Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Night special

As some people know, I grew up very close to Canada, and we often listened to Canadian radio stations like CKY and CJOB. They played a lot of different music than I heard on American radio, and so I'm digging up some YouTube videos of my favorites tonight. Here's one, and here's another. But this one takes the cake!

I know how to read, too

In the interest of showing you, my loyal readers, that I do more than just sit around all day watching TV, I decided to blog about a book I'm sitting around all day reading. So here goes.

Years ago I passed through a phase where I was very interested in codes. I read several books on the subject, including a 1164-page tome by David Kahn called The Codebreakers, which took me the better part of two summers to get through.* But codes haven't been on my radar screen for oh, about 7 years now. And then a month or so ago I was reading a list of great science fiction books by Nancy Pearl (who may well be the world's first librarian celebrity, as opposed to celebrity librarian), and Cryptonomicon was at the top of the list. And I, ersatz Latin scholar that I am, thought, "Oh, gross, that's that book about dead people," but it turns out I was thinking of the Necronomicon, and Cryptonomicon is actually about codes. The book is even longer than the Kahn book, so who knows when I'll finish it, but I'm having a heckuva good time so far.

The reason I'm bringing this up in the first place is that I can quote a passage to you that I adore and identify with. (Those who know me will know that I always love a novel infinitely more if I can identify with at least one of the characters in it.) So anyway, here are the thoughts of Randy Waterhouse, a computer geek of a character, on exercise and fitness.

"He is in the habit of doing a lot of vigorous walking. By the standards of the body nazis who infest California and Seattle, this is only a marginal improvement over (say) sitting in front of a television chain-smoking unfiltered cigarettes and eating suet from a tub. But he has stuck to his walking doggedly while his friends have taken up fitness fads and dropped them." (78) And later, "RESPECT THE PEDESTRIAN, the signs say, but the drivers, the physical environment, local land use customs, and the very layout of the place conspire to treat the pedestrian with the contempt he so richly deserves. Randy would get more respect if he went to work on a pogo stick with a propeller beanie on his head. Every morning the bellhops ask him if he wants a taxi, and practically lose consciousness when he says no." (89)

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is my experience exactly! My hat is off to you, Neal Stephenson!

*I feel that it was reading this book, more than all my years of formal education, that finally got it through my skull how writing could be scholarly and well-researched while still remaining accessible and interesting to the reader. I realized this in library school when I wrote a paper on the history of the Copyright Clearance Center, a potential snoozefest of a topic if there ever was one, and my instructor gave me an A and wrote in the margin, "A real page turner!" All this is my long way of saying that it was well worth the two years it took me to read the thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Watching TV online, Part IX

Have all of the below choices left you confuzzled? Do you just want to know what site to go to watch that one special show that you're desperate to see online? Have I got a site for you! (This is the last one I plan on highlighting, unless something new comes out and grabs me in the near future.) It's called Tape It on the Internet, and known affectionately to some as TIOTI. This site has no video at all; it's just a catalog of where to find different shows online.

I've found this site to be quite useful, but there are two caveats. The first is that it makes little effort to differentiate between legal and illegal methods of watching. For those of you who are pirates, I guess this is great news! For the rest of us, it means that you have to think a little bit about where the show is coming from. If it's one of the sites I've mentioned or something else that sounds legit, it's fine. But if it's a site you've never heard of or one that has a long string of letters and numbers for an address, beware! The second is that it tends to be wrong a lot of the time about where to find episodes of new series, since they never go back and remove links after the shows expire. But these quibbles aside, this site is a real timesaver, and I recommend it highly.

Watching TV Online, Part VIII

So yesterday while looking at the list of sites that have Hulu videos, I realized that MSN TV was one of them. I'd never really thought about the fact that this site has videos of full episodes, but it does. Besides the Hulu videos, they have a smattering of new shows from other networks. You can look at the whole list here. They obviously have no advantage over AOL in terms of content, but they do have one feature that I absolutely adore: they tell you exactly how long it will be before each video expires! This is a great feature that I think could really help me prioritize which things to watch when. For instance, I'd like to watch The Bob Newhart Show, and it helpfully tells me it will be available for 101 more days, so I know that I've got roughly until the end of March to get around to it. I'd also like to catch up with Chuck, and it tells me the episodes are available for 28 more days, so obviously I need to get around to that soon. And I've always wanted to go back and see Simon and Simon, of which it says the episodes never expire, so there's no rush on that one at all.

I haven't tried actually watching a video on this site yet, so I have no idea what their player is like. But I can tell you that I'll definitely be consulting this site, if only to find out how long I have to watch certain videos someplace else!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Watching TV Online, Part VII

I'm almost done with these, I swear! Today I'm going to talk about Hulu, another service I haven't actually tried. I was going to lump it in with the video players I talked about last time, but then I realized that wouldn't be technically correct because Hulu doesn't require you to download anything, as far as I can ascertain. (It's still in private beta mode right now, so I'm not able to try it out.)

Hulu is a video site sponsored by NBC and Fox. It provides one place to get videos from both of those networks at the same time, as well as all the cable channels owned by the same parent companies. (USA, Sci-Fi, Bravo, E!, FX, Oxygen, Sundance, and Fuel are a few of the channels they list, but I've read there are a total of 15 in all.) The last 5 episodes of new shows are available, and they also have selected episodes of classic TV shows from those channels as well. In a move I don't quite understand, Hulu also sends their videos to other sites, including the AOL video site I talked about previously. So even though the Hulu site is still in beta and you can't get in, you can watch all their videos here as well. Seriously, I think I'm going to take a good long look at that list when I get home tonight!

We now pause for a brief poetic interlude

"In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn?
Ways are on all sides, while the way I miss:
If to the right hand, there in love I burn;
Let me go forward, therein danger is.

If to the left, suspicion hinders bliss;
Let me turn back, shame cries I ought return,
Nor faint, though crosses with my fortune kiss;
Stand still is harder, although sure to mourn.

Thus let me take the right, or left hand way,
Go forward, or stand still, or back retire;
I must these doubts endure without allay
Or help, but travail find for my best hire.

Yet that which most my troubled sense doth move,
Is to leave all, and take the thread of Love."

Just so nobody thinks I'm taking credit for this, the above sonnet was written by Lady Mary Wroth, an English Renaissance poet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watching TV Online, Part VI

Today I'm going to talk about some ways I haven't actually tried for myself. There are a whole host of new sites out there that take video already online and offer it up with a standardized searching interface and a nifty player with cool features. Since these sites all require tremendous downloads before you get started, I haven't actually gotten started with any of them. But I will list them here in case you're interested.

