Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

In honor of the holiday over the weekend, I wanted to take a moment to salute the growing horror collection we have in our library. Here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

1931 Frankenstein--One of the true classics, a movie that singlehandedly influenced pop culture's concepts of the monster.

1935 Bride of Frankenstein--The sequel to the 1931. Woman with crazy Marge Simpson hair with a white streak running through it? That's from this one. One of the most popular horror classics of all time.

1974 Young Frankenstein--What better way to complete the trilogy except with this comedy masterpiece by Mel Brooks. Brooks actually found and used the original sets from the 1931 version to make his, so it all seems very consistent. Good (usually clean) fun.

The Exorcist--Where else can you see someone vomiting pea soup on camera? One of the most frightening movies of all time.

Silence of the Lambs--The only horror film to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture. Yes, some people have said after the fact that it's really a thriller, not a horror, but in my book, any movie that has a villain use another person's face as a mask automatically qualifies for the "horror" status.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer--The entire seven seasons are downstairs on reserve. More fun thrills than you could fit in on a lifetime of Halloweens.

Psycho--Alfred Hitchcock's groundbreaking movie. Looking at it now, it's not quite as terrifying as it was when it was released, but that's mainly because other films have built on the ground Hitchcock broke. You'll never want to take another shower again.

The Nightmare before Christmas--Jack Skellington plans to replace Santa Claus in this Tim Burton produced stop motion animated film.

We have more than just these--some good Dracula adaptations, more thrillers, and other fun films. What's your favorite Halloween movie? Do share!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Halloween Infographic
Source: Online Colleges

Can't get enough Halloween infographics? Here's another one. And yet another.
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ask a Librarian: Call for Questions

Okay, folks. I've run through some of the basic questions I had brainstormed previous to starting this series of entries, and I wanted to take a break to see if there are any questions out there that any of you would like answered. So here's your big chance. Any takers?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting the Most from your Internet

In today's tech Tuesday post, I want to talk a bit about internet speeds, since many people I've talked to over the years seem not to understand them. They know there's "fast" and "slow", but that's about it. Allow me to explain. The slowest of the slow these days would be dial-up--using something like AOL or another internet provider to connect via your phone connection. This clocks in around 56 kbit/second (theoretically--in practice it's more like 40-50). This is very slow. Painfully slow.

Remember: painfully slow=50 kbit/second.

So what's fast? Blazingly fast in America these days would be around 50 mbit/second. This is about 1000 times as fast as dial up. It also is only available in large cities, and costs an arm and a leg to get. ($155/month)

Fact: you do not need internet speeds this fast.

So what's reasonable? Well, I get 3 mbit/sec at my house, and that's adequate. I'd like 4 or more, but such is life. It's a balance between cost and return. At work, I get something like 35 mbit/sec, which is very appreciated, especially when I have to download large files. Of course, there's the other side of the coin: upload speeds.

When you're using the internet, sometimes you're getting information--you're watching a movie, looking at pictures, listening to music, etc. That's the speed people usually look at, and it's the one I've discussed so far. But sometimes you're giving information--putting pictures on Facebook, trying to Skype with a friend, playing a video game with other friends, etc. This is called upload speed, and it can be just as important, but as a rule, if you get a high download speed, you'll get a relatively high upload speed, as well.

So what people do is they call up their cable or phone company and say "I want fast internet." The cable or phone company cackles and hooks them up with "fast internet." Since people don't understand what fast is (or how to measure speed), they just accept the idea that they now have "fast" internet. It's certainly faster than dial-up, so why worry? This is crazy to me. If you're paying for a certain internet speed, you should be sure you're getting what you're paying for.

How do you tell?

Go to and follow the onscreen instructions.

Don't use anecdotal evidence. Don't assume that it "feels" fast, so it must be fast. Test it. Your internet service provider (ISP) should be obligated to provide you with consistent speeds at least 80% of what they're advertising. (Sometimes internet speeds can bog down, but if you're paying for 10 mbit/sec and only getting 1, there's a problem.) If you note a problem, contact your ISP. Complain. You're paying the money, they need to provide the services.

