Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Lost Colony - Grady Klein

a graphic novel. my consumption of graphic novels has been at an all time low this year. i'm hoping this is soon to change as my library orders in more titles. for the time being though, whenever i do manage to come across a title in our current collection that i haven't read i'm always eager to get it home. and what a disappointment this one was. i had seen the sequel in some catalogues and was trying to decide whether or not we should add it. to be honest, i found the cover of the sequel to this particular book kind of offensive. i did decide that i would give this one a try though and see. and i've got to say, i just don't get it. found the plot confusing, i wasn't keen on the artwork, it looks very computer generated, and i think there was an anti-slavery message in there somewhere but it was too muddled to tell. the front flap is full of positive superlatives, i disagree with all of them. i'm going to leave it at that. as to what i decided about the sequel. i'll let you figure that out for yourself.

Bannock, Beans and Black Tea - John Gallant

this is john gallant's memoir of his childhood growing up in depression era prince edward island. john gallant is the father of seth who just happens to be a famous canadian comics auteur whose work is largely published through the montreal publishing house, drawn and quarterly. seth, remembering his father's stories encouraged john gallant to record these stories in the form of letters written to his son. seth would then compile them into a book and provide the book's illustrations. the end result is, as one comes to expect from seth, exquisite. the fabric jacket with woodcut-esque illustrations, and thick, almost card stock pages with a handwritten font and black ink illustrations, really make this something special to pick up and look at. gallant's depiction of his childhood on prince edward island is as far removed from the prince edward island of anne of green gables as it is possible to get. this is not an island of picturesque farm houses and sunday teas, but rather of dilapidated shacks and almost constant starvation. think of the stories told by grandparents everywhere about how they had to walk uphill both ways to schools and make those stories worse, and you have gallant's childhood. what keeps this from being depressing though is gallant's sense of humour and his ability to look back and see lessons in his past. for anybody who enjoys their canadiana, and even for those who don't (and i assure you, i typically fall in the latter category) this is a great book.

Teen Idol - Meg Cabot

what's that you say? more chick lit? why, yes, it is.

i have a slight confession to make. i really got behind in doing this and these reviews at the moment are all from books i read about a month ago. which means, at this point, i'm getting a little fuzzy on the details. this also means that when i pulled cabot's 'teen idol' out of the pile of books that i'm done with and really should bring back to the library i drew a complete blank. the first thing i thought was, 'did i actually finish this one?', and then after deciding that yes, in fact i had finished it, i thought, 'what was it about?'. i've given this some thought, and i think it's all coming back to me, with a little help from the back flap.

jenny greenley is the advice columnist for her school's newspaper. this is not unlike being superman, as she must keep her identity a secret, and in her secret identity help save people... from over controlling parents and bad dates. so of course when hollywood star luke striker comes to partake in a little method acting by really getting into his new role as a midwestern high school student by being a midwestern high school student, jenny s charged with showing luke around and keeping his identity a secret. if i'm not mistaken luke hides his apppearance by, wait for it, wait for it, drumroll please, wearing glasses. oh, the superman references are falling thick on the ground. of course hijinks and catastrophe ensue (of the high school variety of course). it was fun, it was fluffy, i think i finished it in an afternoon. meg cabot really is the queen of the genre.

Only You Can Save Mankind - Terry Pratchett

according to wikipedia (my favourite source for very quick fact finding) terry pratchett is the second most widely read author in the uk. i assume j. k. rowling must be the first... wait while i check that out on wikipedia (haha, just kidding). terry pratchett is one of those authors that i always wanted to like, but never quite could. i've read a couple of books from the discword series and just couldn't really get into them. which is odd, as i typically enjoy fantasy. i did enjoy the bbc radio series about mort though, that was quite good. but none of this has anything to do with 'only you can save mankind', which is in fact not part of the discworld series, but rather part of pratchett's johnny maxwell series. i liked this one. pratchett wrote it at the time of the first gulf war in iraq and it was more or less a commentary on how with all of our modern technology, it is possible to desensitize people enough that war seems like nothing more than a video game. no more holding your fire until you see the whites of their eyes. george w.'s continuation of his daddy's war in iraq ensures that pratchett's commentary appears less dated than it otherwise might.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lost It - Kristen Tracy

