Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall Street Journal Energy Issue, June 30, 2008

Wall Street Journal Energy Issue, June 30, 2008

Today, I decided not to read a book on the way home. Occassionally, I read the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times on the trade ride home. They both have become very expensive these days. It cost me a $1.50 to buy the Wall Street Journal. That is more than the cost of a cup of coffee at the diner down the street from the library where I work. It irks me a little bit.

However, when I opened this issue, I was pleasantly surprised. There is an energy section with quite a few good articles in it. One is on biobutanol, a possible substitute for ethanol that has 36% more energy density and can be transported using regular pipelines.

Also on the last page of the section, they profiled six republicans in congress that are supporters of alternative energy and are peak oil advocates.

Large parts of it were not that interesting to me. I don't particularly believe in nuclear power, or natural gas drilling. I also thought their article on algae oil was inaccurate. Algae oil is already being commercialized for production in New Zealand of all places. . They may even be producing biodiesel for jet planes for Boeing. It is a really fascinating idea.

Green Your Place In the New Energy Revolution by Jane Hoffman and Michael Hoffman-- Review

Green Your Place In The New Energy Revolution by Jane Hoffman and Michael Hoffman is a primer on alternative energy. The book starts with reasons you should go green; pollution, dwindling energy resources, political instability, and changes to a healthier lifestyle.

The book describes the present state of renewable energy focusing first on sources of energy that are not renewable. Coal, nuclear, oil and natural gas are compared to renewables. The author correctly points out that although there is talk about carbon sequestration, but no research money has actually been spent on creating the process.

The book then focuses on the state of renewable energy. It describes the different types of renewables, wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass energy. Wind is pointed out to be the most successful form of renewable energy currently. There is some brief talk on new concepts in solar energy like solar towers.

Then the author switches to describing biofuels. As part of this discussion he describes how a hydrogen infrastructure is not possible to build until at least fifteen years in the future. Ethanol and biodiesel are the only two currently available biomass fuels. This is a little bit wrong. Biobutanol is another option which could have been described. I like the extensive description of biofuels in Brazil. The authors even give several suggestions on how the Brazilian model could be extended to the United States.

After the forms of energy are described, methods of encouraging renewable energy are suggested. This includes definitions, RECs, (renewable energy credits), carbon cap and trade systems, and carbon offset taxes. The language makes these ideas which are very complex easy to understand.

Finally some new technologies are suggested. The jatropha plant which can be used for biodiesel is described, and the plasma converter for waste is also explained. This book misses the boat on wave energy converters. It doesn't talk about them at all.

Then the book puts renewable energy in a global perspective. China has already put over $8 billion dollars a year into renewable energy. They are very serious about developing a renewable infrastructure. India also has an extensive renewable energy infrastructure.

The final chapter is a series of recommendations for renewable energy. They are very lightweight. Institute higher standards for gas mileage, conserve energy at home and buy green appliances, and invest in a wide variety of renewables.

This is a solid primer on renewable energy. It covers all the basics in clean, understandable language. The book is not very controversial. It is meant for the mainstream reader. It is not very preachy. This book would be a good introduction for the sceptic or the person who was just starting to be interested in the subject. There is a short index in the back as well as a set of notes on the chapters. The book is a quick read.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cherry Pal Green Personal Computer

Cherry Pal Green Personal Computer

I did not do a whole lot of reading today. I looked at a few different sites. I came across something rather interesting while I was looking around the internet. Apparently someone is going to build and market a green personal computer. I have no idea what this means. Does it mean you would send the computer back to the company when you are done with it and get a recycling ticket. Dell gives you a discount on a new personal computer if you send in your old personal computer.

Claiming to be green is one thing. Will it be more energy efficient like Energy Star brands. Do they use lean manufacturing like in Toyota. Or is it just a marketing ploy. There are generally two steps in green manufacturing, less waste in production, and less energy to produce.

I rather liked the advertising. I found it a bit facetious in some ways. I don't quite embrace the style they are putting in the advertisement. I also have not decided to market the thing yet. If I knew a little more, I might consider it. The marketing piece was at least entertaining. Riding a bike in New York is insane. I take the subway. Where is the urban appeal for New York. .