Joost- This is the oldest of these sites and seems to be well regarded by people who use it. At first you needed an invitation to get in, but now it's open to everybody. There is a good review of it here.

Veoh- This site has had some problems because they decided to just scoop video from the networks' websites without bothering to ask permission. On the other hand, they have a lot of content posted by individuals, ala YouTube. There is a review of it here.

Miro- This is a new site that has gotten some buzz. A nice review of it is here.

If any of my readers try any of these services, please let me know what you think of them!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Watching TV Online, Part V

Today I'm going to talk about Netflix Instant Watching. This service is sort of free and sort of not. If you're a Netflix subscriber, you've got access to it, but if you're not, there's no way you can get in. (Unless a friend who belongs to Netflix is kind enough to invite you over to their house to take a peek at it.)

This service basically allows you to watch some of the movies and TV shows that Netflix rents without actually having to get the DVD's in the mail. They have to contract with the individual studios to make this possible, so the movies available tend to be from small independent companies or from other countries. The TV shows tend to be old series that have been out on DVD for a while, like Magnum, P.I., or else cult favorites that didn't have enough of a market to justify continuing making the DVD's. Sliders is one of these shows. The DVD's sold so poorly that they didn't bother to release seasons 4 and 5. But yet there are some fans out there who would give their eyeteeth to be able to watch these seasons. Netflix, recognizing that many people wouldn't bother to start watching the series on DVD if they knew they could never finish, has made seasons 4 and 5 (along with the first 3 seasons at all) available through Instant Watching. So now everyone is happy, and they don't have to take up a lot of warehouse space with discs that probably few people would actually request.

NBC has made things even a little more interesting this fall. They have allowed Netflix to put up new episodes from this season of Heroes as soon as they air, instead of waiting for the whole season to come out on DVD at some point. Of course, you could watch these episodes online at NBC anyway, but the advantage is that on Netflix Instant Watching they never go away, whereas they disappear from the NBC site after 4 weeks. I also think they are probably commercial-free on the Netflix site, although I've never tried watching one to find out.

Like I said, all the content on Netflix Instant Watching is "free," with two caveats. One, of course you really are paying for it with your Netflix subscription fees, and two, you get capped at a certain number of hours of watching each month, equal to the number of dollars you pay for your membership. (For instance, my plan costs $14 a month, so I get 14 hours of free video every month.) In reality, I've never hit my cap, and I don't think most people do, so this is something of an invisible barrier.

The consensus right now seems to be that at some point Netflix will start selling plans that only allow access to instant watching, but because their offerings there are quite thin right now, I don't see that happening in the near future. However, if you already have Netflix and haven't explored this part of their site, I'd urge you to do so. You never know what interesting things you might find!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Watching TV online, Part IV

Today I'm going to talk about In2TV, the video section of AOL Television. I use the TV listings on that site because they're the only ones that accurately display the wierd cable line-up we have in my apartment building, and one day I happened to stumble upon the In2TV section of the site while browsing around. I was blown away. They have current episodes of selected TV shows from all the major networks. Not anything that you couldn't find on the network's own video sites, but sometimes it's nice to have a good backup. (For instance, when I was experiencing the full screen problem on the CBS site that I mentioned earlier, I found I could watch those episodes in full screen on the In2TV site without any problem.)

Where In2TV really shines, however, is its classic TV content. They have full episodes of many classic TV shows, free of charge. There are only a few random episodes of most of the shows; I figure it's supposed to give you enough of a taste so you can decide whether or not to buy the DVD's. This is a great way to revisit shows you might be nostalgic for like Eight is Enough and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. (And if you have kids, you can show them what you used to watch when you were their age!) However, there are complete runs of certain shows. I stumbled across Lois and Clark and Gilligan's Island, and there might be very well be others if you dig for them. Another great feature is the special categories they've made, like "First Episodes" and "Christmas Specials."

A criticism of the site is that it's very hard to navigate. The menus on the side keep changing from page to page, and it's hard to get a comprehensive view of everything that's available on the site. Being a librarian, I guess I'd like something like a catalog where you can just see all of the titles and subject headings easily.

If you don't mind digging, though, In2TV is a great site and one I recommend to everyone looking for something new to watch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Watching TV Online, Part III

Today I'm going to talk about YouTube. Most of us think of it as a place to watch clips of old TV shows (or clips of new TV shows that quickly get taken down), but did you know that some TV networks have started to put up legitimate clips? There are several channels of YouTube controlled by the networks. Ones that I've found are CBS, PBS, and the BBC. I especially love the BBC channel, because they've put up clips of many classic BBC shows from the past as well as the present. So if, for instance, you were talking to a friend who's been living under a rock and has never heard of Butterflies, you could show them this. Of course, this isn't going to help you if you're looking for full episodes, but sometimes just a little taste is enough, and in that case, YouTube might be perfect for you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Watching TV Online, Part II

Some people seem to think it's a status symbol to pay more for things than they have to. Or at least that's the idea I come away with when thinking about the services that will let you watch TV online for a fee. Still, these services are out there and must serve a real purpose for some people, so I'm going to talk about them a little bit today.

Amazon Unbox has TV shows available for download for $1.99 an episode. They have shows from CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW (but not from ABC) and a host of cable channels. They also have lots of old TV shows that have been released on DVD. These are also available for $1.99 for an individual episode, but some also have special deals if you buy a whole season at once. For instance, you can get the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore show (24 episodes) for $35.99, which is a substantial savings over the per-episode price. However, Amazon sells the first season on DVD for $21.99, so I don't understand why you'd pay a $14 premium to not get a permanent copy of this for your archives.

iTunes also has TV shows at $1.99 an episode. They have shows from ABC, CBS, Fox and the CW (but not NBC) and some cable channels, and some old shows as well. Unless you have the iTunes software installed on your computer, you can't do much more than browse a list of titles available, but if you do have the software, there's a very logical browsing interface.

