A birthday poem

Yesterday was my 26th birthday. I’ve long-since outgrown a desire for presents or big celebrations (I’m not comfortable being the center of attention for long expanses of time), so we repeated last year and kept it simple: A trip to IHOP for my free breakfast from them, rummaging through a used bookstore, talking while he made beef stew, watched How to Train Your Dragon, dinner, presents, and dessert (scrumptious strawberry shortcake!).

by Donald Justice

Great Leo roared at my birth,
The windowpanes were lit
With stars’ applausive light,
And I have heard that the earth
As far away as Japan
Was shaken again and again
The morning I came forth.
Many drew round me then,
Admiring. Beside my bed
The tall aunts prophesied,
And cousins from afar,
Predicting a great career.

At ten there came an hour
When, waking out of ether
Into autumn weather
Inexpressibly dear,
I was wheeled superb in a chair
Past vacant lots in bloom
With goldenrod and with broom,
In secret proud of the scar
Dividing me from life,
Which I could admire like one
Come down from Mars or the moon,
Standing a little off.

By seventeen I had guessed
That the “really great loneliness”
Of James’s governess
Might account for the ghost
On the other side of the lake.
Oh, all that year was lost
Somewhere among the black
Keys of Chopin! I sat
All afternoon after school,
Fingering his ripe heart,
While boys outside in the dirt
Kicked, up and down, their ball.

Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles upon a cake
As the sun went down the sky,
A momentary flash,
Yet there was time to wish
Before the light could die,
If I had known what to wish,
As once I must have known,
Bending above the clean,
Candlelit tablecloth
To blow them out with a breath.

CSS Training in Facebook Chat

This is lifted from a Facebook chat I had with a friend as I talked him through the basics of CSS.

So, when you’re coding, you can only code down the page right? But your CSS can make images/areas appear wherever on the actual web page
So you need to keep the constraints of the HTML in place as you code and remember to think of the final page so you’d have something like:

< div id= "sidebar_right" >
< /div >

< div style= "margin-top: -30px; margin-left: 20px; ">
< img src="picture.jpg" />

< div style = "margin-top: -50px; margin-left: 20px; ">
< img src ="picture2.jpg" />

I had to add in lots of spaces to get the code to appear on this page. This text is to be used as an example.

You have to give the pictures negative top margins so that you can pull them up the page instead of being below the sidebar.
The margin-left will move the images to the left of the item to the left of it
Adjust the numbers as needed
Make sense?

Do you know the difference between class and id in CSS?

  • id is where identify the div like
  • and I reference it using a #
  • is ONLY used for one item on the entire site. Which means that you can’t (or shouldn’t) call that id on any other page
  • In the CSS, it is referenced as #sample
  • can be repeated as many times as you want

How I Job Search

An interview I did for a LIS management class at UNCG. I’m pretty driven to find a job before/soon after graduation after being unable to find work when I graduated college in 2008.

1) How many applications have you sent out and what was your general strategy?

I have sent out 36 applications since October. All of them were submitted online with one requiring that I physically mail in an unofficial copy of my transcript. I have had 5 “hits” so far and have received 12 rejections or the position was eliminated letters.

My general strategy:

  • I first went to the Career Center to get help fixing up my first cover letter and CV. I then realized they weren’t of much help since they were used to working with more general job applications.
  • I used this Excel form from here so I could track of my job applications.
  • Set up a Job Search folder on your computer. Create a folder for every job you apply for and save a copy of the cover letter, CV/resume, references, etc. other material you submit for each one in its own folder.
  • Have a master sample cover letter and CV which you can open and then resave in the folder of the job you’re applying to. This will help ease some of the stress of writing 50 cover letters.
  • I looked for jobs on a variety of online resources. If you want my list, let me know!
  • When I find a job ad that I want to apply to, I copy and paste the URL and the text of the job ad into a section in OneNote.
  • I then look at the due date. I then schedule a day for me to apply to the job in Google Calendar using the Task function. I call the task “Apply to this” (or “APPLY!” for very important jobs) and then include the job title, location, and URL in the comments section of the task.
  • As a member of ALA, I joined the New Member Round Table and sent a sample cover letter and CV off to be reviewed. I got a response about 4 weeks later.
  • I also created a list of references (with their permission!) which has the same header as my CV which you’ll see below.
  • I can now apply to a job in about an hour.