Why does it matter? If you don't notice you're slow, why care? I suppose if all you do is look at websites with no videos or Flash or the like, it doesn't. (But then, why are you paying for really fast internet?) If you're trying to play games, stream movies on Netflix, Skype with video and the like, a faster connection will give you a noticeable improvement.

In the end, this is just a message to encourage you to be aware of what you're paying for and what you're getting in return. Because a well-informed consumer is a happy consumer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Live from the Archives...

So, I've been spending a lot of time in the University Archives for the past few months, because we are relocating to a new space. What? You didn't know there IS an archive? Okay, let me back up the bus for a minute. Mantor Library is the official keeper of UMF history, in the form of an archive that is currently housed in the basement of Mallet Hall. The archive contains vertical files, consisting of clippings, documents, photographs, theater programs - anything UMF related that can be stored in folders in a filing cabinet. We also have physical objects: books, maps, scrapbooks and all kinds of other memorabilia, that is stored in acid free boxes on shelving. It's a LOT of stuff. Some of it is very interesting stuff. And I've been getting up close and personal with a lot of it that has been waiting to be sorted and processed. And since I have a box that I've been sorting sitting here in my office, I thought you might like to see a few gems from the collection.

This is a receipt for housing in Purington Hall. In 1918, room and board would have set you back $25.00 for six weeks.

This is the program for the commencement of the college's first graduating class, in 1866. In those days, final examinations were given in the morning, and graduation was held in the afternoon. Wow. Talk about leaving things til the last minute!

Here's one I've been getting a kick out of: this list was apparently mailed out to incoming students circa 1950 - and it's a suggestion of things to bring to college.

In those days, according to another list, room and board had skyrocketed to a hundred bucks for the first quarter, and tuition was a whopping $25 per semester. Yes. Semester. Not credit hour.

I'm learning a lot about the history of UMF as I sift through these boxes, many of which were gifts of alumni, or the children or neices or nephews of alumni, who send back these bits of memorabilia with notes that say how much the University, whether it was known as the Normal School, or the State Teacher College, or UMF as we know it now, meant to them, and how they would like their college souvenirs to be preserved in our archive. And they are. The material in our archive is the memory of this institution, and the echo of every student who attended the school in all it's incarnations.
And where is the archive moving to, you may wonder? Well, so do we. That decision hasn't been made yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You never quite know what you're going to get when you open up a sequel. In the case of The Knife of Never Letting Go, the ending was such a cliffhanger that you almost had to read the second book before you could properly review the first. (Sort of like how you don't know what you scored with a strike until you've bowled the next two frames. Look at that--I just managed to incorporate bowling into a book review. It's been that sort of a day.)

In any case, I've now read the sequel to Patrick Ness's original, and it was just as good as the first, maybe better. One of the things I liked so much about the first was how well Ness handled his character. You see things from Todd's point of view so clearly, and the choices he has to make all have huge implications, but those choices aren't handled cavalierly or from an author-moving-chess-pieces-around sort of approach. Todd makes the decisions Todd would make. Always. The second book extends that, involving Viola's POV, as well. Once again, Viola stays just as consistent as Todd.

Throughout the book, the two make hard choices. They have to deal with issues that have no clear right or wrong answers--heavy issues that I was genuinely interested to see how they reacted to them. In fact, one of the criticisms I've heard of the first book is that it's too much of a boy's book--Todd's POV is so strong that it can alienate girl readers. This might be the case, but if that's so, then the sequel should solve some of that, since Todd's viewpoint is now only half the book. Viola has her own unique way of looking at things, and the views are distinct and each handled well.

