Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas From The Grinch Mansion

Merry Christmas from Mr. and Mrs. Grinch, Grinch-Son and the Grinch Beagles Max & Morgan.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How the Sith Stole Christmas Part 1

This is a clever adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring The Emperor, Darth Vader, Ewoks, Santa and his elves. It is about 16 minutes long. Apparently two more parts of the story were planned but never produced.

Go to Spike TV's site to see the entire show. Unfortunately my blog style cuts it off :(

The trailer for the rest of the story is here:

Silent Night, Jedi Knight and A Very Vader Christmas

Go Santa, Go!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Own Sketchy Santa

Talk about dodgey Santas, you can't see this guy's face, but look at my face, he is obviously a bit scary, even though he is handing out suckers. This was taken at the Sears & Roebuck store on Lake Street in Minneapolis a long time ago.

Note: mom always cut my bangs like that. Always. This is why I don't wear bangs to this day, I'm pretty sure.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sketchy Santas

Time to finally switch seasons since we are inundated with snow here in the wild North. If you ever stood in line for Santa for yourself or your child, waiting as long as an hour, hot, tired etc. you know by the time you get up to that old mall Santa you or your child will be pretty touchy about Santa and his ho ho ho.

Who remembers their Christmas list? Shoot the picture, take my money and get me away from this madness! I've seen some scraggly Santas over the years, but look at THIS guy, and then see even more wailing wee ones and scary scary Santas at the Sketchy Santas site.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all. May you be safe and happy with family and friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Cookie a Day from the St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press will e-mail you a cookie recipe a day from November 30th through December 23rd.

Read the article Rolling out Christmas Cookies by Food Editor Kathie Jenkins and try out a sneak peek recipe for "CHERRY-PISTACHIO CORNMEAL BISCOTTI"

Sign up information for the sweet mail is at the bottom of the article.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Found scrawled on a piece of paper by the public Internets

This was scrawled on an envelope left in the computer lab. What code? What trickiness? We may never know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No post a day for me!

Well, Sunday sort of zoomed by and I missed posting so busted on National Blog Posting Month. Still, you have to something to say, or you don't.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Read Comics as a Child and I turned out Alright (Right?)

A super cool professor of library science (none of my professors were like this) named Carol Tilley is defending comics as early literacy tools. In an article titled For Improving Early Literacy, Reading Comics Is No Child's Play at Science Daily, she talks about her ideas:

A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words," Tilley said. "Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books -- that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words."

Absolutely. Except for a few BAM! POW! BOOFs!! comic vocabulary is quite sophisticated in general. Great reading material. And because it fires the imagination so much, it keeps the reader a Reader for many years, if not for life. Alice would heartily approve of comics.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Rawk

In the spirit of the "librarians as rock stars" backtype post a few days ago, I present me, the rockingly scary librarian. They only let you insert your face, not change sex or hair. Below is the original photo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Post for NaBloPoMo

This is a squeeker post for National Blog Posting Month. I almost missed today!

I started listening to Lush Life by Richard Price. It was on the shelf and I had read great reviews of it when it originally came out. The narrator is Bobby Cannavale and he does excellent thug voices, very fast speech and has the cadence right. A bit less well adapted to the slower narrative that follows the prologue. The CD skips on track three anyway. I am not going to try to listen to this one because drugs and thugs aren't for me.

Next up is Hundred Dollar Baby by Robert B. Parker. I have not seen the film but know the essence of the plot. (Actually maybe I don't from listening so far) I'm hoping it works out better. (I started listening this morning and I don't like the hooker/crimelord backdrop at all, But I love the Spencer and Hawk characters. I did not watch the series when it was out and this is my fisrt Robert B. Parker book.)

FlashForward tonight was awesome and terribly sad. More when I write up the episode.

Did not get to see Survivor tonight. Will catch up tomorrow with that and V. How do people keep up who watch more shows than I do?

There you go, a post about not much, but still a post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

I listened to this as an audiobook going to and from work these last couple of weeks. The narrator, Bianca Amato, has a wonderful rich voice that lent itself well to the characters. I was truly spellbound listening and didn't mind waiting in traffic, and I was so involved especially near the end that I missed my exit coming into work a couple of times.

This is a ghost story with new twists given to how ghosts behave, what they can do, and what they might long for. It is, in the end, a tale of possession that is wrong morally, spiritually and every other way imaginable.

Two sets of twins who are obsessively close to each other are at the core of the story. Elspeth and Edie have been estranged for 20 years. Edie's daughters inherit Elspeth's flat in London next to Highgate Cemetery upon Elspeth's death. Although they're very intelligent, the twins are the picture of slackerdom. They are happy enough to drift off to London to live in Elspeth's flat for a year before thinking of what they might do next.

Julia and Valentina are mirror twins, physically identical but with a few amazing differences such as their hearts being on the opposite sides. They dress alike and do absolutely everything together. This suits Julia, but Valentina has long harbored a smouldering resentment at the cloying bond and she is willing to do anything, even die, to get out of Julia's grasp.

With the help of her aunt's ghost, she plans to die temporarily, then return to life. Her detailed plot for escape through death has profoundly different results than she expects.

The timelessness of historic Highgate Cemetery runs through the plot. The small gate between the flats and the cemetery is like the thin gate between life and death that the characters try to open and close at will.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Robert J. Sawyer writing an episode of Flash Forward

He mentions two Flash Forward sites:

Join the Mosaic a replica of the Mosaic site the show uses to capture a pattern of the world's Flash Forwards. Features people's "stories" and news reports. A funny one: a woman was watching the series finale of Lost. "The bomb worked and Charlie and Claire end up together." Too clever to slip that in.

Red Panda Resources A fan site run by David Goyer "The Official Site of the Creative Team Behind ABC's TV Show "FlashForward"

Monday, November 2, 2009

National Blog Posting Month

Apparently every month is blog posting month for the good folks at NaBloPoMo but they go wild during November in an effort to emulate National Novel Writing Month.

I tried to write on another of my blogs every day for 7 days once and it was really tough. That was a more specialized topic though, and this blog is a veritable trash can of random thinking. Anything goes! I can do it!

In case you think I missed yesterday, I count working on writing my annotations and adding illustrations to my scary movie post as blogging. The Cheater Doth Live!

If writing in your blog daily and working on that Great Novel aren't enough, keep keyboard in mano because it is also National Play Writing Month! The Playwriters have an adorable logo, in case this sways you towards releasing the Shakespeare Within.

Friday, October 30, 2009

D.O.A.'s Scary Movie List

Happy Halloween! Here is my list of scary movies. The only one I would not be able to watch again is Night of the Living Dead. All of these made the list because certain scenes stick in my head or I just remember them being particularly scary when I saw them. I have a penchant for the classic horror films and wanted to be married on Halloween in Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein's Monster costumes but this was nixed by my intended. Alas. I looked terrible in the costume I ended up in.

The Abominable Doctor Phibes (1971)

Vincent Price stars as a man out to get revenge on the medical team who did not save his wife. He cleverly thinks to get back at them by murdering them based on the ten plagues that God visited upon the Egyptians. Tricksy Vincent.

Alien (1979)

In space, no one can hear you scream! This was plastered everywhere it seemed when this came out. The movie lived up to its hype as a dark, claustrophobic series of abrupt and violent attacks by creatures such as we had never seen before, even in our darkest nightmares. The scene that sticks out in my mind is the one in which the alien bursts from the chest of John Hurt after a few moments of bulging movement. Gross gross. I like the next film Aliens best of the series but this one is the scariest by far.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Two college pals hitchhiking in northern England ignore the warnings of the charming folk at the Lamb and Slaughter not to leave the roads at night. They are attacked soon after they leave the road and one of them is killed, while the other begins the slow process of turning into a werewolf. A startling mixture of horror and humor with great music, this is an all time favorite.

The Black Cat

This twisted tale of wartime betrayal stars two favorite old time horror meisters. Bela Lugosi is a man who was imprisoned in Russia for many years, and Boris Karloff is the man responsible for his fate. Karloff also steals Lugosi's wife and daughter, while leading a dark cult. It was a pleasure seeing these two together, competing for most villanous onscreen presence. They seemed to do every scene with relish, especially the final one where Lugosi exacts his revenge by skinning his foe like a cat.

The Blob (1958)

I could be mis-remembering but I think I saw this with the family at a drive in when I was four. The Blob seemed really really scary and by the end of the movie, HUGE not to mention pulsating. It was just so implacable.

Dracula (Lugosi)

Frankenstein (Karloff)

House of Wax

House on Haunted Hill

The Haunting (Older version)




The Mummy (1932)

Boris Karloff stars as the re-animated high priest Imhotep who tries to get his lost love Princess Anck-es-en-Amon re-animated as well. As you can see even revived he is very mummy-like. How did he fool those Egyptologists?

Night of the Living Dead

Nightmare on Elm Street

The Pit and the Pendulum



The Thing (newer version)

Salem's Lot

The Sixth Sense

Theater of Blood

A little movie of revenge starring Vincent Price and Diana Rigg (The Avengers). Actor Edward Lionheart gets back at his critics by murdering them according to quotes from Shakespeare's plays. Vincent Price is gleefully grotesque.

13 Ghosts

The Thing (newer version)

The Tingler


Village of the Damned (1960)

A strange gas permeates numerous small villages all over the world, resulting in the births of eerie, blonde, telepathic children. George Sanders is the parent of one of the leaders. Once he realizes the children are cold, controlling and murderous, he devises a plan to destroy them. Glowing eyes=bad kids.

The Werewolf

Need more scary movie suggestions? Here ya go.

1000 Misspent Hours

Grocery Store Musical

I saw this on Boing Boing a week or so ago. Let's squish our fruits together, indeed. I love the reactions of the customers in the store.

The clip is from Improv Everywhere. Here's a write up on how they put this together, and you can see some of the other shenanigans they have managed to pull on unsuspecting people over time. Sort of a singing/acting version of Candid Camera?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BackType Query of the Week: Reader's Advisory

I like the idea of Backtype, sort of modern day Library Literature search, as it were, if you're trying to find out the buzz on Library Topics (who isn't? Hot stuff!)

Calmly typing in "Reader's Advisory" as my search, ha! I find no real hits on the sort of Reader's Advisory we all do. I find a bunch of boring stuff on advisory groups that have nothing to do with the glories of putting a good book in the hands of a reader.

The wily searcher types in "Library Reader's Advisory" and voila! Still nothing useful.

"Book Recommendations" a mixed bag, not any librarians touting the books, tsk.

"Libraries Reading" hmmm, sort of not really...

Ebooks making libraries popular again, can do nothing about your 80s scrunchie

Librarians can survive without libraries—we are a well-educated group and can do other things if need be. Libraries are vital and sacred ...

Column -- Relevance of Libraries

Now everyone is talking about books, and reading and storage!

Deep deep stuff.

FlashForward: Gimme Some Truth

Since this takes place largely in Washington D.C. during Senate Hearings into the FlashForward Mosaic Program and possible ongoing funding, the title is humorous.

The episode certainly has plenty of tension, skullduggery and backroom dealings, however.

It turns out Wedeck, FBI LA Bureau chief is a long lost pal of the President of the United States. He uses this and a bit of blackmail to make sure his group gets additional funding despite the nasty witch-hunting Senate Intelligence Committee head Joyce Clemente (who sees herself as President in six months).

Agent Janis begins an affair with a female restaurant owner, and they seem perfect together until the restaurant owner pushes her luck and says she "Mosaic-ed" ( a variant of "googling" for the Mosaic era crowd) Janis, knows about her pregnancy, and her own Flash shows her newly married. Janis apparently has privacy issues (though she put her vision out on the Mosaic boards) and commitment issues so she stalks out, outraged at the intrusion and her own unresolved feelings about the baby in her future.

Mark, under pressure in Washington as he testifies about his Mosaic board, worries his wife and Aaron, who both know that the last time Mark went off the wagon it was in a similar situation. He tells his boss Wedeck that he is drinking in his FlashForward and so his description of events isn't as detailed as the Intelligence Committee would like.

Someone texts Olivia that Mark was drinking in his FlashForward. Since only Aaron and Wedeck know, it has to be one of them. My bet is on Aaron, who might feel that it would be better if she knew and they dealt with this before it happened. I can't see any reason for it to be Wedeck, really.

The episode begins and ends with an attack on Mark, Dmitri, Wedeck and crew in a D.C. parking garage, and a simultaneous attack on Janis back in L.A. by what looks like Chinese terrorists (casually mentioned by a C.I.A. agent in testimony before the Senate Committee as the proposed cause of the Blackouts). Mark and company handle their attackers in style and are fine. Janis, though she guns the bad guys down, is terribly wounded and lies in the street bleeding and seeing her FlashForward as she fades out.

My prime suspect for sending out the assassins is the President who was seen making a phone call to have something taken care of, calling in his own favor. Guess he doesn't like being blackmailed, and he for sure couldn't have liked buying off Joyce Clemente by offering her the vacant Vice Presidency. The episode should have been called "Gimme Power".

A final thought: This is the second episode which presents two very conflicting FlashForwards. The first is Dmitri seeing nothing and his fiancee seeing them wedded on a beach. This episode has the president seeing himself in bed and having an advisor step in and say something is wrong. Joyce Clemente says her FlashForward has her as the President. It is possible that because we don't see anyone's entire Flash that these conflicting visions could both be true. So, will the show at some point show anyone's or everyone's complete Flash?

Flash Forward: Black Swan

This is the episode of AWFUL MUSIC. Gack. The opening shows people dropping to sleep to a slow and horrible tune that I thought would never end. Make it stop! And the jazz music playing while they chased a pot dealer, eeeeww. It was just intrusively ugly stuff.

Anywho. We have Mark Benford obsessively trying to grasp any lead that ties into his blackout Mosaic board. FBI chief Stanford Wedeck refuses to fund a trip to Somalia to check out the crow deaths there 18 years ago.

Instead, Dmitri, taking a cue from blond terrorist detainee Alda, gets to take the team to Indio, California to find a connection at a restaurant (I wrote the name down grr grr but can't find it).

The restaurant owner says his "group" is currently just that restaurant and that their plans for the future include a new flavor of yogurt. Then he loudly announces that they need to get some food for these FBI Agents. An employee scoots out the back door and the guys give chase to screeching jazz, have a confrontation about Dmitri's impending death and they go home. Mark assures Dmitri after this confrontation that they will solve his murder ahead of time, and it will not happen.

My first thought was that the whole scene with the restaurant etc was wasted air time, but thinking about it, it makes no sense that the restaurant owner would shout out that the customers were FBI agents as he did. I'm hoping he knew that his cook was a Pot Potato and that he knew the guy would would run and the agents would be distracted away from him and his "group" which they were. I expect them to pop up again later in the storyline so this big chunk of the episode isn't fluff.

Mark later interviews Alda (aka snotty blond terrorist) and she tells him he needs to ask Why the blackout happened (implying it was done by human hand) and she mentions that she runs with some nasty types who will do anything for their own idealogical reasons. She sneers that Mark isn't the kind of person who will do anything necessary to find the truth, leading him to defiantly arrange for a Cheeto eating hacker to sneak into CIA satellite images of the Somalia dead crow zone from 18 years ago.

Alda describes a Black Swan event as High impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of human expectations.

Olivia deals with her seemingly inevitable fate as she tries to pass off her future lover's son to another unit in the hospital. He bounces back to her because he is still on anti-biotics.

She crosses swords with her co-worker Bryce, who wants her to treat a patient based on a diagnosis driven by the patient's very odd FlashForward vision. She is able to save the patient only by trying a treatment that makes no sense without the future element as a factor. She is crushed to see that the patient's FlashForward is probably correct, and by extension her own may be inevitable as well.

Wayward babysitter Nicole returns. Her vision was of herself being drowned by a man and feeling that she deserved to die, that she had done something worthy of being killed. She is wracked with guilt and terror. She seeks help from a pastor who is a real bumbler, distracted his duties and not listening to her at all. She finds her consolation with Mark, who tells her they will stick together and find out who the man is she saw in her vision.

The episode ends with Dominic Monaghan calling Lloyd Simcoe (father of the autistic boy and Olivia's future lover) and telling him they are "responsible for the greatest disaster in human history".

Further Reading

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable from the New York Times Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the history behind Black Swan Events.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home Page intriguingly called Fooled by Randomness.

Delve deeper with the wiki entry on Black Swan Theory

Survivor Samoa

I'm a little behind on Survivor Samoa.

I was sad to see fellow Minnesotan Ashley Trainer go home two weeks ago. She just couldn't withstand the bad luck of Foa Foa and the machinations of Oily Russell.

Last week was a shocker with Lawful Russell, Galu leader falling to his knees and passing out at the challenge. He had such a good attitude but the dehydration and starvation that goes with the game did him in, almost permanently. It was really scary seeing his eyes rolling back in his head as the medical team tried to revive him.

From the CBS site, here's that last challenge and some video highlights they they call The Best of Russell.

Jeff Probst blogs about this heart wrencher on Entertainment Weekly's site.

Check out Survivor Fever for interviews with Russell and Ashley and the other castaways of season 19.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Backtype a "Conversational" Search Engine

BackType is a real-time, conversational search. Conversational search is a new way of searching the web to surface what reputable people are saying about topics and webpages that interest you engine. We index and connect online conversations from across the web in real-time, so you can see what people are saying about topics that interest you.

We index and connect millions of conversations from blogs, social networks and other social media so you can find out what people are saying about the topics that interest you. BackType was founded in June, 2008 by Christopher Golda and Michael Montano.

You can see at any give moment what topics are Hot right now: Halloween, Windows 7, Drumline, More »

I searched for that scintillating topic "Library Outreach" and found a most interesting "conversation" with many voices which seem to have arisen from David Lee King's blog with Outreach being equated with being a "Rock Star".

Here's a peek:

Snarky Holly is jaded. - holly

*yawn* *changes the channel* - Mary Carmen

If I'd wanted to be a rock star, I would've learned to play guitar. - Kirsten

do rock star librarians get paid more than regular librarians? i could always go for a pay bad are the groupies? - Sir Shuping

LOL - I hadn't considered the groupie factor. this may change my opinion! ;) - holly

Real rock stars are, at least some of them, musicians. I'd guess the average earnings of rock musicians from rock music make library salaries look pretty good by comparison. A handful of them become rockstars--usually for a while. So, you know, be careful what you wish for. - Walt Crawford

*sigh* *goes back to doing her job well, unconcerned with rockstar status* - Jenica

What doofus wrote this, Holly? "Rockstar" is such a stupid metaphor. How about: "Are your librarians valued, valuable, essential resources to your community? If not, should they maybe consider wearing leather pants? Hmmmm?" Doofus. - David Rothman

I cant afford the hookers and blow it takes to be a rockstar... - The Archangel ωαřмaiden

Interesting that the meaning behind the question is being obfuscated with the snark... - Aaron the Librarian

librarians are not rockstars. They are (in the PL) municipal employees: underpaid, overworked, and the brunt of everyone's complaints. Much of this also holds in the academic world, although I have found there to be fewer complaints in the academy. - DJF

I am a rockstar, but not when I'm at work. - Kendra K

kendra *is* a rockstar. truth. - holly

To prove this, I will have a Thee Kendrak Attack Performance at IL. - Kendra K

WOO! - holly

Aaron: I think the snark uncovers something here--"rockstar status" may not be ideal or even what you're looking for. Valued contributors aren't usually rockstars... - Walt Crawford

So you are saying I *shouldn't* install a pyrotechnic display behind the reference desk? - Steve Lawson says Relax

Steve, make sure to chain all the firedoors closed before you set the display off, to get the maximum effect. - DJF

Students love our fog machine. - Kendra K

The "rockstar" language that we often see is funny to me since rockstars seem to have less and less cultural currency anyway.There are pop stars, and there are quasi-indie pseudo-stars like Radiohead. But the idea of the "rock star" as the guy in the leather pants with the groupies and the eye makeup and the half-hour drum solo--those guys are dinosaurs. So the last thing we want to be should be rock stars. Gee, this is like a blog post. - Steve Lawson says Relax

Steve, you make an excellent point. How many people actually want that sort of thing anyhow? This weekend I hung out with the "rockstars" of my youth, and their appeal didn't come from leather pants or mega drum solos, but from an amazing attitude and energy and some amazing songs. That's what I want to emulate. Now, I'll never be the Operation Ivy of the library world, or even Rancid, but what about Common Rider or Schlong? - Kendra K

If we are rock stars does that mean we have to wear leather pants? If so, count me out! - Bobbi Newman

The only rockstars in librarianship are the Dutch Boys. That's because they have accents, leather jackets and groupies. - Rochelle Rochelle

And they travel around the country in a van and are a little older than you might expect. - Steve Lawson says Relax

Kendra, if I could be the Cometbus of libraries, I'd be a very happy man. - Steve Lawson says Relax

I think you're not far off. I don't know who I'd want to be. Not really Jesse Michaels, not Dr Frank, I'll go for my gut and my heart and want to be the Dallas Denery of the library world. It's totally achievable. - Kendra K

I'm a studio player. No fame, but a moderately steady paycheque. - DJF

Not too hard to guess, Steve. I know my age peers when I see 'em. - Rochelle Rochelle

And, you know, not all of us are wildly in love with the Dutch Boys. (Ducks and runs away.) - Walt Crawford

no need to run away, Walt. that is a-okay in my thread! - holly

we need more rockstars in education, seriously.. we need people who can do their jobs amazingly, achieve impact and influence our wider system - Holly Rae

Clothing Line: "Break the mold join the rock star librarian movement!" - JSNFLMNG

Jason, that makes me think of "you are unique, just like everyone else." - ǎňňǎ
totally: everyone can be a rockstar librarian 9if you wear our clothes) - JSNFLMNG
to me, it just smacks of TRYING TOO HARD. all of this rockstar stuff does. - holly
Nancy Pearl: "The original RockStar Librarian" - JSNFLMNG

Cynthia Wilson =Rockstar Librarian - JSNFLMNG
Ok, going back on myself a little: I like a little rockstar now and then. And the Dutch guys seem like pretty decent ones. They give real interviews where they give their subjects time to talk. They seem to get librarians generally feeling good about libraries and the work we do. I'm eating meringue cookies as I type this: I can't live on meringue cookies, but I don't have to. - Steve Lawson says Relax
that's cool, Steve. I know lotsa people like 'em, they just don't do it for me. kinda like cilantro. and licorice. - holly

First of all, unless you're Prince, you need to type out y-o-u, not the letter U. Second of all... yeah. I've got nothing beyond that. - Cecily


Well, I was running away to logoff and get lunch. To clarify: Not in love with means what it says. I see what they're doing, they seem like decent folks...but I also noticed the way they managed to treat apparently-non-rockstars as invisible in at least one social setting, navigating automatically to The Hot Folks. Which is OK, but doesn't require my admiration. But, as you suggest, nothing wrong with rockstars...once in a while. - Walt Crawford

This is from David Lee King who I DO like, and who I like more than other people who I would have expected to say something like this (and who will remain nameless). - Mike

David Rothman - I'm the doofus who wrote this. Cool - lots of interesting comments for my impending blog post! - David Lee King

DLK makes me laugh out loud ;) - JSNFLMNG

Remember, I am the Dallas Denery of the library world - obscure but brilliant, with a fair amount of self deprecation. - Kendra K

Oh sheesh people. Some of you are deleting your comments! Get real. - David Lee King
oh seriously? lame. - holly

quick.. cache... too late.. didn't think to take a screenshot sorry - JSNFLMNG
Holly just HAD to drag cilantro into this, didn't you? - Miriella

No, wait - it's back. That was odd. Sorry - false alarm (very glad for that, too). - David Lee King

oh good. AND YOU KNOW I DID, MERRY. and I'd do it again ;) - holly

Holly's hatred of Cilantro is a perfectly valid comment - JSNFLMNG

OK - my goal with the tweet was to ... well ... get a reaction. Which I apparently did. Yay for me. - David Lee King

Haters. - Miriella

But here's what I mean - my library's communication specialist originally said this when a ref lib was worried that something was a bit too much about her (meaning her name and pic were attached). Cm Spec said "yep - my goal is to make YOU the rockstar, not me." - David Lee King

Meaning - our librarians ARE (well, or should be) a valued resource in the community. Let's take that 1 step further - have people ask for us, want to follow our writing in our library blog posts, want to attend our classes, etc. - David Lee King

I've heard a manager tell an employee they were a rockstar before (but it kind of sounded like a derogative statement) -as in you put yourself too far out there on the stage.-and- yo should try to do more workwork instead - JSNFLMNG

people don't friend brands or books. They friend people. Interesting people. People who call each other doofuses (oh wait - silly barb alert). Want your library to start getting noticed in your town? Start getting out, doing stuff, letting people know your names, etc. - David Lee King

Lester Public Library's director does that - he's got a column in their local newspaper! People know him. - David Lee King

So that's where I was headed with those thoughts. Now, you can continue rolling eyes if you need to :-) - David Lee King

pssshaw...let me show you how to be a Rockstar Librarian. You can help me trash my room in a drunken blackout at CiL. - Rev. Dr. W!cKeD Rock

woooooooooo \m/ \m/ - holly

who's gonna the gg allin of librarians? this community needs that sort of rebel. - Kendra K

DLK, here's my actual, sincere response: As a librarian, I don't want to be a rockstar, to be ogled from afar and immortalized on an impossible pedestal for doing flashy, sexy things. I want to be respected, valued, and appreciated for the real contributions that I make to my community, and remembered for those things. Alternately, I'd like to be Angelina Jolie. Either would be fine. - Jenica

i'm more of a superhero in my community, rather than a rockstar: - Marie is not a monkey

Jenica - that's fair. And I think that there's a large group of librarians that want that. There are others who would rather the community focused on the library's resources, rather than on them personally. And that's just wrong, because the librarian is an amazing resource for the community. - David Lee King

Hi David! Reading over this, I feel pretty good about my contribution. Certain libraries in certain communities may need a "rock star"--someone who looks good on TV, who can sum up what the library is about in a memorable chorus. In my community, I think the more down-to-earth, DIY punk/hippie thing is a better way to think about it--someone you can share a joke with, ask a stupid question of, someone who will say "wow, I have no idea how to answer your question! That's neat!" - Steve Lawson says Relax

I don't know that it's "just wrong," David. The library is bigger than I am. It was here before I came along & it will be here after I go. I think I'm a pretty cool guy, but honestly, the library & all of my coworkers are much better resources than I am. Yes, I would rather the focus be on my library & everyone who works here than on me. - joshua m. neff

Josh - that's cool. But even then, you are focusing on the people rather than on the stuff, which is what I'm getting at. - David Lee King

Well, it's both. I mean, we're all good resources, but so are our books, DVDs, periodicals, databases, etc. Plus our comfy seating, our public computers, our wifi. It's the whole shebang. - joshua m. neff

Steve - that works. Someone else said "I'm more of a superhero" above, and Jenica said "valued contributor of community" ... Again, just thinking out loud, but I think some of this is similar to what I'm meaning. It's quite possible that using "rockstar" pushed some buttons (I'm apparently good at that sometimes). - David Lee King

Josh - B&N has that. Except for the databases. What's the diff? - David Lee King
Heh, that you are! Naw, I get it--the question seems to be "are your librarians active and known as librarians in your community, and how important is that?" And if you don't know the diff between B&N and the library, I can't help you. - Steve Lawson says Relax

Ye - that's what I'm sayin. And yes, I DO know the diff. But I think it's the librarians that make the difference. We arrange the stuff, we help find it, we teach about it, etc. A library's much more than it's stuff, I think. - David Lee King
David, I've worked for Borders & I've worked for public libraries, & I guarantee, it's not just the librarians that make them two different places to work or patronize. - joshua m. neff

Wondering if I'm more of a Keith Emerson (cult ultratalented prog-rocker) than a Keith Richards (mega-superstar). - Mike

You got me there Josh - I've never worked there. Just know two people now who have or did. Interestingly, the other one plays bass in local KC bands ... and wants to become a librarian, too. ohshootIbroughtitbacktotherockstarsagain! - David Lee King
DLK: like a church is much more than the building people worship in and the book they read out of? A pastor (insert religious figurehead here) can fire up a church, and members of the church can be beacons of kindness etc... and it is more of a community of information sharing/gathering working together in unison - JSNFLMNG
Jason - yep - that's a good analogy, too. Wow. So far, we have rockstars, superheroes, pastors, and valued contributors. And doofuses. - David Lee King - Michael Porter

Rock n' roll library - Mike

I think it's the mission of the library and the mission of the bookstore that make them so different. Competent people in each can make both of them important parts of the community. Yes, we think more of Powells or the Tattered Cover or something when we think of a bookstore as a valued member of the community, but I think a chain store in a town that hasn't had a decent bookstore can still be a very good thing. But the fact that the library is supported by the taxpayers for the taxpayers is, IMO, the main difference. B&N is responsible to shareholders, not the local community. - Steve Lawson says Relax

Speaking of which, I am going to the Tattered Cover tonight for a book signing... - Joe....

Besides librarians (rockstar & non-rockstar), libraries offer access to free information & entertainment, free literacy resources, free classes, free internet access (not just wifi, but computers for those who don't have their own) & free space. I worked at Borders while I was in library school & right after I graduated. No matter how much of a librarian I was at heart & in behavior, what I did at Borders was SELL PRODUCT. And for the shareholders & corporate higher-ups at Borders & B&N, that's all that it is: PRODUCT. It could be books, DVDs, CDs, duct tape or canned corn, as long as they show a profit, they don't care what they're selling or who they're selling it to. That's a big reason why I don't work at Borders anymore & why I'm a librarian. I didn't become a librarian so I could be a rockstar or a valued community resource on my own, I did it because I believe in the mission of libraries & what they have to offer a community. - joshua m. neff

Josh - I get that. Really, I do. You say "I believe in the mission of libraries & what they have to offer a community." My earlier thought was this - One thing libraries DO have that they tend to not focus on much (or market) is their staff. We tend to promote the class & the resource before we promote the person behind the class or resource. So I agree with you, but I'm thinking about it from a different angle right now. - David Lee King

If I hadn't just finished the first draft of an absurdly long Making it Work/Philosophy essay, I'd be tempted to snatch this whole thread for use there...some really good stuff being said here. (I grew up Methodist, and if we had rockstar ministers, they'd be snatched away by other congregations with greater pull at the Conference level, where assignments were made...) - Walt Crawford

I have to think most everyone here's right. I want to be the earnest contributor, but a large part of my job as director is to be The Voice and The Face. We have to humanize our services as much as we have to build good services... - Jenica

David, can you tell me which libraries are keeping their staff hidden? Because every library I've worked at has had staff doing community outreach & regular patrons who got to know which staff member was good at what. If you look at my library's website, you'll see staff promoted all over the place. Now, most libraries I've been at have promoted services & collections *first*, but you know, staff come & go, but services & collections remain. I think there's a danger in promoting staff *over* services & collections. But I haven't seen a lot of "keeping staff under a bushel," so to speak. - joshua m. neff

Good points, Jenica. You are right :-) - David Lee King

Josh - well, your library is an exception, cause y'all rock (oops - sorry about that :-). I haven't seen many libraries hide librarians (though I do know some, and won't name them) ... but I HAVE seen plenty of librarians hide themselves. Hide themselves behind their stuff, their fears of standing in front of people, their fears of being known (even in my library, just the fact that we wanted to put names and pics of blog authors on our website was cause for concern from some). So yeah - I definitely HAVE seen that. - David Lee King

Oh sure, I've seen that, too. Putting pics of our staff up on our website wasn't met with universal enthusiasm. But not everyone *wants* to be in the spotlight. Not everyone *wants* to be a rockstar. Is that really a problem? - joshua m. neff

Well ... yeah. I DO think that's a problem. And here's how I'd spin that - a library wants to go in a new direction. Change their name, put faces, names, etc on the website. Go out in the community to attract people to the library and it's stuff (I'm thinking of my recent trip to anythink libraries in the denver area here). If some staff aren't on board ... well, they're not meeting the new requirements of their job and their library's new plan, are they? No - no one needs to be a "look! There's Josh Neff! Swoon!" (though I'm sure they do). But I Do think for many libraries, part of our new job requirements mean getting out of the building. Organizing podcamps. Being known in the community for that. Being the "ya rockstar" with a guitar during storytime (we actually have one of those). Being at the important area business socials/meetups so people know your name/face ... and have easy access to you which = easy access to your library. - David Lee King

Interesting. I have long said that I don't think everyone has to be a "2.0 librarian" or whatever you want to call it, but that everyone does have to accept that libraries are changing and the status quo won't last long. So they don't all have to be guitar heroes, but if the library is going that way, they don't have the right to undermine those kinds of people and programs once they are in place. - Steve Lawson says Relax

I think several of you have made excellent points. I agree with DLKing that libraries need to be as present in their communities as possible, though I would argue that there are different "rockstar curves" (if I may coin a pointless phrase) for different libraries, in the sense that some libraries may have every staff member interacting regularly and thoroughly with the public. Others may be more 50/50. Others may be coming along at a different pace, with a different ultimate goal. I think the important first thing is to acknowledge that you *have* a public, that you owe something to them, and that they are, by and large, your reason for being. How that is then represented and performed by the staff/library will vary. And to completely mess with the insane metaphors of the day, even the quiet guy at the back who thrums away on his bass is important to the band. As long as he does everything he can to be sure the audience is fulfilled, then he's valuable. So. - Louise Alcorn

In response to something Josh said, I've really struggled here with some of our staff, who are technically front-line staff, but who, given the opportunity, will keep from interacting with the public except at a bare minimum. A pleasant minimum, but still less than we could do. This is not unusual in libraries, as far as I can tell from what I hear from my colleagues. It takes a really forward-thinking management (yours, several I know here in Iowa) to say to their staff "hey, guys, this is public service. So let's go serve the public every day in a proactive way." I think we've made leaps and bounds in the last 15 years toward a more public face for all libraries, but it can still be a struggle. - Louise Alcorn

I'm certainly not arguing that working on the "front lines" isn't a public service job. But why, exactly, is it a problem if some staff don't want to be "rockstars"? I mean, I understand, David, that you think it's a problem. I just don't see *why* you think it's a problem. As long as they're not undermining the other staff, as Steve said, what's the problem with having some staff who want to put the library before themselves, who want to quietly but effectively do their jobs? Why do you think *all* staff need to be "rockstars"? - joshua m. neff

Why? I'll try to answer. I think that "quietly doing their jobs" = complacency and falling into a traditional rut, which = death for the library. Never a good thing - in libraries, in any industry. The book Good to Great talks about that. But I also agree with Louise - this depends on the library and their goals. I also like what she said about "audience." I read somewhere that in a sense, anyone at ANY job is in fact a performer on a stage. IE., when a stupid customer comes in and we act nice... we are in fact acting. Take that one step further, and we can pump that up a notch or two (like those fish dudes at Pike's Place Market). Put on a show ... at our jobs. - David Lee King

Wow. That makes me sad. Quietly & effectively doing your job is "complacency & falling into a traditional rut"? And that means "death for the library"? I don't see that at all. I certainly don't think that the key to library success is "be more like me." - joshua m. neff

Just telling you what lots and lots of librarians have told me. For them, "quietly doing their jobs" = no one stepping up to the plate to do the next thing (whatever that thing is) or (even worse) hoping no one notices them so they can minimally function at their job then go home. Effectively? Not sure you CAN be effective AND quiet... depends on what you mean by quiet. Doesn't share ideas at meetings? Doesn't ever have new ideas but still answers questions? What do you mean by quiet and effective? - David Lee King

See, when I think "rock star", I think about the librarians who have lots of speaking/preso gigs, or a whole lot of exposure beyond their community base, and that the quiet & effective folks we're mentioning just do their jobs and dont go on the circuit as much. And the quiet and ineffective ones need to go or be retrained. But that's my understanding. - The Archangel ωαřмaiden

I mean not putting yourself in the spotlight, not acting like the fish dudes, but when a patron comes in needing help, you help them. When something needs to be done, you do it, not with a lot of flash, you just get it done. If you have ideas, you share them, but what if you don't have any ideas? At my library, I see a lot of good, qualified people who do their jobs but don't make a lot of noise, don't sit at the front of the class, don't speak up a lot. But they do the work that needs to be done. Just because you're quiet & not putting yourself out there doesn't mean your complacent. It certainly doesn't mean you're dragging the library down. Honestly, I think it's insulting to even suggest that. - joshua m. neff

Sometimes "great" is "coming up with a brilliant new way of doing something." And sometimes "great" is "cleaning up puke, because goddammit, someone needs to do it." - joshua m. neff

Maybe I read your "quiet and effective" statement wrong. Sorry if I did! We might be talking about 2 different things here. Hope so! If they're quiet, and do their jobs well - that's wonderful. I'm certainly not meaning everyone has to be an extrovert! Heck, I'm a huge wallflower. But if they're quiet and don't speak up at a meeting (part of their job IS participating at a meeting) but then complaining about it later... that's something else entirely. - David Lee King

And I agree with your "puke" thing - in both cases, the person went the extra mile. - David Lee King

Of course, David, but I didn't think by "rockstar" you meant "someone who speaks up in meetings, instead of staying quiet but grumbling about it later." - joshua m. neff

My point was, just because you're not a "rockstar" in your community doesn't mean you're a bad librarian. - joshua m. neff

DLK- A doofusy thing is a doofusy thing, no matter who says it. Everyone says 'em. The internet just makes 'em widespread and permanent. I'd like to add that if your ambition as a LIS talking head is to evoke reaction, I strongly suggest pursuing more useful and meaningful ambitions. Your constant message seems to be "do more, be better," - and I love that- but the way that you sometimes say it (hyperbole, radical oversimplification, self-promotion) spoils the appeal of the message for me. - David Rothman

Agreed. But I also think that there's a pretty wide space between being a good librarian and being a community "rockstar" that could be explored a bit more by libraries... that's all. - David Lee King

A couple of comments. First of all, this seems to me to be pretty well the same conversation as all those SLA/ASKPro threads. Who are and what do we do, is there and "old" way vs a "new" way. - John Dupuis

Know what? Twitter is lousy for nuance. The role of the librarian perhaps deserves more nuance than terms like "rockstar." - David Rothman

David Rothman - to each his own. My goal isn't to evoke reaction (though I do that). It's always been to toy with ideas in my head, to share, and to see what others think. OTher people come along for the ride, whether or not they agree, and that's cool - David Lee King

And I must say - you didn't say "doofusy thing" - You said "what doofus wrote this, Holly?" I agree with your doofusy thing comment. The other? Not so much. - David Lee King

Second, I think a lot of the discomfort with the Rockstar term has to do with authenticity. When we think rockstar, we think of people who are clearly deluded (ie. Ozzy) and people who are famous for the sake of being famous or who want to be rockstars to show up everyone else or just to show off. I don't think this attracts more librarians or, in fact, most people, when it comes to how they do their jobs. People want to be authentic in their public personas, not something false and uncomfortable. - John Dupuis

John - you're right, and with my original thoughts, I wasn't going for deluded or fake! I'd just heard the statements more than once and was saying them "out loud." Yes - authenticity is hugely important - we can't be taken seriously otherwise. - David Lee King

At the same time, it's vitally important for librarians to be deeply connected to their communities, to be involved and visible. But I think the message here is that people want to be the Laurence Lessig or Clay Shirky of their library community outreach, not the Ozzy Osbourne or the Jon & Kate. - John Dupuis

DLK- sorry, but get over it. You say you wanted to evoke reaction. Fine, here's my reaction: it was a ridiculous thing to say. I didn't know who said it, just that it was ridiculous. I stand by that estimation. Yay! You evoked reaction- so stop portraying hurt feelings over it. If you aren't ready to receive disagreement and criticism, I strongly suggest not constantly posting your opinions online where they are subject to criticism. - David Rothman

DLK, that's great, it's just that you're never going to evoke an image of authenticity if you're talking about rockstars. Except for maybe Springsteen, but that's another thread. - John Dupuis

David - whatever. I disagree. No hurt feeling here - just pointing out what you said. Seriously - I love it when people disagree on my blog, in FF, in twitter, etc. But name-calling, even to anonymous people, is simply not cool. The "reaction" I meant from my original tweet was to say something and have people respond - not to see if I could get anyone riled. - David Lee King

John - yeah, I think you're right. Interestingly, people like Clay Shirky are called rockstars... - David Lee King

Several of the libraries I've worked with have been well served to keep some of their librarians hidden. On the other point - I totally want to be the Ozzy Osbourne of Libraryland. lmao In fact, going forward, I'd like to be referred to as the 'Prince of Darkness'. Seriously though, David, 'Rockstar' has connotations in the profession in Colleen's (warmaiden's) definition. So, I think perhaps this is somewhat at the root of this long discussion. *wanders off mumbling* - Rev. Dr. W!cKeD Rock

Yep, you are correct I'm thinking, oh Prince of Darkness :-) Bad choice of words on my part. - David Lee King

David, true about Shirky, but I'm thinking more along the lines of contrasting *wanting* to be a rockstar rather than ending up as one -- although I can only guess at other people's true motivations, of course. Rev D, I was thinking more Ozzy 2009 rather than Ozzy 1975...and I'm afraid I don't know Colleen's rockstar definition -- is there a reference? - John Dupuis

I particularly like the opinions of the fellow signing himself Josh M. Neff. A reasonable, practical chap. A rockstar in the conversation, one might say.

Wanted: Old Boss

Just fooling around. This might or might not be my first public library boss. Tsk. A person shouldn't let their picture float around on the Internet, should they?

Great boss, actually. He taught me alot about the public library biz and reference services. He put a sign in front of the reference desk that said "Please Bother Me".

Every once in awhile he would get the local paper to run an article in which he claimed "We Can Answer Any Question". Luckily the people who would call in after they saw that would inevitably ask easy questions. Happy Halloween, B Man.

Want to frame your own boss or dearly beloved? Try the Wanted Poster Generator from the clever folks at Glass Giant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flash Forward: 137 Sekunden

Sekunden is German for "seconds". Agents Mark Benford and Janis Hawk visit a Nazi war criminal in Munich who barters his vision for freedom from prison. The really grizzled, half dead looking Rudolf Geyer claims to know what the significance of the 137 seconds of blackout time means.

Janis and Mark wrestle with their consciences before making the deal. Mark is conflicted yet ready to do whatever is necessary to learn anything. Janis does not want to make the deal and release the monster. Good character exposition in this bit, revealing much about how they will operate in the future.

Dmitri Noh is re-united with his fiancee, who is so sweet. I just adore her. In a fascinating twist, she happily reveals her Flash Forward to Dmitri. She sees them getting married on a beach on April 29, 2010. She is ecstatic and happy. Demetri is puzzled, since he is convinced both by his blackout being being blank and the untraceable phone call telling him his death date is known to be March 15th, 2010.

I conclude that this means people can change their fate. All they have to do is use their foreknowledge to avoid their fates.

Other tidbits:

Aaron, the AA pal of Mark who saw a vision of his dead daughter alive has her grave exhumed with Mark's help and the DNA tested. It is proven that the DNA is hers. This results in a small reunion with his wife. There is speculation on the ABC Flashforward site that because her remains were only 37 pounds and she was shown in Aaron's Flash Forward only from the waist up, maybe she lost the lower half of her body and she is still alive. Will he find a motivation to keep searching for her after his disappointment?

Rudolf Geyer, aka Icky Nazi, who attributed the 137 seconds to a cabalistic bit of numerology, also provides what turns out to be a significant tip: he saw dead crows in the prison courtyard. He gives Mark a field guide to birds that later makes Mark question if there have been other mass crow demise incidents. He finds that there have indeed been large incidents in the past. So we know that perhaps the method of knocking people out has been tested before and a bit of pattern is revealed.

The show ends with a Somalian boy seeing a village full of dead crows and a mist surrounding a tower in the town.

Further Reading

From TV Guide Let's FlashForward and Get Lost with Sonya Walger

From The Examiner FlashForward: Demetri Noh will be murdered on the ides of March

ABC's Official site with preview of tonight's episode Black Swan which introduces former Lost actor (and former Hobbit) Dominic Monahan.

Lastly the most excellent news that Flash Forward has been given the go ahead for a full season of episodes! Yay!

Survivor Samoa: a Little Screen Time and Tribal Council for Galu

The Yoga Masters at Galu finally got a little screen time last week when they lost the immunity challenge and were sent to Tribal Council.

I was fooled into thinking that Shambo, the only Galu ever given any airtime previously, would be the natural pick for the Boot. She even tempted Survivor Fate by claiming to be a "farm girl" and promptly losing one of the chickens that had been won in reward. Her efforts at talking chicken talk to the escapee to lure him back were comical but ineffective.

The other targets for The Snip were Yasmin for lounging about camp (though it was agreed she did well in challenges) and Monica for impersonating The Little Engine That Couldn't, huffing and puffing her way along a length of rope at the challenge.

Peeking out and showing small bits of personality are the Galu men Erik, John and Dave (aka Svengali Dave for his mesmerizing concentration at challenge). Erik tricks Shambo into giving him clues to find the Immunity Idol at the Galu camp. Rocket Scientist John shakes his abs in disgust. Dave wins a Jeff-less reward challenge by tossing a boche style ball right next to the post, winning the chicken reward for Galu.

Russell, leader of Galu (formerly Russell the Lawful) who chose pillows and blankies last time out to keep the Yoga Meister Women happy, acts badly this episode again. He insists that as LEADER his decision to send Huffy Puffy Monica home for a bad challenge performance is the only way to go.

Erik and the GUYS however, decide along with some of the women that Yasmin (of the Catfight with Hillbilly Ben) is a lounge lizard at camp and she is the weakest link, etc, and they win the day, so off she goes in her high heeled shoes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Forgotten: Parachute Jane

The episode introduces the concept of "PK's" or Parachute Kids-children of Asian parents who send their teen children to America for education and who pay a guardian here to watch over them.

"Parachute Jane" in this episode does not like being on her own, doesn't fit in at school, and she wants to go home. Because of a variety of factors and influences, this gets her killed. Suspects were many: a 25 year old boyfriend who didn't know she was only 15, her own brother, her brother's girlfriend, 19 other PK's at her school whose largely unsupervised status might be exposed, and her guardian who seemed concerned about her but let her live alone in an apartment.

The Forgotten Network got this case just a few days after the victim's death, so the cases can be fresh, and not always involving a colder trail of evidence.

The characters are hitting their strides, especially Christian Slater's "Alex Donovan" and Rochelle Aytes "Grace Russell" who have an increasingly good onscreen rapport. Only Tyler Davies (the Artist) and Candace Butler (Michelle Borth) really don't have much personality so far.

Further Reading

Here's a nice TV Guide interview with Christian Slater: Christian Slater talks to TV Guide about the Show

The Official Site on ABC

A Forgotten Wiki

Real Forgotten Networks

The volunteer crime solving/body identifying networks do exist:

Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves A Name) "This site was developed for The Forensic Artists of "Project EDAN". The Artists donate their work to make facial reconstructions for Law Enforcement Agencies that do not have access to, or funding for a qualified Forensic Artist."

The Lost and Found Global Resource Center "Murdered, Missing & Unidentified Global Resource Center...was evolved to provide new and highlight existing important programs and services, in the volunteer sector, to assist Law Enforcement Agencies in the identification process of the deceased as well as the location of the missing.
Our Main Goal is to provide new and present many available resources in support of already existing organizations in the volunteer sector. As well as assisting in the establishment of new state / local / volunteer unidentified remains and missing persons databases where they are needed."

The Outpost For Hope "Finding solutions for the missing, missing population...Since 1999, Outpost For Hope has helped families, law enforcement and other agencies locate hundreds of off the grid unreported missing persons.

The practical, effective, self-help tools and support provided by Outpost For Hope empower families and agencies to navigate through the often-hidden segments of marginalized existence in our society, where our loved ones can drop so far out of the main stream that they become hidden among us. Outpost for Hope is a web based 501 c (3) grassroots nonprofit organization run by a couple of volunteers determined to make a difference, serving the national community and sometimes beyond U.S. borders."

The DOE Network "The Doe Network is a volunteer organization devoted to assisting Law Enforcement in solving cold cases concerning Unexplained Disappearances and Unidentified Victims from North America, Australia and Europe. It is our mission to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families. We hope to accomplish this mission in three ways; by giving the cases exposure on our website, by having our volunteers search for clues on these cases as well as making possible matches between missing and unidentified persons and lastly through attempting to get media exposure for these cases that need and deserve it."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Minnesota Crime Wave

Minnesota Crime Wave authors Carl Brookins, William Kent Krueger and Ellen Hart appeared at my library last night. They are the coolest group of authors ever. You need to see them in person to appreciate just how wonderful they are.

Despite the unending rain, and a nailbiter Twins game that should have been over by the time of the event, we had a good crowd. Not just numbers wise, but they were very engaged by the authors and they asked alot of questions. It is a tribute to how warm, smart, funny and fascinating these authors are that the audience was very relaxed and they felt comfortable enough to ask all about the authors works and the process of writing. Even after the end of the program people gathered around the Crime Wave asking even more questions.

Often at these events we get people who have never been to an author program before and they are so amazed at how great it is hear them speak, and be able to ask anything at all of their favorite authors. I encourage any reader to find your local author appearance list, check your library, look in the paper, or go a bookstore event. I guarantee you will like your author even more, or find a new author to read, and generally you can buy their books on the spot and go home happy.