i'll give you three guesses what this book is about, and the first two don't count. tess whistle is a junior in high school, her parents are born again christians and her best friend is going through an emotional crisis that has culminated in a plan to blow up a poodle. when tess' parents suddenly take leave of their senses (my opinion) and abandon tess to go and 'find themselves' in the wilderness, tess is left in the care of her very grounded grandmother (again, my opinion). of course with all of this chaos in her life, who can blame tess when she falls hard for transfer student ben easter. this is a cute little coming of age story, with a lot of high school romance and the added twist that everything does not end up in a nice little happily ever after package at the end. there is no disaster (not really) but i like that tracy left us with a very real life ending to this story.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block

i love this book! no seriously, this is one of my favourite books of all time. i absolutely adored it in undergrad, and i still can't get enough of block's crazy punked out vision of shangi-l.a., or hell-a., as it is also known. the title character, weetzie bat, is a free-spirited high school punk rock loner who meets her soul mate in classmate dirk, who has a brilliant mohawk and drives a '55 pontiac. they spend their time moshing at shows, eating cheese and bean and hotdog and pastrami burritos at oki dogs, picking up ducks, and visiting with dirk's purple haired grandmother fifi. when fifi passes on a magic lamp to weetzie, she makes three wishes: a secret agent lover man for herself, a duck for dirk, and a beautiful little house for them to live happily ever after in. and so brings into play the catalyst that will drive the story forward and allow block to continue with the four other books in the dangerous angels series: baby be-bop, missing angel juan, cherokee bat and the goat guys, and witch baby. block's books are considered by some to be must have a fiction. i'm not about to argue with that stance. if you enjoy magical realism and you feel ready for a literary trip that will leave you feeling not just a little dizzy, i would definitely recommend checking out weetzie bat.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This is the End

that line always makes me think of joy division. does it do the same for anyone else? never mind. please ignore me. it would appear that i have finally reached the last activity. the 23rd thing. thank goodness there weren't 43 or i would have gotten a whole lot less sleep this week than i did. it would appear that there are some questions that need to be answered. you want thoughts and opinions, lasting impressions, eh? well, here goes it.

what were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

i was very appreciative to learn that there are online word processing and spreadsheet applications. for me, this is very useful as i do not have any such software on my computer. think of all of the work i can get done at home without having to come into work.

i have really enjoyed publishing a blog. i don't know if anyone noticed, but there are several posts in there that have absolutely nothing to do with this library 2.0 project. in fact, i fully intend to continue publishing the blog when this is all done. book reviews only. i promise never to discuss what i had for breakfast. i don't think i would want anyone to know the answer to that question anyway. i do believe that keeping a running compendium of what i've read though will be helpful to me at work as a reader's advisory tool. despite best intentions i really cannot remember every book whose pages i have made it through.

i found the internet based applications, such as and rollyo and technorati to be very useful. when i am not working against a clock (the deadline for this project is tomorrow) i would like to take the time to explore them more fully and develop something absolutely mind blowing in its efficiency.

how has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

this program has made me stop thinking about checking all of this technology out, and has forced me to get up off of my proverbial derriere and do it. without this project and its deadline it is so easy to put things off because there will always be things that seem to require more immediate attentions. now i will only have to hope that without the project nudging me gently down the road to 2.0 wisdom that i will continue to explore and play, not just on sites i know and feel comfortable with (youtube anyone?)

were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

surprised me? i suppose the things i would most likely be able to say surprised me were simply the things i was unaware of before embarking on this journey. applications like rollyo, technorati, and, as well as the online office suite type programs managed to do that. one other thing that surprised me was how easy and intuitive it all was, and how once i really sat down and focused on it it was not too crazy to get through it all and get it done.

what could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

in the future, were this program to be run again there were a few things that i would like to see changed. i would have liked it, as a person who had to initial others' checklists, if the checklists and the activities were a little more copacetic. also, i found it irritating that the links in the wiki didn't open up in a new window, but rather as i worked through an activity i would have to reopen wikispaces and relocate my place. sometimes i would end up doing this 3 or 4 times. separate windows would have been appreciated. but i suppose we can't have everything, and perhaps through wikispaces that is not even an option.