Again, I don't want to delve into spoilers. The basics are that Todd and Viola find themselves caught between two violently opposed factions, and they each take sides as they try to cope with what's at play. Some themes include what makes it possible for a tyrant to come to power, how is the best way to deal with tyranny, and where is the line where resistance to tyranny becomes just as bad as the tyranny itself. Deep, but action packed. Suffice it to say that it's a great book. If you liked the first, you'll like this one. If you were so so about the first (but finished it), definitely pick this one up and give it a shot.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Hey, everyone: I am on a quest to bring you new and awesome ways to locate and organize information - and I just love today's find.
It's called Timeglider, and it's a free, web-based timeline creator built on an Adobe Flash platform.

Timeglider allows you to build a multi-layered timeline, so if your information is very dense, you can prevent visual clutter by assigning importance values to your events: readers see "the big picture" at first glance, and then zoom in for more detail - from century at a glance to hour by hour. To move forward and back along the timeline, just grab and drag, and multicolored "event" lines allow readers to visually follow long term events, and see how they overlap and interact. I also love the fact that you can import images, and everything that you mouse over brings up an information box. It's visually interesting, AND interactive: that makes me happy.
The first thing readers will see when you share your timeline (which is private until you give out the url - no casual searchers can find or use your research!) is the introduction that you write, then, by clicking "start", they can start travelling through your timeline.

I can think of soooooo many applications for this program: for student presentations, for educators who want a graphic way to present information, for historians. Genealogists could use it, as could journalists following a story or novelists doing plot development. Hey, even if you've got a wedding or some other complicated event to plan, you could use Timeglider.

Take a tour of some of the sample time lines on the Timeglider site. (You can start with the Wright Brothers example above, but it's hard to get the full effect in that little box. ) It's really cool. And here in the Browsing Room, that's what Thursdays are all about.
Until next time,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Open vs. Closed Systems

There's been a flurry of news today as Steve Jobs had one of his latest outbursts--this time focused on why he feels iPhone is better than anything out there. At its essence, the argument boils down to a disagreement about which approach is better: an open system or a closed system. Allow me to explain. An open system would be something like the classic PC--it's put out there on the market, and any other company can make parts for it, tweak it as they see fit, use it for new products, etc. That's how you have the current situation, where Dell, Gateway, HP and a slew of other computer companies exist, all selling essentially the same thing, just with different tweaks. On the other end of the spectrum is a closed system such as Macintosh. Apple owns Mac and is draconian about what it will and won't allow on the machine. They serve as the gatekeeper to their products. Other companies have tried to make clones of the Mac, and Apple has sued them out of existence.

There are arguments for and against both sides. With open systems, consumers often win. They can wade through all the different setups of the product and select the one they like the most. Prices drop. At the same time, they have to wade through all those different setups to select the one they want. Consumers need to be savvy if they want to get the right product.

With closed systems, consumers don't need to wade at all. They know the product they're getting, right out of the box. The company that sells that product has complete control of the presentation and interface of their product, which often results in a slicker, more user-friendly experience. At the same time, prices rise as the company has control over them. There might not be as much innovation, and choices will be restricted by what the company wants, not what consumers want.

In the days of PC vs Mac, PC seemed to win. Mac tried to control its fate, and it was pushed out of the spotlight by PC, with PC computers reigning supreme . . . until today, where Mac is making more than a bit of a comeback. Clearly, these things come and go.

This same scenario is playing out today in the smartphone industry. You have iPhone (a closed system by Apple) vs. Android (an open system by Google). The same pros and cons apply to both. Steve Jobs wants his iPhone interface exactly how he wants it--no tweaks allowed. Google's all for openness. The great thing for regular folk like you and me is that we don't need to take sides. It's good to see huge companies fighting over our attention, because that means that in the end, we win. We want there to be heated rivalries--it results in better products. So if you'd rather have a slick, easy-to-use experience, go with iPhone. If you want control over your phone and what you can and can't do with it, go with Android.

At least, that's my take on the matter. Any questions?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mantor Monday

It's a busy week for On Our Minds this week, readers! We'll be starting the activities with a Gold Leaf discussion group on October 19th at 3pm in the Browsing Room (the physical one, not this one) , and we're expecting a really good turn-out. In Defense of Food, and Food Rules, our book selections this year, both lend themselves to discussion, so we'll have plenty to talk about!

