Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today: steampunk past, present and future.

The past: The Extraordinary Voyages of Jules Verne suggests that perhaps Verne was involved in Gnosticism, coded messages, and more! The trailer is online. Has anyone seen the whole thing? How is it?

In 1888, Alaskans believed a mastodon was on the loose. Bigfoot sighting? Aliens? A robot elephant?

In the present day, we have a lovely steampunk caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, created by artist Bryan Coffee. It's now showing as part of the Noxious Fumes exhibit at the Rivet!

Another artist to watch is Andrew (aka Android) Jones. Beautiful stuff.

Sex and steampunk? Yes!

The future! Abney Park has worked out some agreement with Airship Ventures, and on October 31st you could be part of a dirigible voyage over the Bay Area. Wow. What better way to spend Halloween, I ask you?

For those on the other side of the country, the Brooklyn Indie Market is holding a steampunk-themed event on October 25th. It looks like great fun.

If you're nowhere near San Francisco or New York, you can lose yourself virtually in the City of Ember and play a pipeworks game. I am normally okay at these things, but so far I have flooded the city numerous times. Oops.

Monday, September 29, 2008

In these parlous economic times, consider the Sharpie as a decorating tool. Look what you can do!

If you can still afford art, however, I recommend the work of Madeline von Foerster. Gorgeous.

Tour de Lovecraft looks like a fun book for the spooky people in your life! (I haven't read it yet, so I can't say for sure.)

Flickr and Yahoo have released some photo-taking bicycles into the wild and are seeing what happens. (Librarians may have noticed that Jessamyn has one of these right now!)

Another neat Flickr find is the Analog group, dedicated to honoring non-digital film formats.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Friday, and that means links from others. The topical link of the day comes from Zazoo, who points to this amazing graphic showing government bailouts in U.S. history.

From Cassandra: the geography of personality, Darwin's struggle with faith, a scholarly analysis of horror movies, the brain disorder that causes people to get lost, the sociopolitics of gay senior citizens, and the news that we might all be from Mars after all.

From Satori: an awesome website on all things mosaic, including a weblog.

Have a spiffy & safe weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some quick bits on this slightly frenetic Thursday:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In this increasingly bizarro world, it's oddly comforting to look forward to Halloween. X-Entertainment is already counting down, and it's not too early to start constructing some elegantly spooky props for parties!

For those looking for more immediate festivities, there's the annual ArtCar Fest in Berkeley this weekend. Also taking place this weekend are the World Stone Skimming Championships in Scotland and the Great Gorillas race in London. (Check out the animation at the top of the page for extra fun!)

The latest theory on Stonehenge holds that it was a pilgrimage site, akin to Lourdes. (Thanks, Cassandra!)

We end by celebrating/bemoaning the fact that so many things look like UFOs. It's hard to keep watching the skies with so many false hits, you know?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's steampunk day, and not only that, we have steampunk links sent in by others! Many thanks, everyone!

From Julie: an amazing clock called the Chronophage, or "Time Eater," has been unveiled at Cambridge University, and Stephen Hawking was there for its debut! There's also a video at the university's website which shows the clock in more detail (and, in doing so, shows close-ups of the most terrifying Giger-esque grasshopper ever conceived. Yikes.)

From Dan: Bill Bailey's website is all steampunkified! I've been watching Bill on QI and never even thought to look at his website. I am duly ashamed.

Stephen H. Segal of Weird Tales participated in a steampunk panel at DragonCon, and gives some possible reasons for steampunk's recent surge in popularity.

An example: steampunk weddings! I've heard of a few, but this one includes a huge online photo gallery. Hooray!

And finally, do not fret about the EPA trying to shut down the Ghostbusters; now we have the steampunk ghostbusters, which will do the same job but with much more style and panache!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good morning. Why not start (or end) your day by listening to T.S. Eliot and Portishead?

Happy news: the Muppets are storming back into popular culture!

Confusing news: what the heck happened to fairy tales? Is this another instance of PC going too far?

The rest of today's links are photo-oriented, encompassing the historical (via the Maritime Museum's new Flickr account), the tragic (coverage of Hurricane Ike's impact), and the goofy (squirrels gamboling on and around various yard items. Check out the squirrel in the car!).

