Thursday, December 27, 2007

eat your words.

ohmygosh, librarian incredulity. play FreeRice and feed some people while enlarging your vocabulary. my highest vocab' level so far is 47, with three thousand grains donated. seriously addictive.

note: Dec 30th, 2007 = vocabulary level 49 and more than twenty thousand grains in one game, bitches. feel the love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

oh, my god.

can i just say something? where did even come from?! well, anyhow. it's a lovely little site full of simple, beautifully animated little flash games. digi-classical music soundtracks, cute lil' animals with fluid movements, and even the occasional moving panoramic view. and many, many of the games are rather brilliant in their simplicity. also, if you're feeling the least bit fragile or premenstrual, some of the games will make you cry. i'm just saying.

for example!

Deer Pong (genius!)

Magic Mouse Makes The Butterflies Emerge

Squirrel Runs Along Windowsills

Frog On Lily Pads

Mice Collect Sugar Cubes in Tea Cupboard

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

word of the day

escutcheon, bitches! too good.

Monday, December 17, 2007

national g' is still coolz

how great is it that cuteoverload was mentioned on i love it.

also, they found a "dinosaur mummy"! actually a petrified and strangely well-preserved duckbilled dino called a hadrosaur. about 3.5 tons, not quite a lightweight. but relatively small, as big dinos go?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

what's the most embarrassing thing you've read on public transit? i just finished Nietzsche in 90 Minutes myself. It was quite edifying, and about the level I was hoping to read. Some lovely quotes the author excerpted from Human, All Too Human below:

"The fantasist denies reality to himself, the liar does so only to others."

"The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness."

"All poets and writers enamored of the superlative want to do more than they can."

"A witticism is an epigram on the death of a feeling."

oh my gosh, did i get pretentious just now? not a chance. because i got these quotes from Nietzsche in 90 Minutes. and i'm not afraid to tell you that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

book of the day

people, author richard schweid is one of the under-appreciated gems of nonfiction. seriously. i picked up this book on the strength of his last book, Consider The Eel. i wasn't interested in eels before i read that book, but schweid um, schwayed me. same with hot peppers - i like them, but i'm not obsessed. what could be interesting about hot peppers in louisiana? there's only a bunch of cayenne, right? WRONG. another wild success from richard schweid, who writes with a journalist's attention to significant detail, and a frank-yet-fluid narrative style all his own. pick up Hot Peppers: Cajuns and Capsicum in New Iberia, Louisiana, because it's fascinating, it's funny, and it's often a little startling. much like Eel. much like pictures of schweid himself.

an excerpt from Hot Peppers:

"In Swahili, red peppers are called pilipili hoho. The word pilipili is also slang for penis. Remarkably, the same word means the same thing in the slang of Cajun French. There is, in fact, a variety of Capsicum annuum, occasionally grown in Texas, that so closely resembles the male reproductive organ as to be universally monickered "the penis pepper." Almost every botanist I spoke to who specialized in Capsicum, would go for a laugh during the interview by saying - get a load of this - and reaching into the far back corner of a desk drawer to pull out of one these peppers."

richard schweid, you are awesome. you even sound a little exasperated with everyone else's attempts to be funny! and you have beautiful, measured syntax. marry me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

oh, my goodness.

i'm actually sort of envious! read this epistle from Best-of-Craigslist/Atlanta: Dear Boyfriend, I Love You, Please Don't Murder Me In My Sleep


so i was looking up "convergent evolution" in wikipedia (it's a long story), and one of the examples given was hummingbirds vs. hummingbird hawk-moths.

convergent evolution is, well, when two completely different species evolve very similar characteristics to deal with a common problem or similar environment. like armadillos and turtles! or hedgehogs and porcupines. or moles and mole-rats.

so now we have hummingbirds, and moths that look and act just like hummingbirds! the world is a crazy, magnificent place, yo.

the largest bambi that ever lived.

the irish elk is more properly called The Giant Deer; it stood up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and had a known maximum antler spread of 12 feet. and it lived as recently as 7700 years ago, gettin' all ice age and whatnot.

yes, it's true. you've guessed it: ice ages slay me!

see more about the irish elk on wikipedia.

while you're there, you might try looking up megatherium, the "great beast".

alice in burtonland

according to boingboing and scifi news wire, tim burton will be directing the tim burton version of Alice in Wonderland in 2008.

omg. I AM SO EXCITED. Sleepy Hollow was such an under-appreciated movie! but everyone likes Batman Returns. and Edward Scissorhands. And Beetlejuice...just admit it, tim burton rocks. now quote me some delia dietze.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

coffee (tea), cats, and...books?

