Via Joystiq read all about Omaha, Nebraska librarians who got in trouble for purchasing (for the library) the game "Rock Band", then making an entertaining promotional video of themselves assembling and playing the game. They put this on YouTube and though these librarians rock in every way, there are questions about them using public funds for the purchase, and perhaps they were just too cool in the video. I think they did a great job, just the sort of bold and fun promotions we could all be doing.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I've been looking for a companion for my little beaglemeister since November of last year. My sister loaned me her Golden Retriever and I really loved the way she got along with my beagle pal, and thought to find a Golden Retriever of my own for him.
As it turned out, the Golden Dog of his dreams was another beagle. She is just a pup, and she is so sweet. They have had some adjustments to make in getting along, but after about three weeks now they snuggle by each other and live to go for walks, play fight, and explore the yard side by side.
Beagles for the win!
Friday, February 20, 2009
So Lost: 316 (Spoilers for anyone who doesn't think I'd actually talk about what happened in the episode...)
I definitely have to watch this episode a second time. It was a mostly straightforward episode time-switching wise. Almost a relief!
Jack, with his "messiah complex" (From wikipedia: Messiah complex is a state in which the individual believes themselves to be, or destined to become, the saviour of the particular field, a group, an event, a time period, or in an extreme scenario, the world) is sooo easily led by the nose by Mrs Hawking and Ben. Here is a smart talented man who has no clue, but thinks it is always his job to save the day and "fix things". Couldn't he use those smarts to see that Mrs. Hawking and Ben and the Island aren't fixable? Noooooo. And there he is, in direct competition with John Locke who also believes he is destined to be "special" and save the Island. Criminy.
Kate is such a little psycho. How she manages to appear small and vulnerable while being up to no good 24/7 I just can't see. "You must promise never to ask me about Aaron"...yeah right. Lucky for you Jack always wears his leash so you can just give him a little shake now and then and he rolls on over to have his belly rubbed (dog reference).
What happened to Aaron we ask? My coworker JR (not the one from "Dallas") had a great theory that Charles Widmore has both Kate and Sun working on his behalf. We have seen Sun offering to work with him, but wily Kate?
He might easily be involved though...how did those two women, Sun and Kate leave their children behind and trudge off to the Island? He could have promised them something, and it would have to be something that would eventually allow them to be re-united with the kids. I can see that he could convince them to carry out some set of orders.
I think Sun is sufficiently obsessed with being back with Jin so that she would go no matter what. But not Kate. The other possiblity for Kate is that she had another visit from Claire, who told her in a previous episode not to bring Aaron back to the Island.
But...what about the whole "nobody must raise Aaron but Claire" thing? Hmmpf. Kate could have left Aaron with Claire's mom, but why? And why do that and go back to the island? Does she think she can switch places with Claire somehow? She would do that for Aaron I think.
The Dharma Initiative and its membership raises its intriguing head as the inventor of the pendulum that detects the Island. How they guessed there was an island like this in the first place is a puzzle. I need to go back and watch the very first Dharma Initiative training film. In it, briefly, the founders of the Dharma Initiative, a man and wife are briefly seen and named. I don't recall that they have been referred to since, but they have remained in my mind. Woman with blond hair, hairy bearded guy...could be anyone. I keep thinking they are Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore under bogus names but that would be too easy.
The whole 316 thing...over my non-theological head. Clearly John is the sacrifice and Jack the unbeliever (Doubting Thomas) who must be convinced. I will say I do not feel Mrs Hawking or Ben are remotely holy, reverent, or using the church, it's teachings or anything else as more than a tool and a screen. Ben can light candles till doomsday but he is a bad bad man.
Mrs. Hawking, though there is speculation she is a protector of the island and the timestream or some such...also seems bad to the bone. Did you see her face all hard and cold and ugly when Desmond told her he was there on Daniel's behalf to ask for help? Not exactly snuggly mama. Although it did occur to me as I pondered this that she is angry at him, perhaps for trying to alter time and events to save Charlotte. Ack and how could I forget, Daniel had funding for his time travel research for 10 years from Charles Widmore. So mama doesn't like her mumbly voiced son sleeping with the enemy. Aha.