Also on October 19, at 7:00 pm in Lincoln Auditorium, will be the second in our Food For Thought film series: We Feed the World. “Close to a billion people on earth are starving today. But the food we are currently producing could feed 12 billion people. This is a film about food and globalization, fishermen and farmers, the flow of goods and cash flow - a film about scarcity amid plenty.” - Allegrofilm.
Sounds good, doesn't it? And if you can't make it to the screening Tuesday evening, we'll be running encore presentations here at the library at 10 am, 2 pm, and 6pm.
And remember: at any On Our Minds function you attend, you can enter to win a raffle! The next drawing will be November 15, and we'll be giving away a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is worth the purchase price just for the recipes alone, never mind the fact that Kingsolver is an entertaining and informed proponent of local eating - and a darn good writer. So to get it for free? Like frosting on the cake. The organic, whole wheat, locally sourced cake, naturally.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review: Incarceron

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a decent book that could have been better. Should have been better, really. The concept's a cool one (although it seems to have been done some before in the past): a boy wakes up in a prison with no memory of how he got there, and only vague memories of his past. Coupled with this is another plotline: a girl who's betrothed to the next king, in a world very unlike the world the boy finds himself in. Of course, we find out the two worlds are connected. The girl's world created what was supposed to be a paradise controlled by a computer. The boy lives in that "paradise," where everything went wrong and the happiness disappeared a long time ago.

So, what did I like? The plot was brisk enough, moving forward in a sort of "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" way. The characters were fairly engaging, and the conflict engrossing. You'll note that I'm using disclaimers here--I clearly wasn't blown away by the book. It took me three weeks to finish, which I think is a sign right there: I just wasn't captivated enough to be swept away and dive into the book.

So what didn't I like? My biggest complaint is that the book is riddled with poor use of magic/sci-fi elements. In a good fantasy/sci-fi book, the rules are clearly established. You can't just do "anything"--the author shows early on what is possible and impossible in the world, and then those rules are adhered to religiously. Not so in this book. The author constantly disclosed elements that conveniently caused trouble or--worse still--solved conflict. It's hard to get involved in the action when the action is solved by a "oh wait--I have this magic ______ that will solve this for us" technique.

Another complaint stems from this: often the description of what was going on was just too vague for me. The fantasy and sci-fi elements were nebulous. I had a hard time picturing what was being described and how it was affecting our characters.

Really, in light of these two critiques, it's a testament to how good the rest of the book was that I still gave it three stars. In other words, if you're not as big of a stickler for fantasy as I am, you might very well really enjoy this book. :-) I've returned it, and it's waiting for you even as we speak, on the Discoveries shelf.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Making a List...

Are you a list maker? I am. I have "to do" lists, shopping lists, lists of books I want to read, work related lists and home related lists. Lists, for me, are like brain maps. They help me organize information and formulate a plan of attack for all the things I want to do. And let's face it: there's something really satisfying about crossing a completed item off a list. (I have a friend who is such an extreme "Type A Personality" listmaker, if she completes a task not on her list, she will ADD it to the list, just for the thrill of crossing it off. Yeah. I know. But she has a lot of other redeeming qualities, so we must forgive her for this bit of organizational overkill.)
If you are a list maker who is looking for ways to reduce paper in your life, or if you just like doing things digitally, have I got a site for you: Listography.
Listography allows you to create multitudes of lists on a customized background. You can create text lists and photo lists, and it's completely linkable to your blog, facebook, or myspace page.

If you find the details of other people's lives fascinating, there's more to see here than a reality show marathon: you can browse other people's lists for ideas and inspiration. You can even comment on lists, and get comments on yours. (Lists you make are public unless you make them in your "private" folder - so be aware, and don't use information you would not want made public - like address or phone lists.)
The user guide spells out how to format your lists, and, most importantly, how to cross things off.
Give it a look. It might just make a digital list maker out of you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ask a Librarian: What Does an Interlibrary Loan Librarian Do?

