The Everyday Carry -OR- The Makings of the Man Purse

I have been doing more airline travel in recent years and my desire to NOT pay bag fees has caused me to reevaluate my luggage and packing styles. This led me to utilize a large backpack style suitcase and shoulder bag which allows me to carry on all my necessary items, even for a 1 ½ weeklong trip to both New York and England last year. But that trip also coincided with a bout of on-going backpain (lessened by physical therapy in the months since), and my obsessive need to get my daily miles led to some rather severe bouts of pain as I walked for miles and miles through airport terminals in my quest to reach five-plus miles a day.

So it was that I reevaluated what I carry with me in my everyday bag to work and elsewhere. I took a long look at what I considered the essentials that I always need or would most likely need during an average workday. This is not a new concept as the internet is full of pages and videos devoted to the idea of “prepping” with survivalist and gearheads alike talking about what I was only vaguely aware of beforehand: the Everyday Carry, or EDC. Continue reading “The Everyday Carry -OR- The Makings of the Man Purse”

Four Years Gone: Looking Backwards and Forwards

By Michael W. Harris

The “fishbowl” at my old library at The University of Colorado Boulder.

Almost two years ago I wrote a post entitled “On Rage Quits and Academia” that was part of a trend of “quit lit” about academics leaving academia. The reasons for their exit and taking to the internet to talk about it varied, but for many of them it was because of the exploitation of the working underclass of higher education commonly called adjuncts.

I was an adjunct, it is certainly why I left, and that was the experience I wrote about in that post. However, now that it has been almost four years since I left the adjunct life, and three years since I finished sending off the last of my applications to library schools, I would like to reflect upon what I didn’t really talk about before: why libraries are the right place for me. Continue reading “Four Years Gone: Looking Backwards and Forwards”

Humans Form Communities: Patriotism and Nationalism in the Long September

Marvel has been repeating this formula for event books for way too long now.

I was recently reminded of Green Day’s 2004 album American Idiot, its reflection on post-9/11 America, and the presidency of George W. Bush. I had already been ruminating on the meaning of patriotism vs. nationalism—how they are often conflated but are actually quite different, at least in my mind—but in thinking about and re-listening to Green Day’s album, I was reminded of my personal interpretation of my favorite song on the album: “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Continue reading “Humans Form Communities: Patriotism and Nationalism in the Long September”

On Shaming and Harassment: The Limits of Speech in the Digital World

By Michael W. Harris

Justine Sacco might be the unintentional poster child for our digital communications era. Over Christmas vacation in 2013, while travelling to South Africa, she tweeted a joke and then boarded an eleven hour flight from London to Cape Town. By the time she landed, the then director of corporate communications for IAC was in the middle of a public relations nightmare. Just the sort of thing she would normally be in charge of managing the fallout from. Despite her meager 170 Twitter followers, her tweet had resulted in a worldwide trending hashtag, a feverish watch of #HasJustineLandedYet, and an internet mob piling onto her simple, albeit incredibly insensitive and racist, joke of: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The fact that she was completely unaware of what was going on in real time while her plane was traversing the length of the continent she had insulted with her tweet created the perfect storm for internet schadenfreude. Continue reading “On Shaming and Harassment: The Limits of Speech in the Digital World”

All Those Moments Lost in Time: Remembering and Forgetting the 21st Century

By Michael W. Harris

There is little doubt that our lives are fully enmeshed with our digital technology now. From digital assistants like Alexa and Siri, to wearable technologies that track our health and steps, to the smart house that functions more and more like the computer on the Enterprise with every passing update, all of us put our trust in these technologies and the “cloud” with very little thought. And at the risk of being branded a Luddite, there is reason for concern about all these developments, but these concerns must always be balanced by the benefits that they can bring to society. Continue reading “All Those Moments Lost in Time: Remembering and Forgetting the 21st Century”

FOMO NOMO: Or How I Learned to Stop Trying to Keep Up With Everything

By Michael W. Harris

I’m pretty sure Danny Rand broke me…

Perhaps it came while struggling to get through the final arc of Agents of SHIELD season 4, or perhaps it was in the depths of Iron Fist with Defenders and Punisher looming in my cue. Or maybe it was the realization that I was buried under a mountain of anime and other TV shows I wanted to watch on Funimation, Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Or maybe it was all the videos piling up in my YouTube “Watch Later” playlist. Or maybe it was all the other things I knew I wanted to do in my life with research and writing and the realization that there were only so many hours in the day. Somewhere in all of that, in between all of the content that I felt like I had to consume to stay relevant in “the discussion” and what I increasingly felt like I wanted to do, that I had a moment of clarity and started deleting things from my various playlists, cues, and checklists. Continue reading “FOMO NOMO: Or How I Learned to Stop Trying to Keep Up With Everything”

On Questions

By Michael W. Harris

My life revolves around questions, both the asking and answering of them. As a research and instruction librarian, my stock and trade is teaching students how to ask better research questions, how to construct those questions, and how then turn them into searches. I show them how to inquire in databases for information, I teach them how to question knowledge and writing that came before, and I assist them in constructing arguments that would answer questions a reader might ask. To say that my life is about questions is an understatement, and as such it is sometimes hard for me to stop questioning myself, especially internally. Continue reading “On Questions”


Dear Readers,

As you may have noticed my output has dropped of late. The beginning of the year has been busy in terms of work and coursework for my library degree. I have many post ideas, but very little time to actually write them. Because of this I have decided to officially declare a hiatus for the time being and suspend all regular updates. I do still hope to post from time to time, and I have a huge multi-post series in the planning stages…but who knows when I might be able to write it. Thank you all for reading, and I hope to get back to regular posts in the near future.


30 Seconds a Week – Week 4

I recently got an anamorphic lens attachment for my iPhone and have been experimenting with it. I took a number of videos playing with lens flares and pointing it at the rising sun. This is the best one of the bunch, though there is much room for improvement. I am not sure what happened to the sound in this video, though a microphone attachment will soon be added to my regular kit. I am also searching for new subjects to shoot, but my time to seek out interesting things to film is limited.

Fighting for the Future: Archival Work in the Post-Truth Era

By Michael W. Harris

On Saturday as I sat in a local coffee shop working on coursework for library school, I was also constantly updating my Facebook feed and checking in on my friends around the country who were marching in protest of the comments, policies, and intents of the incoming US Presidential administration. These friends were joined by even more people around the world (including Antarctica) in what is now clearly the single largest day of protest ever seen in global history. It was millions of voices crying out with a single intent: we will not be silenced.

I sat there and wished that I could have been with them. I ultimately turned down a friend’s offer to accompany them to Denver for many reasons: schoolwork, a creeping cold, a general aversion to congregating in groups larger than 5-7. But I do think I might look back with some regret. However, in between being inspired by my many friends protesting in Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, and even D.C., I was also reading a speech given by archivist F. Gerald Ham from 1974 that has reminded me of why archival work is so important, especially right now, and it energized me once again for my newly chosen profession. Continue reading “Fighting for the Future: Archival Work in the Post-Truth Era”