if we offered another program like this in the future, would you again choose to participate?

would there be prizes? just kidding. of course i would. it was fun, and educational. what more can you ask for. oh yeah, prizes, you can ask for there to be prizes :)

Friday, September 14, 2007


ok, one last post before i turn in for the night. i will admit to being exteeeemely sleepy. so sleepy in fact that it took me four tries to spell sleepy.

i created a netlibrary account back when i started at osngupl. i wasn't sure if it would still work though as i haven't made use of it since i created it. i know j. said her account stopped working because it had been so long since she had last logged on. well, i am lucky because my account still is working. i was able to sign in (i even remembered my password) and take a poke around for audio book titles. i initially did a search by title and author and kept on coming up empty handed. well, that isn't entirely accurate. i was able to find ebooks of everything i was looking for, but no eaudiobooks. i then went to the eaudiobook centre on the sidebar. this way i was able to view lists of all of the eaudiobooks collected by netlibrary sorted into very broad subjects. i was hugely impressed that there were 105 young adult fiction titles listed. less impressed by the paltry 15 titles in children's fiction. i would certainly be interested in listening to much of the content listed in young adult fiction. i could probably download it directly onto my computer and listen from there. however, in case you had forgotten, i am tired. such further (and optional) adventures will have to wait for another day.


i looked through some of the listed podcasts on i kept finding that the podcasts i was interested in ended in 2006. or perhaps they didn't, but the last one linked to was in 2006. so, giving up on that i headed over to the cbc and subscribed to the vinyl cafe podcast straight from the source. the problem is that the vinyl cafe podcasts are only about 4 minutes long. i would prefer the podcast if it was actually an entire vinyl cafe episode. i think that i actually prefer to stream radio shows online because that way i get the whole show. i often stream radio shows from the bbc, and i enjoy listening to the new music on cbc 3. transferring the podcast into my bloglines account was no more difficult that it was to transfer blogs into the account. i suppose if there were a variety of podcasts that i wanted to listen to regularly it would make sense to add them to bloglines and check in every so often. but i'll admit to liking going straight to the bbc and looking for new things while i listen to my regular shows.


i played around on youtube. i've been playing with youtube for a long time now. i find the site rather addictive. i'll find a video i'm looking for, but then there are all of these 'related videos' or 'more from this user' or even just all of those random videos along the sidebar, and i find that i can lose a lot of time just goofing off if i allow myself to. one thing i'm rather peeved at youtube about is that they are going around deleting all of the anime content off the site (i know, i know, copyright issues) and when i go look for the latest episodes of my shows they are no longer there. although now i've got stage6 and i find the content to be more reliable than that on youtube. the other problem with youtube is that the video quality is very poor. whenever i choose to watch a video clip in full screen it becomes so pixelated that it may be better to just watch it on that tiny little screen. again, stage6 has youtube beat in terms of video quality. very crisp and clear. i haven't tried t in full screen yet, but the smaller screen is large enough to make it less of a concern.

i found it hard to choose a video on youtube that i wanted to link to this page. i ended up choosing the music video for our retired explorer (dines with michel foucault in paris, 1961) by the weakerthans. it's a fun video, and i quite enjoy the low budget nature of canadian music videos.


i've been playing around with i used to have an account with pandora. i quite enjoyed it as a way to discover new artists, but it did tend to make my old computer crash. it utilized a version of flash that was just a little too flash-y for my computer it would just give up. the other problem was that pandora is only available to users in the states. i had gotten around that for a while by providing them with a buffalo address and zip code when signing up, but eventually they caught on that my ip was not coming from buffalo and they kicked me off. so that was the end of that. i would say that is is just as good as pandora was though. in fact, because it runs so much more smoothly on my new computer than on my last, i'd say i like it better. i can find all of the bands i try to look for, and they even have both of the bands that g. has been in. for his most recent band there is even a picture of the guys. i thought that was rather fun. i have added a widget to this blog that shows what i've been listening to. i'm not entirely sure it is working though. i am going to have to listen for a bit longer and monitor the updates. i'll add to this post and note whether it's working or not.