If I was going to decide to put a note on my blog, I would expect they would at least be kind enough to send me a widget to put on my blog. They said the announcement date was July...

Who knows, maybe I will get a chance to replace my ancient four year old dell desktop computer.

Ah here it is, now I know what it is? It was described on Treehugger. It is a 2 watt computer. This is kind of interesting. I don't know if it really matches what I am looking for. The release date is August 4.

An Essay Pulling Ideas from The Long Tale By Chris Anderson

An Essay, Stream of Ideas, Rant, Pulling Ideas From The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson is a book about how ecommerce changes the nature of niche products and the products available for people to buy. With places like Amazon it is possible to maintain a huge backlist of books, more than any physical bookstore can hold. On the other side Alibris can do a similar thing and aggregate huge numbers of used bookstores together. The ultimate endpoint however is with products like Itunes which can essentially build huge backlists of information products, over a million songs available for download.

I am using some of the ideas from reading this book as well as my own ideas in writing this essay, rant, or collection of thoughts. I am just putting down my thoughts as they come.

Physical stores become shallow with the most on demand immediately buyable titles. For example when I went to Barnes and Noble, I looked for the most popular recent titles that were available which I could add to my selection list. These titles in a way were not ideal because they might not be things that people will use over and over again across a long time period. Barnes and Nobles focuses on general material. It cannot match specialty retailers which sell used material that people still want like the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. Barnes and Noble at one point had a used book annex in lower Manhattan. It closed.

Libraries will have a place with older and specialty material. Publishers often rely on libraries to sell their backlist. Titles like The Prince, Huckleberry Finn, The Iron Heel, The Color Purple, are much more likely to be found easily in a library than a bookstore.

However, things will not remain the same. Increasingly many of the books not under copyright have become freely available on the internet through sites like Project Gutenberg. Also many out of copyright images have been made available through . People still prefer reading these books in the physical form. Reading on a screen is not very easy. However, this will change as new technologies change the resolution of computer screens.

Also, because of Print On Demand, books are no longer considered out of print anymore. This is still being resisted because of the problem of returns. However, I think with a focus on greening books, this will change. Already, the concept of "Cradle to Cradle" is seeping into the book industry. It is possible to redesign books so they are much easier to dismantle, recycle, or reuse.

Changes in how books are made and used will make it much easier to handle the problmes of returns and disposal of books.

It is not just books which are possibly going to be made on demand. With more advanced fabbing technology, it will be possible to make a greater variety of manufactured goods available on demand. Incorporating the Cradle to Cradle concept into fab manufacturing could create easily reusable products that can be dismantled for their components quickly. Another book whch talks about this is Bruce Sterling's famous essay, Shaping Things

Getting back to the idea of print on demand. Print on demand is available to practically anyone to make books. Through a service like lulu, I can turn a book which I made into a print on demand product for approximately $200. Then I can sell the book through Amazon. This opens the market to an incredible variety of new material.

Even if physical books are available as print on demand, there is still the potential for ebooks. Like itunes, there could be an almost limitless backlist if you could have the choice of print on demanding at a kiosk or simply downloading a book to a reader. This is not as far off as many people think. The Kindle and The Sony Reader are the first generation of E-ink. Electronic ink is not a mature technology. It is what allows people to read on their cell phone or blackberry.
It will mature and get better.

According to Chris Anderson people seem to want to have more choice. The more choice they have the wider they read or listen. Effectively, less bestsellers are being sold and more niche products are being used. With unlimited choice in information, along with guides on how to get and use that information people vary their information choices.

In The Long Tail he criticizes the library for using the antiquated dewey decimal system. He calls it a dead system. In many ways, he is correct. He also says that it is biased towards western thought. I think in some ways he is correct. As a halfway step, many libraries have introduced merchandising to pull together similar subjects in an area that would be under different dewey numbers.
A few libraries have even adopted parts of the bookstore classification scheme. The proper term is Book Industry Standard And Classification.

Also, when Yahoo looked for its classification scheme to organize one of the first internet directories, they found that they could not use Library of Congress Subject Headings. The subject divisions were counterintuitive and most people simply could not understand them. Yahoo had to create its own classification system. Google had to create its own taxonomy as well.

