Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Home of the JazzMan

I'm not sure why anyone would hold an estate sale on Sunday, Dec. 23 - but MargieBeelge sales had one on the calendar. Perhaps they had no choice but it made for low attendance which suited us just fine. . It was an odd sale to begin with since the family held several garage sales before calling them in. From what they said the most amazing treasures went out of the house for pennies on the dollar (great weeping and wailing on everyone’s part).

The house was your standard 3 bedroom ranch, built in the early 1960s, in what was once a nice part of town but is now a lock your car doors part of town. . It was pretty apparent that it was a one owner house, that the wife had died years before the husband and that neither had ever redecorated or thrown anything out. Both of them had some serious pack rat issues and ADORED mail order. As in every book every put out by Oxmoor (Southern Living) press, every video put out by National Geographic, Columbia Music club and the Software of the Month club (bet you didn’t know there was such a thing – I didn’t either).

We I arrived at 10 and found one room was nothing but wall to wall CDs. The man was a major jazz aficionado. So much that he lost track of what he had – lots of duplicates and many were still sealed. We each took a corner and started scanning. Lots of not founds, Columbia music club and junk but some amazing finds too. At 1:30 we finally finished with the room – and neither of us had scanned behind the other one. My scanner showed I’d scanned 700+ cds and my friend did more (she’s more agile than I).

We were sitting on the floor, standing, on our knees and bending into assorted pretzel positions - physically it was a very uncomfortable sale.. We both have Scoutpal but the volume was so great that we didn’t have the time to hand key in any of not founds. Neither of us know anything about Jazz so we were scan monsters to the extreme. Oddly we were the only dealers present – the other folks were just people who like estate sales or like jazz. We had lots of comments on our scanners to which we gave our standard answer “It helps us keep track of what we don’t need”.

We were starving so we checked out – I have never dropped $500 on inventory and had only 2 boxes to show for it! Got some lunch and headed back for round two.

Round two consisted of the garage which was knee high in magazines and trash bags. Trash bags full of ripe garbage. My nose couldn’t take it but Lou got 2 boxes of Downbeat Magazine. That left us the computer room which had a waist high pile of software – much of it unopened. I think the man might be have been a beta tester for Borland. The software stopped arriving around 2003 – just prior to Windows XP. We couldn’t get any hits on it so we left it behind and tackled the videos instead. Great collection –lots of MGM musicals but they’ve been re-released on DVD so they were worthless. We both found enough $20 dollar or so videos with good ranks so it wasn’t time spent in vain

At 3:30 we checked out and painfully crawled into the car and headed home. I'd spent $550 and my friend dropped $900. The CDs were $3 each so we had one loaded car. I'm to tried to do the math but that's a lot of CDs - and we barely made a dent in the collection.

It's been a rather amazing 13 months. Friends of the Library Sales doors are closing but windows are opening elsewhere. November, 2006 was the month of the BookMan, September, 2007 Spiritual Man and December, 2007 ushered in JazzMan.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Diversity R Us

Celebrated the beginning of Winter Break and early dismissal by going out to lunch (it doesn't take much to make a teacher happy).

We went to our favorite Chinese Buffet and as always the bill came with fortune cookies.

Only they weren't your Grandma's fortune cookies. These were bi-lingual fortune cookies.
English / Chinese you ask?
Nope, English / Spanish.

Only in Houston would you encounter fortune cookies English / Spanish in a Chinese restaurant.

Diversity, gotta love it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And Our Priorities Are ..............

A librarian at a nearby school questioned some of the teachers as to why their students were reading so few books and so rarely darkening the door of the library.
The response of one 5th grade teacher: " I don't have time to come to the library, I'm to busy getting my kids ready for the TAKS reading test. The kids don't have time to read any books - we have so many TAKS practice reading passages we need to finish."

Humm.....schools are supposed to be educating tomorrows workers and citizens. I don't think most employers consider bubbling in TAKS answers a career prerequisite.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Times..They Are A'Changing...

Rather interesting library meeting today.

In my district, as in many other school district the technology folks pretty much set the policies regarding computer equipment. As far as they are concerned their first task is to "protect the equipment". They remind me of the librarians of yore who didn't want any children in the library. They might disrupt the order of the books on the shelves or God Forbid, lose a book. Better for the books to stay safe on the shelves than to be checked out and used.

Our Tech folks are just as possessive of "their" computers. They forget that our primary business is educating children and that the computers are supposed to be a means to that end. They aren't as bad as some other tech departments I've read about. LM_NET abounds with horror stories of techies disabling the usb slots so that nobody can use a jump drive, forbidding the opening of any attachments and closing off the floppy disk drives.

Given their druthers I am quite certain our techie types would have loved to institute similar polices. I attended one of their trainings last spring which consisted of them telling nothing but "Us" vs "Them" stories (I was in the "them" camp).

Directors of our computer department have come and gone with in a dizzying speed and the revolving door just a landed another one in the head honcho chair. This one has a new attitude.

All teachers are getting a laptop. A laptop they can take home. A laptop they can actually install printer drivers and hook up to their home Internet provider. A laptop they can carry from workshop to workshop and meeting to meeting. A laptop that won't lock them out of the desktop and the control panel.

This is a complete 360. Granted corporate America has been operating this way for years but the wheels of educational change move with a global slowness. I do hope this current director stays around long enough to celebrate his one year anniversary.