I'm told by those in the know that the reason to get your video from one of these paid services is so you get better quality video, have a "permanent" copy that you can watch whenever you want to, and can watch on other devices besides the computer (TV, cell phone, PDA, etc.) Neither of those seem like compelling reasons to me, but obviously many people feel differently. So if this makes sense for you, go for it, but I'm going to pass on this method of watching TV online.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Watching TV online, Part I

Michael, my special friend, loves Ghost Whisperer. Michael, being a starving graduate student, doesn't subscribe to cable TV, and because we live in the middle of nowhere, this means he gets no TV at all, not even the one station that actually broadcasts from our city! Because I am a librarian who exhibits my love for people by finding information for them, I decided to track down a place where he can watch Ghost Whisperer online. I have been totally defeated and had to admit that there's no place where you can legally watch that show online, but I looked at so many online TV sites in the meantime that I decided to post that information on my blog to help others. I've been trying to put it up as one monster post for the last month, but it always seemed too daunting, so I've finally decided to break the information down into categories and post it gradually over the next few days. So today we get the easy part that I can do from home without benefit of my notes: watching TV on the network sites.

ABC has what I think is the classiest player. It always seems to work perfectly without choppiness, and it delivers the video in flawless fullscreen mode if your internet connection can handle that. There is one 30-second commercial break at every point where there were commercials in the original show. They have one sponsor for each show and show different ads for that sponsor during each break. Some of the ads are interactive, and some of them are actually quite fun! What I love is that it asks you to click to continue and go back to the show after the ad, which might sound annoying but actually means that you can get up and do something during the commercial without fear of missing the beginning of the show. The only drawback that I found to the ABC player has been recently solved. It used to be you'd have to go into the player and load this massive graphic menu of all the episodes of every show before you could watch any of them. That took forever even on our superfast connection at the library. Now you first choose the show you want, and then choose from a list of available episodes, and then the player launches with just that episode. It works much, much better! Last year ABC had every episode of all the new shows available all year, but now they've gone to what seems to be the standard model this year: only the last 4 episodes are available online, which still means you've got a month to catch up.

The NBC player has a combination of clips, episode synopsis, and full episodes, and it's sometimes hard to separate them out. Once you find the full episodes of the show you want, you get a choice of the episodes available (again, the standard last 4) and the many many small chunks of that episode. The chunking feature is something I don't like. Even though, if you start at the first chunk, the rest of them start playing automatically when they need to, the process doesn't go smoothly. Because of my superfast university connection, I would like to default to fullscreen (which actually isn't very big on this player anyway), but I can't. After every chunk it goes back to the teeny tiny window, and often it won't even let me revert to the fullscreen mode when I try. The NBC player is also a little strange because they play the same ad at you after every chunk, so by the time you're done watching an hour-long show, you've seen the same ad about 8 times and want to shoot yourself!

I don't use the CBS player a lot, but from what I've seen it's adequate. They separate out full episodes easily enough, although they only have a handful of their shows available to watch online. (Hence why we're having trouble figuring out where to watch Ghost Whisperer.) It looks like they only have two or 3 episodes of most of the shows available, as well. A good thing is that they don't have many ad breaks at all. A bad thing is that they don't use regular TV ads, but instead annoying internet ads that you've probably seen 5 million times already. I've had problems getting the fullscreen option to work at all.

The CW player has a nice interface on the main page. You can easily choose to watch full episodes by show (they seem to have the standard last 4 available). One problem is that the "fullscreen" mode is very tiny, and it reverts back to the "normal" view at random intervals.

Fox has the newest player of the networks, since they were so late getting into the game. Because of this, it has the fanciest interface. They don't seem to have a standard number of episodes available for each show. One annoyance is that the most recent episode of each show starts playing immediately after you click on the show's name, which is bothersome if you weren't ready for that episode yet. (If you look way down at the bottom of the screen, there's a little arrow that you can click on to see the rest of the episodes available for that show.) I was amazed that they put the Simpsons on here for free; that's the only show I watch on Fox anymore, so that's the only one I've actually tried watching.

Well, there you have it. In future days I'll be posting about other (legal) kinds of sites where you can watch full episodes of TV shows both old and new.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Did ya miss me?

I'm finally home, much later than anticipated. And so, I ask you, my dear faithful readers, did you miss me? (If your answer is no, kindly keep it to yourself, but if the answer is yes, feel free to elaborate in the comment section below.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is my swan song

I'm going to be out of blog range until the beginning of December, so I thought this would be a good parting video. Appreciate it on two levels: the crazy plotline, if we can call it that, of the video, and the absolute beauty of the music and lyrics.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Living in the Shrike's domain*

Nobody ever hears me the first time I say "Hello" when I answer the phone. (This never happened before I moved, so I blame my new phone system and not the phone.) Likewise, nobody ever hears me when I say I'm 32 years old, possess two master's degrees, have a real-life, big person job, and have been living apart from my parents for over 10 years. For some reason I can't understand, they all assume, no matter how many times I correct them, that I'm 23, perky, and an undergraduate. I have had student workers in the library ask if I could sub for them over the weekend. (My answer: "No, because I'm actually one of your supervisors.") I have had a number of people at church ask me where I want to move after I graduate. (My answer:"I guess I'll just stay here and keep working at my real-life, big person job, unless something better comes along.")

This is doubly funny because, when I actually was an undergraduate, people routinely assumed I was much older than I was. I remember going to the university bookstore when I was 18 and getting called "Ma'am." (There's an episode of Mary Tyler Moore called "Today I am a Ma'am" where Mary has this happen for the first time. The difference is that she was 30 years old.) So how can I be that much younger than I used to be?

My working theory for some time has been that, like Merlin, I'm aging backwards. This works quite well if you assume that I aged normally until I turned 27 and then the process started to reverse itself. Every year after that a year was removed instead of added, until now I've actually just turned 22 instead of 32. I hope this doesn't continue or one day I'll be in the high school class again!

A different theory is that I'm getting all the right parts of my life, just assembled in random order. First I was in high school and then I went to college and then I got married and then I went to grad school and then I got divorced and now I'm doing the part between college and grad school that I skipped over the first time. This theory also works in a lot of different ways. I always did feel that I'd missed out on something, and now that part of my life is finally here at long last. Late night pizza and group dates and parlor games and random trips to Perkins (ok, really Bob Evans because they have no idea what Perkins is here.)

Now, as if to confirm this theory, I've gotten "adopted" by a family at church, a family who owns several local stores. I was at their house this afternoon reading the funny paper while my "mother" and my "grandma" talked while getting Sunday dinner ready, and I realized that this is the part of my childhood I missed because my real grandpa and grandma died too soon. If my grandpa had lived longer, I would have gotten to hear in excruciating detail all about the business aspects of his store. And if my grandma had lived longer and stayed in her right mind, we could have had many more Sunday afternoons together like the ones I remember from my early childhood. And now those times have come back to me as well.