so it seems like japan has a demand for cat-cafes catering to nerdy-librarian types who like to drink tea and be laid upon by purring felines. see it at cuteoverload: Cat Cafe! combine this service with a bookstore, and i see gold.

i can already taste the cat hair in my hot cup of sencha.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

coyote cubly

again, not library-related. but it's just too good to pass up: The Daily Coyote, a photo-blog documenting the goings-on of an orphan coyote cub, his young female rescuer, and her tabby tomcat, eli. check back often for new photos, look through past galleries, or even order a coyote cub calendar.

i just died from The Cute.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a good reason to visit

the city of portland, maine, is home to the international cryptozoology museum. and why, why aren't we there right now? i would like to see the coelacanth replica, and get my picture with an 8-foot sasquatch, and run around gawking at odd things in general. plus, a well-stocked gift shop means plenty of memories to bank on after the trip.

ohmygod, let's go.

Monday, November 19, 2007

vintage appeal

to soothe my frazzled little brain, i have begun an old movie kick: katharine hepburn, audrey hepburn, ginger rogers, gene tierney, perhaps rita hayworth. always cary grant. grace kelly, maybe clark gable.

suggestions are very much encouraged. i enjoy the romantic comedies of the day - has anyone seen Stage Door recently? ginger rogers just cuts people down with her wit. too good.

a dog's life

so, like, now there's a graphic novel about the first dog in space: Laika, by Nick Abadzis. see the review on Boing Boing! i just requested it be purchased by my local library network. huzzah! i heart graphic novels, and i heart (good) books with animal protagonists. excellent times all around.

Friday, November 16, 2007

i'd like mine a little rare

so these graphic designers, Bruketa and Zinic, created this annual report for this food mega-corp in europe called Podravka. the major part of the report is a giant hardbound book with figures and data, etc. but inset into the back cover of the book is a tiny book of the company's award-winning recipies with ink illustrations. that tiny book is called "well done" and it's printed in thermoreactive ink.

everything is invisible until the book is wrapped in foil, and baked at 100 C (or 212 F) for exactly 25 minutes.

careful, don't burn it! it's so pretty. i'm not a crazy book collector, and even i am mad to acquire this book.

link from BoingBoing; they got it from De Zeen: Design Magazine.

Well Done: The Annual Report

Thursday, November 15, 2007

antique thinking machine!

people modify their laptops in amazing ways. i think my favorite part is the 'f' hole - just like a goshdarn violin. courtesy of and some other people.

Friday, November 9, 2007

domo kun!

are we all familiar with domo kun, the mascot for japan's NHK tv station? domo kun features in quick stop-action shorts between longer programs. and. he's a funny brown toothy monster. i guess i'm on a wikipedia roll today.

Wikipedia: Domo Kun

"tanuki" means raccoon dog

so wikipedia has interesting things to say about raccoon dogs and the japanese translation of the same, tanuki: it's a species of dog, with vulpine mannerisms, and a round clumsy raccoon body. an omnivore, a scavenger, a gulper of berries and damaged crabs. also prominent in japanese folklore, with giant testicles intact. and apparently very popular in the production of fashionable "faux fur" = do you know if it's really faux?

way too interesting! check out these links:

Wikipedia: Raccoon Dog

Wikipedia: Tanuki

postscript = did anyone see the raccoon dog featured as the gift egg on Facebook's Hatching Egg application? i gave it to my friend vroom. yeah, i did.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

today's book of the day is Diamond, by matthew hart. i've only just started it, but it really is riveting from the first page. and who doesn't like thinking about the cost and preparation and delicate auction of giant glittering diamonds? starting in the sluggish diamond rivers of brazil and arriving at harry winston in new york, with lots of exciting things in between. (and yes, a geology lession - which does so much more than college geology did on diamonds! diamond dust in every meteorite, who fucking KNEW.) good stuff.

Strap-on Sex at the Library of Congress!

really, how did i forget to mention this? yes, the Library of Congress has added "strap-on sex" to their official subject headings list! meaning that "strap-on sex" is (sort of) an official subject among all united states libraries, people. it's too good. and it's another little piece of wonderful from the LibraryThing Thing-ology blog.

also, winter finally arrived! it's twenty degrees outside and and it's kicking my ass.

