Library Student Day in the Life

November 2, 2013

Moving this blog effort to daily posts.  No additional entries on this page.  But keep reading now that you have started.  See you on the daily posts at the right.


November 1, 2013

Busy day.  Dashed over to GW early to catch the keynote address of Tech@State by the President of Coursera, Lila Ibrahim.  Ran into friend/colleague and co-CUA librarian, TS, and had a nice chat.  After her speech I met with Ms. Ibrahim and we chatted about ModPo.  She had her folks take a picture, which she e-mailed to me, which I posted to Facebook (of course).  Here is a link to the photo and comments (hope this works!):

Rushed back to the car and headed out to FSI for the last day of the 4-week Job Search Program.  Arrived in time to do a nice evaluation of our small group facilitator.  We had a couple of lectures, then proceeded to the reception hall for a graduation reception.  Old friends were there, along with classmates.  Nice conversation, chats with the course staff and chats with the folks from DACOR and AFSA.  Took a group photo (which we have not yet received) and a single shot with Grand Master Ben Franklin, which I posted here:

I devoted the rest of the day to catch-up reading for 551.

Late in the evening, I fished out from the e-mail cesspool my draft for Assignment #1 in The Future of Storytelling.  Here it is:

Haven’t yet posted to the forum.  But my most vivid storytelling memory comes from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I think I was in 4th grade, and I didn’t fully understand a lot of the adventures.  But my brain clenched on to the dialogue between Huck Finn and his Aunt Polly (I think that was her name, she was Huck’s loco parentis, as it were).  Aunt Polly scolded Huck for hanging out with Nigger Jim and told Huck he would go to hell if he maintained the friendship.  What followed, as I recall, was a Huck Finn soliloquy where he decided that if the consequence of keeping a friendship he cherished was to go to hell, then he would just have to go to hell.  I remember thinking, “Wow, what a big decision for a young boy to make.”  And I remember that I started making decisions for myself after reading it. My father, I recall, was slightly amused that I identified with Huck and not with Jim.  I amused him a lot…
I re-read Huck Finn in 9th grade, along with TKAMB, Billy Budd, and Oliver Twist, all “coming of age” novels. But for me, nothing held a candle to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

October 31, 2013

Got 551 reading and posting to do tonight or I am screwed!

Good panel discussion at FSI this morning.  Establishing a consulting practice.  Five successful consulting practitioners, three of them former government employees/FSO’s. Chatted afterwards with two I knew.  Got a book recommendation, Government Contracts Made Easier, much cheaper on Kindle.  On my list.

Good chat with the folks from ADST (Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training), one of my favorite groups of folks.  Couldn’t resist telling them that what the oral history project needs is metadata and indexing.  The e-mail they asked me to send may turn into another project!

Introduced to Adobe Fireworks and Dreamweaver tonight at Information Literacy and Instructional Design class.  Part of the whole experience of going back to grad school at 50-something is dealing with the humility of having 20-somethings run circles around you because they are natives to the technology and you are an alien. Time heals all wounds.

Last day of Job Search Program tomorrow.  But not so soon.  Tomorrow morning I meet Lila Ibrahim, president of Coursera.  Hopefully we will have a ModPo crew there to hold high the ModPo banner (ModPo is Penn’s Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, Coursera’s second most popular MOOC course).  ModPo is the beloved community that accompanied me through a storm.  Speaking of which, while browsing the stacks looking for Panofsky’s Studies in Iconology (librarians and information scientists who got through Taylor&Joudrey will know what I am talking about), I stumbled upon “An Anthology of Concrete Poetry.”  Talking about a revolution.  “If there is such a thing as a worldwide movement in the art of poetry, Concrete it is.” -Jonathan Wiliams

OK. Time for some 551.

October 30, 2013

Job Fair went well.  Had six or seven conversations. Three or four seemed really interested.  Starting to feel like the original LIS evangelist, explaining to the heathen world how getting the metadata right can heal their souls.  But seriously, I think there may be several possibilities: designing web-based training; applying knowledge management principles to development projects; adjunct opportunities at community colleges; and even part-time technical writing gigs to tide me over until a really cool library job presents itself.

Still catching up on readings and Blackboard postings. I have my taped job interview tomorrow at FSI.  Should be a ton of fun (more like one more CD that never gets viewed evermore…).  A couple of places requested soft copies of my resume so I will crank those e-mails out tonight.  Tomorrow is another day with new opportunities…

p.s.  Cancelled the New York trip.  Couldn’t face the five hour bus ride.  Got a good walk along the Potomac in this morning, a little rain but I had a cap and a hood.  When the drizzle became steady, I switched from NPR to WTOP, “from the Chesapeake to the Shenandoah, traffic and weather on the eights and when it breaks!”  WTOP is good for walking!  Played hookey from school and caught up on correspondence.

p.s.  Side trip to the instruction manual factory after lunch today.  Picked up my retirement ID and submitted my final award nomination.  Oh yeah, and posted a poem to my LinkedIn Poetry group.  Check it out if you dare (and if they let you in):

October 29, 2013

Job Fair Day at the Foreign Service Institute!  Got my two page resume.  Got my one page resume.  Got my business cards with QR code linked to my LinkedIn profile.  Got my 30 second elevator speech.  Tudo pronto.  Quick prayer to Our Lady of Fatima.  More later.