Joel 2:25 says, "I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten," and now I feel like that is coming to pass for me. It gives me hope for the future. Who knows what other of my dreams will be restored?

*The title comes from the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. In this series of books, the Shrike is a mysterious central figure whose domain is full of time disruptions, making events occur in seemingly random order, or sometimes backwards.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday video special

Have I mentioned how much I love the early Bee Gees? Have I mentioned how much I love YouTube? Yeah, I thought so. Well, indulge me anyway. Put the two together and you get this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Color me writing

If a letter to the editor counts as being published, then I am! I wrote a letter to the local paper and it was published yesterday. I was afraid that all kinds of wierdos would contact me about it, but so far no one at all has noticed it. I'm kind of underwhelmed. Not that I exactly want wierdos. I'm just impossible to please!

My current TV schedule, or an ode to the 2007 TV season that may be cut down in its prime

Ok, so the writer's strike is making this whole discussion moot anyway, but it's been over a month since I told you my initial thoughts on the new TV shows this fall, and I finally have a little bit of time on my hands to update this blog, so I thought I'd tell you which of the shows I'm still watching, and which have fallen by the wayside. I'm going to do it a little differently this time, and go by night of the week, and I'll also discuss the returning shows that I watch on those nights.

Monday

NBC still rules this night for me. Chuck is still pleasing. It's the kind of show where you can miss an episode and still know pretty much what's going on, which is good in a way, especially coming right before the demanding Heroes (which, of course, I'm still hooked on). I won't say I think about Chuck and his friends all week, but it never ceases to make me smile when I see them on the screen.
After Heroes, I'm still watching Journeyman, even though it feels like work. I keep thinking that something good has to come out of all this, but I guess I should probably just give up and start watching Quantum Leap again, since that's obviously what I really want.

Tuesday

There's a lot of junk on Tuesday night, which I've never understood. Supposedly all the networks are afraid of putting anything good on against American Idol. Well, guess what? That show doesn't even start until January, so I don't see why everybody avoids it for 3 months before it begins. Surely it can't cast that big of a shadow. And if anyone did put something really great on Tuesday nights in the fall, it would dominate, because it would basically be unopposed. I gave up on Cavemen and Carpoolers and Cane (all the C shows, I guess I could have said), and now I'm down to Reaper, and even that show, which showed so much promise at first, is wearing thin for me. Many other bloggers have said this, but it's unfortunately true: every episode is exactly the same. This isn't 1965 anymore, and people expect some sort of progression, however slight, in characters and/or plot. I hope Reaper eventually lives up to the potential that I know is there.

Wednesday

I love my Pushing Daisies! I keep telling everyone I know to watch it, and now I'm telling you! I don't know what else to say, so just watch it.
After that is Gossip Girl, which is really starting to find its voice. I'm glad that Blair and Sabrina aren't as mad at each other anymore. If the whole show was about the two of them catfighting, it would have gotten old real fast. I can't remember Dan's little sister's name, but I'm still not sure what to make of her character. She's sweet and innocent one minute and even wickeder than Blair and Sabrina the next! And I hate to admit this, but I actually identify with the parents sometimes more than I do with the children. How old does that make me?
Dirty Sexy Money, as my friend Steve would say, is a hoot. I love how over the top it is, but yet at the same time I really care about all the characters and believe in their problems. How hard is that to pull off?

Thursday

I work on Thursday nights, so I don't watch any new shows. I gave up on Big Shots, and found I didn't miss it at all. I do still watch Ugly Betty, which is as delightful and surprising as ever.

Friday

Friday is supposed to be the "death zone" for network TV, so it's a sign of what a loser I am that all my favorite shows are clustered there! I'm so glad Men in Trees has returned. I thought I might have lost some of the magic over the extended hiatus, but I was drawn back into it immediately. And I'm so glad that Lynn is gone!

Friday Night Lights is a little different than it was last year, but I'm still loving it. The murder plot is kind of strange, but I have faith that they'll pull us out of it in a way that eventually makes total sense and seems obvious. I'm not sure if I really buy Julie becoming a bad girl all of a sudden. She and Matt were so sweet together. How can she throw that all away? On the other hand, she had to be kind of rebellious to even consider going out with an older boy like Matt in the first place, so I guess it kinda makes sense if you think about it.

Moonlight is the show I wasn't supposed to watch because it's on at the same time as Friday Night Lights, but I find myself devotedly taping it every week. It's really pulled me in. The main characters are so nice to look at and have such great chemistry, so how could I not? I think that, in the fine soap opera tradition, the obvious attraction between the leads has made them push the show in a different direction than they intended at first, and that's fine by me. Mick and Beth are the new David and Maddie!

Saturday

Torchwood is the name of the game on Saturday nights. I didn't discuss this new show in my earlier posts because it's not a network show (it's on BBC America), but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve some loving from me. It's a spin-off of Doctor Who and is a little bit grittier and Earth-bound. Some weeks are better than others, but even the worst weeks are worth tuning in for. This week they said there are only three new episodes left! That's making me very sad.

Sunday

I still maintain the fiction that I watch The Simpsons on Sunday night, but in truth I haven't managed to tune in all fall. I just discovered that the episodes are available online, and so I watched the Halloween episode, but other than that I don't think I'll bother.
I also want to maintain the illusion that Life is Wild is still one of my shows, but I don't actually watch that one either. It just doesn't fit in well with my schedule now that I go to Sunday night church. I wish somebody was watching it, though. The ratings have been in the basement, and I'm afraid it will be cancelled when they run out of new episodes.
The show I do manage to watch on Sunday nights is Brothers and Sisters. It's great this year just like last year. I don't understand why Kitty was pregnant for 5 minutes, though. That whole plotline seemed kind of manufactured to me, and I don't see what we've gained from it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New TV Shows, Part III

I'm going to update you on the few new shows I've seen since I wrote my first recap.

Life is Wild
Grade: A

I really loved this show! It's the kind of Sunday night family show that they haven't had for a few years. It's about a Brady-bunch type family that moves to Africa. There are tons of cute animals, and lots of believeable family conflict. I think this one is going to be great!

Cavemen
Grade: C

Well, this one wasn't as bad as I'd heard, but that's about all I can say for it. I don't think I'll be watching it again.

Carpoolers
Grade: B

It's a lot funnier than Cavemen, so their juxtaposition probably helps it seem better than it is. I didn't hate it, and I might watch it again, but I don't think I'll be adding it to my Tuesday night lineup permanently. But one of my coworkers thought it was hilarious, so it's possible that it'll grow on me.

