Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy (early) Halloween, everyone! May your weekend be delightfully spooky. I am selfishly glad I grew up in the freewheeling '70s and '80s; these days, I don't know if I'd be allowed to wear my childhood costumes to school. (I'm sorry, Princess Leia needs a blaster. Joan of Arc needs a sword. Wonder Woman...well, I guess she would be okay still, actually.)

The Whitechapel community has a Halloween video jukebox thread running, which features all sorts of great spooky stuff. If you're not on this forum, you should be -- people talk about comics, art, science, and even provide grammar lessons in the 2d and 3d conditional!

From Nicole: Would you like to decorate your living space to look like it's straight out of Rosemary's Baby? You would? That's kind of strange. But hey, go for it.

From the Graveworm: a huge meteorite crashed in Indonesia earlier this month, with video footage even, and no one in the western media seemed to care very much. Wait till the monsters/aliens/zombies start showing up.

From Cassandra: Amelia Earhart's fate may have been finally discovered. Also, the sociology in Jennifer's Body is discussed; Earth may have stolen the Moon from Mercury; we may read print and onscreen material in different ways; and happy 40th birthday to Sesame Street!

From Julie, big news about the web: domain names will now be allowed in non-Latin alphabets, such as Arabic and Chinese. Wow.

Have a spiffy spooky weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I did not get to go to Internet Librarian this year, which is very sad. Looks like it went well!

You still have time to send in an entry to the 2009 Pimp My Bookcart contest, and you can even ogle the competition.

If you know any librarians, you may catch a glimpse of them in the Library 101 video!

The New York Public Library celebrates the World Series* by creating a set of vintage New York and Philly players on the Flickr Commons.

Elsewhere in New York, the current attitudes in children's books are scrutinized.

My notes for the following link say, "old books become birds become kites - Clemens Habicht" and that's as good a description as any, I think.

Links from others tomorrow. Stay tuned!

*They created this BEFORE Game 1, obviously. Hee.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Halloween season has been a little less festive than usual at Spooky Librarians HQ, with life getting in the way of the holiday (including our current marshaling of forces against the flu epidemic, which has met with only limited success). Fortunately, there are oodles of other spooky people out there who are carrying on the spirit!

Many websites which are not normally spooky are filled with lovely dark things for October, such as Not Martha (and, shameful admission, I do like the real Martha's Halloween ideas each year as well). The Random Picture of the Day has featured spooky images all month, and even Major League Baseball has gotten into the spirit by providing pumpkin stencil patterns for each team. (If your team had a subpar year, like mine, you could construct an elaborate allegory as the pumpkin decomposes. Well, you COULD.)

The always excellent Drawn! points to Aly Fell's equally excellent Halloween-themed pin-up girls. I think Bunny would probably buy several of these.

There are also many out there who keep the spooky going year-round, such as Creepy Cupcakes and Para Abnormal: The Comic (I am especially loving the Bela Lugosi take on the Obama HOPE poster).

And here's a happy announcement for the Forteans and cryptozoologists among us! The CryptoZoo Museum will officially open November 1st in downtown Portland, Maine. Excellent.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This week's steampunk entry consists mainly of steampunky people looking pretty. Enjoy and be inspired!

Exhibit 1: The meetup at Brooklyn's Way Station was well attended, from the looks of it.

Exhibit 2: The Oxford steampunk exhibition brought out the extremely well-dressed!

Exhibit 3: SteamCon in Seattle looks like a great success.

Exhibit 3.5: The poster for the new Sherlock Holmes film is out, and is not exactly steampunk but not really NOT steampunk, either. I am of two minds, obviously.

In more literary matters, a call is out for authors of steampunk romances. You have until next April to send in your masterpiece!

"Technology forecaster" Paul Saffo (who doesn't like the words futurist or futurologist) predicts an increasing divide between the rich and the poor in our technological future. Anyone who has read Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age can see the Vicky culture in the making...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello! Here we are with Monday links for you.

In art: I love the work of Andy Awesome and think it would look fantastic as a series of framed prints. Also fantastic is this image of space exploration over the past 50 years -- check out the huge original size for all the details.

Did you know that Albania has 750,000 abandoned concrete bunkers dotting the country? It's true, and a documentary is on the way studying what some people have done with these "concrete mushrooms," and what to do with them in the future.

Strong females apparently equal box office poison these days. Why is that, exactly?

Just in time for Halloween, you can visit the online Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection at the University of Texas. Begone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday, everyone! Today's links are brought to you by Cassandra and Zazoo.

