Monday, May 30, 2011

A wicked sinus headache and the holiday weekend combined to postpone the drawings for the books. But look, here they are, all ready to go with the relevant contest entries in each book! Look for the video of the drawings later on this week, once I am more functional. (Sir Reginald is chomping at the bit to add his commentary.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone!

From Cassandra: the vacation situation in the nation, the struggle of privacy in this modern age, and the intangibility of the unknown.

From Chuck via Cassandra: new cockroaches have been discovered. These jump. Isn't that nice?

From Julie: "Lost pyramids spotted from space." This headline cracks me up. Oh, that's where I put those pyramids! Silly me!

From Zazoo: the Veruca Salt of the original Willy Wonka movie talks about the experience.

And finally, a last reminder that we are drawing the winners of the giveaway contests this weekend, and the deadline for entering any of the contests is tonight! There are two listed here on Folderol and an additional four over at the Steampunk Librarian. Go and be rewarded with a free book!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! We'll be celebrating Memorial Day this Monday but will return on Tuesday. Also, the photos from last week are finally over on Flickr!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I went away for a week and missed a whole lot of library drama! To wit:

Seth Godin talked about the future (or lack thereof) for libraries -- while he thinks we still need librarians, libraries aren't as important any longer. Then Canada's Globe and Mail weighed in with their thoughts about librarians. Meanwhile, the University of Chicago started using robots in their new futuristic library. Golly!

And then, the Library of Congress unveiled its National Jukebox, showing that a) there is still a lot to be digitized and put online before people start saying everything is available on the interwebs, and b) there's a lot of human effort going on behind the scenes every day which the general public doesn't see.

In other, nonlibrary news: As the exhumation of Salvador Allende gets underway, there's a suggestion that poet Pablo Neruda may have been assassinated and should be exhumed as well.

And, lastly, I discovered the BBC Academy's College of Journalism and wanted to share the wealth.

Tomorrow: links from others! And also the deadline for all those book giveaways, so if you want a book, chime in quick on the relevant post.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If it's Wednesday, that means we are pointing out bizarre weekend events, and this week we are all about opposing options. Onward!

Like to go fast? Bike the (Lake Shore) Drive in Chicago! More interested in going slow? The turtles are racing in Indianapolis!

It's National Vegetarian Week in the UK. If you are not a vegetarian, consider Brat Fest in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 13th International Clown Festival occurs this weekend in Svendborg, Denmark. If you don't like clowns, I suggest the National Countrysports Fair in Northern Ireland, which seems to feature absolutely everything except maybe clowns. (Seriously, there are knights, and guns, and farm animals, and lots more.)

And for everyone and everything else, we would be remiss if we did not mention that it is Towel Day. There are approximately 348,349,345 events worldwide observing this important happenstance! Go, and bring your towel!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm still catching up from being gone, but others are just warming up for the World Steam Expo, which takes place this weekend in Michigan! Catch it if you can; it sounds like a great time.

If you're staying at home this weekend, however, there are all sorts of great things to read. Jess Nevins tells the story of Dr. Livingstone, while Bookflaps posts a dictionary of flapper-era vocabulary (apparently I am a "rock of ages" -- sheesh), and Bibliomania has the entirety of Brewer's Phrase & Fable, an amazing Victorian-era publication which can inspire many a steampunk tale, available for reading!

For additional fun, you can vote on who had the best facial hair in the Civil War, thanks to the Smithsonian, and you can view the graphs Florence Nightingale created as part of her reports on the state of medicine. (Who knew she had such design skills, in additional to her other attributes?)

Coming up: photos of the Way Station, plus the deadline for book giveaways!

Monday, May 23, 2011

And we're back! Look for an explosion of photos on the Flickr page soon (well, within a day or two). Links will hopefully show up today, definitely by tomorrow, and many thanks to everyone who entered the book giveaway contests. The deadline is Friday!

Friday, May 13, 2011

We finish up Giveaway Week with two - two! - books, one here on Folderol and one over at the Steampunk Librarian. Thanks to everyone who has entered the contests so far -- and if you haven't entered one yet, please do! You've got until Friday, May 27, so there's still lots of time. Thanks again! I'll be gone all next week but will be back the week of the 23rd.

Black Halo by Sam Sykes (Tor)

I first heard of Sam Sykes and his Aeon's Gate series when he wrote an entry for The Big Idea on John Scalzi's website as the first book in the series, The Tome of the Undergates, was arriving on bookstore shelves. Black Halo is the second book in the series, and continues the story of a band of adventurers on a perilous quest for a mysterious tome. (Sound rather like a Dungeons & Dragons tale? You'd be right! And this is not a bad thing!)

Sykes has created a group of personalities with different races, different religions, and entirely different views on what they should be doing at any given point in time. Washed up on an island after a battle with a sea monster, the party is split up and explores the increasingly creepy -- and populated -- landscape while figuring out a way to get back to civilization. Meanwhile, back in the city where the adventure began, Bralston the Librarian (with a capital L, for LibrarianBadAssWizardType) is sent to find the group, or what's left of them.

The Aeon's Gate series is not a typical hack & slash adventure frenzy (well, not usually. at least); it's a world in which the characters debate with each other and often with themselves via internal monologues. Black Halo ramps up this aspect with the characters meeting several of their own kind, whether in the flesh or via visions (or are they hallucinations?) and struggling with many ethical quandaries.

There's still a lot of hacking and slashing and laser-beam eyes, however, if you like that sort of thing. And there's humor, which is always welcome. And there's also a Kraken Queen. As this is only the second book, it looks as if there's a lot more to come from the Aeon's Gate series and the motley crew that Sykes has created.

We have a copy of Black Halo to give away! As my other half is the RPG expert*, I have turned over the contest rules to him on this one. He says: "To enter the contest, choose a fantasy race and occupation (Elven Ranger, Halfling Thief, Dwarven Blacksmith etc.). Tell us why you made the choices you did --exceptionally clever or creative entries may get an extra entry in the contest." All entries will be places in a top hat and the winning entry will be drawn at random, perhaps by a snarky puppet. The deadline for entering the contest is 11:59 pm EST Friday, May 27. Good luck, and thanks again!

(More information on Black Halo is available on Tor's website. Sam Sykes twitters like a maniac and has a website of his own, with a weblog and everything.)

* he is currently doing his best to get me to join his D&D group. My suggestion of a Thri-Kreen Druid character has been squashed unceremoniously, however.
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! We're doing another book giveaway here; look for a post a little later today. For now, it's time for the Friday links from others. Many thanks to everyone!

Julie has been sending updates on the auditions for the Brighton Festival's Pickled Person; the lucky(?) winner will appear in an act in the Circus of Horrors. Man, I gotta visit Brighton some day.

Also from Julie: Thousands of people were afraid there would be a massive earthquake in Rome this week. Eerily, there was an earthquake the day of the prediction...but in Spain. Maybe that seismologist was on to something?

From Cassandra: Is your husband a psychopath? Let's hope not!

From Bunny: Is your husband living atop a Waffle House? (Again, let's hope not.)

Also from Bunny: a hamster discovers the concept of centrifugal force.

From Zazoo: Anderson Cooper needs to embrace his inner club kid; there's photographic proof showing he knew how to do so at an early age!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! And a spiffy week, as well -- I'll be gadding about and will probably not be updating Folderol till the 23rd. Enter our crazy contests, be well, and I'll see you back here soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Giveaway week continues over at the Steampunk Librarian with a particularly steampunky book today!

Has anyone tried Storify yet? How about Gameful? The latter is the brainchild of Jane McGonigal, who's been discussed in librarian circles many times.

Abandoned places are always interesting. Abandoned amusement parks are downright fascinating!

More great digitized history -- this time it's The Film Daily, from 1922 to 1929. Awesome stuff.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Giveaway Week is underway, but today we are switching things up and are giving a book away here instead of there! Occasionally we receive a book not related to steampunk at all, as in the case of The Silent Land by Graham Joyce. It's a lovely, rather spooky book, and so we feature it here today.

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (Doubleday)

The Silent Land describes the experiences of Zoe and Jake, a British couple on holiday in the French Pyrenees who are caught in a sudden avalanche. They extricate themselves and return to the ski resort, only to find it deserted. The neighboring village is also empty, and when they try to leave, whether by foot, skis or car, they find that they can't get out; they are somehow trapped in the town. Are they dead? Is this a dream? Are they alone? Zoe starts to see people, but cannot track them down for answers. And then, slowly at first, the frozen environment around them begins to change...

Among my scribbled notes for The Silent Land is the mention that it's a small book and a quick read. However, when checking before writing the review, I found that it's almost 250 pages. And yet, Joyce's book is so tightly constructed that it seems small; I read all at once, sitting on the floor, intrigued to know what was happening to Zoe and Jake. The atmosphere of the cold, silent and mysterious lands permeates throughout the book's language, keeping the reader in the town with the couple until the very end of the book. It's a spooky, lovely read, and I highly recommend it.

We have a hardcover copy of The Silent Land to give away! In order to be considered for the giveaway, post a comment on this entry and tell us where you would want to be "trapped" for a time, if such a thing were to happen to you. (We've been discussing this at home; I am torn between a huge library/museum and a place like EPCOT.) All entries will be put into a hat and the winning entry will be drawn at random, perhaps by one of our snarky puppets. The deadline for entering the contest is 11:59 pm EST Friday, May 27; we'll hold the drawing sometime over Memorial Day weekend and post the winner straight away. Good luck!

(More information on The Silent Land is available on the Random House website; Graham Joyce also has his own website.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's Day 2 of Giveaway Week over at the Steampunk Librarian, and today we're featuring Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt. Coincidentally, Hunt's book was mentioned yesterday in a Wall Street Journal article about steampunk literature! The contest this time asks people their views (real or imagined) on ley lines; the Wikipedia article is a little iffy, so I've included another site which gives more detail on the history of the ley line theory. Feel free to pop on over there and add your thoughts -- you may just win a book!

Monday, May 09, 2011

We begin this week with announcements!

1. I'll be running around New York and New Hampshire next week, for friend and family purposes, and so Folderol will most likely be quiet. I may be updating via Flickr and/or Facebook, but regular posts won't be back until the week of the 23rd.

2. However! This week we're running book giveaway contests every day, either here on Folderol or over at the Steampunk Librarian. You can enter as many as you like; the deadline for all of them will be Friday, May 27. So you can ponder and craft some entries while I'm gadding about next week.

Our first contest is for a copy of Mark Hodder's The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man; read the review and enter the contest over at the Steampunk Librarian!

And now, we resume our regularly scheduled post...

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has posted the winners (PDF) of the video game exhibit vote! Eighty (80!) games will be available for playing at the exhibit, from Pac-Man to Halo and a whole bunch more. (I suspect the spooky librarians may visit this exhibit next year.)

Ever wonder how spacesuits are designed? An interview with Nicholas de Monchaux regarding his book Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo goes into fascinating detail.

Back on Earth, we revisit the iconic Coca-Cola ad campaign and song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."

For those who mock comics (aka graphic novels), take heed: weighty philosophical issues are often discussed within those pages. For instance, what does Batman really think about whether killing is acceptable?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone! Sorry I didn't post yesterday; here are two days' worth of links to make up for it.

First, the library-related material. Did you know THOMAS (the legal research part of the Library of Congress) is now on Twitter? Now you do!

Another new fantastic development is the digital archiving of reports from the Jewish News Archive, dating back to 1923. As you can imagine, the material can be harrowing. It's available for free searching, which is wonderful.

Everything is online, right? Right? Librarians everywhere cringe when they hear that. It's one of the top five myths about the information age.

Bill Lucey details the changes coming to Catholic services; the language is changing to better reflect the original Latin, evidently. (Expect masses in the near future to feature a lot of mumbling by the congregation!)

And now, on to Friday, featuring links sent in, by, or for others. Thanks, all!

From Bunny: The experience of "dining blind" comes to Cincinnati this weekend, and sounds intriguing.

From Chuck, via Cassandra: The aliens are visiting Asia these days instead of the U.S. They're also calling, apparently. The bill must be astronomical. (Hahahaha!)

From Josie: New York City in the 1980s; kind of dirty, kind of dangerous, kind of awesome.

The Social Security Administration has released the top baby names of 2010! The Baby Name Wizard has the full list. It's baby season; congrats to Holly and Beth on the arrivals of Hazel and Beatrix, respectively!

Rob has a wonderful post on the power of words. Definitely worth your time.

Boey of iamboey is working on a book! Want to help? (Isn't Kickstarter great?)

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

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

May the Fourth be with you. This weekend brings us all sorts of wacky events. Hooray!

In America, the Kentucky Derby Festival is already underway (tomorrow the steamboat races begin) and culminates in the actual horse race on Saturday. Get your mint juleps ready.

Moving eastward, Baltimore celebrates its annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, while Rochester has a weekend of imagination and wonderful ideas prepared.

Fellow librarian Chris Z. is excited, for Eurovision season is about to begin! (Someone really needs to get going on providing a decent way for us Yanks to watch the fun.)If you're looking for other entertainment on the continent, Belgium is having its Lion's Scarecrow competition (no English translation available, but there are webcams, which speak the universal language of video) and Italy celebrates the Inverdurata festival of vegetable mosaics and more.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"Goodyear commits to future with new zeppelin airships." Sadly, the story is not quite as thrilling as the headline makes it sound. But we are all about zeppelins, so this is good news.

More good news: Mark Hodder has won the Philip K. Dick Award for The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack! Well done!

How to Be a Retronaut is great fun, and I especially like "If London Were Like New York," an article from 1902.

Also lovely: how to make your own spats (knee-high, for women) and recommendations for good steampunk drinks! (There are more suggestions in the comments.)

And lastly, we get rather futuristic by taking a look at MyndPlay, which uses a person's brain waves to choose his or her own video adventure, so to speak. Sort of eerie, really.

Monday, May 02, 2011

In a few short weeks, I will be in New York, and one of the planned excursions is to this amazing Alexander McQueen exhibition. Very excited!

I love it when artists hold challenges for each other, like Warren Ellis's remake/remodel threads (see some great Aquaman re-imaginings, for instance). Bristol Whip is a whole weblog of themed greatness!

Harper Lee is an enigma, but is now working with a biographer. The results should be interesting.

Performance art at its most gorgeous: Visit the Exchangibition Bank!

And finally, here is conclusive proof that there really is a webpage for everything these days.