Fairgoers’ Progress, or, Hot Dish on a Stick

Much like Chaucer’s storied pilgrims, my family (along with a not-insignificant percentage of other Minnesota families) makes a journey to the Minnesota State Fair pretty much every year. We thought work and other obligations might prevent us from attending this year, but luckily, at the last minute, schedules opened up and we all had free time yesterday afternoon. Typically we go in the morning, which is a wiser choice, I think. You’re hungrier, and the fair is less crowded. Still, we had a grand old time.

Follow me, will you, as I take you on a short photographic journey through the Great Minnesota Get-Together? (Click on the photos to see them bigger. Both WordPress and Flickr have changed some of their settings, and I can no longer as easily share Flickr photos on the blog).

Last year I won fame and glory through the Heavy Table’s photo contest. With that in mind, I was eager to take more food shots as we went along.

I think this is my best one:

The tag on it says, “Mildly spicy hot & sweet ‘big bombs.'” I have no idea what that means.

This big boy was in the same area. Obviously a blue-ribbon winner, but there were others there that were even bigger.

Doesn’t this look good for you? And comforting?

I think the honey display is so beautiful:

Then we got on to the real business at hand: actually eating the food. AG said, “What was it I had last year? I want one of those. I think it had a dog in it?”

No, turns out she was not talking about a corn dog. Rather, it was a fudge puppy. Basically a Belgium waffle, folded over, and stuffed with chocolate, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Kid gives it the thumbs up. I thought the chocolate was a bit waxy.

Luckily, they were near the garlic french fries, which I remembered from last year as delicious.

They still are! Paul got some mini-donut beer, which came in a glass with a sugared rim, and which he thought was pretty tasty, too.

We went on rides. AG loves the giant slide, and she went on it about 47 times.


We took the sky ride to the other side of the fair,

where AG decided she wanted to participate in the giant sing along. So she joined in on “You are my Sunshine,” with several other fairgoers, some of whom were (intentionally?) butchering the song.

Then on to the Kidway, where we rode the Ferris Wheel and she rode the swings.

I know there are differing opinions on this, but, you guys, I love deep-fried cheese curds.

I’m not sure they’re all that photogenic, however.

AG loves horses, and she has a bunch of books about girls and horse competitions. Turns out, equitation is actually a real word, and a thing that happens at the fair. I didn’t get any good shots of it, though, because we were kind of far away. We did pick out a favorite horse, a paint horse with a lovely white mane and large black markings. AG called him/her “Oreo,” but turned out its name was “Intimidazzle.” S/he won something, too. Gorgeous horse.

We missed the llama dress-up competition, but we were able to take to the ring when it was over and take photos of the winning pair.

I think the llama is supposed to be a griffin, and the owner is a steampunk griffin driver? Not sure. Is it from Harry Potter?

By then, it was kind of getting late, and we decided to make our way back to the Kidway to use up our tickets. Along the way, I snapped shots of funny signs.

(As far as I could tell, neither was anywhere near this sign).

AG wanted to ride the bigger swings, but she was too small (to my relief, frankly).

On slow shutter speed:

So, she rode the long slide (a different one!) about 83 more times, instead.

Big Slide

My absolute favorite thing at the Minnesota State Fair (to eat, anyway) is the strawberry-rhubarb malts they have in the Dairy Barn. I maintain that you can get no better malt anywhere. So, even though it was quite late by 5-year-old time, we stopped there and stood in line one more time for one of those. Or rather, Paul stood in line for the malts while AG and I admired the butter heads.

I took a photo of my delicious malt, but, well, it looks rather macabre. And I don’t want anybody to think that the malts from the Dairy Barn are anything short of amazing creamy slices of Heaven, so I won’t post it. (If you can’t get enough of these photos, you can see more in my State Fair 2014 album on Flickr.)

Then we hopped on our bikes (did I mention we bike to the fair? Best way to do it, in my opinion. No muss, no fuss), clipped lights on ‘cuz it was late, and rode home. 

‘Til next year, when I think I’ll have to try the deep fried baklava.



2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

If you’re a TL;DR-type person (or if that rather uninspiring comparison to Mt. Everest didn’t prompt you to click the link): people liked my post on my dearly-departed MoMo; for some reason, people find my blog by searching shishi odoshi and legos; and most of my readers come from the U.S., but oddly enough, I apparently have readers in the Philippines.

Hope to see more of all of you in 2013!



I’ve had glasses since I was eight and I pretty much loathed them. I got contacts when I was sixteen and wore them pretty much exclusively until I was in my mid-thirties or so (so, you know, last year). For some reason, my eyes can’t tolerate them any more. I blame a computer-intensive job, but who knows? Every year my eye doctor tells me there are fancy-dancy new contacts for sensitive eye-peeps, and I give ’em a whirl, but I just can’t wear them any more.

Enter fun, pretty glasses! Since I started wearing glasses again all the time, I treat them like accessories. I like to mix it up with ’em, and I have three pairs right now (not including a cruddy old pair that I wear when I get up in the morning. And not including a pair of prescription sunglasses that are pretty rad, I have to say). I’d have a different pair for every day if I could, but hey, glasses are expensive!

This is my favorite pair. They’re from Ogi, a local company (I have another Ogi pair – they have some really cute stuff. You should check ’em out). I love these glasses; I constantly get compliments on them. The red is a rich, almost burgundy color that’s quite striking, and the shape is librarian-chic.

I’m sort of hoping that we have money left over in our flex spending account in December so that I can get another, even funkier, pair.

Day in the life …

The Library Day in the Life Project is on Round 8! And here I am.

We’re supposed to start our LibDay blog posts with a reminder of who we are and for whom we work, so: I am a reference and instruction librarian at the Warren E. Burger Library at William Mitchell College of Law.

I actually started my Monday on Sunday night, with a final look at my RSS reader to schedule things of interest for my work alter ego to tweet. That’s also how my Monday morning – and pretty much every morning, actually – started.

I love Hootsuite because it allows me to go through my reader when it has accumulated a lot of posts, and I can schedule a whole slew of interesting things to tweet throughout the day. I feel like my tweets have more of a tendency to get lost in the Twitterverse if I make a bunch of tweets at once (or maybe I think they’re more likely to be ignored?). I consider it a pretty good day when I can have a tweet go out about every half hour during the work day.

This was my favorite tweet of the day:

It is not law-related. So sue me.

I then had an email exchange with a student whom I had helped last week. He was doing research on government entities and how the First Amendment might affect their presence on social media sites (i.e., to what extent can government entities control what citizens post on government Facebook sites?). Anyway, we found some law review articles last week, and I told him to come back and brief me on what he found, because the topic interested me. He sent me a pretty detailed email about the state of the limited public forum and how he thinks social media fits in within that concept. In turn, I found a few more resources he might want to check out, and I emailed those back to him. It was quite gratifying. I usually tell students to feel free to contact me with the results of their research when the topic personally interests me, but they hardly ever do. Which is fine, but it was still a nice surprise to hear from him.

I’m co-teaching a class this term – Internet Legal Research – so most of my work this term is related to that. Even though it’s only a one-credit, pass/fail class, we revamp it so much each time that we teach it that it ends up being more work than you’d think.

One of the new things we’ve added this time is online discussion forums related to the reading. I attended a teaching seminar a few months ago, and one of the things I distinctly remember from it is the idea that we shouldn’t waste time in class with what the students already understand or can learn outside of class. Therefore, if the students “get” the reading, don’t take up class time discussing it! So, we’ve developed (what we hope are) thought-provoking questions related to the readings, and the students talk about the ideas in the discussion forums. This also helps with students who may feel more comfortable discussing things in writing, where they have more time to reflect than they do in class. We haven’t quite worked out how we interact with the students on the forums. Not everything needs to be addressed, and I don’t want to stifle discussion, but I would like it to be more of an interactive back-and-forth than it really is right now.

Last week was one of “my” weeks to teach, so this week I’m the one who primarily grades the homework and makes sure everybody has responded to the Discussion Board. So a big chunk of my day was spent looking at the homework, which was due today at noon. I may talk more about this tomorrow.

I also did a little work on the newsletter for one of the professional librarian organizations of which I am a member. I’m the technical editor (or something like that), which means the substantive editors gather all the stuff, give it to me, and I fit it all in, using a publishing software. I did the bulk of it last week, but I don’t have all the articles yet, and had to make some changes from the draft that I have. There will be more of this this week, too.

Then I went home, but my day won’t officially be over until I go back to my RSS reader and schedule more tweets for tomorrow. The symmetry of book-ending my days like this is nice, don’t you think?

So! What did you all do today?

Weekly round-up


Which, I apologize, I have not done in awhile.

Here are some things that piqued my interest this week*:

  • The Amelia Bloomer Project blog: “Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth through 18.” Great; now I can start AG’s LibraryThing reading list.
  • The Faculty Lounge, How to Write a Good Abstract for a Law Review Article. Because as part of the Faculty Scholarship caretaking that I do, I need to write abstracts of faculty work.
  • Read Write Web, It’s Like Facebook For The Art World. What a cool sounding app! I’m sure I’m too much of a philistine for a social network “populated by art professionals, including auction houses, galleries, museums and art collectors,” but I bet they post really cool photos of stuff.
  • Read Write Web, How To Find That 1 Thing You Lost Online. I definitely am not as organized as I should be about keeping track of interests, documents, photos, etc., that I come across online. And this article mentions some intriguing apps. The thing is – which I’ll talk about more later, if I ever get to discussing all the articles I starred this week re: Google’s new privacy policy – how can I be sure that any of these tools are going to be better about my privacy than Google is?
  • ecouterre, TOMS Shoes Introduces Print-Clad Ballet Flats for Spring. Because what would a post round-up from me be without shoes?
  • Information Wants to be Free, Classic blunder #1 – Let’s just try it and see what happens!

    Sometimes things fail in libraries because they weren’t a good idea or fit, but sometimes the failure is caused by the approach taken to creating change. And those failures truly can be avoided. … One thing I’ve learned is that while in some cases the “try it and see what happens” mantra is a very reasonable way to approach things, other times, it can be a disaster.

    Ooh, I think a lot of us librarians are guilty of this. Because (1) who wants to be the naysayer to an idea? and (2) oftentimes, trying things can be fun!

  • Read Write Web, When’s the Best Time to Blog & Share? Sometimes, when I’m feeling delusional (or I just don’t want to do whatever it is that I should be doing at the time), I fantasize that my blog will catch fire with the interwebz and I will somehow be able to make a living off of this blather that I spout. And I think, well, I should comment more on others’ blogs, attach more catchy tags to my posts, and pay more attention about what/when/how I post. But, most of the time, I post things when I have time. And I could save the posts for later (my WordlessWednesday and FashionFriday posts in particular are usually scheduled in advance), but most of the time my life just doesn’t work out that way, nice and planned ahead like that.

    So, here you are, stuck with this late night Saturday post about posts, which is probably not gonna get widely read.

    If I think about it, though, I’ll try to post more on Thursdays. And/or Mondays. And preferably before noon, EST.

*Actually, the overwhelming number of articles I starred in my Reader and Twitterfeed this week were articles about Google’s new privacy (or lack thereof) policy and what to do about it. There were so many articles that they would take over this post. So, I decided to either not write about them at all, or make a whole new post about it later on.

However! I did want to note this article by Kashmir Hill at Forbes, “Why Google Thinks You’re An Old Dude.” It discusses how Google’s Ad Preferences Manager often gets users’ age and gender wrong. And I wanted to point out that Google got my gender right (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing; may try running lots of fake Google searches to confuse it), but it thinks I’m 25-34 years old. Yay, me! My searches are so youthful!

And these are the categories Google associates with me:

  • Arts & Entertainment – Celebrities & Entertainment News
  • Beauty & Fitness – Fashion & Style – Fashion Designers & Collections
  • Internet & Telecom – Web Apps & Online Tools
  • Law & Government – Legal
  • Pets & Animals – Pets – Dogs
  • Shopping – Apparel – Footwear
  • Shopping – Apparel – Women’s Clothing
  • World Localities – North America – USA – Mid-Atlantic (USA) – New York State

I’m just gonna leave that hanging here.