Pushing Daisies
Grade: A

I loved this one! The bright colors, the narrator, the whimsical music, all of it is great. And yet the plot isn't so saccharine-sweet that it turns you off. There's a nice contrast between the grittiness of the dead bodies and the murders and the whimsicality of the settings and the main characters. I hope this one has a long life.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New show update

I've seen second episodes of most of the shows I reviewed last week, so I'm going to give you an update on how my feelings have changed.

Chuck- This got better on the second episode, I thought, and I could really see the humor coming through. Also, I've seen some people compare this to Moonlighting because of the way the lead characters like each other but can't talk about it, and I feel the comparison is apt. I'm definitely going to keep watching this now.

Journeyman- The second episode of this was much better. They got me when he leaped into that 70's airplane, and there were all kinds of comic touches to demonstrate how different things were back then, like the man listening to the transistor radio and the boy playing with the toy gun, but they didn't beat us over the head with them. Overall, I thought this episode was much better, although I still felt it was a little bit downbeat. I'll keep watching for now, but I'm still not completely convinced. The previews for next week looked promising, though.

Reaper- This episode was almost as funny as the first one, and if I wasn't sold before, I am now. I did get kind of mad at our hero, though, for not opening the box for so long. I was dying to see what was in it, and I didn't understand why he wasn't as well.

Cane- This didn't do anything for me at all, and I kept looking at the clock to see when it would be over. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with the show. It's just that they seem determined to make it into a combination of The Sopranos and Dallas, and since I don't really like either of those shows, there's nothing for me to get excited about here. I've decided that I won't be watching it in the future.

Gossip Girl- The third episode was a return to form and seemed much stronger to me than the second. I might stick with this one a while longer, especially since I'm not feeling too optimistic about Bionic Woman.

Bionic Woman- Although it's not like it was completely horrible this week. I actually found it much more watchable, although there were a few things that didn't make sense. But they did a much better job of belatedly introducing us to Jamie's normal life, and she actually got to go on a mission. Plus we got to see Isaiah Washington! I know I'm supposed to hate him because he's not so nice in real life, but on screen he always projects this aura of trustworthiness, and that's all that really matters to me. After all, it's the character I'm inviting into my living room, not the real guy. But I digress. At any rate, they pulled it out of the fire for me, and I'll watch again next week.

Big Shots- This didn't pull me in as much as last week, but it still was good enough to hold my interest. However, I noticed how few paying ads there actually were during the show, so I suspect it won't be on much longer because it's not earning its keep.

Dirty Sexy Money- I liked the second episode better than the first. I'm still not as over-the-moon about it as some people, but I also remember I didn't instantly love Brothers and Sisters, so I'm going to keep going with it for a while. There were some nice touches this week, like Brian trying to pass off his son as an orphan from Sweden, and Tripp speaking to him in Swedish. (Seriously, how can you not know your father speaks Swedish?)

Moonlight- I did end up taping this one. I'm not sure it's compelling enough that I'll tape it every week, but I do hope to watch it at times when Friday Night Lights is a repeat. This episode reminded me a lot of a Dresden Files episode, and I guess they're going for the same kind of low-key vibe. My only worry is that that approach didn't really save the Dresden Files, now did it?

Friday, September 28, 2007

New TV shows, Part II

Here's where I talk about all the sci fi/fantasy/paranormal shows I've watched so far this fall.

Reaper
Grade: A

I'm starting with this show because I liked it the best. You'd think a show about a boy whose parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born would be depressing, but Reaper is laugh-out-loud funny. It's the only new show I've watched this fall that made me forget all about the fact that I was watching the first episode of a new show and trying to decide if I liked it. Instead I got all caught up in the characters and what was going to happen to them. My favorite part of the show is Tyler Labine, who played Uncle Dave in Invasion a few years ago. He always plays jerks and always manages to make them completely lovable. I guess the rest of the cast is great, too, since I didn't notice their acting and instead just thought of them as being their characters. Here's hoping that future episodes are as funny as the first one was.

Chuck
Grade: A-

This show was not quite as perfect as Reaper in my book, but it was still quite enjoyable. The premise is much the same as Jake 2.0, but it seemed a bit faster and flashier than that show. Chuck is a computer specialist at a big electronics store, and he has had government secrets downloaded into his brain in a thoroughly unbelievable manner. Now he has to deal with the fallout from that while still living his normal life. There were some exciting moments and some gentle humor, but this was a classic "first episode" that set up the premise and didn't do much else, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect from future episodes.

Journeyman
Grade: B

I really, really wanted to like this show, because everyone was calling it the new Quantum Leap, and I loved that show. Well, I'm going to call it the anti-Quantum Leap. It takes everything from that classic and turns it on its head, and not in a good way. While our main character (whose name I can't remember and won't be bothered to look up) does leap into the past to help people, he does it in a very uncaring, mechanical way that would have appalled Sam Beckett. He seemed to see the people he helped as pawns to further his goal of getting back home and nothing more. I'm going to watch this for a while just because I'm so loyal to the genre and the memory of Quantum Leap, but unless it improves a lot, I don't expect to enjoy it.

Bionic Woman
Grade: B

This show was slick and sophisticated and ultimately hollow. You'd think that we'd feel something for a girl who was almost killed in a car crash and instead was re-engineered against her will, but I didn't. They just tried to cram too much into this hour, and I don't know what to expect from future episodes, but I don't think they'll be much fun.

Moonlight
Grade: B+

This is another show that I didn't expect much from, but it was surprisingly good in a low-key way. It's the story of a vampire who solves murders, and it reminded me a lot of The Dresden Files. Too bad it's on at the same time as Friday Night Lights, which starts next week. Still, I'm intrigued enough that I'm seriously considering taping it. We'll see.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New TV shows, Part I

If anybody is actually reading this, you probably thought I died! Well, I didn't, but I have been very busy with the new school year. But I've decided to come out of retirement now to post my thoughts on the new TV shows. Not that you can't find the same thing on about 70 million other blogs out there, but only at Snowie's Place can you get my expert opinion. ;)

In this post I'm going to talk about the non-sci fi or fantasy shows, and then I'll make another post just for the sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal shows, since there are so many of them this year.

Back to You
Grade: B+

This is an old-school sitcom, so if you've liked those in the past, you'll probably like this one. It's set in a newsroom, bringing back memories of my favorite, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The first couple of episodes have been just fine but nothing really wowed me about them. Then again, it usually takes sitcoms a little longer to get off the ground, since there's only so much story you can tell in half an hour. I'd keep watching this one if it wasn't at the same time as Pushing Daisies, which I expect to adore and which starts next week.