yeup. looks as though it is. yay. that's rather fun. i was worried it wasn't working, but it seems that you have to actually finish listening to a track before it will appear on the widget. if i navigate away, or let them know that i don't dig a particular track it doesn't appear on the widget. handy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Google Docs

the post prior to this one was created using google docs and then posted directly to my blog. tis a rather useful application that google docs. i will admit that google makes me a little bit nervous as i think they might be trying to take over the world. and to what ends i ask, to what ends? who knows, this could all end up very 1984. but they do good work, those kids over at the google offices, and i suppose if the world is going to be taken over by any major corporation it should be by one with a cheerful primary coloured logo. for those of us who do not have office suite or any other word processing software loaded onto our computers, an application like google docs is mighty handy. again, like, or rollyo, or bloglines, the basic idea is portability. while i can easily download open office to my computer, i am still restricted by needing my personal computer to access any documents i create (not being part of a network). if i want to take my documents from one computer to the next i need to either attach them to an email, or employ a portable storage unit like a cd-rom or a usb key (did you know that you can purchase a usb key made from wood? it looks very cool). as soon as a portable storage unit enters the equation we introduce the possibility of files becoming corrupted. what if my wooden usb key turns into a tree and leaves? (sorry about that, i couldn't help myself) utilizing an application ensures that your documents are kept safe so you can access them from any computer at any time. assuming the internet is working, that is.

Sounds familiar.

We emerged from youth all wide-eyed like the rest.

Shedding skin faster than skin can grow,

And armed with hammers, feathers, blunt knives:

Words to meet and to define and to...

But you must know.

The same games that we played in dirt,

In dusty school-yards,

Have found a higher pitch and broader scale,

Than we feared possible,

And someone must be picked last,

And one must bruise, and one must fail.

And that still twitching bird was so deceived by a window,

So we eulogized fondly, we dug deep and threw,

Its elegant plumage and frantic black eyes in hole,

And then rushed out to kill something new,

So we could bury that too.

The first chapters of life almost made us give up altogether.

Pushed toward tired forms of self-immolation that seemed so original.

I must, we must never stop watching the sky with our hands in our pockets,

Stop peering in windows when we know doors are shut.

Stop yelling small stories and bad jokes and sorrows,

And my voice will scratch to yell many more,

But before I spill the things I mean to hide away,

Or gouge my eyes with platitudes of sentiment,

I'll drown the urge for permanence and certainty;

Crouch down and scrawl my name with yours in wet cement.

by: John K. Sampson

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wiki Part 2

as jamie oliver would say, "easy peasy". g. would add a "lemon squeezy" to that, but sometimes you need to know when to stop rhyming. i played in the sandbox. there was no sand. in that respect it was a most unusual sandbox. i came all prepared with my bucket and shovel, only to find them completely superfluous. i posted my favourite tv shows, some favourite books and a new favourite website. i learnt that editing a wiki is as easy as the wiki people lead you to believe, and that is a good thing. if we ever wanted to start up a library wiki it would certainly be useful for it to be as user friendly as possible. this exercise leads me to believe that that would indeed be the case.


doesn't wiki sound like either something a surfer in hawaii would keep in his hut (not dissimilar to tiki) or a valley-girl phrase, "that is, like, so wiki". all joking aside, i chose to check out the stevens county rural library district wiki project. this is a wiki created by a public library system in washington state. it allows users to edit and create pages on anything related to the stevens county community, from hunting and fishing to the best places to watch the sunset, from washington murder mystery booklists to manga booklists.

this is something that we could very much create for our library and open up for collaboration from our community. i can use this site to learn about the colville skate park, or where i could take kung fu lessons, or when the libraries are offering storytimes. on a more literary bent, i can check out an alphabetical list of all of the manga series that the library collects, the titles of which are hyperlinked to each series' first volume in the stevens county rural library district's online catalogue. i like it. i like it a lot.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


let's try this again.

i read the posts by the pundits. some things i agree with. some things i don't. how do i feel about 2.0? my feelings on the topic are still in flux to be quite honest. like cotton candy it can be delicious (not in controlled amounts, but too much leaves you bouncing off the walls feeling a bit queasy.