October 28, 2013.

Rushed home from the Foreign Service Institute’s retirement transition course, Job Search Program, to get an early afternoon start on 551 (Organization of Information) catch up. Boring day at class, actually, but the bright spot was the afternoon panel that discussed part-time and intermittent work opportunities. Happy to know I’ll be able to find work in DC as a government contracting officer or as a technical writer as a back-up to a future LIS career!

I went to bed last night late thinking about a Metadata article I had just read, then woke up this morning with all kinds of ideas about aggregating and integrating content on poetry websites I listed on  A project for another day.

Just uploaded a JING update.  All systems on track for completing my online tutorial for Information Literacy by the Thursday due date.  More tomorrow.   Maybe more tonight.

October 27, 2013.  

Up early on a Sunday morning, playing catch up with readings from 551, Organization of Information.  This is not the class I should have fallen behind in, this is the stuff I really like because, as we all know, the devil is in the details.  Anyway, I am catching up, ploughing through the readings, intent on first of several making the Blackboard submissions before I have breakfast and dash off to meet the Poetry Group at the American Art Museum.  Later, volunteer duty at the Arabian Sights Film Festival, which should actually be fun, then back home to plow through some more 551 readings.   

Sunday is a good day to ponder on all the upcomings of the week.  Job Fair at FSI Tuesday, Megabus to New York on Wednesday for Power, Privacy and the Internet conference, How to Establish a Consulting Practice panel Thursday morning, online tutorial project due in Information Literacy and Instructional Design (644) Thursday night (better have the bulk of it done Tuesday or no New York trip!), Tech@State Friday morning to meet the president of Coursera with ModPo buddies, wrap-up, photos and reception end the Job Search Program course Friday afternoon (better dress up for that).  Gotta check in on the research project I have neglected these three weeks (I think folks understand that this is and has been, like, hell three weeks in the education village, but still, it is good and right to talk).

Working (mentally, just an internal conversation right now) on a new poem about the future reaching back to determine the present.  Sankofa.  It’s an African philosophical and psychological construct.  Mother Africa.

Enough for day -1.


Modern European Mysticism and Psychological Thought
Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Coursera
Assignment 1.
January 19, 2014

The lectures and readings reveal several ways in which mystical experience, mystical practices and proximity to the sacred may grant abilities not previously possessed in the subject undergoing these experiences.

How does this come about? The subject may detect a subtle awareness of changes body language, facial expression, voice tone and/or even word or narrative repetition that provides a subtext to thoughts people may be thinking but not explicitly saying. Though not mentioned, this may be especially valuable, and valid, if the expression is at great variance to a normal baseline one may have perceived in the past. Perception may be transformed, such that the subject sees more deeply into a situation that what may appear from a more superficial view. Dreams were mentioned in the lecture, such as dream yoga, where a subject has dreams of future events or even dreams of other people’s thoughts and dreams.

In mystical transformation, we understand that awareness is heightened, sensitivity is raised, and mental/intellectual faculties sharply tuned or focused, such that the person undergoing the transformation achieves a much higher state of mental acuity than before or outside the transforming experience. And it may not be a conscious awareness. In Rollenback, we have four examples of such an experience, with an Alaskan shaman, a modern Hindu, Paul on the road to Damascus, and St. Augustine. In a closer example, the subject was not consciously aware of the transformative experience while undergoing it, but he kept a detailed log of his experiences in the form of daily journaling. Then, reviewing those journal entries, after the fact, he was able to detect patterns of an increased awareness and the resulting calmness of mind that were perhaps inexplicable given the circumstances at hand.

1 thought on “Library Student Day in the Life

  1. Raymond: the link arrived in my Facebook newsfeed this morning, and I am glad to meet your blog. An interesting invitation to read your poem, “Check it out if you dare”! I did dare. The poem is beautifully written, and I am moved by the way you weave prayer and experience. A little later in the post, you use the expression, “(as we all know) the devil is in the details.” Also interesting, because I have heard it “God is in the details,” and that is how I read your poem. On first reading, it seemed like you were weaving prayer through an experience. On second reading, what stands out as the foundation is unceasing prayer, with experience woven through it.

    I hope you will keep posting about the concept you’re working on, “the future reaching back to determine the present.” If you’re thinking about it the way I’m understanding, I was accidentally led into going through a thought process about the past changing based on the present – not as weird as that probably sounds. I’d like to continue hearing your thoughts. — Elizabeth


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