Wednesday, September 19, 2007

As I've mentioned several times, I've been putting my books on LibraryThing, and it is good. This is partly because I'm an anal-retentive freak who already cataloged my books, so all I'm having to do (mostly) is type the ISBNs or other info off the cards I have.

Book catalog

As you can see, it looks like I'm making progress.

Book catalog

At least until I compare all four drawers. To add insult to injury, the A-C drawer is a bit short because everything up to Anderson was either lost or destroyed in a tragic cat pee incident. (Don't ask.)

One issue that I'm having, though, is that I printed out the catalog quite a while ago. As in, over ten years ago, before laser printers were affordable to the likes of me. So...

Book catalog

A close-up of one of the cards, in all its dot-matrix glory.

Book catalog

Another card, in a somewhat more typical state of inkless ribbon glory.

Still, the cards are (mostly) legible, and it's much nicer to read the information off them than have to physically work my way through every book. Too bad, really, that I haven't actually updated the catalog in something like eight or nine years. At the moment, though, I'm enjoying the luxury of being able to do my searches from the comfort of my bedroom, armed with my cards. I'll worry about the un-cataloged books later.

A bit more about the LibraryThing process.

The easiest way to enter a book is to do a search through the numerous online databases that LibraryThing is linked with, including the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library (useful for my Marlowe stuff), and various Amazon.coms. This means, of course, that it's most helpful when the specific edition of the specific book you're entering is correctly and thoroughly entered into said database. Since the Amazon results also include those entered by the various affiliated sellers, you can imagine that the accuracy and consistency of the listings can be...erratic.

Still, I'm getting the hang of it. I'm learning how to make the Library of Congress work for me on my older books (you can even search with LC catalog numbers, which is a godsend for books published before ISBNs became the standard), and I've learned that it's more efficient to just set the cards for problem books aside rather than waste time trying to track them down as I go. I've also scanned in quite a few covers for the database, but again I think I'm going to let them accumulate rather than doing them as I come to them.

I did, however, take the time to track down edition and printing information for my Three Investigators collection (which is how I learned about the movie, actually). I'd been actively buying and reading the books since about 1970, and frankly never had a clue about the differences in the various editions, other than the fact that they seemed to change at random (which is actually pretty close to the truth). I was surprised that several of my used hardbacks were, indeed, first printings. I was even more surprised to find out that I was only missing one book, and two clicks later I'd found it for under $10 on Amazon. The internet is an awesome thing.

The big issue for me with this database, like any other, is longevity. One reason I quit maintaining my catalog was that the software I was using--Hypercard--finally became obsolete. I had a hard copy, but to move my books to a new electronic database would entail re-entering the information for all my thousands of books. It's also one reason that I made the card catalog. I knew that it would probably be my only truly lasting record. My hope is that LibraryThing stays around long enough for me to get everything entered and printed and maybe even saved to a nice stable ASCII text file. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Health Update

Daily pill intake: 27
Books entered on LibraryThing: 409
Number of times cursed at crappy dot-matrix library catalog printout: 409
Items checked off on "When to Call Your Doctor" bronchitis fact sheet: 4
Secondary bacterial infections: 1
Pneumonias: 0
New prescriptions: 3
Stargate episodes watched: 10
Crappy fanfics read: 90234857

Bronchitis: 1, Jinjifore: 0

The good news is that I have approximately 4,000 more books to enter on LibraryThing, so it's not like I'm going to run out of things to do from bed. Also, among the numerous new pills I'm taking are antibiotics and steroids, which should hopefully help me feel better sooner rather than later. Here's hoping. :)


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Right. So I have bronchitis again, and it seems to be of a slightly nastier variety than the previous one. According to the literature I was given, I can expect this to last for 1-2 weeks. This is, therefore, my blanket statement to not be totally surprised if I don't show up for my usual social engagements. I will, of course, try to give all due advance notice of my absence, but I wanted to give a heads-up that is going to be a bit more long-term than usual.

The really bad news is that I have now seen every episode of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, and listened to all the commentaries ever made for both shows. More than once. The good news is that I finally decided to see what LibraryThing was all about, and I suspect that typing in ISBNs for 4,500 books will keep me occupied for a while.

Take care, all, and I'll see you soon. :)


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Cathedral Mittens in Progress

I'm still composing my DragonCon report, so instead I'm going to talk about mittens.

Cathedral Mittens--In Progress

I'm really, really pleased with the way these are turning out. I was worried for a while about the gauge, because the swatch is measured over the palm stitch, and the cuff stitch is a lot wider. I was knitting on these huge cuffs thinking the things would swallow my hand, but now that I've gotten an inch above the thumb I'm thinking it's going to be okay. The hand stitch is, as my swatch told me, a lot more compressed horizontally than the cuffs, and the contrast is going to give a nice gauntlet effect to the cuff.

Cathedral Mittens--In Progress

I had to rip back a row when I first made the thumb opening, but so far that's only my second big mistake. My first big mistake, you ask?

Imagine, if you will, the purple and gold chevron pattern at the top of the cuff with the last row of gold stitches offset by half a repeat. It was actually a very nice effect, and if I had done it for the whole row I would have gladly kept it because it was pretty. Unfortunately, I did half the row correctly, and the other half not.

I had already knitted another two or three rows by the time I discovered this. I didn't want to rip out, so what I did instead was to slip stitches along the row until I reached the point above an incorrect stitch. I laddered down, then, using a crochet hook, snagged the correct color that was already stranded across the back of the work and knitted the column back up. It worked out fine, since the colors were already stranded, just in a different order than they should have been. I really should have taken pictures of the process, though.

These are also knitting up a good deal quicker than I thought they would. So far it's taken about four knitting days to reach the point where I am now, and the pattern is very easy to remember after the first repeat. It's going to take some time, but not nearly as much as I had feared.

Labels: ,