what i like about 2.0 is that it encourages collaboration with the end user. wikis, podcasts, youtube, blogs, all encourage the individual to contribute, and through contribution to become part of a larger whole. to belong to a community. what does this mean for the library? i don't believe that library 2.0 necessarily translates into increased web presence and technological gadgetry. i believe it means that we should encourage collaboration with our patrons, thus building a stronger community within and around the library. what books do patrons want to see in our collection? what lecture series would they like to attend? what furniture would they like to sit on?

are there ways in which we can incorporate 2.0 technology into a 2.0 library? sure. we could provide rss feeds of new materials, we could open a wiki to allow users to review materials, and discuss materials with each other, we could offer im reference services, we could start a public library blog and provide content with instructional videos, or video booktalks. there's a lot out there that we could be doing, and a lot that we are doing.

what don't i like about 2.0? i don't like the technolust, and i don't like the sense of exclusivity that comes with it. sometimes it seems as though 2.0 is the buzzword of a club, a club that is very, very cool and i'm not sure i'll ever measure up for membership. i don't like the assumption that the web can be everything to everyone. i don't like that as we advance technologically doomsayers continue to listen for the bells tolling the death knell of the book.

as libraries search for ways to evolve in a 2.0 world (or a 3.0 world or an 7.3 world) we need to continue to consider our user. yes, technology is wonderful (it can also be terrifying and dangerous), but there are those who are unable to access all of these new toys that are being developed. what about our patrons who live in rural areas with only dial up internet access? what about our patrons who can't afford to have something like a computer in their home? what about our patrons to whom computers continue to be mysterious and somewhat daunting entities? as we strive to achieve 2.0 we need to remember that the ideology behind 2.0 is not merely technological, but is about inclusion in the process, whether it be digital or analogue.


again with the names. i promise, i will never mention the names of the web 2.0 sites again. i promise. if i were to combine the blog searching capabilities of technorati, with the travelling favourites tool, and the search tool rollyo it could be rather powerful. i'm thinking i'd like to use technorati to search for sites on a variety of library topics such as ya librarianship, 2.0, graphic novels, children's books and so much more and then troll for useful results which could then be added to my rollyo search roll and added to my favourites. with the added links could search other users accounts in and rollyo and see what sites they've added and edit my lists again. this could go on until i have some sort of super list. not unlike a super virus. a list that cannot be defeated. ah, the librarian's dream. so many full stops. and why? what is the deal with the need for these websites to have such twee names? do they know how irritating it is to have to remember where to type those full stops? okay, that gripe out of the way. i'm actually quite keen on it seems very user friendly. i had tried to load it onto my previous computer, but it just wasn't having it. i have my fingers crossed that i will have better luck on this one. i'll tell you a bookmarking story. when i left vaughan to move to owen sound i had a number of websites that i'd been pretty reliant on. so, what i did before leaving was that i saved them all to a word document and then saved that word document to my yahoo briefcase. when i got to owen sound and the demands of my job changed i found several more websites that could help me in my new capacity, from graphic novel reviews, to professional sites, to architectural design sites. i have two computers that i use at work, and i like to do certain things at home as well. that's three computers where i need to have access to my favourites list. before i had to copy and paste urls into word documents and email them to myself and then open the links and save them to each computer's favourites list. although not massively time consuming, it did take more time than i would have ideally liked. now with a new computer i need to reconstruct that favourites list yet again. i think before i bother i am going to give this whole thing a shot.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


i now officially have a rollyo account and have created a search roll for... wait for it, wait for it... comics! heh. i am a nerd. it works pretty well, i took a number of comics sites that i like and respect, added them to rollyo, and tested it out by searching for 'nightcrawler' and 'naruto'. it brought me right to articles discussing the latest nightcrawler comic, and how naruto is viz media's hottest manga title right now (i could have told you that). i wouldn't mind playing with this tool a bit more and refining my search sites by checking what sites other comic kids have listed and what links are recommended on the sites i visit and then cross referencing them to my search roll. but that dear friends is a task of, shall we say, superheroic proportions, and it is nearly midnight and if i don't go to bed soon i may turn into a pumpkin. you can link to my rollyo here:

Library Thing

i went to library thing and i added a number of my favourite adult books from the past year. i suppose i could've added kids books or even graphic novels or picture books, but i think the lists for these would have been too long, and this was much more manageable. my favourite aspect of library thing is the suggestions page. i sort of rolled my eyes when they suggested other books by authors that i've read. that seemed just a little too obvious. but with the random new titles and authors i enjoyed clicking on 'why' to see which book the suggestion was being influenced by. reminded me of which generates a radio station based on whatever band you supply and plays songs by other artists you may also like. now if only i had the time to read all of these suggested books.
back on track. we were experiencing some technical difficulties for a time. these were easily rectified with the addition of a new computer. funny that. i am now determined to finish up this web 2.0 game before the deadline. so here i go. week 5. play week. step one: image generators. i have played with some image generators. i made a bob dylan sign movie, i had my tarot read, and got my anarchist cookbook recipe of the day. i also produced the above picture at

Shrimp - Rachel Cohn

that's right, i liked gingerbread so much i ran right out and read shrimp. and you can rest assured that i will be reading cupcake in the very near future. can rachel cohn do no wrong? i like to think so. just as good as gingerbread. cyd charise has entered into an era of household peace with parents sid and nancy, she is working things out with her tiny surfer artist boi shrimp, and is even making girlfriends for the first time in her life. just don't ask her to fill out a college application or she may go supernova. my favourite bit in this book? they mention rancid! hahaha, referring to tim and brody in a talk about t.r.u.e.l.o.v.e. and yes, who ever thought our favourite mohicaned punk rockers would get divorced, but it just goes to show.

Repossessed - A. M. Jenkins

the premise of this book is that the demon kiriel has become bored with his position in hell and decides to take up residence in a human body to get a taste of life. it's a fun premise, and i was really looking forward to this, but regrettably not one of the best books i've read this year. that said it brings up some good theological questions. interestingly, kiriel is extremely well-behaved while taking part in earthly existence, and has exceptionally good manners, so no hell raising here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Gingerbread - Rachel Cohn

the first in a trilogy about high school student cyd charisse. i picked this up because rachel cohn was part of the duo that wrote 'nick and norah's infinite playlist', which i thought was absolutely brilliant. one of those brilliant books that i keep trying to get others to read. plus it had one chapter in particular with what is perhaps the most excessive use of a particular four letter word in the space of a single page. i have such a sophomoric sense of humour. goats! i am pleased to say that cohn did not let me down. i love cyd. yes she's uber privileged, and angsty, but the the somewhat fanciful tone reminds me of a more down to earth francesca lia block ala weetzie bat. this is a great book for anyone who enjoys their chick lit with a little bit of an edge. as a final note cyd's parents are named sid and nancy, but are sadly not reincarnations of a certain pair of legendary punk rockers.

Clemency Pogue: The Scrivener Bees - J. T. Petty

this is the third book in the clemency pogue series. also the only one i've read. it was given to me as an uncorrected proof. the cover art was intriguing so i took it home determined to ignore the fact that i hadn't read the first two books. well, i'm going to have to go back and read the first two now in order to find out how the action in the scrivener bees came about. a junior fantasy novel in the spirit of the spiderwick chronicles, the story focuses on our hero clemency pogue who seems to be not insignificant to the continued survival of make-believe, and her antagonist inky mess, a changeling child determined to take over make-believe. i guess i was supposed to side with clemency, but i'll admit i found myself sympathizing with inky mess and rooting, if not for his success, at least for his change of heart.

Someday's Dreamers Volume 1 - Norie Yamada

first new manga i've read in a while. i've mostly been keeping up with the mangaverse through anime. which yes, i know, often differs substantially from its corresponding manga, but what can i say, i'm not that thrilled about spending $10 per volume for something that runs 30 volumes. someday's dreamers takes place in an alternate universe present day nagasaki. physically, it remains true (i think) to the way nagasaki is, there's even a bit of a travel guide in the back to the places mentioned in the manga. the twist is that in the nagasaki of someday's dreamers it is perfectly normal for people to have magical powers. the story centres around magic user nami and transfer student ryutaro. throughout the course of the first volume nami develops a crush on ryutaro who is seems to hate her for no apparent reason. i look forward to finding out how their relationship evolves.