Lastly, at the end we have Hurley, Jack and Kate back on the island, greeted by Jin with a brand new Dharma Initiative uniform and the blue van from previous episodes all sparkly and new. So they are on the island but in the early days of the Dharma Initiative. Maybe they'll meet those founders I find so intriguing.
We're missing Sun, who will be going BONKERS that Jin is not on the island as promised, though he's in another time frame, I speculate. How is Ben going to explain all that? With a full helping of slime, no doubt. I will be surprised if all of them are in the past and just in different locations on the island.
We're missing Sayid and his lovely police escort.
Of course John-in-a-box is missing. Too interesting to see in what corporeal form he shows up next.
And too cute! A whole back-of-the-plane-load of new shiny disposable Red Shirts! All of those people ready to be ground up in the Island Munch Machine.
Note: here is the orientation film. I can't make out the names of the Dharma Founders, (DeGroots?) but I did see something I didn't pay attention to the first time around: Charles Widmore up in his office, seen through an outside window and said to be the financial backer of the Dharma Initiative. (Ah this answers my question above...how did the Dharma Initiative know to look for the island...Charles Widmore got them involved, since he funded them.) These two don't look like Widmore and Hawking at all so forget that wild theory. There we have it...
I took my notebook down to watch the show and the first note I made was:
Candace Cannon Fodder!!!
Sure enough! She was a tough physical competitor but socially she really needed to be a lot more mellow. It was a big mistake to go against the oily but apparently influential "Coach" so early on. She really had to make sure she had lots of allies. I had her on my "Survivors" list and poof she goes down. Oh oh. It did surprise me to see whiny Erinn vote against her though. If "Coach" is getting people popped for poor attitude, then Erinn is next. *shudder*
I also noted "Stephen=Dork" Man where did they get this guy? Has he ever watched the show?
Sierra, who I wrote off based on her bio and her picture (waif like) has really proven to be a tough and determined competitor. She needs to bond with the others in the group though or she is toasty.
Taj: Big mistake for her to say she is a famous football player's wife. However just on her own I just love her. She has the best personality and attitude. She's working the social game and the psychological game and she was right in there physically competing in the "basketball" competition. Cool lady! I hope she stays in the game.
Brandon really is working the entrepreneurial angles. He's going to be a wealthy man someday, however he does on Survivor.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
More Things on a Stick Thing 25: Blogger's Toolkit (or in the common parlance..."How to Pimp Your Blog")
20 Usability Tips For Your Blog
Following my Master Plan to be more methodical and thoughtful this time around with the 23 Things, I'm going to hit every part of the "DO"s. There are a ton of Things in Thing 25 so this post will be a long one. I considered breaking it up but I have other post topics I'd like to cover for myself so keep your 2.0 eyes peeled here for the Thing 25 Saga.
1. Pick a topic for your blog.
I absolutely agree with this. Although it may seem initially appealing to do stream of consciousness blogging about whatever pleases you, even you will soon become bored. If you are writing for yourself or your imaginary audience about something that you are really fascinated by, you will be inspired to write far more frequently.
It is cheating, and a BAD SIGN when you subtitle your blog "...and anything else I feel like writing about". You can certainly offer off-topic items, and write about something not specifically on your theme, but its best to just slide those posts in under the wire rather than be sort of in-your-face about the whole thing.
I will say, counter to this in a way, if you are a public library reference librarian, you get every question in the world, a high percentage of which are unique things you've never been asked, no matter how long you've been in the field. This gives you huge leeway in your blog because the sky is the limit. You actually can talk about anything at all and be spot on topic. Tis good to be a librarian :)
2. Encourage comments
I certainly encourage comments and allow anonymous readers the ability to comment. This is really nice for those who read your blog but don't have one of their own. I would not get discouraged if there are no comments, nor can you assume no comments mean no readers. Blogger has a nice step by step help page on enabling comments:
How do I enable comments on my blog?
If you'd like to see if someone really is reading or if your words are floating unread in the ether, get a site use counter (probably covered later in these things).
