Friday, May 7, 2010

San Diego Public Library

Did you know that you can search for San Diego Public Library books, CD and movies, place holds and have items transferred to your nearest branch, all from the convenience of your home or office? Here's how:

1. Go to your nearest library branch and get a library card. It's free! Be sure to give them your email address.

2. Go online to the SDPL website.

3. Login with your library card ID for your username and the last four digits of your phone number for your password.

4. Search for the book, CD or movie you're interested in. I like to use the Advanced Search because you can specify the material type, which narrows down the search.

5. When you find the item, click on "Place Hold". You'll be prompted to select the branch from which you want to pick up the item. By default, the branch where you signed up for your card is selected.

6. Once you've placed your hold, you see a confirmation which tells you your place in the holds queue and an estimate of how long you'll have to wait. You will receive an email when the item is ready for pickup. You will also receive an email three days before the item is due back telling you so.

7. To cancel or review holds, review checkouts, renew materials, change your email address or change your password, click on "My Account & Renew My Materials".

You'd be surprise at the movie and CD selection they have. I've cancelled Blockbuster and Netflix, since I can get most any movie I'm interested in for free.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quitting Time

I'm getting ready to leave work and listening to the Roches first album. "Quitting Time" is one of the most beautiful and sad songs I've ever heard. Here are the lyrics.

Quitting Time
Words & Music by Margaret A Roche

Money is not the problem
You have enough of that
Now you must close your office
Put on your coat and hat
Put on your coat and hat

Now is the hour of quitting
Twilight paints the town
Old industrial skyline
How does the sun go down?
How does the sun go down?

You can go south in winter
Be what you are: a goose
You can live near the ocean
Your clothes can fit you loose

Even as you are leaning
Into that glass of wine
You and beloved business
Have come to the end of a line
Come to the end of a line

All of the gates are open
All of the charges dropped
Talks are terminated
Payments have been stopped
Payments have been stopped

You can move north in summer
You can be in the breeze
You don't need to notify
Any secretaries

Old industrial skyline
Drawing away from you
You are the one that's moving
You are the fool that flew
You are the fool that flew

You can go south in winter
Be what you are: a goose
Honk all the moon out the ocean
Your clothes can fit you loose

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to be a Gentleman, pt. 2

More of my favorite parts from John Bridge's How to be a Gentleman

"A gentleman's socks always match, or at least complement, his trousers - not his shirt, his tie or his pocket-handkerchief." - This is the way I USED to do it, until my ex-wife convinced me that my socks should match my shirt. Apparently, this is the way women (and ignorant men such as me) do it. I have now reverted to my prior habit.

"When a gentleman wears his black tie with a wing-collar shirt, he always positions the points of the colllar behind the tie." - I always wondered about this. Now I know.

"When a gentleman wears a cummerbund, he makes sure the pleats are turned upwards." - I knew this, but now it's official.

"When a gentleman wears a vest, he leaves the bottom button undone." - I'll take his word for this one.

"A gentleman turns his cell phone to the vibrate mode once he is seated in a restaurant." - I say turn it off. IMO, the person you are with is always more important than the person on the phone.

"If a gentleman and his fellow diners are all served at the same time, and if there is a lady at the table, he waits until she lifts her fork before he takes his first bite." - I guess if it's all guys, it's whoever is quickest with the fork.

"A gentleman does not stack his plates at the end of his meal." - I tend to do this in consideration of the servers, but henceforth I'll let them do their job. Right?

"A gentleman does not cut up all his food at once." - Duh!

"A gentleman never places a piece of dirty flatware back on the table." - I'm pretty good about this, but now I vow to observe it like a priest observes chastity. (Maybe I should come up with a better example.)

"When the first course arrives, he uses the fork furthest from the plate." - I've always gone by size, but this makes better sense and applies equally to spoons and knives.

"A gentleman does not cut his pheasant so agressively that it flies into the air and comes to rest on the tiara of some old lady." - OK, I got this one from the movie "The Party", starring Peter Sellers. Still, it's a good rule to follow.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to be a Gentleman, pt. 1

Here are some lessons I leanred from How to be Gentleman by John Bridges. Naturally, I gravitated toward points of etiquette that I am deficient in.

"A gentleman does not disparage the beliefs of others." -- I generally avoid conflict, so I rarely get in direct arguments over beliefs. I do, however, occasionally criticize the beliefs of others behind their backs. It's the intellectual equivalent of gossip.

"When a gentleman makes his way down a row of crowded theatre, he faces the people who are already in their seats. A gentleman never forces others to stare at his backside." -- I can't remember if I face toward or away from those seated.

"A gentleman uses his turn signals." -- I've been told on many occasions by my ex-wife that I frequently forget to use my turn signals.

"A gentleman holds his temper when dealing with service representatives on the phone, no matter what language they speak." -- I'm actually very polite to service representatives, but in the last years of his life my dad was increasingly hostile to underpaid support staff. I hope to remain polite through the end of my days.

"A gentleman always has an umbrella to share." -- I never use an umbrella, so this act of kindness doesn't immediately come to mind. I intend to purchase an umbrella and keep it in the car.

Well, that's enough for now. More to come.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Firefox Personas

If you're using Firefox Internet browser and have upgraded to v.3.6, you've probably noticed the addition of Personas, which are a way of customizing the look of your browser. They have a lot of cool Personas featuring scenery from around the world, but I didn't see any of my favorite spots in San Diego, so I ended up creating my own. I you like them, use them.

Balboa Park
Coronado Bridge
La Jolla Cove

More to come:

Hotel Del
Presidio Park
Torrey Pines

Tried So Hard

I'm listening to the "Hey Day", the 1971 BBC sessions of Fairport Convention, recorded before they released their first album. It's a great album: Richard Thompson's songwriting is superb and Sandy Dennis' voice never sounded so lovely.

They do a number of covers on the album, one of which is "Tried So Hard", written by Gene Clark (the main songwriter of the Byrds) and first recorded by the Flying Burrito Brothers. It's a painful song to listen to, what with my divorce and all, but I take some comfort in Clark's determination to keep moving on. Anyway, I thought I'd share the lyrics.

Tried So Hard
by Gene Clark

Stopped awhile this morning on my way back home
I had to realize this time that I'd be all alone
Cause she is moving somewhere far away not slow
And though I tried so hard to please her
She said she really had to go

Even though this time it really hurts me bad
I've been through similarities, it's not the first break I've had
And I just can't let it bring me down too low
And though I tried so hard to please her
There must be something more to know

Never thought that we would end this way
It seemed that everything was going fine
Still with all the things that I can do or say
It won't change the fate I know so well is mine

So I'll stop and look right past the pain
Cause I've been in love before and I can love again
While she is moving somewhere far away not slow
And though I tried so hard to please her
She said she really had to go

Saturday, February 13, 2010