2) Could you post a couple of cover letters and resumes that worked for you leading to interview?
These cover letters and CVs may not be for the same job, but each of these have been successful.

  • Cover Letter 01 (pdf)
  • Cover Letter 02 (pdf)
  • CV/Resume 01 (pdf)
  • CV/Resume 02 (pdf)
  • References (same header as the CV/Resume)

3) What are some tips you have for the entire process including the interview and post interview thank you’s….

We’ll break this into sections…

Cover Letter

  • DO some research and find a name to address the cover letter to.
  • State the position title, the employer’s workplace, and where you found out about the job in the first paragraph.
  • Try to be a little creative with the body of your cover letter. As in, if they say “expert at such and such”, use their language “such and such” but say something more like, “I used such and such skills when I re-engineered the space shuttle to the moon…”
  • Try to stick to a page, but if you absolutely CAN’T, that can be okay every now and then when they want very specific examples for every single requirement.


  • Congratulations! You’re in the big leagues now and can have a resume/cv that is longer than a page long. I’ve been told no longer than 3 pages for new grads.
  • If you can, use numbers/stats to back up how awesome you are. For example, “Increased production by 500%” or “Managed 22 employee”
  • Try to use action verbs when describing your achievements. Here’s a list of some verbs that you can use.
  • Have your last name, page number, and phone number in the top right of your header.

Phone Interview

You’ll probably receive an email to schedule the time from their HR/secretary. Be EXTREMELY courteous to this person.

  • Print out the job ad, your CV, and cover letter that you sent in.
  • Look at their website and do some research on each of the people you’ll be speaking to on the phone. Write down their title, their degrees, any major accomplishments that they have done. These are conversations pieces you can refer to during the phone and in-person interviews if needed. It is VERY IMPRESSIVE to have done your background reading on them.
  • Write down your answers to: 1) Why this job? and 2) Your responses to each of the required and preferred qualities listed in the job ad.
  • Write down a list of questions to ask them about the job, location, etc. that you couldn’t gleam off their website. Next are some sample questions that I’ve asked. You’re usually allowed to ask 3 questions when they’re done grilling you:
    • What goals will I be expected to meet in the first year in this position?
    • Tell me about the people that I will be working with/supervising.
    • (If tenture-track)What support will I have in reaching tenure-related goals? or How will I be supported professionally?
  • Sound excited!
  • Thank them for calling.
  • IMMEDIATELY write thank you emails to each of the people that were on the phone with you. If you don’t have time for that, send it to the head of the search committee and ask them to express your gratitude to the rest of the committee.

In-person Interview

  • You’re in the top 3-4 candidates! Be confident that you have the skills they need. At this point, it’s seeing if you are a good fit for their culture.
  • They’ll probably pay your way, hotel, and food. Lucky!
  • Dress in a business suit/skirt, comfortable shoes, and check the weather of the location you’re traveling to.
  • If flying, take one personal item (purse, briefcase) and one carry-on. Make sure your personal item is big enough to hold any papers they give you during the interview.
  • Be gracious, kind, and polite to everyone you meet. Wear a smile as often as possible.
  • If you’re going for an academic interview, you’ll be there for probably TWELEVE HOURS. Usually people are sympathetic and will lay off on you towards the end. Remember, they’re getting tired too.
  • If academic, you’ll have to give a presentation. It sucks, but you can do it. Usually you are given the topic and it will be expected to be done in PowerPoint. Bring it on a USB stick. Then bring a back-up one.
  • Make sure you take notes throughout the day and have questions to ask them. Grill them. You’re interviewing them as well.
  • Ask specifically about people’s management style, what the town is like, the cost of living, what to do for fun, if its likely your partner will find work…

Post Interview

  • Send a thank you email to the head of the committee. You should probably send one to the dean as well (if you’re looking at an academic library).
  • If you can, send a thank you email to each individual of the search committee.

