Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Geek-speak and Tummy Troubles

I left work early today. Really early. Like five hours early. Tummy was upset and I didn’t feel like doing anything – least of all attending the teleconference meeting for the Licensing Business Function Group (LBFG)of the BC Libraries Cooperative (BCLC).

Last year we only had one Business Function Group, or BFG, as it they are more commonly known, which always reminds me of the Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, which is, in a library cooperative way, sort of what they are, Big Friendly Giants that govern complex kingdoms of Library Land. The Licensing Business Function Group was formed to oversee licenses for data bases, including BiblioCommons, on which I will not comment here because I’m not very happy with BiblioCommons at the moment. The other BFG is the Sitka Business Function Group (SBFG), dedicated to managing the growing, open-source, provincial Integrated Library System called Evergreen. Sitka is the group of computer geeks that keeps Evergreen going. The SBFG is comprised of the libraries that use it or may use it at some point in the future. The goal, I believe is to get every library in BC on Evergreen.

Twice a month the members of the BCLC meet in person and via teleconference to discuss issues relating to the LBFG and the SBFG. We are a cooperative after all and, thus, have the right and the opportunity to have our say as to how things go with Evergreen and the licensed data bases. In theory this is a good thing. In practice, it just gives me a headache.

I sort of, kind of welcomed the upset tummy and the sick time I took to go home and deal with it (by snuggling in a blanky on the couch while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, followed by blogging). About six minutes into these meeting my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to alternating thoughts of chocolate, knitting and geek-icide. I have no idea what is being talked about half the time as the tech-talk that gets bantered around is way, way over my head. And I used to take the minutes! It was hell, I tell you. Trying to create coherent and comprehensible minutes to present to the group when the discussions were incoherent and incomprehensible was exhausting. It took all my concentration and, because I was writing it all down, I was usually unable to ask questions, which may have been a good thing – no one knew how much I didn’t know!

I tried soliciting the sympathy of the LBFG chair person by confessing my ignorance and explaining the trying time I had doing the minutes in hopes of being quietly discharged from the task. But he just laughed at my wit and assured me that I was doing a great job. It was obvious that he had a sucker on the line and he wasn’t going to let it go easily. There are thousands of library employees in BC, but I was the only one dumb enough to volunteer for the job. Once everybody knew that I was the minute taker, they all forgot how to write and type. I got praised nearly to death at each meeting – it was embarrassing.

I finally had to submit my resignation and firmly informed the Chair that I could no longer record the minutes for the LBFG. I stepped down from the same post with the SBFG, too. And not without more than a little guilt. I feel terrible about leaving them in the lurch like this. So terrible that I keep entertaining the idea of re-volunteering in the fall. Mind you, someone is taking the minutes. They land in my in-box within days after the meetings.

I don’t know why I volunteered in the first place. I guess it is because I usually don’t mind taking minutes for meetings. A) it forces me to attend and pay attention; and B) it raises my value in a group due to the fact that no one else wants to do it. In other words, my ego trips me up every time!

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: (from an e-mail just received on my Blackberry in regard to the LBFG discussion that I missed today) “If you wish to build a dynamic book list you may create queries and make the link from the URL of each query’s result list.” What the heck does that mean? Sadly, I’m going to have to start attending these meeting again so I can find out. Sheesh!

Today, though, I am legitimately not feeling well. Whatever this is that has my tummy all gurgly and uncomfortable is not fun. I don’t often get sick. The flu, when it does come knocking at my door, usually runs screaming in the opposite direction when it sees me. All around me people can be up-chucking and pooping through the eye of a needle while I remain totally unaffected. About once every two or three years, I get a doozey of a cold, but even as doozeys go, they are mild compared to what other people go through. It’s possible that it is something I ate, I guess. I may have been pushing the envelope with the three-day old tuna casserole that I had for lunch, but I doubt that it would have affected me that quickly. I ate it at 11 o’clock and by 11:30 I was heading out the door. Who knows?

I’m at home, in my pj’s, debating whether or not to have some water to slake my growing thirst. I haven’t thrown up in nearly 30 years and I don’t intend to start again now. A little water shouldn’t hurt. But Tummy isn’t very thrilled about the prospect. I’ll wait a while longer, I think.

Maybe I’ll watch some TV. Or read my book. Or take a nap. Or some combination of those three. And hope this passes quickly – no meeting scheduled for the rest of the week!

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