I use Blog Patrol here, which gives a count and lets you know what people are reading and searching for that brings them to your blog. It can be a little quirky signing in sometimes, not loading, but you can just check later in the day.
3. Make it easy to subscribe:
Easier said than done! I recall having difficulty with Feedburner in Round 1 and here it is again. I bet this is some tricky way of having people re-do some of the tough stuff so they get the knack of it. Hmmpf.
Feedburner has been purchased by Google. They have a sign in on the Feedburner site that does not take your Google sign in. However, if you circuitously get to Google's page you're fine. Why they make you jump through that sign in hoop, I don't know.
In fact, signing in through Google only lets me have the ability to burn feeds and connect with an aggregator such as Bloglines. I am going to let this go for the nonce.
4. Include an About Page
I made a few changes to my original page. Not many.
5. Present your ideas visually
I really like adding some type of visual to each post. Even if I have alot of text, the perfect picture or cartoon or altered image brightens things up.
6. Keep posts short and to the point
This is mostly a good idea but it has to depend on what you're writing about. For pithy posts...go to Twitter!
7. Use subheadings for long posts
I understand the principle of this but in truth I rarely read what is continued on another page. This is probably a necessary technique when you have many updates or multiple posters and frequent updates. For a solitary blogger, it seems unnecessary.
8. Link abundantly
You definitely should credit others and link to the work of others who enhance or support your view.
9. Make headlines descriptive
This will make the reader decide to stop and look. If I am laughing at my heading as I type it, I know the post will be a good one.
10. Archive by topic
I like the idea of this but I'm already lagging terribly on these Things so I'm not going to ponder it now. I also fear the topical archive might take up too much sidebar space.
11. Include a list of related posts beneath each post.
I think in a more technical blog this would be useful. It seems like hubris to do it on a blog you write for fun.
12. Allow users to contact you offline
I had a mailbox for the blog briefly and had nothing but you've won a lottery in a foreign country scam-mail.
Currently someone could leave a Meebo message, but I am seldom logged in there and can never remember my password :(
13. Present your real viewpoint
14. Write for your future employer
My future employer is aways out in the timeline, but it will be me, retired and sitting in the sun with my spouse and beagles so, I'm okay on this one :) :)
15. Include a Top Posts Section
Again, this seems self-promotional so it is not for me.
16. Provide an Index
The one listed is alas for WordPress only.
17. Get your own URL
If I ever become famous I'll be sure to get one.
18. Include a Recent Posts section
Good idea for many, but for my purposes, it takes up prime sidebar real estate. I'm trying to recommend books and authors and other sites as much as I am interested in what I write myself.
19. Reward commenters for commenting
Excellent for high traffic sites, or as a means to promote comments on a high traffic site but I think it might also discourage some to be listed with a puny commenter score.
20. Post Often
Definitely a goal, but there is in truth not always time or inspiration.
More Useful Blogger Tools
Post by Email This could be useful while traveling but otherwise not so much.
Google Gadgets I'm a big fan of gadgets, for instance the Feedjit map that shows where my visitors hail from.
Make your Blog Talk!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Since the Book Besotted Librarian and Carol Has Her Nose In A Book were buzzing about the blog/personality analyzing tool the Typealyzer (sounds like it might kill you in your sleep, doesn't it?) I found it and my blog reveals:
ISTP - The Mechanics
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
Paragraph one is fine but paragraph two? No way.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
At last I'm beginning the More Things on a Stick, part two of the 23 Things on a Stick program. I have continued blogging since the last program ended, and I have added and tried many things to enhance my blog. Still, there are always things to learn.
I only commented on a few blogs last time around. I think perhaps my blog name and my adorable skull avatar might have taken a few bloggers by surprise. I still tend not to comment alot on other blogs, but in the interest of discussion I'll hop on out there this time to see what happens.
If you would like to comment on this blog and you have a Blogger account, just type your message in the comment box. You will then be asked to type in a verification code, just type exactly what you see in the box. This mostly prevents weasely automated programs from sending comments to your blog. You will also be asked to sign into your blogger account in order for your comment to appear. I worried at first that signing in would give the blog my information, but never fear, it is never seen at all by the blogger.
