Sunday, July 30, 2017

The phases of work

Ordinarily, work is a gas, expanding to fill its containing time. Under intense pressure, supercool it and work can become a coherent liquid, but it is extremely difficult to get solid work. (If one puts enough energy into work it may become a plasma, but then one really wants to be sure it is safely contained or it will consume everything around it.)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spider-page Theme Song

Joking with a fellow page at the Silver Spring Library about becoming an extremely effective page by being bitten by a radioactive spider (given the generally understaffing at the library), eventually led me to thinking about "the Spider-page". I had a few general thoughts about a comic, but today I finished the "Spider-page Theme Song":

Spider-page, Spider-page. Working hard for his spider-wage.
Sorting books, fronting shelves. Outworking book-work elves.
Look out, there goes the Spider-page.

Is he smart? That's insane! He's got more than an average brain.
Can he read faded ink? His eight eyes never blink!
Hey, there! Work for the Spider-page.

When a book's out of place anywhere in the stacks
You will feel your heart race when you hear his web thwacks! (Shhh!)

Spider-page, Spider-page. Local library Spider-page.
Bonuses, he ignores. Order is his reward.
Look out, there goes the Spider-page.

Spider-page, Spider-page. Local library Spider-page.
Bonuses, he ignores. Order is his reward.
For OCD he has 'fessed up. Whenever things are messed up
Go find the Spider-page!

It is not a perfect parody of the Ramones' "Spiderman", but it seems somewhat decent.

While the "book-work elves" came only to make the rhyme, it did lead to the thought that in a comic most of the elves would be grateful for the Spider-page's work (perhaps allowing them to do more tradition book-elf work like repairing books) but one elf (perhaps an especially big and strong one, thinking that the book-elves would be like the shoe-brownies in size) would be annoyed at his special ability (physical strength) has been made less important becoming an antagonist.
In a comic, the "web thwacks" would be humorously inappropriate noise in a library (and contrasts Spiderman's quiet "thwip").

The obsession with order is probably not an uncommon feature for pages, and exaggerating such fits a comic. The changes to the last lines of four of the stanzas seems to also fit with the Spider-page being less agile and even less respected than Spiderman ("Look out, there goes the Spider-page" has more of a sense of "Watch out, coming through" vs. "Pay attention and you can see a superhero" and "Work for the Spider-page" and "Go find the Spider-page" imply that his OCD is somewhat abused to give him the less desirable tasks). The eight eyes also presents more spider-like features; in a comic, I think he would have a spindly limbed appearance perhaps with an expanded abdomen — incidentally fitting a particular nerdy stereotype so that there could be humor in his becoming more nerd-like in appearance after becoming a superhero. Where Spiderman has a tingling spidersense; the Spider-page could have a throbbing page-sense, the transformation enhancing a vocational/human trait rather than providing a quasi-spider trait.

I very much doubt that a comic will develop from this (not even a single story). While I could probably do a stick-figure mock-up with dialogue given a substantial time investment, a serious effort would require someone with skill at drawing. If I had strong motivation to work on such a project, it might be practical (artists can be hired), but so many other potential projects are so much more attractive (more suited to my skills, more likely to be useful/appreciated by others, better matching my affections) to me that making a Spider-page comic seems unlikely (though the concept seems fun).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Library Page Song

The following lyrics playfully parallel "Day-O", with appropriate adjustments for library pages:

Hey-yo, hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey
Me say hey, me say hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home

Work and work with a bit of fun
Library closed and me wan' go home
Shelve those booksies till me shift is done
Library closed and me wan' go home

Hey, circulation staff, tell me me can go now
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, circulation staff, tell me me can go now
Library closed and me wan' go home

Shelve one full, two full, three full trucks
Library closed and me wan' go home
One full, two full, three full trucks
Library closed and me wan' go home

Hey, me say hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey
Library closed and me wan' go home

Our lovely stacks o' nice fronted booksies
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hide the friendly little mousies
Library closed and me wan' go home

Shelve one full, two full, three full trucks
Library closed and me wan' go home
One full, two full, three full trucks
Library closed and me wan' go home

Hey, me say hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey ...
Library closed and me wan' go home

Hey, circulation staff, tell me me can go now
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, circulation staff, tell me me can go now
Library closed and me wan' go home

Hey-yo, Hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home
Hey, me say hey, me say hey, me say hey
Me say hey, me say hey-yo
Library closed and me wan' go home

While the meter is a bit off in several places and the use of "circulation staff" conflicts with the grammar and vocabulary style of the rest of the song, I am somewhat happy with the result.

Of course, the lyrics are not an accurate portrayal of working as a library page. One might shelve three full trucks of books in a shift, but one does not need to ask staff if one can leave and most page shifts end before the library closes. Mice have been seen at the Silver Spring library, but they probably do not hide among the stacks. (I also sometimes wish I could stay overnight to do things at a more leisurely pace and work on lower priority tasks.)