The concept of Wikipedia is discussed in
The Long Tail. Wikipedia entries are non-authoritative. Libraries are bastions of authoritative information. Virtually everything which we buy is supposed to be reviewed by us or sourced from review material. This is of course quite difficult. Despite having massive amounts of magazines and reviews, we simply cannot get coverage on everything which we buy. We usually preface something when we look it up on Wikipedia, this is not authoritative and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. This is true of much of the internet.

There is a lot of material in The Long Tail that is quite useful for librarians, book people, and publishers seeking to understand the changing context of information. I would recommend that if you work with publishing or writing you should read this book.

I can see myself in a changing environment where my job is no longer to just search for what is available within our four walls, but instead to direct people to places outside of the physical four walls to location in cyberspace as well as go to other locations as well as recommend material for people ro read and use.

Many of the things he talks about are in the context of marketing and ecommerce. When I am writing this article, I am interpreting and using the information he provides in a different context. I took what I found useful out of the book. The litte chart with the tale wasn't my primary interest. This makes my interpretation different than the writer probably originally intended.

This is a link to the original article which the book was based on. . Chris Anderson, the author of The Long Tail, is the chief editor of Wired Magazine.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Gorilla Librarian, Variant Nursery Rhyme, Disappearing Post

Variant Nursery Rhyme

Hey riddle riddle, the dog and the fiddle, the cat jumped over the moon, the little cow laughed, as the dish rapped a tune with the spoon.

My Post Disappeared

My post disappeared today. This happens occassionally. I'll have to start from scratch again with more material later today. I have to redo my review of the book. Maybe Blogger got tired of me ordering books. Anyways, have a very nice day.

I'm back now after my post disappeared. I'm not going to rewrite my review of Starstrike Operation Orion by Kevin Dockery and Douglas Niles. I will say that I enjoyed reading it. It was better than the first book in the series which I reviewed a few days ago, Starstrike, Task Force Mars. I am looking forward to seeing more volumes in the series.

I spent most of my day ordering books again. I worked this Saturday. In addition to ordering social science books, I ordered some educational titles as well from Choice Magazine.

On the subway on the way home, I read Green Your Place In The New Energy Revolution by Jane Hoffman and Michael Hoffman. It is quite entertaining so far. One of my fvorite facts so far in the book is that before 1919, America was producing 50 million gallons of ethanol. Both Rudolf Diesel and Henry Ford were supporting biofuels for cars. Then prohibition struck. Pure ethanol became illegal, and had to be mixed with petroleum so people could not drink it. By the end of prohibition, petroleum had eclipsed ethanol as the fuel of choice for cars. There is a lot of very interesting information like this.

Tomorrow, I plan on writing the review for The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. There is a lot to say in the review. Some of it is about books and libraries. I think this is a quite important book.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Afternoon Thoughts, Neil Gaiman Oracle

Discworld Librarian (from Terry Pratchett's books) , image attributed to Lokal_Profil . It reminds me of a Monty Python skit.

Morning Thoughts

I find myself starting on ordering the social science books. I guess, I just like ordering books of all kinds. On a positive note, I will be able to order A Safe and Sustainable World: the Promise of Ecological Design by John and Nancy Todd. This is something which I have wanted to read for quite a while.

I also finished reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. There are a lot of fabulous ideas in this book.

I have a stack of Publishers Weekly which I am going through to look for social science titles. Next is Kirkus Reviews, followed by Booklist. Unfortunately, most of the books I find in these reviews are not the kind of thing which I want to purchase. Review magazines have a tendency not to review series like Opposing Viewpoints, Current Controversies, or basic overviews of subjects like politics or crime.

Afternoon Thoughts

The young adult librarian gave me a selection of social science titles to check for the advanced placement class. I ordered The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court for the college bound students. I finished looking at Kirkus Reviews. There is not a whole lot more review material I am going to look at. I think the next step is to look at a few websites for recommendations. Then I will search for books by subject.

I did order a few things which I wanted to read. How to Rule the World : The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy by Mark Engler. I look forward to learning how to be on the supreme committee. It might advance my career a bit in the style of Pinkie and the Brain. I just really liked the title of this book.

The other book which I wanted to read which I ordered is A Universal History of the Destruction of Books From Ancient Sumer to Modern Day Iraq by Fernando Baez. When I get appointed to the supreme committee, I will hold a special festival in honor of this book. The fires will burn high.

Then when I get home, I will read Starstrike Operation Orion by Kevin Dockery and Douglas Niles. It will remind me of my special operatives who protect me and take me to the moon base for vacation.

Looking at too many reviews is getting to me a bit fuzzy. We have twenty cartons of books which just came in from my previous orders. They are in the storage space. Our processing clerk said they will be looked at on Monday. Opening boxes of books is kind of entertaining. I am hoping that everything which I ordered comes in accurately.

Link To Neil Gaiman Oracle:

I found this on Kalafudra's blog. Go on shake it and get an answer. Neil Gaiman is fun.

Thursday, June 26, 2008



Our library is not particulary merchandised. Merchandising is breaking books into lots of small categories like in a bookstore. My boss resists the idea of merchandising the collection. He wants everything to be either alphabetical or by dewey number for the most part. It is very old fashioned. There are a few merchanised collections in my area, the job information center, the multicultural collection, the business reference, the mystery collection, the young adult collection, and the law collection.

The problem with merchandising is that it requires you to have a lot of people to put the books away. There are a lot more categories to put the books in and it is easier to misplace books as well.

The other problem which often happens is that people ask to have books categorized by race, ethnicity, or religion. Where are all the clean books? Where are all the black books? Where are all the hispanic books? Why aren't all the christian books separated from the regular collection? So far, we have partially avoided the hot button issue of separating books out by race, religions, politics, or ethnicity. We have a "multicultural collection" in reference.

We have not separated the urban fiction from the rest of the fiction collection. This is mostly black ghetto writing. There is some hispanic urban fiction, but not much. It is its own genre of writing. This might be a good category to "merchandise" because it is so popular here.

It is much easier to find and display books when they are merchandised. It also puts together similar materials. I am going to ask to have all the graphic novels merchandised so they are easier to find and manage.

I also think having a separate merchandised computer book collection would be better as well. There are computer books in several locations, Quicken is in the accounting section, Wordperfect is with the keyboarding books, digital photography is with photography, upgrading PC's is with the engineering books. It would probably work better if they computer books were merchandised.

Our collection really needs to be reorganized. I can see where we could do a lot more towards having some more categories of books. We would have to relabel the books, but that really would not be a problem.

Twitterku, More Business Ordering, Random Thoughts


Twitter is the near perfect medium for impromptu haiku. I have written two of them as part of my messages so far. I'll probably write more. It is very easy to integrate them into messages.

Coffee drifts in my dreams
Sweet burnt smoke in a hot cup
Drink it down with milk.

Waking in morning
*Birds chirp outside the window
*Summer is now here.

More Business Ordering

I went through and ordered more business books. An awful lot of the books are motivational hype in the business management area. I wish there were more how to run things books; how to write email, run an office, manage a team, and similar things. There is a little voice that seems to come from the books which says do more no matter what. I wish people would focus a little more on working smart.

After looking at hundreds of business management books, I found a hyped out title that seemed right on target. The cover was even bright canary yellow. Impact How To Get Noticed, Motivate Millions, and Make a Difference In a Noisy World by Ken MacArthur. This is a really well done title, it reaches out and grabs your attention immediately.

Random Thoughts

I am going to stop ordering for the next couple days. My next set of ordering is Social Science books. I think it should be a bit more interesting for me because it includes a lot of very interesting trends like globalization, environmental issues, green issues, investing, and economics.

I did some switching out of the law books. I brought up some new McKinneys New York Annotated and United States Code Annotated. I have some looseleaf material to file as well.

One new book came in for me to read Green: Your Place In The New Energy Revolution by Jane S. Hoffman. I hope it is an entertaining read.

I am about halfway through reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monster Poem, Daily Ruminations

Deluxe Monopoly Pieces

Monster Poem

There is a monster under my bed

It helps me sleep through the night

It feeds on dreams taking my nightmares

I knowingly let it take my bad dreams

The price is contentment lack of a future

The monster smiles it lives on ordinariness

I live in the peace of the contented dead

Daily Ruminations

I have been reading more of The Long Tail on the train. It has made me think about how my library is organized. We probably need to merchandise the collection more. This will be a slow process of negotiation. I don't think it will happen immediately.

I have finished part of my order for the business books, $2000. I still have about $1000 more dollars to spend. I found enough review material and sites to order a considerable amount of newer material. I ordered The Long Tail for our collection.

Now, I am going to go back through the collection and order basic materials. I have a book in front of me called, The Basic Business Library Core Resources, 4th Edition, Edited by Rashelle S. Karp. It is an older book, but it will allow me to look for and fill gaps in our collection.
The Basic Business Library Core Resources, 4th Edition, identified another resource for me to look at. The March 15 yearly issue of Library Journal lists the best business books.

I have sorted through the last six years of the magazine to add more to my growing list of business books. It seems I will have enough room to start on a much larger order, social science books. I will be glad when the initial order of business management books is done. It takes a decent amount of time and effort.

I have been thinking a lot lately. I am working on a short essay on the concept of how a build on demand manufacturing system could be integrated with a cradle to cradle remanufacturing system. It is just an idea. I think it is possible to combine fabbing with inbuilt remanufacturing capabilities. Imagine a future with highly interchangeable reusable parts. You read these books like The Long Tail, then somehow, it mixes with the book, Cradle to Cradle, and then it mixes with Bruce Sterling's essay, Shaping Things and you get something entirely weird. It is a ghostly thought waiting to be released. This is of course all wildly speculative silliness.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random Thoughts, Ordering Books

Ordering Books

I spent some time this morning ordering manga and science fiction this morning. It was much easier to do because I had already visited a bookstore and a library to help with the order earlier. It went fairly quickly.

It took me half of the day, not the whole day to do this. I still have to organize my sources to look up and order business books next. I am going to do this tomorrow. I hope it goes quickly. Tomorrow is my late night.

Random Thoughts

When I am ordering things, I get very focused on what I am doing. I still have two books waiting for me at the front desk, House of Many Ways and The Long Tail.

I also haven't read the small stack of review material for books, several Publishers Weekly magazines, a New York Times Book Review, and a copy of the latest Library Journal. Surprisingly, there wasn't that much that fascinated me in the latest literature. I guess, I have been looking at a little too much literature lately.

On the way home, I read a bit of The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. It is a rather interesting read. Everyone seemed to be talking about this idea for a while. I thought it was a weird combination of niche marketing and merchandising before I started reading the book. So far, it is very interesting and very applicable to what is currently happening in libraries and bookstores. I think I may gain some unique insights from reading this book.

I also sat and wrote down categories for what I might order tomorrow. I just sat and thought about what people were asking me for in the business management section. Some of the things which came to mind were business plans, marketing plans, keyboarding, grant writing, board of directors responsibilities, ecommerce, introductory accounting, government contracts, venture capital, international business, franchising, and customer service.

Starstrike-- Taskforce Mars --Kevin Dockery and Douglas Niles-- Review

Starstrike Taskforce Mars by Kevin Dockery and Douglas Niles is a near future action thriller. The Shamani, benevolent aliens have come to earth and given us technology to help us become more civilized. It is the year 2050 and they have helped us build bases on mars as well as given us the technology for an interstellar drive.

To protect earth, a new special elite force is created from the navy SEALs, now they are more than sea, air, and land forces. You add the word space and get a super elite fighting force. This is none too soon because the mars base is attacked by hostile aliens, the Eluoi.

The aliens are classic cardboard cutouts. The Eluoi have solid green eyes and the Shamani have deep red eyes. Otherwise, they look like humans. You might call the Eluoi the evil, slaver, caste society of the galaxy. They are entertaining bad guys.

The hardware in the story is rather interesting. The book is hard science fiction. It is based on what might be possible 2050 with a little help from our magical friends the Shamani. The Seals have a few advantages, they have machine guns, a man portable railgun, explosives, and missiles. The aliens mainly use a mix of beam weapons and slug throwers, not explosives.