Visit the Minnesota Crime Wave web site to find out more about them and to perhaps arrange an author appearance.

The authors also have their own individual sites so you can enjoy reading about them and their works even more:

Ellen Hart

William Kent Krueger

Carl Brookins

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Forgotten: Diamond Jane

This was really interesting, a desicated body was found in a Chicago alley in a very odd two-tiered box.

The team does an ace job of figuring out who the girl is from the diamond engagement ring that was missed in a body bag the first go-round by the police and coroner's office. Who knew that diamond rings are now tracked as something terrorists could use?

Once they locate the girl's fiance, they decide that he is most likely the killer, especially when they find he is from Chicago, and he is suspected by the girls parents in her disappearance as well. The Forgotten Network folks and the police all were just assuming that he did it. He looked so innocent to me, and I believed in him.

As it turns out, my instincts were correct. I think the revelation of the real killer was so well done, and not what you would expect at all.

Of course, the victim gave it away in her opening lines, but who would think?

This episode was more suspenseful than the first, but they have all that character setting up to do in the pilot episode.

We get a little more background on the characters.

Alex Donovan (Christian Slater) the former cop had some sort of meltdown.

Candace Butler (Michelle Borth) of the mind-numbing job, works in an insurance agency.

Grace Russell (Rochelle Aytes) sort of looks mooney at her ex-mentor Alex. Probably not in love with him or anything, nah.

The Science teacher, Lindsey Drake is married to a nationally known killer, since the folks from New York recognized his name right off.

Walter the telephone repairman looks great in a suit and he can be convincing and suave when he needs to be. This is part of his superhero-dom (in his mind).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

National Reading Group Month October 2009

Celebrate October with National Reading Group Month. Begun by the Women's National Book Association in 2007,they promote reading groups, give suggestions for reading, and they select an annual best reads for book groups.

Selections for 2009 are:

Appassionata by Eva Hoffman
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz
While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Cost by Roxana Robinson
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

Visit their site for descriptions and links to other sites with more in depth treatments of the books and questions for discussion.

Other great Reading Group Resources are:

Book Group Buzz from Booklist Magazine This is my favorite blog and guide for book group and reading information. They are updated daily, enthusiastic, creative, and a pleasure to read.

Reading Group Choices Advice on starting a group, lots of book suggestions with "conversation starters" and book background. They have a whole page of links to other reading group guides.

Check to see if your library system subscribes to Novelist. This database gives background on books and authors, lets you search for Read-alikes, Award Winners, and book discussion guides.

MinnPost's Book Club Club

Brand new this September from online site MinnPost is their Book Club Club which they mean to be a club made up of existing Minnesota book clubs—a community of engaged readers. Book clubs of all sizes, themes and types that meet anywhere in the state are welcome to join. Membership is free.

Here you will find articles about books and book discussion, a list of Twin Cities area bestsellers, a list of book groups in Minnesota (your group can be can be added to the list anytime). Comment on any of the ongoing topics, find a group to join. I think the overall hope is to have a single place for readers to talk about the books they love.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flash Forward

I'm really enjoying this series so far. The first episode established the worldwide blackout for 2 minutes and 17 seconds and led us on our merry way to see if everyone will be trapped in the future glimpse they saw, or if they can change their future now that they know what might be.

In addition to the issues of free will vs fate inherent in the storyline, we have the intriguing video showing someone in Detroit stadium walking around awake and casual during the blackout, and the revelation that someone in Pigeon, Utah was apparently calling the man in Detroit during the blackout.

The FBI agents are taking the stance that these wakeful people may have had something to do with the blackout, and that the blackout could re-occur.

Agent Mark Benford and his family are at the center of the drama in a way, because Mark saw an entire bulletin board of clues he had put together about the blackout and it's causes and the bulletin board is shaping up with those same clues even after just two episodes.

His very likeable wife meets the man in episode two that she saw herself having an affair with. She is so horrified to meet him and I like her so much for being honest with her husband about her vision and the fact that the man has come to the hospital where she works.

Her husband has not been honest with her at all about returning to drinking in his vision, and you can see he thinks her guilty already of the affair. The future seems inexorably to be set in motion.

Their little girl Charlie is not so likeable, seeming very whiny and pouty. She does give a clue or two to her vision by being upset that Dylan, the autistic son of Mr. Affair has been hurt, implying she and he are close. She also tells her father D. Gibbons is a "bad man", belying the idea that the cupcake lady named Dee Dee Gibbons who seeks out agent Noh in episode two is the D. Gibbons of the Mosaic board. the cupcake lady all a part of some larger plot, is she trying to drive the team towards a solution or put them off of the trail?

Agent Noh, who saw nothing, puts his name out of the Mosaic Bulletin Board and he gets a call saying he will be killed March 15th, 2010. This would explain why he saw nothing in the vision, but if he knows how and where he is killed, can he avoid his death?

Click to enlarge comics!

Dying to know even more about Flash Forward?

Flash Forward Official site
ABC's official page. View episodes, character biographies, episode guides, topical discussions (for instance, do you think Dmitri will die as predicted?)

Robert Sawyer's site. He is the author of the book Flash Forward upon which the series is based, and many other novels.

Wikipedia for the television show, episode descriptions, overview of series and plotting, cast.

Another Flash Forward Wiki This one includes forums and a blog (not updated since June 10th as of today however).

Flash Forward Forum (The Fansite and Forum for ABC's television show Flash Forward) A place to discuss episodes and your theories as the plot unfolds.

FlashForwardBlog A personal blog by someone with the clever byline Flashforward. He includes forums, polls, video clips.

Survivor Samoa Bouncing Bennie

Hillbilly Ben got tossed last night through the efforts of Jaisson, a truly elegant and gracious man who just would not put up with the vile piggish Ben any longer. It was painful to see the Foa Foa side floundering under the influence of two completely awful human beings, Ben and Oily Russell. I never root for the villain, I don't find them to be entertaining, and I always want to see them get tossed as soon as possible.

The Galou side, which has won every challenge so far, is not getting any coverage at all, so we don't even know those people. All we can see so far is that the women think they're at a spa, and Lawful Russell, the Galou leader, has some bizarre need to further pamper them.

Shambo, who has been very likeable up to this episode, was sent to the other tribe as a spy (they've done away with Exile Island) and she sort of caved in and gushed that the Foa Foa people were so nice(!!!!!!)unlike her own yoga/zen/slacker/Beverly Hills 90210 tribe. She really needed to treat her own people the same way she approached the Foa Foas, age difference or not, so that she did not make herself an outsider. It really was her own doing, she didn't like the they operated right off and she needed to handle that another way. Tsk.

I thought it was very interesting that they showed her greeting and interacting with every Foa Foa except Oily Russell. What did she say to him, and how did he react?

In the previews for next week they show Oily Russell talking with Jaisson and they make it look like Jaisson is suddenly all weary of the game and ready to give up, and Oily Russell is ready to give him the boot, of course because Jaisson forced Oily to vote against Ben, not in The Plan, at all. Maybe Oily gets nailed next week and that is why they show him so much. Bleh.