Gossip Girl
Grade: B

This series is based on the book series which has been popular with teenagers recently. I haven't read the books, so I don't know what the similarities and differences might be. All I know is that this isn't like any high school I went to! In fact, the only way I can watch this show with a straight face is by convincing myself that these characters are really in college. Only then do the absent parents, drinking in public, and adult spending habits make any modicum of sense. That being said, I enjoyed the first episode in an escapist sort of way, but the second episode failed to build on the strengths of the first. I'll probably watch once more just to make sure that nothing interesting starts happening, but if not, I might be watching Bionic Woman in this timeslot instead.

Cane
Grade: B

I'm required by law to like this series because it's about Latin Americans, right? (It's about a family of Cuban sugar growers in Florida, the Duques.) And I do like the Hispanic aspects, but they haven't been enough to draw me in. As far as plot goes, there's the usual family angst and an unsolved murder mystery from the past. It's all been done before, so after viewing the first episode I'm not sure if this one is going to hold my interest or not.

Dirty Sexy Money
Grade: B+

This series is very similar to Cane in a lot of ways, except that the central family is white and Episcopalian. The pilot didn't bowl me over, but I can see there are elements here that might be fun in the future. The members of the Darling family just seem more memorable than the Duque family, and it seems like the show will have a more light-hearted tone, the way Brothers and Sisters (which I've come to adore) has turned out. Still, it's a hard decision for me whether or not to keep watching, because of....

Life
Grade: B+

I didn't expect to like this, because it's gotten pretty bad reviews from the critics. I was planning to skip it entirely, but then I found out the pilot was available for viewing online. I watched it last Saturday morning and was surprisingly drawn in. It's about a police officer who has been wrongfully imprisoned for murder and now has been pardoned. He's back on the force and trying to solve murders using the unusual techniques he picked up in prison (where he avidly studied books on Zen buddhism.) I've always liked quirky detectives like Monk and Poirot, so I see potential here. On the other hand, it has a slightly darker tone than either of those shows, and I don't like dark murder mystery shows. I honestly don't know if I'll end up watching this or Dirty Sexy Money next week.

Big Shots
Grade: A-

I wasn't expecting to like this show either, because I heard it got very bad reviews. However, the New York Times gave it a good review, saying that it was a very rare thing: a satire on television. I watched it and thought it was pretty funny, although not perfect. I think that the bad reviews, which mostly said that the problems of the four main characters were too trivial to take seriously, missed the fact completely that the show is meant to be over-the-top and farcical. It seems like other people did as well, as the show got very bad ratings. I'm afraid it will probably be cancelled soon.

K-Ville
Grade: B-

I almost forgot that I'd watched this show last week, and I guess that tells you something. It's been billed as a dramatic look at life in New Orleans following Katrina, but it turned out to be a completely routine cop show. Great if you like that sort of thing, but I don't. Plus it's on at the same time as Heroes, so there's not really a contest.

Well, there you have it. My look at all the non-sci fi shows I've watched so far this fall. I'll be back later with the sci fi pilots, and then I guess in a few weeks I'll wrap it up with all the stragglers that are premiering late this year.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The end of the road

This post is my last official one for the Learning 2.0 program, and so I'm going to give you a list of things I learned.
  1. It's a lot easier to write a blog than I thought. I was afraid of clamming up in front of a large audience, but I didn't, and I think I was able to find a fairly consistent voice. On the other hand....
  2. It's a lot harder to get people to read and comment on your blog than I thought. I don't know who in the library has actually been reading this, but the comments have been few and far between. Even worse, I've tried to tell my friends outside of the library that I have a blog now that they could read, and the response has been a big yawn. My visions of wealth and fame as a celebrity blogger have not come to pass.
  3. Not every technology is for everyone. Some people are just resistant to certain ideas, like me with the podcasts (see below). And I think some of my co-workers have the idea that they're being expected to love all 23 of these things. I don't really think that was the point of this exercise; instead it was just to familiarize ourselves with these concepts. I have a co-worker who still hates Facebook, but at least now he can give a convincing argument about his reasons for that opinion, and so the exercise was a success in my opinion.
  4. RSS feeds are much cooler than I ever thought. I was resistant to that idea, but now I check my Bloglines account every morning, and it really does save me a lot of pointless surfing during the day.
  5. People are surprisingly motivated by the chance to win prizes. I'll have to remember that next time a teach an English 151 class.
  6. It's really easy to make a list in Blogger!

Podcasts

There sure are a lot of Doctor Who podcasts out there, or so I discovered from looking in the different podcast directories. My favorite one in terms of ease of use was Podcast Alley. It presented the results in a nice, compact list of titles, and they seemed to be ranked according to relevance. That being said, I have no interest in listening to any of the podcasts I discovered. I can't explain why, but I'm much more of a visual than auditory learner. I could sit on my sofa watching TV all day and not get bored, but try to get me to listen to a 15-minute non-musical radio program and my mind keeps wandering. For that reason, podcasts have never really been my thing, and I don't think that's going to change unless you know how to change the wiring of my brain!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

About YouTube

Once there was only one copy of my video in the whole world. It lived on the old laptop that I let my ex-husband have after our divorce. And recently I said to him vaguely, "Maybe we should post it on YouTube one day," and next thing I knew he had done it and anybody in the whole wide world could see it! The good news is that it's now up there. The bad news is that it was already pretty heavily compressed, and then YouTube compressed it again when it was posted there, so now there are certain shots where it looks like I smeared Vaseline all over the lens. In other words, while YouTube is great for getting your material out there, it certainly does not serve an archival function!

My video

I discussed in an earlier post that I had made a video in library school that is now on YouTube. Instead of just telling you about it, why don't I let you look at it?

Farecast

The award-winning Web 2.0 application I chose to explore is Farecast, from the travel category. Farecast tries to look at current airfares and recent trends and predict if they will go up or down in the near future. This can be helpful to you when planning a trip. One drawback I see is that they only have a limited number of airports supported. I understand why this has to be, since mathematically you can get into a huge number of combinations very quickly if your number of choices is too big. And fortunately for us, Columbus is one of the supported airports. However, I couldn't find anyplace I really want to go on the list. I am considering convention travel to New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and Madison, WI next year, and none of those airports are supported. (I'm really surprised about New Orleans because it's a very popular destination.) So I made myself a few fake trips, one to New York- La Guardia (for some reason, JFK isn't even a supported airport) and one to Minneapolis, and it told me to buy now in both cases. I know that airfares are lower than they've been in a long time, so I think that is good advice, but on the other hand, I didn't need to go to a website to figure that out! I think this coudl be useful if you live in Los Angeles and want to go to other big places, but for a regular person I'm not sure how useful it is.