Monday, November 5, 2007

bibliothecaire means "librarian"!

click on this link to the bibliothecaire wikipedia article right now and figure out how to translate it within wikipedia because you all are SMART PEOPLE.

okay, fine. so you can't make a french wikipedia page instantly viewable in english. but you can Google Translate the webpage, like this here.

yes, you knew that. yes, i'm the stupid one. let's move on.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

LibraryThing addresses the People.

i'm sitting in a conference room at simmons, my hair all tousled, in the minutes before LibraryThing founder Tim gives a talk about how kick-ass LT is and why all the boston peeps should do it. he's going to focus on the philosophy, less on the marketing. which i admire. what a cool guy.

everyone sign up for LibraryThing right now. maybe i'll find myself when i search for good buzz on on a google blog search. woo!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

were we all aware that the restaurant Novel inside the Boston Public Library serves "Luncheon" and "afternoon tea"?!

making it dirty, keeping it clean.

"phone fingers" are little silicone(?) finger sleeves made to keep the smudges off your iphone screen. personally, i think this product has a market with a certain kind of, oh, freshly-uncloseted lesbian? possibly even the more established ones.

thanks to geekologie for making my night.

a southern sun.

okay, i know - what does paul oakenfold have to do with library amusements? the answer: nothing! but i want to put a link here anyway. go to oakenfold's myspace page and listen to Southern Sun.

it's like a soundtrack that i want to have playing all the time, in my head. too good, even though the lyrics get a little nonsensical. you get the transcendental jist of it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

the city of boston seeks its first poet laureate! see it here in a pdf released by the Boston Public Library. one must be a resident of boston, at least 21 years old, and an active poet. (dur!) otherwise the possibilities are limitless.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

kimpossible? bookfutti?

an apparently famous dutch bookblog has featured LibraryThing among other nifty book cataloging and social networking sites. see kimbooktu's comparison of book applications and reviews of all of them here: Kimbooktu: Gadgets for Book Lovers.

it's pretty neat. i love LibraryThing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LibraryThing book meme!

it's out there. if you have loooots of free time and feel like exercising your basic html skillz, you can embolden, italicize, strike-through, asterisk, and underline to your heart's content.

and the best thing? only other crazy bibliophiles will know what you mean. also, you can compare your giant book meme to the memes of others. and nelson-laugh when you're the one who's read the most books.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

a butt of goats?

remember when i wrote about a parliament of owls? well.

now you can have a whole government document on the subject of animal plurals. and how about some examples:

a murder of crows, of course.
an unkindness of ravens, yes.
a shrewdness of apes...
finally, i give you a business of ferrets.

also see donald burger's animal plurals site for more specific wonders, like a murmuration of starlings. and a gam of weasels.

cortazar mi corazon.

so here i am, belatedly obsessed with argentinian author julio cortazar. click yourself into a pdf version of a two-page story called The Continuity of Parks. and after you enjoy that, well, go check out the book i'm reading now: Blow Up, and Other Stories.

the first story in Blow Up is about axolatls (!!!). i swoon.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

overheard in columbus, missouri

Drunk girl: "You don't read?!"
Guy: "No. I think you should live life, not read about it in a book."
Drunk girl, slowly: "I find that worse than being fucked up the ass."

- courtesy of, oct 6th 2007.

you tell it to him, girlfren'.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

exonumia = everything but coins

so i have this medallion. picked it up when i lived in bangladesh - can't remember the details of how or where. but it was probably at a touristy coin shop. which brings up exonumia: the study of everything but coins. (coins go to the numismatists, doncha know.) so, like, medallions, medals, coins modified for adornment, etc.

it's been about ten years since i picked up the medallion in question: matte silver, featuring a unicorn head and an anchor topped by a crown. the inscription reads "maritimes messageries". because i'm stupid, i've been assuming that the inscription was written in indo-era portuguese. (did the french ever invade india? i don't know these things. i think not, or at least, not for long.)

turns out the inscription is, in fact, french. how did i figure this out? by googling the damn thing. OMFG. why didn't i do that before?! <- (insert several interrobangs.) let's not go there.

les messageries maritimes: a fin-de-siecle french shipping and passenger service out of marseilles, serving french colonies around the world. paquebot = steam ship! here is an enchante quick summary of the messageries maritimes, plus a great graphic; note the unicorn and anchor in the bottom left corner of the poster. that's on my medallion!

this'll be a great story to tell my future postal co-workers during the morning mail sort.
a gaggle of geese.
a murder of crows.
a parliament of owls!

just thought you'd want to know.

Monday, October 1, 2007

asian persuasion.

"Users from East Asia popularized a style of emoticons that can be understood without turning one's head to the left.

