Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oops missed a post day!

Busted. Was thinking of little but my garden yesterday and missed posting. In fact, have been been in a garden zone for two days. It is a fine place to be. Made it halfway through NaBloPoMo post every day for 30 days this time but rats, no cigar.

My thought is to wait till the official NabloPoMo in November, but since the NaBloPoMo site is run by the Ning people, maybe they'll charge for entry in the NaBloPoMo event as well. In which case, I wouldn't be involved, but could just unofficially try try again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Keyloggers, eek

Keyloggers can be physical devices or sneaky Trojan downloads. They track all of the keys you push on your pc and steal your information. As careful as I am, I got notification of an attempt tonight so I'll be extra careful.

Beware the biggest method is following an email link. It is always best to copy and paste into the address bar.

This note is for the logger folks: U Stink. That should take care of that, right?

Friday, May 14, 2010

When is a question not a question? During Survey Week!


We are always counting what we do so that we can report on the state of things in the library world. As with any sort of statistical presentation, we apparently only count certain things, rather than attempting to accurately portray the work we do every day.

Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

In the case of libraries, for some reason we want to conceal that we are helping people with questions galore, but not apparently reportable, fascinating questions.

In my opinion, we should count every person we help. They matter. Their questions are important to them and they trust us to be able to answer them, large or small. If someone cannot get you to answer a simple question for them, why would they ever think you could answer anything complex? DOH!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Agatha Awards 2009

The Agatha Awards were given for best traditional mysteries on May 1, 2010 at the annual Malice Domestic convention. The Agatha Awards are named for mystery writer Agatha Christie.

According to the Malice Domestic website:

The Agatha Awards honor the "traditional mystery." That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that:

•contain no explicit sex
•contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence

The Best Novel winner was A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Nominees for Best Novel:
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett
Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Best First Novel was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Nominees for Best First Novel:

For Better For Murder by Lisa Bork
Posed for Murder by Meredith Cole
The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

The winner for Best Non-fiction was Dame Agatha’s Shorts by Elena Santangelo

Duchess of Death by Richard Hack
Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James
Blood on the Stage by 1925-1950 by Amnon Kabatchnik
The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar

The Best Short Story was given to “On the House” by Hank Phillippi Ryan

“Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron, Boston Noir
“Handbaskets, Drawers and a Killer Cold” by Kaye George
“The Worst Noel” by Barb Goffman, The Gift of Murder
“Death Will Trim Your Tree” by Elizabeth Zelvin, The Gift of Murder

The award for Best Children's/Young Adult went to The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
The Case of the Poisoned Pig by Lewis B. Montgomery
The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The 20 Most Popular Twitter Users via Mashable

Mashable has an article about an alleged "accept bug" which would allow you to type in a command based Tweet and have anyone follow you on Twitter, even celebrities who would never think of acknowledging your existence in the Twitterverse.

The most popular target was Oprah, who beat out Obama and Lady Gaga (by a mere squeek on Gaga) amongst others.

My Twitter account comes and goes. I am currently confining my interests to book and garden related folks.

I'm still picking up a few sales and marketing followers, and I block them along with all of the girlz who have "hot pics" to share.

Twitter seems to have changed a bit. I find the Retweets of updates by people I'm not interested in to be pretty annoying.

Where it hasn't changed is in the lag, and the "oh no something went wrong" messages.

As always, I don't read Tweets much, but I do think I may have more totally useless Tweets out there myself than I have had in any previous incarnations.

I prefer Facebook where people can have semi-normal "conversations". The 140 character limit for a blah blah blah person like myself isn't quite enough.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lost: Across the Sea

Finally an episode in the sixth season that I liked without reservations.

The cycle of ageless island guardians has gone on for millenia, perhaps? Who knows what drama played out with "Mother" and her predecessor? Mother seemed neither good nor evil, but she did find the dark side more personally appealing, I thought.

Jacob, who I have thought was an ambiguous character, was throughout a good and innocent character. Tossing MIB into the cave, not really knowing what would happen, was done in a fury over his mother's death. Understandable.

I felt bad for the Man in Black (still not named!) because he was an appealing character, and I felt for him in his struggle to leave and find out what was out across the sea.

So Smokey is not really MIB, but some awakened monster who stole his form, as he steals human forms over time. It makes sense that Smokey is an island guardian, but if he is not really the Man in Black, then he does not really have a desire to leave and "go home". All of his pleas for release are stolen from Jacob's brother's memories and hopes.

In the cave are lightness and dark (though the mom only talked about keeping the light safe.)

So....the mom gives Jacob a drink of wine from the famous wine bottle which represents evil being "corked"

"Take this cup and drink" a familiar ritual the mom echoes.

The knife that sticks to the chimney of unusual properties is the Man in Black's own knife, and it is also the knife the dogen gave to Sayid to give Flocke with? Whose knife killed Jacob then? How does this tie into Locke's long obsession with knives?

Jacob chooses the spiritual existence and MIB chooses the human, scientific existence. Both clearly chose for themselves.

Tsk, how will this end?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 turned out be more fun than the first film. Tons of one liners by everyone in the cast (practically), action and explosions for the afficianado of such things, it is just the start the summer needs.

Tony Stark is as arrogant as he was last time around, but his slow death by poisoning made him vulnerable as well, and thus a bit more appealing.

Mickey Roarke as the villain Whiplash was oddly appealing too, just a guy out for vengeance for his dad, in a spectacular way. Nothing like an evil genius to round things out.

Justin Hammer, another villain but a weak and slimy one, needed some sort awful demise, flattened by a drone, or something.

I'm not a fan of AC/DC but "Highway to Hell" playing at the end as the credits rolled was juuuust right.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our Saga Continues...