This one is perhaps a bit easier to answer than the last few, because the job is so specialized and specific. An interlibrary loan librarian . . . gets stuff for you through interlibrary loan. But it's more complicated than that, too. I'll break it down. You go to your library, and you want a book or article that the library doesn't have in its collections. You request it via ILL, and that request goes to the interlibrary loan librarian. He or she process the requests the library makes from other libraries, finding where it's available, contacting that library to arrange for it to be sent to your library, etc. Ideally, you never really see the ILL librarian to thank her. Of course, you might request something that your library actually does have in its collections, in which case you get an email alerting you that your request has been canceled and showing you where you can get the item you requested.

In addition to these duties, an ILL librarian manages the requests from other libraries for materials that library has in its collections. It's a two way street, after all. You can't ask other libraries to send you materials if you turn around and refuse them when they ask you. Then again, in a smaller library like Mantor, the number of requests we send out is far greater than the number we get back, just because our collections are so much smaller than, say, a major research university's.

In any case, that about sums up the duties of an ILL librarian. Any questions? Did I miss anything? Having never been worked in interlibrary loan, there's a good chance of that. Feel free to correct me in the comments!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Today's tech post is all about a little tool called Zotero. At its heart, Zotero is like iTunes for your research. You know how your MP3 player might have thousands of songs on it? What if you had no organization for it? What if you couldn't search for things by genre, or artist, or album? What if all you had was a big pile o' music that you had to sort through each time you wanted to listen to a song? I think most of us would go crazy in that situation. We wouldn't even consider subjecting ourselves to it. But researchers do this exact thing to themselves when they research. They compile a hoard of information on various subjects, then spend little to no time actually organizing that information. When the time comes to use a quote or find a reference, they discover they didn't write down where the quote

Enter Zotero.

It's a Firefox addon, which means that it's a program that works within Firefox. You open your Firefox web browser, and it's automatically running. When you find an article, web page, movie, book or whatever, you can import its information into Zotero. Zotero classifies things by tags, subjects, authors--you name it. Like iTunes, you get out of it what you put into it. When you import information, it's important that you look it over to make sure everything was imported properly. You add tags of your choosing. Put it into various reference collections you have going.

If you're only working with a handful of articles, Zotero is overkill. But if you're working on a large research project--a thesis, or research that spans several semesters--Zotero can be a life saver. No more lost citations, missing quotes, last-minute searches to find the article you could have sworn you had already printed off. Zotero lets you add notes to each entry, including particularly noteworthy passages if you want. Really, there's almost nothing you can't do with it. It does take some effort to learn the ropes, but for those who put in that effort and are serious about their research, it always pays off.

Already use Zotero? Tell us what you think! Have more questions about it? Please ask!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a big, growing genre in YA right now: dystopian science fiction. Basically, it's bleak sci-fi set in a world that's often post-apocalyptic. Worlds that are ruled by totalitarian regimes, have strict laws about what can and can't be done. That sort of stuff. You might recognize other books in this vein: The Hunger Games, The Giver, Uglies, The City of Ember, Feed--I could rattle off quite a few from the top of my head. Books that share the same basic concept, and then focus on how characters deal with living in that situation. I enjoy them all.

Add another great one to the list.

The Knife of Never Letting Go has a fascinating premise: a group of people colonize a planet, but soon after colonizing it, they start to be able to hear what other people are thinking. Not some of the time, either. A constant barrage of thoughts from everyone. They call it Noise. What's worse, the women of the colony all died from an apparent alien disease. The protagonist of the story is Todd Hewitt, the youngest boy of the colony. The only boy, at this point. With no women, there have been no more children, so one by one, the boys have grown up and become men. In a month, Todd will become a man himself, going through with the initiation rites his people have developed.

I don't want to get into too many details, because I don't want to spoil things for you, but the book was utterly fantastic. Todd is thrown into some very difficult situations, but he deals with them all in a realistic manner. There are no convenient plot points--no miraculous saves by the author. Patrick Ness (the author) puts Todd into a mess, and it's up to Todd to get himself out. I read this book in a flash, and I loved every second of it.