These emoticons are usually found in a format similar to (*_*), where the asterisks indicate the eyes, the central character, usually an underscore, the mouth, and the parentheses, the outline of the face. A large number of different characters can be used to replace the eyes, which usually is where the emoticon derives its emotive aspect (contrasting the Western emoticons' emoting through the mouth). The emphasis on the eyes is reflected in the common usage of emoticons that use only the eyes, e.g. ^^. Characters like hyphens or periods can replace the underscore; the period is often used for a smaller, "cuter" mouth or to represent a nose, e.g. (^.^). Alternatively, the mouth/nose can be left out entirely, e.g. (^^). The parentheses also can often be replaced with braces, e.g. {^_^}."

- from Wikipedia's article on emoticons, accessed Oct 1 2007.

it's funny because LibraryThing users who have ostensibly seen my picture on the blog often greet me with a particular emoticon.

and somewhere in the back of my mind, i thought, "that's a japanese eye-smile, isn't it?"

and omfg, i was totally right! = {^_^}
today's book of the day is The Run, by john hay. partially because i enjoy the blue-tinted woodcut-style cover featuring alewives making their saltwater-to-freshwater migration. and partially because i ride a train line featuring a stop called alewife.

yes, named after the fish. who was in its turn named after the proverbial buxom barmaid. see, the thing with alewives is that they feed salmon and basically everything else. they might even be a keystone species. who knew that a small, silvery, anadramous fish in the shad family could mean so, so much.

{furrowed brow and emphatic fist of Deep Feeling}

treats and feats.

first of all, why did i not know about LibraryThing on SecondLife? let's just combine as many virtual venues as possible. i mean, can i just attend LibraryThing's SecondLife meeting (every Sunday, SecondLife Time) on my frickin' iphone? while i'm telecommuting? maybe i can use some sort of mirror server and an avatar for my avatar.

second, my favorite chocolate shop (never "shoppe"! try that boolean exclusion) in the world is vosges haut chocolat. why do i mention this? well, i thought it would be relevent to those who have thought about a chocolate-bacon bar; may you always dream your impossible dreams.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

not as funny as the other ones.

Dignified middle-aged foreigner to three students: "Excuse me, can you tell me -- where is the pussy?"

Grad student #1, while other two laugh: "Pusey Library? You want Level D, then make a right and go down the hall."

Dignified middle-aged foreigner: "Thank you. How late is the pussy open?"

Grad student #1, losing his composure: "Um, yeah. You know, man, that really depends on you. If you're good, it's open all night."

- heard at Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. click here to see it on the original source,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

useless novelty. like me on a second date.

the usb mouse jiggler, courtesy of and somewhere else.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

what time really looks like in my head

click here for the desk clock that doesn't tell accurate time. courtesy of geekologie, apparent in my Linky Links.
will i go to heaven or hell for using a mac and a pc at the same time?

overheard in 'chusetts 2

"About a year ago I discovered that everything I learned at Harvard was actually through reading Wikipedia just before the exam." - from harvard university, via, Sept 23 2007.

Monday, September 24, 2007

epiphany fueled by tea

1) tagging and folksonomies are the future.

2) as long as there are physical books, there will be a need for catalogers.

3) tangible books will always exist, because most people cannot operate in the abstract full-time. (only in the grandest metaphysical sense are we virtual beings!)

4) i am happy that books and physical objects will always exist. because i really like my glass tea mug, my dog, and my giant bookcase.

5) information is abstract, objects are concrete. published works in written- and digital-form are the major ways that abstraction meets solidity.

6) if the internet ever goes down, we will all be left staring into dark monitors, cradling our scrawny bodies in desk chairs and mentally grabbing at the disappearing pixels of our tag clouds. oh well.

7) maybe low-tech is the most reliable, but high-tech is inexorable. (until it isn't.)

Ontology is Overated, by Clay Shirky

excerpts from an innerestin' article on the challenges of categorizing information in web-space and library-space: let's get granular and P2P!

"If you've got a large, ill-defined corpus, if you've got naive users, if your cataloguers aren't expert, if there's no one to say authoritatively what's going on, then ontology is going to be a bad strategy."

"The list of factors making ontology a bad fit is, also, an almost perfect description of the Web -- largest corpus, most naive users, no global authority, and so on. The more you push in the direction of scale, spread, fluidity, flexibility, the harder it becomes to handle the expense of starting a cataloguing system and the hassle of maintaining it, to say nothing of the amount of force you have to get to exert over users to get them to drop their own world view in favor of yours."