Cassandra, part 1: Get ready for the Moon Howl on SaturdayMonday! You can think about the newly discovered exoplanets as you howl at the moon, or ponder the passage of time in the galaxies, or meditate on the mystery of self-awareness. (Or you could just scream at the moon primally. That works, too.)

From Zazoo: crime-solving leeches! A Shakespeare play discovered via plagiarism software! Atheist ads on NYC subways!

From Cassandra, part 2: If you want to wear a sexy costume this Halloween, you are crazy, but at least get creative about it. Maybe you could emulate the (sexy) death of email. Or the (sexy?) effects of the nuclear waste surrounding my home town . Not sexy, per se, but just plain awesome is the website titled My Parents Were Awesome, in which people send in old photos of their parents looking fabulous. I have one of my mom that I'm very tempted to send.

Appropos of nothing, why not donate some money this weekend so that you can see "the famous Bohr-Einstein debates about quantum measurement, [recreated] in puppet show form" by Chad Orzel? I mean, how can you resist? Puppets! Physics! (Found via John Scalzi.)

Have a spiffy and safe weekend, everyone. Back on Monday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today seems to be all about the social networking, past and present. Back in the olden days when we had to type uphill and by candlelight, Usenet was the place to be. Then the archives went to Google, and then they sort of...vanished. But now they're returning, thanks to Wired!

I tend to forget about my Twitter account for a week or so at a time, which is why I am terrible at responding to people over there. But there are some great uses for it, like Tweetminster and Historical Tweets!

I am better about Flickr, and the news over there is that you can now tag people (with caveats and considerations). This should be...interesting.

The Merry Librarian wants to hear your crazy library story! We all have them. Share with the group!

Jolkona allows you to see where your donation goes in a detailed way. This is a really neat concept, I think, and I'll be interested to see if other organizations start to emulate it.

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hm. The modern-day Mayans aren't buying the whole "world ending in 2012" concept.

X-Entertainment is up to their usual Halloween countdown madness, which is always a must-see. The Halloween Crafts pool on Flickr is also going wild with wonderful stuff, like these spooky spinners!

Another seasonal read is HauntStyle; I'm particularly fascinated with their post on a coffin ride.

New Yorkers, take note (and ignore the above story regarding 2012): The Doomsday Film Festival is upon you this weekend! The Cleavers wish they could be there. I like how attendees can play Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead. Nice touch. Also in New York, the Nightmare Haunted House is going on, and there's a weblog detailing some of the effects and additional events.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I took this last summer and was a Gadgeteer. Apparently my tastes have changed a bit.

Your result for The Steampunk Style Test...

The Ragamuffin

18% Elegant, 55% Technological, 13% Historical, 48% Adventurous and 60% Playful!

You are the Ragamuffin, the embodiment of steampunk playfulness. Chances are, you approach the genre from a much more casual and lighthearted standpoint than most other fans. To you, there is always an element of play inherent in the genre, and you may very well enjoy fashion as much for the opportunity to dress up as for the style itself. You probably wear goggles as an accessory, and rarely as actual eye-protection. Your outfits are likely to incorporate a lot of brown or cream, and combine large boots, Victorian corsets or vests, aviator caps or bowler hats, and gypsy skirts or slacks, simply because you like them all.

Take The Steampunk Style Test

Anyway! Steampunk Month continues over at, with all sorts of neat posts and book excerpts. As for books, has anyone read Kage Baker's stories? They look intriguing.

Also intriguing: the web production titled Riese: The Series. The costuming alone looks awesome!

Steampunky websites with fabulous names: Strange Undisciplined Dreams of Great Things and the Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000.

The artist known as Tin does quite beautiful art with robotic overtones.

And finally, a poster that could serve as the Steampunk Manifesto!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Attention, Generation X: if you like lush, color-saturated paintings, but haven't found any subject matter that interests you, may I suggest the work of Robert Burden? Serpentor and Battle Cat portraits are available!

Good comic fun: Heroes on Facebook. This should be a continuing series, I think. JJ Jameson definitely needs a real-time Facebook news feed.

Bad comic fun: Discovery Kids is going to an all-Hasbro-toy lineup? Really? (Thanks to Bunny for sending this!)

It's playoff season, and the Library of Congress has some great vintage photos in their Baseball Americana set on Flickr.

The Wooster Collective is now on YouTube! Hooray!

Could New Orleans become the center of new architecture? Some people think so...

