1. If you could temporarily phase into one person during the Battle of the Alamo, who would it be and why that particular historical figure?
When I first read this I read it as if you could be any person at the Battle of the Alamo and I thought Santa Anna or one of the Mexicans, that way I could see the whole battle and probably survive. In conversation I added Juan Seguin. I wouldn't see the whole battle but I would survive and have been a "good guy". If I could just be there for a while though I'd probably want to be Davey Crockett for an hour or two and shoot "Old Betsy" and lead the boys defending that part of the wall.
2. A ravenous horde of giant termites are attacking your home. By your estimation, you only have enough time to grab five books out of your personal collection before everything you own is devoured. What books do you choose and why?
That's tough. Most of my books shouldn't be too hard to replace and usually the sentimental value is tied to the contents not the actual volume. Also, I suppose if I've only got time to save 5 then it would have to be stuff that I'd know pretty quickly where it is. For instance saving Desiring God by Piper would be tough because I don't know which bookcase it's on and it's not physically distinctive enough to pick out at a glance. I'd save my Grandpa's mythology textbook and the copy of the NIV Ryrie Study Bible that Mom and Dad gave to me when I graduated from college. I might be able to find other copies of those, certainly the Ryrie, but those copies would have the personal or family connection. I'd save my copy of the Lord of the Rings illustrated by Alan Lee (technically three volumes but in one box), as it's the coolest of my LotR books and maybe the Ace paperback copy of The Return of the King since it would hardest of my LotR books to replace. For a fifth I'd probably save whichever of my books I was reading at the time so I wouldn't have to wait until I replaced it to finish it. That should cover five specific volumes, or four and a boxed set that I could locate quickly and would have some personal value.
3. What do you think is the greatest invention ever made?
Unsurprisingly I'll vote for the printing press.
4. What is your favorite and least-favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing is the chance to see and examine so many of the new books coming into our library. It's not as cool as when I did the final check after books were processed and before they went to the shelves since then I got to see all the new books where now I only see a small percentage, but it's still mighty cool. My least favorite part is probably the pressure caused by a backlog. When I come in and I've got a shelf and a half on my office cart and at least a shelf outside of the office full of books to be cataloged in addition to all the media items and problems that fill my office. The bigger those backlogs get the more intimidating they are and the more intimidating they are, the more I'd rather surf the web, and so the bigger they get. Another thing which I'm concerned about once my job changes this summer is dealing with ambiguous projects. Right now it's fairly easy to look at the problem and backlog shelves and know what I need to do and have a very tangible measure of whether I'm doing it or making progress. There is less than a full shelf of DVD's on my cart so I know things are better than when there were two. When I move away from book cataloging toward database maintenance and authority control it will be harder to have those tangible reminders both of what needs to be done and of what is getting done.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world at any time, where/when would it be?
The New Jerusalem after Jesus' return.