Better yet, Mantor is adding the entire trilogy very soon. Look for it in the new books section. But you'll have to fight me for the next one.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ask a Librarian: What does a Serials Librarian Do?

Serials. Not to be confused with cereals. (Although it does bring up an excellent point: do cereal companies have serials librarians?) Serials is the library term for magazines. Journals. Periodicals. (How many different words do we need to describe the same things?) A serials librarian is thus the person in charge of keeping track of all things serial in the library. (NOTE: yes, I'm simplifying things here a bit, as serials are actually more complex than I'm describing, but I'm trying to keep things more basic.)

So, what does that mean?

Well, it means that they keep watch over all the subscriptions the library has to journals and newspapers. When a journal of newspaper arrives, they process it (stamp it, add a strip so that it'll beep when someone tries to take it out of the library, add a reinforced binding if necessary, and shelve it). They also add it to the catalog holdings. They keep track of what journals are late and what ones never got sent. They throw out old journals if the library only keeps the most recent years. They manage microfilm and microfiche. They might send some unbound periodicals off to get bound, in which case they inspect the bound journals when they return to make sure everything was done right (none are in upside down, none were cut off so you can't read them, etc.).

In addition to this, they get the pleasure of dealing with online journals and databases, managing subscriptions and holdings. If the library has access to a journal online, that has to appear somewhere in the catalog, and it has to be easy to find and understand if a patron comes in to search for it. There are programs and companies that manage this sort of information (Serials Solutions is the one we use), but it still takes work on the library's end to make sure everything's functioning properly.

Serials librarians also keep track of usage statistics. How often are journals are getting used? What's the cost per use of each journal? Should we keep it? Ditch it? These are all areas the serials librarian is expected to at least offer input on, if not make the final decision.

All of these things must be done if the serials collection of a library is going to be easy to use. More complicated than it seems at first, right?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Google and Apple TV

Over the past few weeks, you might have heard some rumblings from the tech world about Google TV or Apple TV, and you might have wondered what in the world Google (a search company) and Apple (a computer company) have to do with that box that sits in your entertainment center. Well wonder no more. You've got questions, and I've got the answers.

In a nutshell, Google and Apple are both trying to get inroads into more parts of your lives. If you have an internet connection, then you have access to all sorts of media via your computer. However, a lot of people don't like to watch media on their computer--they have big fancy television screens and surround sound systems for that. Now, these people could just hook their computers up to their televisions, and that would solve that problem. (I've done that--I had a laptop whose LCD light gave out. Instead of chucking the whole thing, I just hooked it up to my TV, and now I can watch whatever I want to watch online on the big screen. Worked like a charm.) But people don't want to hook their computers up to their TVs, mainly (I assume) because too many cables are involved. (It's not really difficult, but the amount and types of cables can be daunting.)

That's where Google and Apple TV come in.

Both are simple boxes that hook up to your television just like other AV components (DVD players, cable boxes, etc.) They bring the internet to your television in an easy to use manner. They have apps (like smart phones) for watching various things from YouTube to Netflix to Hulu to individual channels like HBO or TNT. They let you buy or rent movies or TV shows from online databases. Basically, they're trying to replace your cable/satellite provider, and they're getting really close, too.

Right now, you can comfortably watch pretty much any show you want to watch online, without paying for a TV subscription. The only hanging points are live shows, from sports to award ceremonies. ESPN lets you watch some things online for free, but only if you have internet supplied from certain companies (who are usually TV providers in addition to being internet providers).

The good news is that with heavy hitters like Google and Apple entering the fray, things are likely to change even more quickly than they have been. I really don't think we're too far off from the day when you pay for a single service (internet), and that provides your internet, phone and television needs. Yes, you can bundle all those different services into one bill today, but I'm talking only paying for internet--not for phone or TV. Sound good to you?