This is a story of how a highly trained elite force using small unit tactics defeats larger forces using cunning, deception, ambush, and strategy. The heros don't rush headlong into battle. It reads very much like a futuristic version of a Tom Clancy novel. You could also throw in a little Mack Bolan or Casca for effect.

Some of our heros die in combat, or are severely wounded. This makes it seem a bit more real. They are also captured and escape to wander around the Eluoi planet trying to find a way home. The heros use a backpack nuclear weapon to destroy a space defense platform. This novel isn't particularly politically correct.

The main character is a classic military commander figure who could have stepped out of a World War II novel, Master Chief, Raphael Ruiz.

Douglas Niles has written thirty five novels including the alternate history novel, Fox on the Rhine. Kevin Dockery has written nonfiction books including Future Weapons and Navy Seals: The Complete History. There is a sequel, Operation Orion, which I placed on reserve.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Trip To A Bookstore

Image from Hokusai Manga. A Very Early Japanese Manga

A Trip to a Bookstore

Good afternoon, I spent a little bit of time at the local bookstore which is a generic Barnes & Nobles. I did not buy anything. Occassionally, I do see things which I want to buy for myself, but not this time.

I had a free $5 gift card from Starbucks which was supposed to be good at any Starbucks. I thought the cafe in the Barnes & Noble was a Starbucks because everything in it was Starbucks. Apparently, it just serves Starbucks and the employees wear Starbucks style clothing, but it is is a Barnes & Noble cafe. I was annoyed. I had hoped to get two free medium coffees with milk. (This might have been why I was annoyed enough not to buy anything.)

Anyways, I instead walked around the store and looked at the various sections in the story. The first part which I looked at was Business. I found something interesting in the business section, apparently, Businessweek has a bestseller list. This is a link to the bestsellers for Businessweek for the last two years. Hopefully, this will be useful when I have to order $3000 worth of business books. Wall Street Journal has a bestseller list for business books, but it is almost an exact match of the New York Times bestseller list for business.

There were of course your typical books on business. It of course included books by Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, and Peter Drucker the current American icons of capitalism. I compiled a short list of books which I thought might be useful to order. Two of the books which I put on the list were The Dip by Seth Godin an internet evangelist, and Stirring It up by Gary Hirshberg. I reviewed Stirring It Up earlier on this blog.

As I was wandering around the business books aisle, a gentleman asked me who I was, and I told him that I worked at a library, he gave me a business card that said he was an ecommerce development specialist.

Anyways, I then spent a bit of time looking at the science fiction titles. There were three titles that stood out, Time Spike by Eric Flint, Space Vulture, and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. There were also a few paperbacks by Mercedes Lackey and Tanya Huff I am considering.

I also saw a few superhero mass mareket paperback fiction titles. These are not graphic novels, but movie tie-ins novelizations of recent movies. There were four that stood out. The reason people read these things is that they saw the movie and it stuck in their mind. They were Ironman, Hellboy The Golden Army, Indiana Jones and The Genesis Deluge, and Batman Gotham Knight. This was kind of fun to look at. The Ironman paperback was written by Peter David who actually is a very entertaining author who has written for Star Trek Pocketbooks, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and the Star Trek television show. This is a link to his blog:

Finally, I wandered around the manga (japanese comics). I don't know a whole lot about manga, but I did notice that a number of the publishers had omnibus editions of manga, things like Fruits Basket, The Ultimate Edition which combined several of the smaller editions together. There was also The Viz Big Ruruoni Kenshin, XXXholic Omnibus Edition, and Trigun . I am going to look and see if more of the desired titles are available in either ultimate or omnibus titles. Hopefully, this will allow me to get a wider variety of titles for a little less money. I also saw a graphic novel of Vampire Hunter D, one of my favorite animes. This is a lot of fun to watch.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random Thoughts, Star Trek Klingon Empire

This image was created by NASA. Michelle Nichols was a recruiter for NASA. . Thus it is a government
image in the public domain.

Random Thoughts

Someone recommended another site for business book reviews that looks decent, It has a number of short reviews of business books.