It turns out there were three available "insert yourself into a video" Star Wars products from JibJab. I love these things. My husband always appears to be such a good sport in these, and he is. My son has a small part, but he's a natural! I look goofy but dang, I've identified with Luke Skywalker since I first saw the films and here I am, zap zap zap, Luke himself. Darth Vader is played by my lil Librarian D.O.A. skellie doll, that is why he looks sooooo authentic.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Legacy for Libraries?

Two articles appeared today on Minnesota Libraries and their recent ability to use Legacy funding to bring cultural events to their local neighborhood libraries.

The focus is on author Neil Gaiman's appearance at a kick off event, and what was paid, but the overall discussion is how we can wisely use this new resource to give Minnesotans access to literary and cultural experiences that would not be possible without this new source of funding for the arts.

In defense of libraries, both home and public
By Amy Goetzman

Star Tribune
One author: $45,000 for an afternoon By Kevin Giles

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We Strike Back at the Empire

If you remember the videos clips of my husband and I dancing with elves, this new clip from JibJab and LucasArts will make you happy, sans dance moves. This is in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rebus Puzzle Makers

Who truly knows how my mind works? Not me. For some reason yesterday I thought of turning one of my posts into a Rebus. A Rebus is one of those cute word drawings that substitutes some pictures for letters.

Here are Rebus puzzles generated from two different sites. Enjoy! Solutions will be up on May 30th to celebrate my successfully completing 30 posts in 30 days.

Rebus 1:

Rebus 2 (special note the cutoff symbol at the end of line two is the letter "e". The image was too large for Paint to capture even on landscape):

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kent State University May 4, 1970

In memory of the kids who died on a beautiful spring day like today.

Frederik Pohl on Robert A. Heinlein

The wonderful science fiction writer Frederik Pohl talks about his memories of author Robert A. Heinlein on his blog The Way the Future Blogs.

Frederik Pohl

Pohl, in addition to writing his own finely crafted stories, was an editor of Astonishing Stories, Super Science Stories, Galaxy and If magazines.

As editor of the first two magazines, he had the opportunity to publish some of Robert Heinlein's short stories.

Robert Anson Heinlein

He describes his editorial relationship as similar to his own relationship with his Jack Russell terrier: the terrier gets the scraps from meals, and he is happy to have them.

Here is part one of Working with Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The 2010 Edgar Award Winners

The Edgar Awards, presented annually since 1946 by the Mystery Writers of America were awarded April 29th, 2010. I've listed all of the winners here. Visit the official Mystery Writers of America Edgar page for the complete list of nominees as well. This is a great way to read some of the best novels published each year and to find new authors to read.

Edgar Himself

Winner for Best Novel is The Last Child by John Hart.

Best First Novel by an American Author goes to In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff.

Best Paperback Original was awarded to Body Blows by Marc Strange

Best Critical/Biographical Work this year is The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler

The Best Fact Crime winner is Columbine by Dave Cullen.

Voted Best Short Story: "Amapola" - Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea

Best Young Adult novel goes to Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Voted Best Juvenile Novel Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn

Best Television Episode Teleplay this year is "Place of Execution," Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson

The Robert L. Fish Memorial Award (Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year) went to "A Dreadful Day" - Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman

The Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award was awarded to Awakening by S.J. Bolton

Mrs. Pollifax author Dorothy Gilman was awarded the Grand Master Award

The Raven Award given "is a special award given for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing" (according to MysteryNet.com). The recipients for 2010 are:
Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers' Festival

The Ellery Queen Award (The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry) was given to Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

Spruz Attempt

I thought I would try Spruz as the most friendly looking and feature filled of the Ning Alternatives. I got stuck immediately after registration trying to create the site name. This is not a good sign.

I tried to make the site name The Dripping Dagger: where mysteries are always solved
and had the message that the name could only be 20 characters or less. No problems.

I drop back to The Dripping Dagger and get this message 5 times in a row. I can see that it didn't like the colon, but it would not let me get rid of it. It just kept auto-filling in the original name and flashing the error. Sooo...try something else.

Saturday, May 1, 2010



The big BIG National Blog Posting Month is in November, but the site runs all year around, and sends out nice invitations to join their blog roll with a theme monthly.

This months theme is the unlikely topic "looking up". My email indicated that this was ideal for reference librarians as well as others since we spend so much time looking up information.

I thought I would try this again. The best I have done with consecutive posts is 7 days, so we're stretching things here.

I added my self to their blogroll I think. Actually, since it is tied to my Ning log in, maybe the NaBloPoMo will get poofed as well as Ning on D-Day. Yoikes. Just when I finally semi get my act together.

Dripping Dagger likely to expire with changes to Ning.

On May 4th Ning will do away with all of their free online communities to focus 100% of their efforts on their paying customers.

There are tons of educational and non-profit accounts, and silly boneheads like myself who thought that Ning's tools would be great for creating a forum or community.

I like these tools that Ning offered for myself as I attempted to create a sample online book club:

A bit of customization for your site without knowing HTML

Discussion forums that are simple to use both for an administrator and a new user.

The ability to add videos of authors.

Events calendar

A blog which can be used to explain how the forums and other parts of the site work, to let people know about other topics and new books coming out. It could be used by anyone in the group to share information or write book reviews and recommendations.

A drawback to the site is that there are trashy ads along the side. They apparently charge $25.00 PER MONTH right now to remove those.

I'll wait and see what comes on the fourth of May, but I suspect I am not going to think that the plan is reasonable.

Some articles with alternatives:

Phil Bradley's Weblog: http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2010/04/alternatives-to-ning.html

Mashable Ning: Failures, Lessons and Six Alternatives http://mashable.com/2010/04/18/ning-alternatives/

Ask Jack Blog (Jack Schofield, the Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/askjack/2010/apr/28/ning-social-networks-google-apps