Day in a geek’s life

A phone conversation got me thinking about making this. Here’s my day on Wednesday:

Wake up. (To a playlist of amusing music via my alarm clock program, Aurora)

Read email, the various online fora I check daily, my daily round of web comics (because hey, starting the day with either interesting narrative or humor is never bad.) I plan for this to take me between 30 and 60 minutes most days, as it gives my brain time to wake up properly.  Time variable, because it depends on what replies I write immediately.

Check my to do list in Things and figure out which things really need to get done today (and roughly what order). I do plan to talk more about how I use Things in the near future, once I finish the file management posts. I even have screenshots ready for it!

Spend some time answering emails about an upcoming community event, make a couple of quick changes to the event website. (This takes me about an hour, because it’s a bunch of emails and fiddly tasks.)

Respond to a couple of emails with possible referrals to potentially interesting jobs. Pause to read professional list mails that have come in in the last couple of hours. (about half an hour)

Write a draft  for a cover letter for a job I’m interested in, and set it aside to let it gel a bit in my head. (about forty-five minutes)

Have an early lunch (while reading in front of the computer: joys of living alone.) While it’s cooking, do a bunch of housecleaning in between stirring. While eating, check Twitter, which I’m trying to get better about doing and my Google RSS feeds, including bookmarking several links for this week’s links post.

Come back to working on that letter, and get something I’m happy with, and send it off. (Takes me about an hour, including some more detailed reading about the school.)

Get a call from the programming chair for the event: he’s finalizing the schedule, and has some questions for me about details, since I’m the overall chair of the event and the hotel coordinator. (We’re using a really cool website,, which makes the schedule available online, on mobile devices, and in various other formats.)

Work on three more letters for other jobs I’m interested in, and send them out. (This takes me a substantial portion of the afternoon, but the letters are more straightforward than the earlier one.)

Settle in to read a book for a bit, while petting the cat. (She never minds this part.)

Have dinner. Watch the lighting of my computer screen slowly change – I’ve been playing with an add-on called f.lux which shifts from blue light (daytime light, inducing wakefulness) to warmer light (more like typical indoor lighting) on the theory that it’s less disruptive to sleep cycles. I’ve been using it for a few days, and it’s definitely easier for me to fall asleep more quickly (after some reading in bed time.)

I have mine adjusted to shift over the course of an hour, and currently shift from daytime to halogen, but I’m considering going all the way to halogen. (My actual lighting in my bedroom, where my laptop and I mostly hang out in the evenings is usually a single lamp with frosted glass and a CFL bulb.)

Write the previous blog post here, on naming conventions and things to think about.

Have a bath. I believe in baths, because it is hard to read books  in the shower. In this case, I take time to finish a nice light reading book so it can go back to the library in the morning.

Pull a number of library books together on their appointed shelf, so I can easily drop them in my library bag and take them tomorrow while I’m doing other errands.

Get a phone call from a friend and a friend of hers, asking for help setting up a Dreamwidth account with icons and some other details. I get to do something I dearly love, which is explain technology to someone who is not entirely sure about it, and do so in a way that makes sense to her.

Yay! I get called a goddess for it, which never hurts. (There is a reason my personal business card now includes the line “speaker to technology” on it. As well as “librarian, process geek, infovore”.)

Figure out what I want to have with me tomorrow as I both want to get out of the house for a bit for a change of pace and do various errands. Locations likely include

  • Coffee shop (where I will find wi-fi, outlets, and a nice range of drink options)
  • Laundromat (wi-fi, tables, and sensibly placed outlets) I’m taking advantage of a thaw to do a big batch of comforter/pillows/other such things that are a pain to haul into the car in Minnesota winter temperatures (and icy pavement), hence the laundromat stop.
  • Library (wi fi, but really, just there to grab holds and drop off returns because there isn’t much nearby parking, and I always feel sort of guilty taking a space for long.) [1]
  • YWCA (no wi fi, but I’m going to be in the pool, so don’t need it).

Three years ago, this amount of wi fi – not so much. How quickly life changes. (And that means that I can do meaningful, useful, productive stuff at any of those first three places, rather than at home, if I feel like it. Which, tomorrow, I do.)

Wrap things up, grab a last drink of water, do various other useful ‘time for bed’ type things, and prepare to curl up with book and cat for a bit before going to sleep, at about 9:30pm.

Things I did not do on Wednesday that I wish I had: It was really nice out, and I wanted to go for a walk, but extra housecleaning won. I was also hoping for some time to work on a personal project or two, but I can bring them with me tomorrow. Also, I have an iPod touch, but did not actually use it today. (It got a good workout on Tuesday going grocery shopping with me, though.)

[footnote 1] Also, if I am in my public library branch for more than about 5 minutes, and not obviously wearing an outdoor coat, I tend to get asked if I’m a librarian.

To which the answer is “Yes, but not here…” and depending on what they need, either helping them (if it’s something simple like using the catalog or a self-check-out) or pointing them at the information desk. I don’t mind doing it, but it always feels a little weird, even if I am clearly giving off “Librarian with something of a clue” vibes.

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Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

More about my job and a day in the life

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