Google Docs

I just tried writing a sample letter on Google Docs. It seems to work about as well as Wordpad for doing simple editing. One thing I noticed is that I couldn't find a way to control the margins of the document when I printed it out. Another is that there were only a few type styles available, and there was nothing remotely similar to Times New Roman. I actually had a professor once that required that all our papers be written in Times, so I guess Google Docs would never work for submitting a paper to her. Other than that, I think it had all the functionality I need. It would be nice that I could share a paper between my home computer and my office computer. Although I always write my papers for school at home, I often end up doing last-minute editing in the library, and it's been a lot of trouble for me to keep remembering to email the latest version back-and-forth. Google Docs would solve that problem. Now if I could only change the margins, which most of my professors are sticklers about, I'd be all set!

Playing with wikis

I just added my blog to the list of favorite blogs in the wiki sandbox. I also added a book to the favorite books list. See if you can guess which one it is!

"Hello, I'm Marne, and I'm a Facebook junkie"

At least according to my co-worker Chad, I'm a Facebook junkie. While I certainly don't feel that I am compared to some of my undergraduate acquaintances, I guess it is true in the library world. Lorraine had asked me to talk about Facebook and why I like it in the Learning 2.0 workshop yesterday, so I thought I would summarize some of what I said here and let this be my post on social networking. (I apologize for taking the lessons all out of order.)

Since I'm kind of shy in real life, I often put off talking to people until I really, really need to, and then it's often awkward because I haven't talked to them in a long, long time. One of the great things about Facebook is that it lets you stay in contact with your acquaintances in an unobtrusive way and keep tabs on what's going on in their life. That way, when you want to talk to that person from choir that you haven't seen since last May, you already know that she just got engaged and that her dog was sick for a while but has gotten much better. It's also been a good way of keeping up with my Latin American studies students who all seem to be studying in some foreign country this summer. I know none of them would ever send me long emails describing their travels, but it's nice to get periodic updates on their adventures through Facebook.

On the other hand, I really like to be in constant contact with my good friends, and I have the impulse to tell them every little interesting thing that happens to me. But I've found that you can't keep calling or emailing them every 5 minutes to give them status updates, or they start to resent you! Facebook is a way that I can post some little thing before I forget (like, for instance, the fact that I saw a turtle while walking to work on Monday) and they can read about it at their leisure if they're interested. Kind of like a micro-version of this blog, I guess.

I haven't signed up for any of the other social networking sites. MySpace strikes me as rather chaotic, and the fact that you don't need to register to see people's profiles means that I can occasionally look at someone there without actually having to register. LinkedIn did look kind of cool when Janet Carleton demonstrated it, but I'm not sure what I would actually use it for.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wikis

Like other people from my department, I'm going to say that I didn't learn much about wikis from this assignment because we already have so many wikis that we use here. I did especially like the first two examples on the list. The first because it used the wiki software to make the layout of the subject guides standardized and easy on the eye, and the second because it actually opened the wiki up to the library patrons in a way most libraries (including our own department) seem afraid to do. So for me, I would say wikis are good for two separate reasons: they make things easy to organize, and they let your users chime in.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Views of Library 2.0

I read all 5 opinions on Library 2.0, and the first two, by the practicing librarians, were the ones that made the most sense to me. I agree with Rick Andersen that as institutions get bigger and libraries don't, we can no longer support as much instruction as we once did, and I think that we can make use of Web 2.0 capabilities to judiciously replace some of this instruction. I also like Michael Stephens' points that we need to pay special attention to what users actually want, and that we shouldn't become blinded by "technolust" and build things for the sake of building them. To me, I guess, technology is a tool that we should use when appropriate, but never for its own sake. Users always should be primary.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm back!

I'm back in the library, and I hope to get back on track with the assignments soon. Right now I'm just catching up on my "real work."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Snowie on vacation

I'm going on vacation for two weeks, so my blog is going to be dormant during that time. I'm sure all 3 of you who are reading this will go into withdrawals! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Technorati

I'm enjoying using Technorati. I'd often wished for a way to search just blogs, and I was thrilled recently to discover the Google Blog Search. But that tool doesn't have very sophisticated search capabilities, and it was often like finding a needle in a haystack to pick out good posts by real people from among the irrelevant things that also seemed to turn up (like fake blogs and shopping sites). Technorati seems to have solved those problems by letting you search for either words in the blogs themselves or tags assigned to the blogs, which would seem to help narrow things down considerably. Blogs also accumulate "authority" by being linked to by other blogs, so you can kind of tell which blogs have been judged important by other humans.

I wanted to search for my own blog in Technorati, and I eventually did find it, but first I found a post that linked to my blog. It was from someone at another library (apparently a public library, judging by the context) also doing Learning 2.0 this summer. It was amazing for me to discover that other people are actually reading this! Hello to all of you, and feel free to leave a comment if you want to introduce yourself!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Very tasty indeed

I tried Del.icio.us, and I'm having great fun with it, although I'm not using it for the purposes for which it was intended. It almost seems to me like someone would need to use either RSS feeds or del.icio.us, but not both. If I've got all the sites I check all the time on RSS, why would I need to bookmark them so carefully as well? But what I am doing with del.icio.us is checking it to see what sites have been tagged with different keywords. It's bringing up different things than I might have found by searching otherwise. For instance, I tried Doctor Who (as always), and I got all the usual suspects, but I also found a TARDIS USB hub that looks very cute, and a site with patterns to knit the 4th Doctor's scarf, and other quirky little sites like that. I guess people bookmark little quirky things they like to look at once in a while, not just the big important sites on a topic. And maybe that answers my first question up above!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where has Snowie lived?

I hope Tim doesn't mind my copying him, but I created a map of all the places I've lived after seeing his. It's not quite as long as his, but I think my move quotient is higher because I'm younger! Check it out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rolling Your Own

This makes me think of my mother's cousin Marvin, who is the only person I knew who still rolled his own cigarettes. We inherited a lot of cigarette papers and Prince Albert cans from him after he died! But in this case, rolling your own refers to making your own search engine that will search only the sites you tell it, using a site called Rollyo. I tried the default searches the site has, but nothing struck my fancy. So I decided to make my own search for Doctor Who news, using the top 5 Doctor Who news sites. It's here. It was somewhat useful, but very rarely did it find useful information for me from more than one of the sites at once. So I'm not sure how it would really save me time.

