Trying to get away is harder than you might think

Jared and I are considering taking a mini-vacation in September/October - we were originally planning on going down to Gatlinburg, but we recently decided that it might be more cost-effective to just visit Hocking Hills for a weekend. It's closer, which would mean less money spent on gas, and even though it's not quite as breathtaking as the Smoky Mountains, it's still a very scenic place to visit. So for the past week or so I've been pricing cabins in the area, hoping to find something relatively inexpensive. This has proved to be a difficult task - most cabins range from $150-$200 a night, even in late October. Yikes! Anyhow, as I was checking the availability of cabins from a particular company, I saw this message at the bottom of their page (emphasis added):

"Please note: There is a 2 night minimum on the weekend at the weekend rates. A weekend is considered Thursday/Friday, Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. Holiday weekends are a 3 night minimum. Lodges are 3 night minimum - Memorial Day through Labor Day.

We apologize that our rate structure is illogical and the system can not always quote your rates correctly."

Wow. Really? Can't you just... make them logical?

I think maybe we'll be camping instead. At the very least, we won't be renting a cabin from THIS company.

Weirdness, insults, and fun with words

If you have facebook, you've likely seen the ads that show up on the left side of the screen. Most of the time, they are pretty standard. But one day, I found this:

Apparently, this is an actual thing. Here's the petition, if you want to look at it. In case you're wondering, I'm not going to sign it. Now, if it were a petition to get the Bad Astronomer on Stargate, that's a whole different story. Sign me up!

Completely different but almost as random are the junk emails I've been getting at work. Here are a few recent ones I've received:

Umm, I didn't think junk mail was supposed to flat out insult you. Usually it just suggests that you might want to "increase ur size!!" or that you could really use some cheap Viagra. But to come out and just tell me that I look stupid?! How do they know how I look? Maybe I look great today, thankyouverymuch. Has anyone else seen junk mail like this?

Oh! Check out my Wordle:

I made it out of all of my tags on Delicious. Obviously, I like me some humor and libraries. But was there really any doubt about that?

I can has decent PowerPoint presentation? KTHX.

I attended the first day of my second official library conference today - the OLC Reference and Adult Services conference. I have to say, even for a smaller affair than the first conference I attended (the big OLC Annual Conference last October), it was really nice. The food they served for lunch was great (bonus!), I was much less scared to talk to people I didn't know, and the programs and speakers were really good.

...except the last program of the day. I hate critizing presenters, because I know hard they must have worked to prepare, and sometimes things just don't go as planned - but let me explain. This particular presentation was a combination of uninteresting antecdotes, bad jokes, and the worst PowerPoint presentation I've seen since library school. His topic was adult programming in the library, and although he did stay on topic and gave some good advice about how to come up with programming ideas, he spent far too much time talking about the individual programs that he had put together, and not enough time talking about the logistics of hosting a program and marketing it to the community. After a while it just felt like he was showing off - he kept raving about all of the programs he'd put together for his library, and then would drift off into a story about the people involved in the program or try to tell a not-so-funny joke. (I'm sure it didn't help that I had a huge headache at that point... but I digress.) And when I say "bad PowerPoint," I'm talking flying/rotating text transitions (SIGH), all white backgrounds, and nothing but Times New Roman font. The slides were set up in a basic outline format, and other than some pictures of posters his marketing department created for his programs, the slideshow really didn't add anything useful to the presentation. The scary part is that he stressed how librarians need to learn to use PowerPoint (O RLY!?!), and that he teaches a technology class for patrons at his branch. To top it off, he muttered several times during the program "I hate technology!" after he'd accidentally jump forward too many slides - meant as a joke, I'm sure, but isn't that a bad sign? Especially if you consider yourself a technology instructor?

The rest of the day, however, was amazing. Joan Frye Williams gave a wonderful talk in the morning, as she always does, and I enjoyed every minute of it. After lunch, I was inspired by a program I attended on marketing your collection - now I have all sorts of good ideas to take back to work with me on how to display some of our newer titles and get more customers interested in them. And I also attended a very enlightening panel discussion about how the business community sees the public library, and what they would like to see us do to serve them better. So one rotten apple didn't ruin the bunch for me! I can't wait to learn more tomorrow morning.

Summer fun-ness

You may be wondering what I've been up to. Or maybe you haven't been. Either way, you are about to find out. Oh, the magic of blogging!

First of all, I visited Chicago two weeks ago - and it was amazing! There is so much I didn't get to do (I needed to stay there a week longer!), but what I did do was completely awesome. One of the places I had to visit was the Threadless store. If you've never heard of them, check out their website - if you like unique t-shirts or creating your own designs, you'll love it! Anyway, I visited the store and bought myself a shirt. They also have art prints for sale based on the t-shirt designs. The best part is that they release the newest designs in the store before they release them online - so I got my shirt early, and actually wore it on the day it was "officially" released! Very cool.

Another place I made sure to visit was the Chicago Public Library. This is apparently the largest library in the country (and with 79 branches, there's really no doubt in my mind about that), and the main library is called the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. I visited the library on a Sunday - I expected the place to be packed (my library is a madhouse on Sundays!) but found that it was quite peaceful. There were 9 floors - I didn't visit them all, but I could tell that each was laid out the same way. The exception was the 9th floor, which was a beautiful open room with a few tables and a glass ceiling. Surprisingly, only one person was using the space to study when I went up there. If I lived in Chicago, I would be up there everyday! You could even see the top of the Sears tower through the glass. The library had a very modern feel, but I have to say that I wasn't really impressed with the layout of the floors or the use of the space. The walls and decor were... well, not very exciting either. Not bad, just not as impressive as I had hoped it would be. But overall, it was a very nice building.

Check out all of my Chicago pictures on my Flickr page.

In other news, last weekend I was in the Pride parade with Spin Columbus. We did pretty well and everyone seemed to enjoy our performance - we got a lot of compliments afterwards, which made everyone feel really great. This weekend I will be performing with them again in the Doo Dah parade on July 4th - come out and see us if you can (and if it doesn't get rained out)!

Erica's realization of the month: Sunglasses are AWESOME. I bought a pair for myself on the way to Chicago, and I instantly felt both way cooler than usual and much more vacation-y. Now I wear them all the time, and I'm not quite sure how I have lived almost 26 years without them. In fact, I'm pretty sure people smile at me more when I wear them - this is probably either because of the aforementioned coolness factor, or perhaps because they can't see my eyes (and thus can't see the weird look I would have normally been giving them). I have also started noticing just how bright the world is without them - and when I drag my groggy self into work in the morning, the last thing I want to see while driving there is anything bright and sunny.

What exciting revelations have you had this summer?