It might not be too far off.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mantor Monday: All the News That's Fit to Print

Big news around here today: our community patron log-in issues have finally been resolved! This means that: a.) if you are a community patron with an existing computer account, you can once again use your individual user name and password, and b) you can PRINT AGAIN!!!! Oh, the joy: all day, the lobby has been filled with the sound of rejoicing as people read the sign announcing the return of the printers.
If it's been so long since you were able to use your account that you forgot your password, we can help you reset it. You'll have to show us a photo i.d. before we'll monkey around with a password, though, so make sure you bring one with you.
If you are a community patron who applied for a computer account during the Dark Times, (we could not process new accounts until the log-in issue was fixed) the good news is, your application is probably winging it's way through the approval process right now.
If you are a community patron who has been using the temporary generic username/password without an account of your own: the jig is up. That one doesn't work anymore, and you'll have to apply for your own account. You'll need to bring in photo i.d. to apply for a computer account. It generally takes 48 hours from the time you submit your application until your account is set up and ready to use.

The other printing issue that 's been causing some minor mayhem around here is student printing. Yes, it was free for students while the system was broken. Those were the good old days. Now, it's gonna cost you. Printing for students is automatically deducted from your printing account. The problem is, you can't put money on your printing account at the library. Sorry. You have to do that across the street at the Computer Center.

Happy Printing!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Experiences with Raiders of the Lost Ark

So today's movie review isn't much of a review. I mean, I assume it goes without saying that virtually everyone in the world has seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. You have, haven't you? (If not, could you please tell me why not?) So what's the point in reviewing a movie most people have already seen, and the majority of the film world views as a classic?

Instead, I'm going to talk about the impact that movie has made on me. Because we all know reviews are all about the reviewer anyway, so why pretend they're about anything else?*

My earliest Raiders memories are quite vivid in my mind for a number of reasons. Number one, my family rented it from the movie store, and I dropped it down the stairs, breaking the video tape. The movie came out in 1981, so I figure I was probably in first grade or so by the time I dropped it down the stairs, although I suppose I might have been a bit older. I remember pretending to be Indiana Jones on the playground. In my mind, this consisted of rubbing my face a lot in contemplation, and then pretending to whip just about everything in sight. All I was missing was some facial stubble.

And of course, there's one other reason Raiders stood out in my elementary school mind: people's faces melted in it. Literally melted. Like, you could see their bones and everything. How cool was that? To think I lived in an age where I could see people's faces melt . . . beyond awesome. Looking back at that memory, I kind of wonder what the heck my parents were thinking, letting me see it. I mean, I think my son's still a year or two off from being able to watch it, but maybe I'm just more of a stickler than my parents were.

In any case, Indiana Jones was a pinnacle in my mind from a very early age. Since then, I've watched the movie many many times. I own the box set of the trilogy, and I enjoy seeing it each time. For more nitty-gritty details on the movie, check out the excellent imdb page on the movie. I love that site, and have spent many hours happily immersed in movie trivia and behind the scenes tidbits. (For example, did you know Raiders was Alfred Molina's first film? Or that the screenplay was done by the same guy who did the screenplay for another classic: Empire Strikes Back? Stuff like that just fascinates me. Gotta love the movie connections.)

My question to you all is this: what are your first Raiders memories? Please share, if you're willing. I'd love to hear them. And if (gasp!) you've never seen the movie, it's waiting here in Mantor for you to check out. Come on by and pick it up, then tell me what you think.

Happy Friday, all!

*To explain--Reviews vary wildly based on the reviewer. One person may love a film, another may hate it. I'm sure there are people out there who have never seen Raiders, or who wish they'd never seen it to begin with. That's okay. There are people who don't like bratwurst, either. The trick with reviews is to find a reviewer whose taste are close to your own, then listen to that reviewer and ignore everybody else. Who cares if 99% of reviewers hated a movie, so long as you loved it? Today, with Rottentomatoes and the like, people seem to want to defend their tastes. They're upset if other people disagree with them. That's silly. I can love a movie; you can hate it. I can't tell you that you're wrong, and vice versa. There's no right or wrong when it comes to taste.

Except with Raiders of the Lost Ark. :-)