I can imagine using this for certain instructional situations. Students in a class on a specific topic are often given a list of "approved" sites to visit by their instructor. Instead, the professor could create a Rollyo search that automatically searches all the sites at once. That might save the students a little bit of time and make their searching a little easier.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LibraryThing

I created a LibraryThing account and added a few books to it. This is the one tool we've used so far that I'm the least interested in. The truth is, I don't own very many books at all anymore. After I became a librarian, I figured out that I could always get practically anything I wanted from the library, and they would store it for me during times I didn't need to use it! So I have probably under 100 books these days. They fall into three categories: cookbooks, Bee Gees, and Doctor Who. Those are the three things I'm really passionate about, I guess.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Snowie from Springfield


This is a Simpsons avatar I made for myself on the Simpsons site. You can make one too.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

More about RSS feeds

To answer my question from last time, when I wondered how long it would take my blog post to show up on Bloglines, the answer was 10 hours. It seems like none of the Blogger blogs I added are showing up there very fast. Maybe it's just a quirk in the system? Other feeds from commercial sites seem to show up much more quickly.

The Salon feeds are working great, but I had to remove the Slate ones from my list. The same articles kept showing up as new over and over again. At first I thought it was just because they were updating them, but there's no way there could have been that many corrections to make! After a while I got suspicious and looked to see if other bloggers have noticed this problem, and the answer is yes. I finally just removed them, and I'll check Slate manually myself every day like I used to.

I did try several of the feed search services. The only one that I actually liked was the search feature within Bloglines itself. I went looking for Doctor Who feeds, and the first two were the two big Dr. Who sites, so I added them. It found a lot of Dr. Who blogs as well, but I didn't add them yet because I didn't want to drown myself. Then I tried the other sites and didn't find anything useful at all. I think the problem is that those sites search the posts within the feeds rather than just the titles of the feeds. So what I got from each of them was a list of sites that had either one post on Doctor Who, or else, more often, a sentence such as this: "The doctor who pleaded guilty to malpractice was sentenced yesterday." Not what I wanted at all!

I am finding that using Bloglines really does save me some time that I used to spend looking at the same old pages over and over again. Now I have more time to look at other things or, heaven forbid, actually do some more work!

Monday, July 2, 2007

RSS feeds

I've set up a Bloglines account and am experimenting with RSS feeds. I've known about them for years, but I've never really thought it would save much time to use them. There aren't that many blogs that I follow regularly, and it's not been a problem to figure out the schedule and check them once a day or week, as the case may be. But now that I've looked around, I'm surprised to find how many other sites besides blogs have RSS feeds, and how useful they can be. For instance, there's a certain columnist at Salon that I adore. I certainly didn't want to see every time they add something new to the whole site, because that would drive me bonkers! But I found out they have a lot of different feeds, including one just for her column. So I subscribed to it. I also added my own blog, and now I'll see how long it takes for this to show up on Bloglines.

Snowie the movie director

When I was in library school, we had to film and edit a little movie just to prove that we could do it. Now mine is up on YouTube, so I figured I should post a link to it here for extra credit. (We can get extra credit, right?) Anyway, you can watch it here. Enough time has passed that it doesn't seem as horrible as it once did, although I still notice several mistakes I made.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My magazine cover


My creation
Originally uploaded by snow_maiden
I decided that my Latin American Studies students are worthy of fame and attention! I hope none of them mind being put up here for the world to see, but this picture has been on the Latin American Studies department website already (in its non-magazine iteration), so I doubt it.

Some more pictures of home

Oh my stars! (I had a friend in library school who always used that expression, and it never ceased to crack me up, so I'm using it very ironically now.) I was looking at the Flickr map tool where you can see pictures taken in a certain place, and I looked up my hometown, certain I wouldn't find anything. But there is a wonderful photographer who lives there and has taken hundreds of pictures! He goes by the whimsical name of Bird Socks. (A look at his front page will quickly tell you that not all of his pictures were taken in North Dakota! We don't really have many macaws or tigers.) It's hard to pick out just one picture to highlight, but here goes. Or no, wait! I really mean this one!

Myspace vs. Facebook

The Machinist has a good post today about the differences between Myspace and Facebook. I only use Facebook, because when I've gone to Myspace it doesn't appeal to me at all! I'd always thought this was just an issue of personal preference, but the post is tracing this to differences of social class, based on how each site got its start. So am I a snob because I use Facebook?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Og the Mighty

Since I'm from North Dakota, I'm always trying to play up my "exoticness" here in Ohio. And so today I'm posting a link to a Flickr photo taken by someone from North Dakota known as thstrand. It's a picture of Og, the large gorilla that used to stand in Harvey, one town over. I think the photo is beautiful for its composition, as well as documenting something that no longer exists. And so, without further ado, here is Og.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Article about the crisis in independent publishing

Ok, now I found a real book-related link to post. There's an interesting article in Salon today about how small book publishers are in trouble because a distributor that most of them did business with has gone bankrupt. You can find it here.

And now for something completely different

I'm testing a post to see if I can make links successfully. Somehow it never occurred to me to do that before, but I can see why you might want to look at something like this. Well, at least I do!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A word of explanation

Now that I've posted a link to this blog on my Facebook account, I thought I should put an explanation here about what it is for people who don't work in the library. Basically, we're learning about various features of Web 2.0 this summer, and we've each started a blog to track our learning. So I'll be posting at least once a week about the assignments I've done. I'll probably also put up other library-related things that I find interesting and would like to share. After the summer is over, depending on how things go, I might convert the blog for personal use. I'm still unsure about that. I tend to be pretty selective about which of my friends know about which parts of my life. The idea that work and home would mix is pretty unsettling!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

7 1/2 habits

The easiest one of the 7 1/2 habits for me is the first one, "Begin with the end in mind." I usually don't even bother to begin something unless I can see how it will turn out. So it follows that the hardest one for me is number 7 1/2, "Play!" Not that I never play, but when I do, especially around the library, I immediately start to worry that I'll get in trouble for not "doing my job." Being encouraged to spend time playing this summer is a new experience for me, and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

Hello, world!

Ok, I guess I've proved myself to be a big library/computer geek by naming my first post that, but I couldn't resist. I haven't actually done my homework for last week yet (gasp!), but I will come back shortly and talk about my reactions to the lifelong learning assignment.