I have also chosen the option in my blog setup to allow Anonymous comments. If you have trouble with the Blogger authentication and sign in, or you do not have a blog, just write your comments and choose Anonymous as your sign in option.
25 Basic Styles of Blogging
I'm pretty sure I have this embedded here. This is a great introduction to various blogging styles and reasons for blogging you might not have considered. There is no reason not to combine various styles if it suits your purpose.
The 25 Basic Styles of Blogging ... And When To Use Each One
Find a New Layout for Your Blog
You are able to change your template at any time. Your content will generally transfer to the new template style, but some page elements such as pictures or links along the side or bottom may be re-positioned or they may not quite fit anymore. In other cases they may fit much better. The basic set of choices you had when you originially set up your Blogger account will be there.
There are other sites that have user created templates for you to try for free as well. Be aware that a few might require downloads to your computer and if you are working on your blog at work security restrictions will likely stop you from downloading.
Blogger Buster Lots of templates, plus forums for discussion, tutorials and a selection of widgets.
Btemplates A large variety of templates in Blogger format.
Add information to your profile
I am going to change my profile a bit for the purpose of 23 Things. I'm not going to display my name, collegiality or no. Since this is a personal and not a professional blog, the rules of the online world and protecting yourself from... lets just say it...wierdos... stays firmly in place here at D.O.A. Central.
Get Creative: 10 Fun Websites to create your free avatar
I must be the only person who did the original 23 Things who never created a Yahoo Avatar. For this exercise I created one and it is at the top of the page. None of the vast array of outfits except a fuzzy pink bathrobe really suited me. The avatar at the top of the post is actually quite close to what most characters I create look like in the online world, so there we are. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to snare it to display here. They used that tricky term "export" and I didn't see where to do it right off or that they just wanted me to copy and paste the html code from their export page to here. My cheeks were burning thinking why oh why can everyone figure this out but me. Luckily I persevered. Fingers crossed when I hit Publish there isn't a bunch of gobbledygook up there.
I'll try some of the others as well and try to wedge them in here with commentary.
Off to a good start at last! D.O.A. over and out.
Otaku Avatar Maker
Here is my Otaku Avatar. They have many options style wise. I think it is very user friendly except for choosing coloration--they don't make it clear that you need to click on the current color palette choice in order to change it. Oops the avatar isn't here on the page at all, just a line that says "Otaku Avatar Maker". It isn't a link either. This appeared to be saved in My Pictures....need to do some tweaking.
That's interesting. The Save Picture As option came up saving this as a GIF file, but that did not display. I used the drop down on the Save As box to choose bitmap instead and there she is!
I'm not sold on having an animated avatar but I did create one. I may be wrong but it seems that an animated avatar might make your page load slowly for some visitors. As I'm writing that my Kat Clock came to mind. The blog page loads fine but that widget and its animation does load very slowly on some computers.
Although there are many options for customizing the avatar, many could not be previewed because they were VIP. Once I found a look I liked and went to save I was told some of my options cost "Coinz". (Note actually I see now each option that costs COINZ ) Since they had distributed some to me in theory for signing up and getting their newletter, I went ahead and pressed "purchase and save". Maybe I'm a few Coinz short! because it has been over ten minutes and my avatar is still "processing". 45 minutes.... In order to move on without losing my avatar for posterity, I did a Print Screen of the web page. And stuck it in Word (which I couldn't get to post here,) then Paint. This is from Paint:
So, anywho, I couldn't get the avatar to stop processing so the big eyed creature you see here in part, is all she wrote. Tis a shame because I selected the body style "Booty Betty". Tsk.
Pimp My Doll
The page won't come up on this site so back to it later perhaps.
I didn't realize I had already signed up for this avatar site, but I changed the avatar a bit so she rocks. Sort of. Once again the GIF type image didn't display a picture so I used the alternative of Save As and stuck it in My Pictures then lofted it here.
The Horoscope Avatar maker lets you customize a face, adds your sign and theoretically...displays your horoscope of the day.
I have not been able to get this avatar to display here by copying and pasting code, by doing a Save Picture As...nada. Let alone show my daily horoscope.
These are sort of fun and easy, with all options free of charge, something I'm really beginning to appreciate.
It might be a bit confusing trying to add this one to your blog because the "Download Now" directions make it look like it is only for your desktop or mobile phone. Once you are on the download screen the option to add to your blog or site by using "Save Picture As" is available.
The Doll Palace
Requires an account sign up. They email you a password and then ask you to change it right away.
This uses a drag and drop onto the model interface. I tried out the Pirate Dolls. There are dozens of choices and they're really stylish. Good choice if you would like to change your avatar frequently, even seasonally. There is an option to upgrade to a premium service which gives more options such as creating a doll contest. Most useful.
Theoretically, this provides html-meisters with the tools to create from scratch their own avatars. I can copy and paste code with the best and worst of them, but it all looks like math to me. I can't create with the "easy creator" except by using their stock "Elouai" model and options.
Digibody's AIM Icon Maker
This tiny avatar has a few options and an interface used by many of these avatar makers. Use when you're in a silly mood or want to accentuate something comedic you write. No sign up required.
South Park Avatar
Well...I've never watched South Park so these squat little figures are just ok.
Simpson's/Burger King Avatar
This avatar creator says it analyzes your photo and "Simpsonizes" it, but as you can see below there really is no observable correlation between the original photograph and the completed avatar. In fact, the avatar creation process is the typical one where you pick certain facial and other features from a set and add them to your "creation".
The Original Photo
The Same Photo Simpsonized
You must register and/or login to save your creation. Save options are emailing the image or "exporting" which in this case does not mean you can copy and paste html code. The "export" option allows you to save the image on your computer, which can then be added to your blog or site. A much better option for photo editing and making an avatar from a photo is Pizap
Note my D.O.A. avatar. I was able to add color to the photo, change the eye color, and write a message. Additionally you can have your Pizap image put on a T-shirt, mug, Mousepad or other object.
Image Chef Avatar
The Image Chef program lets you adapt your photos or images provided by them, adding messages such as the one below:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm geared up for tomorrow night's show. For the first time ever I'm going to try to call who has the best chances of survival based solely on the pictures and biographies on CBS's page.
I've divided the contestants into two groups, the Survivors (who seem likely to have the best chances from what little we know) and the Cannon Fodder (those who will be scooting on out, torches blowing in the wind.)
We all know the game is loaded with surprises and that people disintegrate into their bare selves by about day three, but we have to start the guessing game someplace.
Survivors! (Best of luck folks!)
Edit: After watching the show, I think I'm wrong about Stephen. He seemed very high strung and I fear he will be on the Cannon Fodder pile all too soon.
This would be me! Although I'm not and have never been a children's librarian, ah how I do love the books. Perhaps because I had access to libraries (school only) beginning in about sixth grade, books written for that age and a bit younger and a bit older are always enjoyable to me.
There was an article in the paper a week or so ago on this club and I have kept it in the back of my mind because I'd love to go.
From Red Balloon's web site:
It's a Book Club!
Good News for Children’s Literature Enthusiasts!
Beginning February 19 and continuing on the third Thursday of each month, a book club for adults who love to read and discuss children’s literature will meet at The Red Balloon Bookshop from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The club, called Chapter & Verse, is co-sponsored by Children’s Literature Network and The Red Balloon Bookshop. Membership in Chapter & Verse is free. Participants who attend meetings at The Red Balloon Bookshop will receive a 20% discount on the price of book-club titles.
Discussions about children’s and young-adult fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry will be led by Gail Nordstrom, who is the youth services supervisor at Stillwater Public Library. Gail served on the 2002 Newbery Award Committee for the American Library Association and has organized metro-area Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz Award mock discussions for teachers and librarians since 1997.
The titles for the February 19 meeting are: Madapple, a mystery for young-adult readers by Christine Medrum, and How I Learned Geography, a picture book by Uri Shulevitz.
Visit www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org to find the book list (under the Events heading) for the next several months.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Mirasol has been chosen as the “Chalice” after the unexpected and violent demise of her predecessor. In a society with a very hierarchical structure (Overlord/Master/Chalice/Grand Seneschal) her role is to ceremonially, psychologically and physically bind the land, the Master and the counselors together.