Friday, September 19, 2008

`Tis Fridee, which means 'tis time fer links from others. But e'en more importantly, 'tis International Talk Like a Gentleman o' fortune Tide! Celebrate by speakin' shipmate all tide, e'en online wi' th' help o' this handy guide.

From Julie: why be we so fascinated wi' th' end o' th' world? I do like th' selection o' comments at th' end. Me favorite: "I`ve scheduled th' movers fer 150 million o'years from now..."

From Dawnowar: Truck Spills! They's e'en broken down by category. Th' chicken page be worth a look, for sure an' certain.

From Cassandra: Th' goth look will ne're die. Now they's e'en exhibitin' th' clothes in fashion museums!

Also from Cassandra: an upcomin' scientific study on near-Davy Jones' locker experiences, th' history o' sex at Pompeii, an unsettlin' article about th' FBI gainin' more freedom t' invade yer privacy, an' a test o' yer person. Me results told me that I be a dreamer who wanted t' go explore th' world an' hade fer th' beach; 'tis mostly true, but I think th' events o' this week be havin' affected me choices.

Some random links collected from around th' web this week: How long could YE survive chained t' a bunk bunk wi' a velociraptor? I'd only make 't fer one minute, three seconds. (They dasn't tell ye how long th' velociraptor will survive, tho. That might be interestin'!)

Gro'er an' Rosita o' Sesame Street be collaboratin' wi' Homeland Security. Maybe th' end o' th' world BE near after all. (Perhaps Rosita be a spy; she`s th' new arrival, after all...)

Sissinghurst be th' homeport o' writer Vita Sackville-West, an' ye can go on a quick virtual tour o' th' place if ye canna visit 't in swabbie.

Be havin' a spiffy, shipmate-filled weekend, sea dogs an' land lubbers! Be seein' ye Mondee.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In memory of David Foster Wallace, Harper's has put several essays of his online for free.

Things are getting back to normal here, but not in Houston. Wow.

On the bright side, however, the Hadron Collider hasn't destroyed us yet. Or has it? Now you can find out instantly!

Yet another reason to celebrate libraries: you never know when you might discover an overlooked work by, say, Mozart. (Thanks, Cassandra!) Also, your library card might get you discounts at local stores!

Among the wealthy, libraries are still in vogue...as long as they're fashionable, at any rate. If bookstores are more your thing, you can now search for specialty stores as well as bigger chains by zip code.

The Pimp My Bookcart contest has begun, and now you can see the entrants as they arrive!

And finally, don't forget the Truth-O-Meter, which continues to track allegations and claims throughout the campaign season. It saves us librarians a lot of time.

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So, the financial institutions are flailing and a lot of people still don't have power. Forget the spooky links for now; we're just going for goofy escapism today, and will get in the proper Halloween spirit next week.

Anyway! Summer is ending, and that means the festivals get increasingly weirder. In the Alps, the cows are coming home, which means a celebration. In Belgium, it's time for the annual stilt walker contest. In France, they're honoring Icarus by flying handmade crafts off steep places, while in the UK they're honoring crabs. (They're also holding the Air Guitar Championships, if that's more your style.) And finally, here in America, the Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival sets sail this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Okay, things are slowly getting back to normal around here. You can click over to the Flickr account for photos of sideways trees if you like! In a marginally related vein, Umbrella Today is a nifty little 2.0 idea -- it tells you if you need to take an umbrella when you go out each day. (Swiped from Geistweg.)

On to steampunk. Gizmodo has declared it dead, but Bruce Sterling's "User's Guide to Steampunk" nails what attracts people to this sort of thing: "Steampunk is popular now because people are unconsciously realizing that the way that we live has already died. We are sleepwalking. We are ruled by rapacious, dogmatic, heavily-armed fossil-moguls who rob us and force us to live like corpses. Steampunk is a pretty way of coping with this truth." (Kudos to Jake von Slatt for finding this!)

I was busy being away, visiting babies and watching trees fall while La Princesse performed in Liverpool, but fortunately there's video footage.

Also, Brass Goggles seems to have broken while I was gone -- fortunately some refugees have set up Spare Goggles for the interim!

