Monday, July 31, 2023

The slightly more fantastical landscapes


Two pictures!

At the museum


As you have been viewing these last several days, many of my pictures are of paintings in the local Mia museum. I love this museum, and it was amazing running around taking detailed pictures of select works of extraordinary art therein and then...

desecrating them.

Well, that doesn't sound as great as I thought it would.

But today I bring you three pictures not so much of the art in the museum, but rather of scenes from the museum itself.

And then I desecrated those as well.

Though that doesn't seem nearly as bad.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Pulling up to the library


This today is all from the front of my library. I don't usually photograph out around our public entrance. We have two pictures in this post because they are closely related. Perhaps there was some kind of event where I took these. I don't entirely remember.

Judging by the dress and conveyances I am guessing I took these pictures quite awhile ago.



As a teaser for today's theme, here is our first picture of a carriage.

Why carriages?

Because we have to fight the war on cars with something! 

Also I haven't had much luck putting trains into any of these pictures, though I would like to try that some more; trains and giant chickens.

But that's another project for another day.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Squeezing the last ones in


This morning I shared a picture and said I liked it so much I would give it the whole day all to itself, but I didn't quite make it. Nevertheless I respectfully waited until 11:30 in the evening. 

Here's what happened.

From where I am writing, actually in the first afternoon of my vacation, sitting at my computer drinking a large Aperol Spritz, I finally finished this picture and posting project you are yet in the middle of. In the course of some 30 plus posts, I have steadily populated clerkmanifesto for your entertainment and edification in a way that covers the next nine days. I was satisfied.

And then to my horror I realized I had some leftover pictures.

I could have figured any pictures I had left probably weren't that great if I hadn't bothered to post them after so many opportunities. But having carefully winnowed down my pictures to begin with I had from the start vowed to post all of them!

And so I resolved to find some unused corner of my vacation posting project and put them all there.

This is that corner!

Every picture tells a story


I like this slightly creepy tableau I've created, so just this one picture for the day.

I have a little folder on my computer for all the pictures that I've worked up and plan to post throughout these vacation days. And when I put the pictures in the folder they were all top notch. But as I take them out to put them up here on clerkmanifesto, all of the sudden things go a little... sideways. 

So I have to get rid of a few more pictures, and maybe make some new ones if I have the time.

But this picture is not in danger of not making the cut. It never was.

I like it enough to give it a whole day just to itself.

I'm also giving it a nice title:

After the Landing: A Strange Discovery in the Library's Teen Room

Friday, July 28, 2023

No commentary achieved!


Ha! Finally I've done it!



No commentary redux


In this morning's post I explained that with the increased frequency of my postings during this suite of photographs, not all of them would come with commentary. Then I said that that posting was an example of one coming without commentary. 

Then, ridiculously, I realized what I'd done! 

It was pretty funny actually.

So then I decided that for this post I wouldn't make the same

Oh, gol' darnit!

No commentary


In posting this long series of photographs, I mentioned how some of these more frequent posts would come without commentary of any kind. This is one of those posts.

No, wait, scratch that.


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Secret late night post for dedicated viewers


Don't tell anyone else.

The Japanese landscape


My darling wife and I went to the Mia, our local museum, to see a show of an early 20th Century Japanese landscape artist and poet, and the Caravaggio one more time.

As goes the adage, I took only pictures and left only footprints.

Then I put my footprints, so to speak, in the pictures.

Painting pictures


Recently we went to the Saint Minneapolis museum, known now as the MIA. Caravaggio's Judith and Holofernes is visiting just our city in an event that boggles the mind. How good is Judith and Holofernes? There literally is no painting on the face of the earth that is better or more amazing than this one. And of the smattering of paintings that equal the level of it, many of them were also painted by Caravaggio.

But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to introduce you to what I'll call my painting pictures. As I said yesterday, I am on vacation now, and during this time I will be rolling out a great deal of photoshop work, with or without commentary, for your edification. A large amount of the source material for these "photographs" come from this particular trip to the museum. I took many photos of paintings, particularly 16th and 17th century European ones.

You'll be seeing a lot of these in the next week or two.

