Subject: Electronic Postcard

Hi Everyone!

Greetings from cold and rainy Los Angeles, at the ALA Midwinter

I got in Friday night, after a bumpy, but otherwise comfortable
flight.  The rear section of the plane was empty, so we got to spread
out a bit.  I ended up in a two-seat row near the back of the plane --
I could have a window seat and still not have to climb over anyone to
get to the aisle.  The extra room and the extra quiet made it really
nice.  Electronic stereo earphone jacks on the arm rest made listening
to the in-flight audio programming much more enjoyable than those
old-fashioned stethoscope style headsets.  I did notice in the
lavatory that among all the slots and bins and drawers in there, they
have a slot in the wall for depositing used razor blades.  While
bracing myself against the wall to keep my balance during the
turbulent flight, the question occurred to me -- who in their right
mind would shave with a blade on an airplane?

It was shortly before nine California time, when the lights of the
city came into view.  A massive carpet of lights stretched far off into
the distance, which I took for a good sign -- a healthy electrical
supply, indicating that the city as a whole was in fairly good shape,
and not the zone of mass destruction we all feared it would be three
weeks ago.  The ride into downtown was uneventful and quick, without
detour or even slowdown.  The downtown area itself came through the
quake with little damage.  In my hotel room at the Holiday Inn (not the
one close to the convention center, but another one a few blocks
farther away in a seedier neighborhood) was a letter assuring me that
the building had been inspected and deemed safe for occupancy.  The
room itself is comfortable, and comes equipped with a hair dryer and a
small coffee maker in the bathroom.

The Midwinter conference is noticeably smaller than the Annual.  The
exhibition space is smaller -- only 2 or 2 1/2 times bigger than
Blaisedell (excuse the spelling -- I don't have an Oahu phone book
handy).  It does give me hope that one day Hawaii will have a facility
big enough for at least a Midwinter conference.  Though Midwinter
conferences are "working" conferences without the programs that
make Annuals the fantastic educational opportunities that they
are, there is still a lot that you can learn by sitting in on
meetings and presentations. In addition to various committee meetings,
there are interest group meetings, and those can be quite fascinating
and useful.

Although we didn't plan on a formal SLIS reunion, a number of us made
individual dinner plans, choosing by coincidence the same spot as a
meeting point.  Between 4:00 and 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, Dean
Jackson, Dr. Osborne, Sally Roggia, LeAnn Garrett, Stefanie Buck and
her mother Dagmar Buck of LAPL, Carol Yamaguchi, Michele Speck, Janet
Black and I gathered in front of the message center at one time or
another.  For Sally, it was a homecoming, as L. A. is her home town
-- the sight of LAPD officers walking through the convention center
brought back memories of her youth.

I haven't been able to do so much sightseeing so far, except out to
the Pasadena Public Library for the Geac reception -- an absolutely
beautiful building.  The Central LAPL is also impressive.  I did get
to see a Jacoby and Meyers commercial on TV though -- a law firm 
previously known to me only through Hollywood-based talk show monologues.

From the Internet Room at the L. A.  Convention Center,

Ralph Toyama                                       /      73 and Aloha
Automation Librarian                              /__         from
University of Hawaii - Leeward Community College    /     Radio NH6PY/6
rtoyama@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu                     /  Los Angeles, CA, USA