Trip to Utah and Back Again

Sunrise in Greensboro

Sunrise in Greensboro

I left for a trip to Utah on Thursday, March 7th and then returned on Saturday, March 9th. In order to make it across the country, I had to be on the plane before sunrise. This leg of the trip took about 75 minutes. My plane took me to Atlanta for the rest of the trip (4.5 hours). It was a pretty uneventful ride. I sat between two native Utah residents. One was on his way to a wedding while the other was going to her granddaughter’s college graduation.

I spent my time academic skimming two books on emerging technologies in academic libraries, which was the topic I was presenting on. When I finished with that, I pulled out my netbook and discovered that Delta was having a special where you could tweet for free. My tweets from this part of the journey:

  • Nice: this flight has free Twitter access. I’m flying over the Rockies right now. :-)
  • Aww, I just took a photo but realized that the default Twitter website won’t let me upload photos.
  • So far I’ve academic skimmed two books, ate 3 snack bags of fruity chewy things, 1 teeny bag of pretzels, and paid too much for a sandwich.
  • Uh oh. We’re hitting turbulance! I’m above Utah right now.
  • Quite a bit of turbulance now! >___<
  • We’re beginning our downward descent. We’ve dropped about 3000 feet so far. I see a big river out the window.
  • Lots of shaking. We’re in the clouds. We should be there in a little over half an hour. I can feel the descent. We’re dropping rapidly.
  • And by rapidly I mean the angle is enough to make me queasy. I’d rather continue to be climbing high…
  • We’re at 30k altitutde and continuing to drop. The clouds are too thick to see beyond the wings.

(I’ve left my misspellings in. Ah, the internet/modern browsers have completely spoiled me.)

Waiting for Shuttle

Waiting for Shuttle

When I landed, I rushed outside in order to meet the shuttle that would be taking me on the rest of my journey. Unfortunately, there were some issues with this plan:

  • I had not caught that the name on the shuttle bus would NOT be the same as the one printed on the ticket.
  • The shuttle was an hour late anyways.
  • I had spoken to the shuttle operator about 3 times. He knew I was there and waiting. I did not dare to go inside in case I missed it. So, when the shuttle did come and the driver did not ask if the shuttering, teeth clattering girl was the one who had been calling the shuttle, I got quite upset. The reason for this being that I witnessed several other shuttles where the driver would ask people for their name to confirm that they were not suppose to be on his shuttle. It seemed to be pretty standard.

So, by the time that things got worked out, it was two hours after I had landed. I had stayed outside in 43 degree weather and watched it rain, then hail, then lightening as I waited for the shuttle. Thank goodness that my boyfriend had told me to wear long johns and that I brought my feather down coat and wool gloves.

It all turned out for the best. I got to ride the shuttle up with some great locals: a professor, a chatty hair stylist, and a father and his daughter who were returning from a hunting trip. They pointed out landmarks, told me that no really, the mountain is right there but we couldn’t see it thanks to the thick snow. They were great! So while things were off to a rocky start, the locals totally made up for it. :-)

Going into mountains

Going up into the mountains

I’m not sure what all I can/should say about my presentation. I did not hit the 45 minute mark, but was told that it worked out perhaps better that I did not. Instead of 15 minutes of Q&A, there were 25 minutes. The bad thing about my presentation was that this library was already kicking butt and taking names. At least I’m current with what should already be being done in most libraries… I enjoyed my visit though a great deal. The people I met were fun and more importantly, easy to talk to. That is always a blessing when you’re shy like myself.

Window View

Window View

It snowed nearly the entire time I was there. Everyone complained about it while back home, it was in the 70/80s. I was pretty excited about it since I love snow. Only later back on the plane did I realize that I never stepped foot on Utah soil. I was always on asphalt/concrete. When there was a break in the storm on Friday evening, I got one tantalizing glimpse of the further valley and maybe it was the sunset colors, but it looked like Heaven.

Clouds Caught on Mountains

Clouds Caught on Mountains

My planes were late returning me home. The first because it was snowing pretty hard in Salt Lake City, so the plane had to be deiced. Then in Atlanta it was because the plane had to be rerouted due to a big storm in North Carolina (both of my mom’s skylights were broken due to the hail. My grandma said her car was dented!). My boyfriend was very patient waiting for my plane to arrive. He then took me to my favorite restaurant for dinner then presented me with these: