Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday afternoon, sunny and beautiful, 56 degrees outside. And so I'm in the reference area, answering questions for four hours.
  • Where are the drinking fountains?
  • Where can I find this [incorrect, incomprehensible] call number? (It was for the Europea World Yearbook regional volume Africa South of the Sahara.)
  • Are the issues of Variety and The Economist that I want available in print, or only on microfilm?
  • Where can I find a math textbook that covers what my first-year Math course is teaching--basically, algebra?
  • How do I print from my workstation?
  • I need to find articles about sanitation in Ghana. Where can I look?
  • Where can I find an article published in 1950 in the journal Medical Surgeon? (It was actually titled Military Surgeon; the bibliography in the patron's book was wrong.)
  • Where can I find information about the state of communications media in Iran?
  • How do I know what these call numbers are--microfilm, reference books, or regular books?
  • Are Denmark and Norway capitalist countries? Were they ever Communist?
  • Where can I find primary sources for my assignment on gender and family dynamics in the Renaissance?
  • Where can I find the areas of various countries? And also, where can I find the area of the USSR in the 1970s or the 1980s?
  • Where can I find information about polar bear habitat? And where can I find out whether the price of polar bear hides has risen since the government prohibited/restricted polar bear hunting?
  • Where is this call number, for a book on haute cuisine? (A return visit from yesterday's student working on cuisine and couture. Still confused, but looking for books, at least. Specifically, for a book that I noticed/craved when it came in recently: Eating Architecture. It's out, sadly.)

I'm working today with a male student assistant, and it's interesting: most of the men with questions go to him, and most of the women come to me. People are funny.

Better Half and I came up with the best game ever last night, while eating salad rolls at Sweet Basil. Starting here in Eugene, with unlimited resources and time, we have to country-hop around the world, always travelling east. North/south doesn't matter, but every location we pick has to be east of the last one. BH got first go, and chose NYC. Then I had to pick another destination, east of NYC. Which lets out most of South America. I can't remember exactly (I'd had a couple cocktails), but I think I chose Lisbon. BH took us to Rome. I couldn't remember how far east Rome was, in relation to, say, southern France, so I hedged and went up to Finland. Which might not actually count, it might be too far west. Then we came down to Vienna (?) and Budapest, and then we got stuck trying to figure out whether we'd totally missed Africa.

What makes this the best game in the world is that we actually want to go to all of these places, and that our geography is so bad. We spent long periods just staring at each other, ruminating, trying to remember where the Indian subcontinent was. In version 2.0, we plan to make each other name the capital city of whatever country we pick. Should be good.

In other news, I'm making tamales this weekend, because BH had foot surgery yesterday and needs treats. Between us, we have a pretty substantial cookbook collection, all without a single recipe for tamales. Ruth Reichl, Deborah Madison, Saveur, Moosewood, Edward Espe Brown, ReBar--you let us down! I'm a little astonished that none of these people even venture into tamale territory, because tamales are the food of the gods. I'm also, frankly, a little put off that our copy of Saveur Cooks Authentic American doesn't include tamales. Dear Saveur: Mexican-American food IS "authentic" American food. "[A]ll-embracing, melting-pot cuisine"* MY HIND LEG.

*From the review.