Lastly, for the Club Creatures: Scouting NY details the places from movies in the city, showing how they look now and how they looked on film. Neat stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Links from others today, beginning with a look at yesterday (via Dawn). Hee.

From Bunny: Democrat Alan Grayson gives his esteemed colleagues what-for. Good stuff.

From Cassandra: Telling people to calm down doesn't help. I am shocked and amazed! Also from Cassandra: the economy has resulted in Americans getting creative for Halloween, and if you find fairy tales interesting you should definitely be reading this weblog on fairy tales and fantasy literature.

From Josie: The Cat Piano, a rather Cowboy Bebop-esque short film narrated by Nick Cave!

From Julie: Edgar Allan Poe gets a second funeral, you can improve your brain by juggling, a Sussex library is lending out power monitors, and a new theory suggests that global warming is being offset by a cycle of ocean cooling. (I hope this is true. I'd rather be cold than hot.)

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Someday I'm going to do a survey on which days are busiest in a law library. I think Thursday would rank first or second. This is why Thursday entries tend to be of a staccato nature.

Why libraries are important: an author's viewpoint.

Why libraries are important: a parent's viewpoint. (Or, why budget cuts are bad for libraries.)

Two fun lists: one discusses America's "coolest" bookstores (hey, I've been to the Strand! I'm slightly cool!) and one points out resources for free stock photos.

Want a radical militant librarian t-shirt? I do!

Lots of links from others tomorrow! Yay!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Are you still figuring out your Halloween costume? If you want to get inspired, or perhaps just spend several hours looking at your options, the Coolest Homemade Costumes website just might be the answer.

Bob Burns knows how to do Halloween right, of course.

The Library of Congress also knows a thing or two about the origins and folklore of Halloween. (Really, the LOC knows a little about everything.)

From Cassandra: Do you really want to know what happens to cadavers? Well, ok then!

And finally, not really Halloween-related but very geekily awesome: Jones Soda has a limited-time Dungeons & Dragons collection. Healing Potions and more!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Over the weekend, we discovered that our awful carpeting (which had covered the living room floor for who knows how long) was hiding a wood floor with a border design.

I was sort of hoping that we would uncover an intricate design in the center of the room, which would be a mysterious coded message to a secret treasure in a faraway land...but, um, there wasn't anything. Still, we are pretty excited about the corners.

Other recent discoveries include the collection of Richard Balzer, who has a treasure trove of objects made before movie cameras, such as thaumatropes, myrioramas, and other optical toys, with flash galleries and tons of information.

Disney is planning a movie titled John Carter of Mars, and the casting has begun. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. Tentatively optimistic, perhaps?

Steampunk must now be truly mainstream, as it's an actual party theme this season. (Some good ideas in there, regardless!)

More examples of the steampunk mindset infiltrating regular life: The Clockwork Man is one of those "hidden object" games that may or may not be a guilty pleasure when whiling away winter evenings. If you prefer your games to be a bit more action-packed, keep your eyes peeled for The Guns of Icarus -- it was originally scheduled to debut online yesterday, but has been pushed back a bit.

Speaking of guns...dieselpunk, a sibling of steampunk, is growing in popularity and web presence, hooray! It's darker and grittier and more mechanized in general; think 1930s rather than 1890s. The website just keeps getting better and better.

Punks and geeks of all sorts may be interested in an iPhone app called The Universe Splitter, which does just what it says. Sort of. (I am not well versed in the world of apps, as my cell phone looks like it's from 1989 and behaves accordingly, but this looks like fun.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quick notes today, as time is short this Monday!

Was Raymond Carver's voice determined by his editor?

Did anyone in the UK watch Synth Britannia last Friday? It looks like it was great!

Check out the many fantastic LEGO photos (including recreations of famous images) by Balakov.

Friday, October 09, 2009

As I said on Facebook earlier, we are in the midst of getting a new furnace today, and I am listening to many exciting (and expensive) crashes and pings going on in the basement right now. Fortunately, it is Friday! And that means links from others! Many thanks, everyone.

From Cassandra: raccoons are attacking in gangs now! Also from Cassandra: a debate on whether anxiety is innate or learned, the mystery of telepathy, how MDMA can be beneficial, not just recreational, and news about the discovery of a sister site to Stonehenge that they're currently calling Bluehenge.

From Holly: Ohio is a piano! You can play routes from city to city, or watch as certain counties are played in song.