"Now imagine a world where everything can have a unique identifier. This should be easy, since that's the world we currently live in -- the URL gives us a way to create a globally unique ID for anything we need to point to. Sometimes the pointers are direct, as when a URL points to the contents of a Web page. Sometimes they are indirect, as when you use an Amazon link to point to a book. Sometimes there are layers of indirection, as when you use a URI, a uniform resource identifier, to name something whose location is indeterminate. But the basic scheme gives us ways to create a globally unique identifier for anything...And once you can do that, anyone can label those pointers, can tag those URLs, in ways that make them more valuable, and all without requiring top-down organization schemes. And this -- an explosion in free-form labeling of links, followed by all sorts of ways of grabbing value from those labels -- is what I think is happening now."

"As we get used to the lack of physical constraints, as we internalize the fact that there is no shelf and there is no disk, we're moving towards market logic, where you deal with individual motivation, but group value."

[individual motivation and group value! what do you call that? is it really just Market Value? huh.]
the title of the day is Sea of Lentils, by Antonio Benitez-Rojo: the New World conquests of 17th century spain! a cartographer who mistook "antilles" for "lentils"!

i enjoy imagining a sea of lentils; it's much like visualizing whirled peas.

"current" comics

once again. my plan was to review all the graphic novels read up to this point. but i'm kind of busy right now. a list, in no particular order! coming soon - the experimental lit' list.

- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
- Billy Corrigan: The Smartest Boy on Earth, by Chris Ware
- Goodbye, Chunky Rice, by Craig Thompson
- Blankets, by Craig Thompson
- Epileptic, by David B.
- American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
- Dogs and Water, by Anders Nilsen
- Palestine, by Joe Sacco
- Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle
- The Many Strange Desires of Mreh, by Karen Sneider
- Grickle and Further Grickle, by Graham Annable
- Persepolis and Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi
- City of Glass, by Paul Auster
- Amphigorey, by Edward Gorey
- Maus I and Maus II, by Art Spiegelman
- Ghost World, by Dan Clowes
- Mother, Come Home, by Paul Hornschemeier
- I Never Liked You, by Chester Brown

Sunday, September 23, 2007

archivist zen, axiom no. 1

"We will feel stupid if we aren't personable. We will feel stupid if we are personable. We will feel stupid if we are qualified. We will feel stupid if we are unqualified. We will feel unqualified if we are qualified. We will feel stupid if we are smart."

now if only i could make postage stamps out of old gum wrappers and correction fluid.

so Secretary isn't really about librarians. so what? it's a great movie. maggie gyllenhaal and james spader make an adorable twisted couple. i heart this movie.

overheard in 'chusetts.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mugar Library is closing in five minutes. However, the first and second floor will be open for all-night studying purposes. If you are on the third, fourth, fifth or sixth floors you must relocate or leave immediately. We are releasing the killer bees. I hope you've been vaccinated."

- B.U. Library Staff, via on Sept 22 2007.

um, wow.

see why the British Library's online rare books kick everyone's ass.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"current" nonfiction

i was going to review all my favorite nonfic' books for this blog. but then i was all, I'm tired and that would take forever. so here's my Five Star nonfiction reading list thus far.

- Art Objects, by Jeanette Winterson
- The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen
- The Cloud Forest, by Peter Mattheissen
- The True History of Chocolate, by Coe & Coe
- The Big Oyster: A History of New York, by Mark Kurlansky
- Cod, by Mark Kurlansky
- Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich
- Consider the Eel, by Richard Sweid
- Vita, by Victoria Glendinning
- Portrait of a Marriage, by Nigel Nicolson
- Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
- The Art of Eating, the collected works of M.F.K. Fisher
- Bananas, by P.B. Jenkins
- The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
- My Dog Tulip, by J.R. Ackerly
- The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, by Farley Mowat
- Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov
- The World of Caffeine, by B. Weinberger
- The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich
- Arctic Dreams, by Barry Lopez
- Oranges, by John McPhee
- Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer
- Candy Freak, by Steve Almond
- Stiff: The Secret Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach
- The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson
- The Beauty of the Beastly, by Natalie Angier
- Woman: An Intimate Geography, by Natalie Angier

remember Party Girl? parker posey gets a job at a library, cuts down on her partying, and eats falafel. (remember Clock Watchers? my favorite scene is when parker hits the light switch with her foot as she's leaving the filing room. her foot!)

eurodance groups only allowed after six pm.

big-boned blond german group Cascada set their video for Everytime We Touch in some library. my favorite part is the break-dancing towards the end.
once and for all, the interrobang shrugs off its mystery.