Tacking upholstery cloth to bottom of a chair back.

Attaching upholstery cloth to the bottom of the chair back.

Overcast this morning, but clearing quickly. Again, mild. Rosie enjoyed her walk, and I was comfy in just one jacket, the one with the hood that looks so worn out and crappy. Warm, though.

I’d forgotten to lock the chickens in their coop last night, and I was relieved that we didn’t have any casualties.

Library privileges for Duke’s electronic resources are working, thank goodness. I had logged some resources that I suspected might be useful to me for this glamour chapter. They were closed off to me, and today I got in to have a look without issue. (Thanks, Sarah!) Digital and digitized resources are great, and they’ve really helped people during the isolation of the pandemic. I had a couple of Zooms with a graduate student over at UNC-Chapel Hill who is working on Jonathan Swift, and he was having real issues trying to get resources. The usuals were open to him (meaning Google and other online resources provided by UNC), but his research was focused enough that he needed to get access to relatively uncommon books. Interlibrary loan–a lifesaver even for scholars who have access to large research libraries–was not working well in the midst of the lockdowns in mid-2020. He told me that he found eBay, of all places, to be somewhat useful. He showed me one of the books he’d bought. At least now he has it in hand for his work and he’ll be able to stick it in his personal library.

I recall when I was doing my graduate school research how many of the old newspapers and journals and rare books were on microfiche or microfilm. I got to know the film stacks in Duke’s Perkins Library quite well. They were in a dark and rather dank basement with steel staircases, like the “old stacks” that I haunted and that now are closed to the public. Those old stacks–now truly ancient—made up the original library of the campus. They’ve probably turned into dense storage. The old stacks would have been a great setting for a murder mystery movie.

Today, I saw a video of Umberto Eco fetching a book from his personal library–a Twitter find that I got in an automated Twitter email notification. Twitter, I guess, does have some constructive uses. Eco had an impressive collection, and must have had a large place for his stacks. He walked a long way through its labyrinthine ways.

I finished the chair this evening, and placed it in the new guest bedroom. It looks great, and it sits well, too. I do have to do a little touch-up painting on the ends of the arms, which were scraped up a bit when I was wrestling with the upholstery. The chair back was a real challenge to get right in the front, where it matters the most since that’s what people lean against and that is a prominent feature of the design. The back of the chair was pretty easy, and I used a material that has figured into many of my projects: cardboard cartons for 24-can cases of sodas or beer. The old Jaguar project can be said to be a project made possible by cases of Budweiser beer.

Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction arrived. It’s a book club choice for the DiversifyIT group at Duke, and I thought it might have a useful, digestible chapter on data modeling that might be good for the fall 2021 class. 

And rural smells and sounds are redeemed in French law. The late Maurice the rooster, whose early morning crowing got “neo-rurals” upset, has been vindicated by the French law says that if you live in the country, you should expect some barnyard smells and noise. It was an article in this morning’s Guardian. I didn’t see anything about this in Le Monde, by the way, though they reported about the controversy earlier.

Clear and bright tonight. Orion shone, but he’s not been catching up to the Seven Sisters. They’re fast and wily stars. Sheriffs or state patrol active on the highway tonight.