I'll try to pick a good one, from Venice, to get you started.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Geese, many of them real


I warned you this morning to watch out for an excess of postings on Clerkmanifesto over the next couple of weeks. 

A 2:30 p.m. posting is not my usual thing, so I hope you feel adaptable.

I genuinely enjoy the realism of this particular picture, but I have to confess: Two of these geese are not strictly authentic. The weird lump of stuff near the center of the photo is, actually, as pictured, and I'm not sure what it is. Rocks maybe?

The vacation plan


After today I will be on vacation. But clerkmanifesto the column never rests! Postings will roll out as steadily as ever over the days to come, even more steadily! Having worked obsessively on various science fiction art and reality pastiche pictures over the past days, I have amassed a large collection I am eager to show you. 

Over the next two weeks, we will be rolling out a healthy diet of these pictures, sometimes with commentary, sometimes without, on a more frequent than usual basis. There will be at least one a day, as is my custom, but sometimes there will be far more. So pop by clerkmanifesto any time you like and you'll probably find something new.

Here's the first one.

It has a bunny!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023



Fine, I give up.

Recently I heard a host of one of my favorite podcasts ("Seriously Wrong") casually toss off their contempt for blogs. And they're usually such nice young men! Additionally, not more than an hour ago I read an article that took a significant moment to criticize people who think that any book should instead be a five paragraph blog post. Which, I mean, sure, most books shouldn't be five paragraph blog posts, but, why "blog post"? There seems to be a lurking contempt in that.

First of all, where are all these blogs? I can't find any of them other than that nice one where the person goes and visits every library they can. I have long considered myself one of the last bloggers on the Internet for this very fact. So are we to consider everything written on the Internet that is not under the rubric of a large company to be a blog? At that point the net is cast so wide as to make the term "blog" meaningless.

My personal view is that a blog is something like one of those now old fashioned single author columns in the newspaper. In this view of a blog, one person expounds on the issues of the day, combined sometimes with their personal issues, and/or with areas of particular interest and minor hobbyist expertise. There is often a mildly humorous bent, but there doesn't strictly have to be. These blogs are too personal for advertising and are generally non monetized. They are written by bloggers. They are made of blogposts.

So... you managed to find one of these. 

Do you have any tips on how to do that?

I have covered this issue before and surmised that maybe around 2005 the Internet was full of halfhearted blogs and the quality of them grew horribly watered down. Blithely ambitious people annoyingly talked too much about their blogs that they abandoned anyway after two weeks, and then everyone sort of solidified their conception of blogs around this temporary moment. 

Now all those people are gone, and those blogs are gone too.

But the idea just sort of carries on without connection to anything underlying it.

Nevertheless, whatever is behind it all, and however frustrating it is, sometimes one has to accept that a word or an idea doesn't have the meaning one wants it to have. "Blog" apparently is such a word.

Which is what I wrote this column to express.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Not my greatest moment


Yesterday's column delved into the rich and deep history of our library software systems. Despite not seeming like an interesting subject, it included billionaires, record breaking tax fraud, star studded celebrity weddings on the Amalfi Coast, predatory monopolies, and Harvard University. 

But where did I learn all these wild stories?

After a co-worker of mine finished helping (or not helping) a library patron at the front desk, they asked me if I knew of a way to search the catalog to only show items by an author that are currently available on our shelves. I said I didn't think there was one.

Then my co-worker wanted to know why there wasn't and how it was surely a simple fix to make that possible. They were pretty mad about it.

So I launched into a long speech about how and why our library software system is so continually unresponsive to our needs, reflecting on the nature of monopoly and market forces on the quality of products. To back up my claims I did extensive research on the history of and the companies that own and license our library software.

If only I had applied that effort to figuring out how to limit searches in our catalog to items currently available on our shelves. 

Because it turns out that, yes, it is entirely possible to do this.

It was not my finest moment. 

The very thought of it all pains me.


But I did learn a lot.

Unfortunately it might be more the stuff about the Amalfi Coast and tax fraud.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

The exciting world of library software systems


There comes a time for any blog reader when, after endless days of seeing alien spaceships crashing down in the Mississippi River Gorge, one's mind, over stimulated, starts to wander and drift. And if it wanders long enough it eventually comes to the subject of library software systems.

