bought Black Books on DVD may be interested in our DVD Television Show Sale! Up to 80% off!!”

They’re enough of a nuisance that I’ve got them filtered to Mark As Read when they appear in my inbox, but they’re not sufficiently stupid that I Skip the inbox altogether, and sometimes I take a look at the contents, just in case there’s a genuinely good deal. It does happen.

So this was painfully shoddy, even for them:

Seriously, what the Hell? How does \'Buying Tintin\' equate to \'Wants Barbie\'!?

Seriously, what the Hell? How does 'Buying Tintin' equate to 'Wants Barbie'!?

New Job

I realise it’s been ages since I threw up a blog post, and since I’ve now been working for a month, this post is running late enough to satisfy even First Great Western, but there you go.

So, yes. JTA now works from 8-4, Monday to Friday, and now earns [%Maths_Result] an hour!

It’s quite fun. I work in a warehouse, which is strangely reminiscent of the temp job I had working the night shift over at Halo Foods in Tywyn, except that there are rather fewer vats of lo-fat chocolate, and rather more books. But I see about the same amount of natural light, so it’s not as different as perhaps it might be.

The work itself is pretty good, and I’ve got into a nice workflow pattern in which I catalogue* a book, stick it into a pile, and get it given back to me to fix because I left out the author affiliation note and forgot to correct the publishing date to 2011. It’s demoralising to have that sort of mistake pointed out (especially after the way Gail used to bully me into the ground for missing out semicolons back in 2006), but it does help to know which bits I need to be double-checking, and the more consistent errors do seem to be changing, so I think I’m getting back into the swing of things well enough.

The people that I’m working with are nice; last week I started one day with a discussion about Brief Encounter (General consensus: it’s a good film but hard to overlook the fact that Alec is an unprincipled shit trying to knacker everything for Laura) had a mid-morning chat about typefaces (I am still in a minority in liking serifed fonts; I blame my lousy eyes), and a last-thing-on-Friday lecture about How To Be Topp In Rome (Answer: it helps to be Augustus, it really does not help to be someone who is a rival to Augustus). So that is all quite fun.

The other thing worth mentioning is that I work on an AS-400 system. It is awesome. Green-on-black interface with no curves. It reminds me a bit of Heritage III, only clunkier. Mostly this is awesome, because I like that kind of interface [Ibid.] but it does present a reccuring problem where I only have space for one subject heading, which always bugs me, because I actually like hunting down oddly specific subject headings (my favourite was the time in Aber when I catalogued a thesis on the development of wet plate collodion photography between 1850 and 1900, and was able to mine Authorities for “Collodion process–History–19th century” which was tremendous fun…

…Yeah, takes a special brain, this stuff. Anyway, it’s going nicely, far as I can tell. Which is good, because everything else is going mental…

*Sort of. It is like cataloguing, and yet unlike cataloguing. “Sloppy Cataloguing” would be a good way to describe it; I keep wanting to put in extra notes and perfectly describe the book in hand but I am 1) Not supposed to, and 2) Not able to because of the crummy computer system we use.