I never did get a chance to go to the local bookstore today. Other things conspired against me, like ordinary life.

It has been very nice outside lately, not too hot and not too cold with a light breeze. I have been outside a lot just walking around.

This morning I was on Facebook again looking at profiles. There are a lot of author profiles if you look for them. I sent friend requests to Robert Sawyer, a Canadian science fiction writer, Christopher Moore who writes humorous urban fantasy, Vincent Bugliosi, and Gregory Frost who just wrote a book which I also finished recently, Shadowbridge.

I have been searching for author, publisher, press, librarian, and writer profiles and adding them to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Star Trek Klingon Empire

I really enjoyed reading Star Trek Klingon Empire, A Burning House by Keith R.A. DeCandido. This is not the kind of thing which reviewing the item in a traditional way will help. I enjoyed the book because it contained readily recognizable characters who I was familiar with Worf from Star Trek The Next Generation being the primary one.

Also, this book creates a series which is different than a lot of the other space opera. There are a lot of puns which you recognize if you look carefully. For example, Captain Klag, is memorialized in an opera for defeating the enemies of the empire. The crowd throws things at the actors to show how they are appreciated.

This is entertaining primarily because it is about Klingons. It delves into the character of being a Klingon, eating lots of meat, fighting, protecting your honor, listening to opera, and living under a brutal imperial regime. It explains the hatred of Romulans, and the constant search by the empire for fertile worlds to conquer so the Klingons can expand.

I enjoyed reading this because it is a story about honor and feuding. Klingons fight to preserve their house. The nobility is basically the senior officers in their military and their families. Farmers are also respected because they produce the food for the empire. Farmers are also recruited as line soldiers (bekkts) on the Klingon battleships.

The life of an average citizen is harsh, there are lots of police to maintain order. The main escape seems to be fighting, hunting, eating, watching television shows, drinking, or the opera.

There is also an artistic bent to their culture. They like building monumental buildings, statues honoring their warriors, and singing.

I did not follow the plot too closely. Most Star Trek novels follow a formula. Luckily, this is a new formula. I wonder what the outline is for writing a Klingon novel is in the Star Trek universe. I like the feuding between the Romulans and the Klingons.

I like watching the show, especially the older shows. The new Klingons are much better than the old Klingons from the original Star Trek Enterprise show. They seem to be better developed.
I am not going to go into too much detail because then the fans might start poking at me.

This is not literature, but the writing is clear and understandable. It is light entertainment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Visit To My Local Library

A Visit To My Local Library

Here I am sitting at a reserved computer at my local library. I took a look at the kids videos and picked up the Wiggles, Scooby Doo, and Autism Is A World. Anyways that was pretty brief.

I also took a look at their manga section. They have a lot of manga for teenagers. Some of the interesting titles were Bleach, Dramacon, Fruits Basket, Full Metal Alchemist, and Prince of Tennis. They also had Blade of the Immortal in the adult section, along with Osamu Tezuka's Buddha. Buddha is actually quite interesting to read. We have it at our library. I have to do an order which combines manga and speculative fiction.

Something which we don't have a lot of are science fiction series books. I took a look at a few of them, Star Wars Sacrifice by Karen Traviss and Star Trek Klingon Empire A Burning House by Keith R.A. Decandido are two books which I am going to read. Sometimes it is fun to read a little light entertainment. It is the lone ranger, or uboats in space.

I also think I might order a few of the books here for my own library, Halo Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten and Battlestar Galactica Unity by Steven Harper.

I intend to balance out my order of speculative fiction with a few titles I had read earlier and reviewed on this site, Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge, Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell both of these are inexpensive paperbacks. I just learned that Ragamuffin is a Hugo nominee this year. I also think I will probably get Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. Another person who there is some demand for is Octavia Butler. I am probably going to order Clay's Ark, Wildseed, and Patternmaster in paperback.

Tomorrow, I'll probably visit the local bookstore and see what is there. I'll probably buy a single mass market paperback. It is a Barnes and Noble and I am ambivalent about buying anything from them.

I also took a few minutes to look at the graphic novels and the computer section. But, I focused on that yesterday, so it might not be as interesting for you to hear about this. There were a few things which I thought might be useful.