The average amount of required time for a mind to wander so far as to come across the subject of library software systems is...

427,032,233,891 days.

Which is longer than I thought it would be. So it's probably a fluke that we all simultaneously thought of it after just a few days. 

This suggests something suspicious going on.

Suspicious, suspicious, suspicious!

But an important lesson I have learned is that just because something is suspicious doesn't mean we will ever know what the hell is going on.

Anyway, here's how I've always thought our library software should be made:

A non profit coalition of all the nation's libraries, or any public library anywhere, should contribute staff and resources to make a free and open source library software that anyone could use. This would be a very library solution. But as brilliant as libraries are, it doesn't take a ton of scratching at a library to get to the capitalism underneath.

So instead, what we have is something called SirsiDynix. And our software comes from them. Whatever this company has been, it has been eaten by larger companies over the years. For awhile it was owned by a venture capital firm with over 81 billion dollars in assets.

Now, I know that among my library oriented readers, people are saying: "Well, 81 billion dollars really isn't that much money. What's that? Like the budget for an averaged sized large urban library system?"

But for regular people who are simply thinking of buying a few yachts and retiring to the Cote d Azur, it is quite a lot of money!

And so many of you are wondering: "What's your point?"

Here is a list of possible answers to this question:

1. It is not a good idea to let one's mind wander.

2. I wish I got in on some of that sweet SirsiDynix action back in the old Ameritech days.

3. Library systems are a growth industry!

4. We should all appreciate pictures of crash landed alien spaceships more than we do!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Exciting events along the way to the riverway


We should get this out of the way right from the top:

The third picture today is one of my favorites ever!

I just wanted to warn you. You don't have to like it as much as me. And I may have hamstrung it by putting it not only in a large group of pictures, but by putting it in a group of similar pictures as well. And then setting expectations too high on top of that!

One thing that has been challenging to me in this wave of photoshop pictures is that a lot of the best ones I make fall under the "less is more" category. I usually gravitate towards a "more is more" approach. Just look at me write! Do you think this sentence is necessary? No, it's just delightful frills, baroque ornamentation. It's all a theatrical gesture! If you were to look over these last few days of pictures the ones that have real gravity, and often a simplicity to them, are often ones that had previous versions chock full of stuff; nuns, lions, alien towers, whatever, that I've had to go into and remove all the things I so painstakingly added to start with. This challenged me. But though I sometimes don't mind a real photoshoppy quality to my pictures if I'm telling a story, I don't like it when it's happening by accident. So out go the lions, and the towers, and the flying saucer, and at least half the nuns.

The first picture below has some added art characters, though it might be better without it. Sometimes I lose that battle for spareness, sometimes I win. It did have a wolf in the picture that I got rid of. I left the moose in, partly because it's hard to pick out visually anyway, so it's almost a surprise. Looking through these pictures below, I left one or two elements in almost all of them that I could arguably have gotten rid of. Only the fifth one, with the crashed ship on the trail, is stripped down all the way. I had a fox in it, but it didn't look right.

The third one has just three elements, all perfect. Most of that's luck, but you make your own luck, which is a way of saying if something is going to work out great one out of a hundred times, all one has to do is to do it a hundred times and something is probably going to work out.

But I guess you knew that.

Friday, July 21, 2023

The troubles and benefits of staying home from the library


As you surely know from yesterday's post, which you read, memorized, and burned, I took the day off to rest my injured wrist.


Sorry, no, there is no requirement that you read or memorize or burn any of my blogposts. I'm sorry for the confusion there.

Well, yes, I agree, if one doesn't read the post there's not really much left for it. I mean, though, one could just look at the pictures. And of course memorizing and burning would always be a good idea.

Thank you! I agree. People would be missing out on a lot of excellent content if they just looked at the pictures!

Anyway, my wrist is doing much better today. It loved getting swaddled in ice! It also enjoyed making photoshop pictures all day. Apparently using a mouse doesn't hurt my wrist, but shelving fat books maybe does.

As usual the library did very poorly without me. We tracked each incident (see final picture), but nevertheless this is what I returned to: