Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Steampunk Librarian Book Giveaway is in full swing! Here's what's up so far (go to each link to participate in the giveaway), with December 10th as the deadline to enter.
Two or three more will hopefully go up this week, with an added week to the deadline. Winners will have the books by Christmas! Go and enter now!

A book on steampunk self-defense will not be out till spring, sadly, but it looks like it will be great.

Monique Poirier's post on steampunk and Native American culture has been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason, because it's a must-read for anyone interested in how steampunk and other cultures blend.

A report from the Emerald City Steampunk Expo in Kansas depicts a wonderful time!

I had no idea that preparing tea involved putting the leaves through "agony." Yikes.

And finally, have you seen "The Narrative of Victor Karloch: A Victorian Ghost Story Puppet Play" yet? You should!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A stash of Picasso paintings has been discovered! Hopefully this is not another ruse by a forger pretending to be a Jesuit priest. (Art intrigue is exciting!)

Another cache of great art is on Flickr now, thanks to the son-in-law of Nick DeWolf. DeWolf took thousands of photos from the 1950s onward, and many are now online.

Tom Waits is going to publish a book of poetry. It'll be out too late for the hipsters on your Christmas list, however.

And finally, and completely unrelated, please to enjoy this history of the Soviet Union, as told through song and Tetris. (Once you get past the first minute or so, it really gets going.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Opt-Out Day. Is anyone participating?

We'll be taking Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday, so today is a bonus Links from Others Friday sort of day!

First off: Cookie Monster would like to host Saturday Night Live. I would like him to do so, too!

Are shy people mentally ill? Er, well, when you put it that way...

From both Julie and Zazoo: one of the first Apple computers sold at auction for an insane amount of money. (The article reports that the computer will be made functional, but I wonder what it would run. Pong?)

From both my mom and Kevin: a flash mob performance of the Hallelujah Chorus!

From Zazoo: Cyndi Lauper continues to prove how awesome she is by using lipstick to fund AIDS research.

And finally, if you're at work today and it's slow, might I suggest this game in which you have to figure out the location from the Google Street View?

Have a spiffy holiday and/or weekend, everyone! (And many thanks to those who have entered the contests over at the Steampunk Librarian. Two are up so far, and there will be more soon!) See you Monday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Starting today, we will be posting book reviews and giveaways over at the Steampunk Librarian for the next week or so! If you're interested in such things, I recommend subscribing to the RSS feed.

The Boston Globe, in an article about cinematic flops, includes Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow as an example. (According to the article, it flopped, but influenced movies like Avatar. Hm.)

A recent BBC report about abandoned British villages has made the Abandoned Communities website quite popular. This sort of thing fascinates me, as do stories like this one about the thriving community living in the tunnels of Las Vegas, and seems like the stuff of which scientific romance/steampunk tales are made.

And speaking of such things, did you know Transylvania was once an island? With dinosaurs that lived longer than others of their era? It's true, and Jess Nevins has the details! (Jess regularly puts out the most amazing stuff. He deserves to be much more famous than he is, and I'm not just saying that because he's a fellow librarian.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fairy tales may not win National Book Awards, but Patti Smith does! Hooray!

Did Michelangelo use male prostitutes as models for some of the figures in The Last Judgment? (If so, the male prostitutes of the time must have been in incredible shape.)

Recording concerts is not only allowed by some artists these days, but actively encouraged.

Years of one man's answering machine messages have been condensed and made into a film. If I had saved all my answering machine messages from college, I would have materials for one seriously strange film. I missed my chance!

If you  like psychology and superheroes (or supervillains), Dr. Rosenberg's website and weblog are worth a look. Surveys, too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday, everyone! Many thanks to all the contributors for today's Links from Others post.

From Julie: a 3-D record of caves in Nottingham; a fight between an elephant and a crocodile; and the discovery of an alien planet!

From Zazoo: an interview with Lisa Henson on what it means to manage the Muppets, and a look at the just-finished tallest statue of Jesus, located in Poland.

From Cassandra: The Understanding Campaign and, unrelated, the question of humanoid rights.

From Nicole: The TSA meets The Resistance, up close and personal.

From Nina: an enthusiastic toddler loves conducting.

And finally, via my local library, an exhibit on the work of Charles Schulz.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If I had a crazy amount of money and could do whatever I liked, I think I'd open a place like Libros Schmibros. It sounds great.

Also from the L.A. Times is an article on how libraries are reinventing themselves for the 21st century. (Yes, you've heard this before, but everyone's doing it differently.)

The San Jose Public Library has reinvented its website, which is gorgeous, and the Librarian in Black has some additional details from behind the scenes.

The end-of-year lists are already beginning; here's the list for the top words of 2010. (Vuvuzela!)

Did you know that fairy tales are barred from winning the National Book Award? I didn't.

Mark Twain wouldn't let his full autobiography see publication until 100 years after his death. That time is now, and there are some interesting additions to be found in the full story.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am sort of appalled to see that the Christmas celebrations begin this weekend. The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto? Christmas is still over a month away! The birds are still migrating!

Ahem. Anyway. Speaking of bearded men, Druidry is now a valid religion in Great Britain again.

Unrelated to either holidays or religions, this weekend brings the Innova Fair in Brussels, the Vertical Marathon (73 stories!) in Singapore, and the World's Biggest Liar Competition in England.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Okay, I missed last week, but I am making up for it this week by announcing a slew of book contests. In the days to come. there will be reviews of several books, and giveaways contests for most of them! Books include:
Keep watching this space for more info!

On to other steampunky happenings. The Steampunk Empire (not to be confused with the Vampire Empire mentioned above) is having a design contest for a pin to be worn by Empire members. Deadline for design entries is November 28.

It's already winter in Minnesota, and the steampunks there are having a mystery event this weekend!

Seattle, meanwhile, is staking a claim as the most steampunk city in America. I think they have a valid point.

And finally, the Steampunk Wiki is gaining pages at a rapid rate.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hey, readers in the Cincinnati area: are you interested in this lovely feline? He is a young male tabby, extremely affectionate, gentle, and housebroken, and needs a home with either other animals or a bunch of people, because he hates to be left out of the pack and will complain if he is! (Names bounced off him so far have included Adric, a la old-school Doctor Who, and Whitman, for his yawp.) I think he would make an excellent shop cat, myself.

In other literary and entertainment news...I had no idea Dr. Samuel Johnson was alive and well and on Twitter.

Can John Cage's 4'33" become the number one Christmas song? Let's try!

The University of Texas is going to be the repository for Spalding Gray's works.

Writer Tom Lubbock has a terminal brain tumor which is robbing him of language, and he's writing about it as it's happening. It's horrible and fascinating.

And lastly, and more cheerfully, comic artist Ryan North has a great idea. "I have a digital picture frame in my living room, and any new photo you upload to Flickr and tag "chezryan" will show up there. The internet now controls the decoration of my living room. LET'S DO THIS."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well, the week is almost over, thankfully! Links from others, and life should get back to normal (or what passes for normal around here) next week.

Listed alphabetically by contributor:

From Bunny: Dick Van Dyke was saved by porpoises! It's true! Cue the Mary Poppins music! (Our alternative theory: the dolphins were all "no, we don't want him, you can have him back.")

Also from Bunny: The potential chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee says that God won't let global warming happen. Well, okay then.

From Cassandra: Women in law firms are encountering new problems in advancing up the ladder as the economy falters.

From Jack Beltane: the odd story of a British man who was brought back from the dead thanks to...tobacco smoke?

From Josie: Behold, it's Edward Scissorhands Jr!

From Julie: The Large Hadron Collider created a miniature Big Bang! In unrelated news, scientists finally figured out how cats drink.

From various libraries: Tomorrow is National Gaming Day! Go celebrate in some fashion.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a spiffy weekend, and see you Monday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hi there. Life got a little crazy this week between the work and the health, but we'll be back on Friday. Honest!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Research mania means a delayed Folderol, bother. Check back soon!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Congrats to our friend JoJo Baby on the premiere of a documentary featuring him (and directed by Clive Barker!); the Chicago Reader did a nice interview.

More strange and beautiful stuff: the loveliness of urban decay.

Some enterprising souls decided to bring to life the musical instruments depicted in Hieronymus Bocsch's art. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the music they make is pretty bad.

Appalachian crime fiction is nice and dark and suitably spooky.

Quick, name a female Pop artist. Can you think of any?

And last but not least, Save the Words. Commit to keeping a word alive!

Friday, November 05, 2010

dflksdBRAINSSS. Oh, wait. Right, Friday, links from others!

From Josie: A fantastic video of a 1939 Halloween party.

From Zazoo: Jon Stewart, the voice of a generation.

From Cassandra: what looks to be a very interesting article on procrastination (I haven't finished reading it yet! Haha!).

As seen on Metafilter: motivational posters from the 1920s.

Linked from Warren Ellis: Coilhouse does a really great interview with David J!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy 11th birthday to LISNews, one of the best (if not THE best) sources of news for librarians.

A librarian at NPR has a book out, titled All Facts Considered. Isn't that awesome?

Also awesome: the ALA will present a new award for GLBT children's literature.

Thirdly awesome: the Dead Sea Scrolls are going to be digitized!

And now, in a belated Halloween/Day of the Dead observance, we are going to talk about zombie librarians. BRAINSSSS. Zombies like libraries. Ergo, some librarians end up zombies. But they are smart and photogenic zombie librarians, and even have their own calendar!

Tomorrow: links from others! Unless I become a zombie librarian. Then tomorrow's post might just be "sdlkgdjrthBRAINSlskturzzzz."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Well, elections are over, and that was pretty depressing. Let's move on to chronicling violent celebrations.

This week in Great Britain, there will be fireworks! And also barrels of flaming tar carried by burly men!

Here in America, we're using up our Halloween pumpkins by throwing them great distances.

In India, meanwhile, Diwali begins this weekend.

If you're still agitated about the state of the world, these maps of stereotypes might be depressing, but they're also rather hilarious. (I like focusing on Iceland and Ireland, particularly.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I thought I'd be talking about some new books today, but I found out that the publication dates have changed and so I'll postpone that subject for a while. In its place: controversy!

When I first thought about writing a weblog dedicated to neovictorianism/steampunk, it was around 2003 and I thought that the topic would occupy an incredibly tiny and obscure corner of the internet. To say that the popularity of steampunk these days surprises me is a vast understatement; I had no idea what was coming. (The steampunk librarian idea won out -- narrowly -- over a weblog based on Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mystery stories; I'd have been equally surprised if that concept had come into vogue and people had begun growing orchids and saying "Pfui!") Now that goggles and corsets are increasingly commonplace, the inevitable backlashes have grown in frequency and volume. The latest kerfuffle stems from Charlie Stross's entry on the genre. Jeff Vandermeer has weighed in, as has Dr. Fabre of the Steampunk Tribune. The arguments are not new to anyone who has participated in discussions on literary genres or subcultures, regardless of one's views on steampunk. Sure, some people are cashing in on the genre's popularity, and some are trying on the trappings as a new identity. These people will, in time, find another avenue. There are others who have felt an affinity for this time and place in history since they were children; that will not change, even if others reimagine the era to fit their own ideas. Cory Gross runs the Voyages Extraordinaires website and avoids the steampunk label assiduously for many good reasons, but in his essay on scientific romances he captures my thoughts rather perfectly:

Nurtured on such tales, we are invited to reinvest in our own histories, to reclaim ourselves. That, ultimately, is the point of this exercise in studying history and creatively adapting it. Neither slavishly recreating it as a lark nor lazily citing an alternate history, but to integrate one's past with one's present. This pleasure helps to integrate oneself in the narratives of history so that they can give depth and breadth to one's present. This works itself through everything from simple aesthetics that refuse to give up the beautiful things of the past to a realization of oneself in one's society and time. In the end, the enjoyment and appreciation of Scientific Romances is very much about today.
(I admit that as a librarian and amateur historian, I am also wildly supportive of anything that leads people to read and learn about the past. I'm kind of silly that way.)

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the League of Victorian Imagineers have opened their "Steampunk: Tomorrow As It Used to Be" exhibition, and it looks like quite the occasion! And WebUrbanist gets in on the trend, pointing out several amazing items in decor and furnishings.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy November! A few photos of our Halloween are over on our Flickr page. It was a good night for all.

Also good: the signs at the Rally to Restore Sanity. There's a huge Flickr pool of them, and lists of the best ones (with more in the comments).

The death of handwriting has been greatly exaggerated, it appears. (Thanks to this article, I discovered the wonderful Pencil Revolution website!)

You can now generate your own alternate reality television. It couldn't be any weirder than what's actually televised these days. For example: a jellyfish theremin!