Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy end of 2009, everyone! There are lists for the best movies of the year, the biggest news stories of the year, the best sci-fi movies of the 2000s, lists of lists for the 2000s, and analyses of top lists. This should give you plenty of discussion/argument material for any parties tonight!

The Awl is running an "end of the '00s" series which is just awesome. Particularly interesting to Cassandra and me was the article on losing one's idealism (we don't blame baby boomers as much as the author, but it's an interesting take on our generation and its influences.)

Also from Cassandra: some thoughts by a sixteen-year-old Anais Nin from New Year's Eve 1919.

Mateusz Skutnik, game designer extraordinaire, has whipped up a quick game called "Where is 2010?" for our enjoyment. (I haven't found 2010 yet. I will keep looking.)

And finally, we take you out for the year with the help of the Clever Hamsters. Hit it, guys! Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, and sharing, and we'll see you in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

As we come to the end of the year, expect an avalanche of "best of/worst of" links for tomorrow. For now, why not look at some particularly original gravestone portraits,  or read about Mary Shelley's invention of Frankenstein (and how it transmogrified over the years - thanks Cassandra!), or perhaps scheme up a way to transform a room's ceiling into a fiber optic starfield?

I am always saying I want one of the computers on CSI or NCIS. (I also want to work in a dimly lit environment and be able to dress like Abby Sciuto, in case anyone is listening...) In that vein, here's a tribute to the amazing magical "enhance" function available on those computers.

Also from Cassandra: a list from Doctors Without Borders of places needing the most help in 2009.  And lastly, a neat article from Listverse examines the top stories of 1909 and what's happening with them 100 years later.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hey, writers interested in steampunk! Steampunk Quarterly is offering $50 for your stories!

From the everything-old-is-new-again department: a hundred years ago, black velvet was the rage. Nowadays, monocles are making a comeback. Neo-Victorians, unite! Also, Thomas Edison's Laboratory Complex in New Jersey has re-opened, better than ever.

Over in Europe, you could theoretically peruse the online archives of Jugend Magazine while riding the Molli steam train down the streets of town (yes, really, on the actual streets!). If you're more interested in the Paris Exposition, the original Eiffel Tower designs are now online, too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010: The Year of Turquoise. That's what Pantone says, anyway. (I am kind of hoping they're wrong. It looks like a sickly shade of turquoise to me.)

As we get to the end of the year, the reviews and awards begin. National Geographic shows the photos of the year, and Regret the Error tallies up 2009's most regrettable mistakes in journalism. (Lots more of this sort of thing as the week goes on!)

Did you know that there are daily metal haikus on Twitter? Now you do!

And finally, something for Cassandra, who like me is working all week: the top hoaxes and forgeries in archaeology.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hey, Cincinnati people! The Shillito's elves are back in Mariemont through the end of the year! Hooray!

Cassandra sent a short and spooky Christmasy film. It reminds us a bit of Coraline.

Also from Cassandra, an oldie but goodie, in which Mulder and Scully discuss the holiday.

Last minute gift idea and/or a way to spend some giftcard money: Cats wearing wigs. Yes, really!

If you'd rather ditch all this commercialism and just be helpful during the holiday season, take a look at Unshelved's Answers website. There are a lot of people trying to find books from their childhood, and you could be the one who remembers the title!

A last link from Cassandra: the future, it's here. About freakin' time, too.

Is it Christmas? Not yet, according to this site, but check back tomorrow and find out!

Have a spiffy weekend and/or holiday, everyone! Back on Monday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

As the end of the year approaches, the weblog abandons the themed days and offers up a mishmash of links. Whee! (We'll get back on track in 2010.)

Make your own Star Wars Lego figure! I made a steampunk-looking Leia. If you're into the combo of LEGO and Star Wars (and who isn't?), you should also check out the amazing photography of Avanaut. (Bonus Indiana Jones shots, too!)

Zazoo sent in this photo essay on the impromptu snowball fight that took place in Times Square over the weekend. Good stuff.

How well do you know your Christmas myths and history? There's a quiz, of course.

The NORAD Santa tracker is using Google Earth again this year, and is also featuring a countdown and all sorts of extras.

A minister in North Yorkshire advised a congregation to shoplift this season. Well, sort of.

Lastly: a lot of people land on this site via a search for info on Franz Reichelt, the unfortunate would-be flyer who plummeted to his death about a hundred years ago. (A Folderol entry long ago linked to the grainy footage of his adventure.) Now, with modern "wingsuits," it looks as if Franz's dream might finally become reality. Wow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hey, good news! The Steampunk Tree House has found a permanent home at a brewery in Delaware!

The Adventures of the League of Steam have put out a "Fright Before Christmas" episode to celebrate the season. If you're still looking for steampunky gift ideas, there are all sorts of things out there this year, from books to ice cube trays!

There is also (a very limited amount of) time to get excited and make things. For inspiration, I recommend watching the pneumatic system at the New York Public Library, but that might just be me. Happy holidays to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

We have not seen Avatar yet, but I'm always interested in stories like this one about the creation of the Na'vi language.

We may see the new Sherlock Holmes movie (I don't know yet, I'm sort of ambivalent about Holmes As Action Hero), but in the meantime, here's a defense of Watson. I always thought Watson was really underrated and unappreciated, so I'll be glad if the movie shows another side of him!

An edition of Alice in Wonderland that Lewis Carroll gave to the "real" Alice just sold for $115,000. Wowzers. (Thanks, Julie!)

I always liked the Bauhaus art movement, but since seeing the exhibit at MOMA I've been even more fascinated. A review of the exhibit goes into great detail. See it if you can!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the Autry National Center in Los Angeles is running an exhibit titled "Out West" which focuses on the little-known GLBT population of the Old West. This sounds really interesting.

And lastly, some architecture art goodness: Scott Teplin's Alphabet City imagines the letters of the alphabet as Dymaxion-like houses. Fun stuff!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday, hooray!

From Zazoo: the top 15 stories of 2009, as picked by CNN. That balloon boy story got a lot of press, didn't it?

Also from Zazoo: AntiPop Fashion 1984! My people! (Well, I wanted to be one of these people. I was a little too young and a little too rural and a little too poor to be part of this in 1984.)

From Cassandra: the worst album covers of 2009. Hey, I like that Patrick Wolf cover. The bird on the head one, though, not so much.

Also from Cassandra: the Poe calendar, ending soon!

From Julie: the octopi are getting smart and starting to make tools and shelter. Be afraid, and start reading your Lovecraft. Possibly related, and also from Julie, is the potential discovery of dark matter. Whoa.

Lastly, from Julie: a Dickens-owned toothpick sells for over $9,000. Scrooge would be so proud. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Have a spiffy and safe weekend, everyone. See you Monday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Saturnalia, everyone!

South Carolina is the place to be a library student at the moment. Not only are they running a contest to find new uses for old catalog cards, they've also put together a "Mildly Attractive Men of SLIS" calendar for 2010 -- which has sold out, it's so popular! Whee!

What kind of Twitter profile pic do you have? My current pic is actually a very normal "none of the above" type.

The AutoCompleteMe weblog features the stranger results from Google's autocomplete function, many of which are absolutely hilarious. Right now my favorite is the telepathic koalas!

More weirdness: behold the Biblioburro! We should start a pack of these and travel around the world. Also, in unrelated burro (but related weird) news, AbeBooks has their own Weird Books Room, featuring a different offering each week. Right now it's a book on plant psychics, but who knows what will be next? (Other than the plant psychic, that is. He/she might have an idea.)

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Did you know that December is all-Cthulhu month at I did not! Now I have two weeks of posts to read!

For more Christmas-type stuff, you can look at unique Christmas trees from around the world...including a Pac-Man tree!

This Sunday, you are to do nothing but read. No, seriously.

More on 2012: chances of the apocalypse, based on previous predictions, are pretty slim.

And finally, something just plain weird and spooky: there's a bridge in Scotland that does not like dogs. Poor dogs!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tis the season for Tesla coil Christmas trees! We mentioned this last year, I think, but there's a new version for 2009.

Brass Goggles is also observing the season this month, and there are lots of posts these days.

Sillof is at it again, creating gorgeous steampunk versions of old favorites! Behold the Gaslight Legion of Doom!

Warren Ellis is also at it again, taking the piss out of steampunk with this week's featured design. (Get it while you can; the offer expires this weekend.)

Syzmon Klimek makes beautiful, intricate automatons; the web page may not be all that, but his creations certainly are.

If you're in the market for steampunkish stuff, there's a one-stop website that's been rescued from the ashes of Geocities! And if you're more in the market of making things rather than buying them, check out ConCraft Magazine for ideas and supplies and more.

Some of our local steampunks have discussed moving more toward the realm of Chap Magazine and the art of elegant manliness. In this regard, may I suggest a pinstriped cuirass for outings? Or, for those of us stuck in modern occupations, a rather steampunk-looking bracelet/arm cuff for rationalizing one's emotions. (Ha! This one cracks me up.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

If it's Monday, it must be art links...

Music: Paul and Storm are uploading seasonal songs which sound like They Might Be Giants songs. Hooray! Go and check out It Might Be Xmas.

TV: In an ongoing celebration of Sesame Street's 40th birthday, the National Post features 101 Muppets in one picture. If you mouse over each Muppet, you get a short bio. (Roosevelt Franklin was hard to find, but he's there!)

Books: Speaking of anniversaries, it's 50 years since In Cold Blood was written. The town hasn't forgotten what happened.

Photography: Flickr's Your Best Shot 2009 pool is jaw-droppingly amazing. Be prepared to lose some hours looking at everything!

Illustration: when an illustrator proposes, he really does it right. Wow.

Computer art: Continuity is a Flash game that messes with your mind and makes you think abstractly. This is a very good thing. Have at it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is Friday, is time for links from others!

From Julie: Penguins in tiny Santa jackets parade through Japan. Woo!

Also from Julie: possible mass cannibalism lurks in the past.

From Cassandra: The joy of old typewriters...and the value of them, too, judging from Cormac McCarthy's typewriter auction.

From Ned: Did you see that spiral light in the sky over Norway? There may be a perfectly logical explanation for it, but that hasn't stopped the conspiracy theorists or the caption contests!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone, and keep watching the skies. See you Monday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Okay, I am more or less back in action. On to the library and literary bits...

The 2009 winners of the Pimp My Bookcart contest have been announced! I am partial to the sheepdog.

Did you know there were awards for library videos? Me neither.

The internet has changed the world. This is not news. However, this visual representation shows it in vivid detail.

I thin the ALA should really make this READ poster. I know lots of Star Wars geeks who would like it.

Newsweek looks at the worst predictions of the decade. The economy was going to soar, while Google and iPods would disappear. Huh.

It's a sad day in literary publishing: Kirkus and Editor & Publisher are going out of print.

Tomorrow: links from others! Whee!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Well, hi. I seem to have some wacky cold or flu or something as of this morning. Hopefully it's a 24-hour bug and we will be back at full strength tomorrow. Meanwhile, check out the links on the sidebar and/or the Flickr contacts! See you tomorrow, hopefully.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'Tis the season for the mainstream media to discover steampunk all over again! The BBC discusses the trend, as does Time. (The BBC's version talks about the impact of Doctor Who, which is an interesting point.)

It's also the season for steampunk-themed Christmas lists and raygun calendars for 2010! The list includes a book I'm dying to see -- Eva Hagberg's Dark Nostalgia. If you're into that sort of thing as well, you will probably want to see this virtual tour of a steampunked house. The list does not include this "flapping push toy," but it should!

Monday, December 07, 2009

There are so many great exhibits going on at the moment, from the Bauhaus exhibit at MoMA in New York to Induced Epidemics in Hollywood (brought to you by Haute Macabre and the Museum of Death). Try to get out this holiday season and see some art!

Meanwhile, many grand plans for Dubai are on hold, including some truly over-the-top architectural visions. Dubailand does intrigue me, though...

John Taylor (yes, that John Taylor, of Duran Duran) thinks the internet has changed the way we interact with music and musicians. I think it probably has, too, but not in quite as negative a way as he sees it.

It's time for not only the year in review, but the entire decade! What are the most influential books of the '00s? (Check out the sidebar for similar lists of movies, songs, TV shows are more. And yes, the '00s aren't truly over until Jan. 1, 2011, but we had the same discussion at the end of 1999 and I don't think it's going to change any time soon.)

Lastly, the future of the piano may be fluid. Behold, the fluid piano.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Happy Friday, everyone!

From Julie: Pompeii joins Google Street View! (I now always think of the (recent) Doctor Who episode when Pompeii is mentioned.)

From Cassandra: Hey, did you know that truth has a gender? Sheesh.

From Zazoo: "An homage to the typeface Neutraface to the tune of Poker Face, with a bunch of geeky, bearded designers." This is brilliant.

From Josie: Amanda Palmer sings to the people of New York City. Fun was had by all!

As seen on Dawnowar: The evolution of the hipster throughout the decade. Yep, that's it, pretty much.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

If you want to know the sometimes tortuous routes we librarian types take to get to where we are today, check out The Library Routes Project (and add your own story if you like!).

From the New York Botanical Garden is here to help with caring for holiday plants!

MyPictr is a fantastic little tool for choosing and editing user pictures in Facebook, Twitter, etc. (As seen on Librarian in Black.)

For those of us who love words: Typographic Posters galore.

For those of us in the legal world: Watch a suspect eat the evidence. Really! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for that meddling camera on the dashboard!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The weekend is approaching, and it's not too late to enter the Christmas Pudding Race or work on your Krampus outfit to terrify the urchins. (I like how the Krampus concept is gaining popularity lately.) Also, you can now decorate for the holiday with cozy Cthulhu ornaments.

If you'd like to ignore all this winter holiday business, fear not -- Key West is hosting its annual Pirates in Paradise festival this week. Drink rum and be merry.

And just for a spooky touch, gaze upon some of the creepiest landscapes from around the planet. Well, mostly from Iceland. But one's from Kentucky!