From Julie: The Shroud of Turin is recreated by a scientist using material from the Middle Ages. "If they don't want to believe carbon dating done by some of the world's best laboratories they certainly won't believe me," he said. True, but interesting nonetheless!

From my mom: The concept of local currencies is really taking off in some areas. It'll be interesting to see how this develops.

Thanks again, everyone, and have a spiffy weekend! See you Monday.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Today's random assortment of links will be even MORE tenuously linked than planned, because I managed to somehow delete the entire original post right before publishing. YARGH.


Terry Pratchett talks about what it's like to have Alzheimer's. Most amazing quote, to me at least: "The brain is filling up the space with something else."

I am an avid fan of old photographs, so you can imagine how much I love this collection of a 19th century artist and world traveler who painted his black and white photos (and left instructions on how he did it).

The FCC has put online, and welcomes discussion on net neutrality.

Journalism's gallows humor is still around: behold the Magazine Death Pool. RIP, Gourmet.

And finally, just because it's baseball playoff season and I've wanted to post this for a while: Umpire Tim Tschida performs the rarely seen interpretive "Balk de Pitcher" dance.

Links from others tomorrow. Lots of 'em!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Gothtober, everyone! (Do check the website. It's different each day, with films and crafts and all sorts of goodies, and their theme this year is of a drive-in theatre, which is just great.)

Today we talk of Jung and Lovecraft. Jung's "Red Book" is to be published early next year, and a fascinating article details the why and how of the book and its journey to public eyes. In related happenings, a weblog has set out to detail the phenomenon of synchronicity when it's noticed.

Lovecraft, on the other hand, is missing. Well, not really, but that's the premise of the similarly titled webcomic (the first episode is here). Meanwhile, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs has debuted a Lovecraft-themed collection of aromas. While I think Miskatonic University sounds nice, I would be worried about wearing a perfume titled Cthulhu or Herbert West or Night-Gaunt or...

And finally, greetings to another spooky library type, the Paranormal Librarian! (Found via Susan on Facebook -- thanks Susan!)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Royal De Luxe was at it again over the weekend, this time in Berlin! They never cease to amaze.

The good people at have dedicated October to steampunk, so you should get over there and immerse yourself in some good writing. On the graphic novel side, io9 has a great article on François Schuiten -- his website, although mostly in French, is definitely worth a visit for the art of it all.

A Brooklyn bar named the Way Station is to open soon, and promises to bring steampunk to the neighborhood. They have a page on Facebook listing events and more information; I may check it out when I'm in town next!

And 'tis the season: Behold, a steampunk haunted house. Ooooh, ahhhh.

More stuff coming out that may interest steampunky types: Boilerplate in book format and Rotor'Scope, a "fiendishly difficult" computer game. And for the retro gamers, take a gander at the Frankencade Machine!

(As a postcript, I will mention that I list steampunk-type events over on the Steampunk Empire as I find them; if you have an event, please feel free to hop over there and list it as well! We're going for a comprehensive calendar!)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Hey! Did you know that the founder of Cirque Soleil is up in space this very moment? (As in outer space, not just up in the air somewhere?)

Also, did you know that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are fans of Norman Rockwell? I didn't, but the two directors are lending their collections to the Smithsonian for a 2010 exhibit.

I love these negative space illustrations by Noma Bar, and am completely baffled (in a good way) by the nanosculptures of Willard Wigan.

Two new biographies of L. Frank Baum are hitting the stores and libraries; they sound like interesting reading, as the man was a fascinating product of his times.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Today is heavy on the law library reference links, because, well, that's what I do. For example, the 2009 list of the Best Free Reference Websites is out, and is enormously useful!

Also: law librarian Glenna Herald has an article about how Twitter is affecting the legal profession, especially in the instance of jurors using Twitter. Interesting stuff.

Lexis and Westlaw may have to change their methods, as law firms change the way they charge clients for online research. This is a big issue right now in law firms and law libraries.

This week is Banned Books Week, and while I am obviously all about the freedom to read whatever one likes and resist censorship in any form, I could have sworn we just had Banned Books Week a few months ago. Apparently I'm not alone in feeling sort of burned out on this event. At any rate, the ALA has a page of useful resources on the subject, and I love the Flickr picture on that page.

And finally, something unrelated to legal issues: the Anne Frank House now has its own YouTube channel, which includes actual footage of Anne (if only for a few seconds). It's rather breathtaking to see her caught on film, I think -- do check it out.

Tomorrow: many many links from others! Check back and see!