The Master of the land or “demesne” is also new and untrained. The younger brother of the now dead former Master had been sent off to be trained as a Priest of Elemental Fire, training which alters the acolyte physically into a Being a Fire.
The untrained pair work to fulfill their obligations never sure they are doing the right thing. Perhaps because they are in the same awkward, isolated position, they make extra efforts to work together and to find a way to heal their land.
Running through the narrative are bees. Mirasol was responsible for keeping an area of woodlands which has a small cabin and bee hives. The bees, like the land, respond to Mirasol. They produce honey for her in amounts and qualities such as has never been seen. Mirasol discovers that adding honey to her ceremonial healing chalices makes them more effective.
The storytelling, like the hum of bees on a hot lazy summer’s day was refreshing and relaxing. There is a great deal of power in celebrating the rhythm and cycle of life, nature and human relationships.
I try to keep a mystery theme here though I often stray. One of the things I hope to do is to feature Minnesota mystery authors whenever I can.
Today, a long time customer came in who I know has been working to get her Romance novels published. She has been working on a mystery series on the side as well (with romance elements liberally sprinkled in).
She has a guest column on the Chasing Heroes Blog and though it is "under construction" I'm all admiration for the work she is doing on a web site of her own.
Joan's book will be available as a downloadable audio. Keep an eye on her site for more details. Good luck to her!
The third novel in the Inkheart Trilogy delves further into the story of the Inkworld and its inhabitants. Funke’s villains really come to the fore in this volume, especially the immortal , yet rotting, Adderhead, and his dangerous daughter Violante. As a counterpoint to them, Mo, the original “Reader” takes on the role of the "Bluejay" a masked robber who helps Adderhead’s victims.
The story takes on a life of its own that neither the original Inkheart author Fenoglio, nor the twisted upstart plagiarist Orpheus can quite control. There are many questions about the real world vs. the Inkworld and whether our characters can or should stay in the Inkworld-if they survive.
Although the book is the third in a trilogy, certain events lead the hopeful reader to think we might see more of the Inkworld and our heroes and villains in the future.
This is a suspenseful and rich story for anyone who loves books and reading and wishes they could step into the pages of a beloved imaginary world.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
We interrupt this non-serious blog with a note on last night's episode of Lost.
This was the most straightforward episode in a long while. It actually drove the plot forward in a fairly linear manner (despite the Time Jumps).
The questions that arise from it are:
Everyone is on the dock except Hurley (who will arrive via RottenLawyerMobile shortly we can assume) and John's body, correct?
How much time of the "70 hours" that they had to work with has elapsed?
Why are they at "slip 23"? And will Penny's Ship "The Searcher" land in that particular dock shortly as well? This would bring Desmond who is a "key" of some sort right into the "return-to-the island-fray".
Will Charles Widmore and the cloaked woman who we assume is Daniel Faraday's mom also show up? If they both get back to the island, what happens then? Would they actually want to get back?
If Daniel and crew make it to the Orchid and someone (I'm guessing Daniel or John) turns the wheel to move the island just as all of the other players are gathered in one place on the dock, will this bring all of the people on the dock to the island?
If the wheel turner is Daniel and Desmond his "Constant" is among the dock group, then will Daniel hold his place and stay on the island rather than being moved back to regular land?
If the wheel turner is John, can he convince everyone on the dock to come back to save the remaining people from the plane--the fact that they know he is "dead" could have a huge impact on their judgement. Perhaps the dead body of John is a place holder that keeps the "live" John from moving back to normal space or in fact it allows him to return to normal space and still return to the island.
Note the episode title "The Little Prince". Does this refer to Aaron, and is there a tie to the book The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery's novel?
Final notes: I love the Rousseau character and it was both lovely and sad to see her young, sweet caring self and to know what would happen to her shortly.
I KNEW Jin was alive! He and Sun are two of the best characters on the show and unlike some of the cast, their characters have changed and grown so much. I know Sun would go back to the island for him in a heartbeat, but..her little baby is in Japan. What am I thinking? I'm sure Ben is having her transported to the dock as we speak.