journal features
movie reviews
photo of the day

to the reference library!

the journal of Michael Werneburg

twenty-seven years and one million words

Toronto, 2002.09.15

It was a cloudy, muggy weekend, so I decided to go to the reference library to work on one of my short stories. When I got there, I remembered that they had free Internet access via old PC's in a variety of locations on the first floor. I decided to give it a try, and got in 'line' (this meant sitting with the others in a loose knot that led to conflicts over who was next; I dunno what's happened to Toronto's legendary uptightness about these things, it mus be slipping). Anyway, I survived the tension of the line up by shoulder surfing.

It seemed that most people were using the terminals (which had 15" screens and Netscape 4.7!) for predictable things like reading their email via yahoo or hotmail; pursuing hobbies; doing research; and in one case looking for an mail-order bride. The latter was a guy who resembled a tanned (and by tanned I mean of that homeless nature, where the tanl-ines exactly match what the person is wearing at the moment, and it's not exactly beachwear) version of the proprietor of "the Android's Dungeon" from the Simpsons who'd thoughtfully brought his own folding privacy shields to shelter everyone from his activities. I got an unwitting look at one or two screens thanks to my height, and shuffled down the line of machines a bit so I wouldn't see more. The thing that surprised me most about the others using the machines, though, were the two people who separately decided that the library was the place to catch up on the TV listings! Did they write down what they learned? I mean, why were they doing it there?

So I tested out a few sites and found the system they've got to be surprisingly quick. You don't get telnet access, but what the hell.

Then I went upstairs and did my best imitation of a student. I pulled out my old laptop, worked for about twenty minutes, and then passed out for fifteen. But then I worked for nearly two hours. My story is coming along nicely.

rand()m quote

People learn how to treat you by observing how you treat yourself and others. Be sure to provide positive demonstrations.