Recent discoveries: Jeremy Mayer creates amazing creatures from discarded typewriters, while Eric Orchard creates beautiful illustrations and stories on his weblog. Go and explore!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The good news: I am back from vacation!

The bad news: right after getting home, the remants of Ike hit us, and as you can see it's a grand mess here. The house has no power, and we have two huge trees down. (Photos forthcoming, once I get them off the camera and onto the computer at home.) Updates may be a little sporadic until the lights come back on.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's Friday, and time for links from others!

First, some steampunk updates. Luke says, "I too noticed the lack of steampunks for Obama buttons... So I made one." How completely wonderful is that?

Also, the huge mechanical spider (named La Princesse) is moving around in Liverpool! There's a vague sort of schedule of her movements, in case you're in the area.

From Holly: first the bees, now the fireflies. This is very sad.

Also from Holly: the customer is not always right, you know. (Those of us who have worked with the public know this very well, and as this site shows, we have the stories to prove it!)

From Cassandra: there are odd clouds at the edge of space, fortunetelling is now legal in a Vermont town, Joan Rivers is morphing into the Joker, and Biarritz is our new favorite fantasy vacation destination.

Speaking of vacation, I'm going to be on one next week. Hooray! Bunny will be holding down the SpookyLibrarians fort in my absence. Regular posts will resume on the 15th. Have a spiffy week and weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

RIP, Bill Melendez. (Not only was he the animator of the Peanuts specials, he was also the voice of Snoopy.)

Jessamyn points to the Time story about Sarah Palin's clash with the Wasilla library. Trying to ban books is not the way to get the librarian vote, in case you ever wondered.

Meanwhile, the news librarians at the Anchorage Daily News have been busy, and have put together a whole resource page for those researching the VP nominee.

And finally, the Baby Name Wizard explains what's up with western-state conservative Christians giving their kids unusual names. (Regardless of your politics, this is interesting stuff.)

I seem to be finding a lot of stories lately referencing Generation X, for some reason (I'm not actively looking for them, that's for sure). The latest reports that a high percentage of Twitter users are Gen Xers. Hm.

If you're a member of Generation X, prepare to start feeling old: Google turns 10 on Sept. 7. Remember when Alta Vista was the ultimate search engine?

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

An announcement: this Friday, television networks will air (commercial-free!) the Stand Up To Cancer special. Not only should you watch because it's for a good cause, but there's another reason: if you look carefully, you may be able to spot the Sparkle Queen in the audience, in the guise of her mild-mannered alter ego who works at the National Brain Tumor Society. (Why Sparkle Queen is not listed among the celebrities is beyond me.)

Other happenings this weekend include the Watermelon Speed Eating & Seed Spitting Championship and the first Canadian National Bodypainting Championships. Also, La Machine has arrived in Liverpool - a huge mechanical spider has appeared on the side of a building and soon will start moving! (Many thanks to Julie for sending this update.)

The intersection of religion and science fiction is totally fascinating to me, and the SF Gospel weblog examines just that. Highly recommended!

Another fascinating conundrum was the life of Jack Parsons. Now there's a web comic out which details his wild life (the first page is here).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Before we get into the steampunk-related stuff, a brief sad announcement: voiceover man extraordinaire Don Lafontaine is no more. (Thanks, Danny!)

DragonCon took place over the long weekend, and the steampunkers seem to have been out in force. (Also, for non-steampunks, there were some truly awesome costumes, like the Master from Manos and several people dressed like Venture Brothers characters.)

In the excitement about IndyMogul doing a steampunk-related episode last week, I didn't even notice that it was part of a week-long crossover series with ThreadBanger. Good stuff, there!

The latest fashion accessory informs you that the revolution will not be telegraphed. Take that, Samuel Morse. Also, there are Emo for Obama buttons and even Thereminists for Obama buttons, but there are no Steampunks for Obama buttons? I protest! (The entire list is wonderful, however.)

In the future, wind will power the world! Well, hopefully. In the meantime, you can see this neato LEGO windmill, which is sadly available only to Vesta employees. However, they've also provded a handy guide to building your own.

Have I linked to the Victorian wooden submarine before? I think I may have. It's always worth a second look. And if you are attracted to strange ruins, abandoned buildings, and murky machinery (and you should be), this compendium of Flickr galleries should keep you absorbed for hours.