I am glad that it is pretty quiet here. Much of the time it is a lot quieter than the place I work at.

This morning has been peaceful so far.

I haven't made any more adjustments for to my website layout. I would like to know if you like the changes. Anyways, my half hour at the computer is up soon and I don't want to stay here any longer.

Right now, I am enjoying reading Star Trek Klingon Empire A Burning House by Keith R.A. DeCandido. I am reading a passage with ambassador Worf from the federation. There is plenty of intrigue in this book.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hot Text Web Writing That Works-- Jonathan and Lisa Price-- Review

Hot Text, Web Writing That Works by Jonathan and Lisa Price is a book about how to write for the internet. Writing on the internet is very different than writing in print. Print has a much higher resolution for lettering and is much easier to look at. Web pages are somewhat fuzzy and indistinct. People read 25% slower on the web than on the printed page.

Readers are also not very patient with websites. Most don't want to have scroll down through multiple screens. They want to read everything on the first screen most of the time. Long articles are often not appreciated.

Because it is harder to read, many people want to have their information up front. You need to summarize what you are writing about at the beginning not the end. You also need headings for your subjects which clearly describe what you are writing about.

The focus is on immediacy. Paragraphs need to be short and to the point. The authors give numerous examples of how to reduce the amount of verbiage while writing. The point is to shorten your words, tighten your paragraphs and arrange your headings so people can understand quickly what you are writing about.

In addition, unlike a printed page, a website page is viewed as an object. There are also images and links embedded in each page. Most people want to see images with their text illustrating what the website is about. Links should be short and easy to read. Also, long lists should be broken up into bullet points if possible.

The point of this book is to make your writing more readable and usable for the internet. The book focuses on business and marketing writing. How to write a proper faq, customer service page, checkout for credit cards, and design a blog are discussed.

This book will help you write cleaner copy and create clarity in your thinking when you are writing on the internet. I thought it was quite useful to read. I think you will too.

Changing The Fonts and Background, Ordering Computer Books

Changing Fonts And Background

I changed the fonts and background color to make my sidebar more visible. Someone recently complained about the way my blog looked. It was not readable enough. I hope this looks much better. The links were hard to see.

Ordering Computer Books

I spent more time ordering computer books today. I spoke with the person in charge of the Cybercorner where people can sign up to use the computers for free. She told me that she thought that the Complete Idiots Guides and The For Dummies series of books were about the right speed for our library. She also mentioned that we needed a lot of very basic books on computers: email, PCs, internet, computer repair, routers, ebay, windows vista, and digital photography. There were not a whole lot of books on routers. I always try and get input from other staff members when I am doing ordering lists.

I also spent a bit of time going through the current computer books to see if there were any publishers imprints I had missed. There was a series called The Absolute Beginners Guides which covered basic issues with computing. As part of looking, I discarded a few of the computer guides.

We cannot discard a lot of the older books because of the problem of legacy computing. What happens is that some businesses keep their old software for many years and do not upgrade it. The stores stop selling the older books about computers, but the businesses still maintain the older systems. We get questions about Windows 95, SAP, Wordstar, DBase IV, and similar systems which can no longer be purchased in the bookstores. The library becomes the de facto repository for books on legacy programs.

I took a few minutes to look at PC Magazine and Computers In Libraries. Computers In libraries had two interesting books listed, The Accidental Webmaster by Julie Stills, and Social Software In Libraries by Meredith Farkas. There were a few gadgets that I had forgotten to consider in PC Magazine, the Smart Phone, Blackberry, and Palm devices.

While I was looking at Amazon and plugging in various categories, I also came across another interesting book, The Future of the Internet And How To Stop It by Jonathan Ziffrain. It is a fascinating title, but I don't think we are going to stop the internet any time soon.

Farewell My Subaru-- Doug Fine-- Thoughts

Farewell My Subaru An Epic Adventure In Local Living by Doug Fine is a back to the land type book. Doug Fine decides he wants to live sustainably, so he buys a house in New Mexico which he calls the Funky Butte Ranch. (A butte is an outcrop of land overlooking an incline).
He starts the process of changing his life to a more green lifestyle. The first thing he does is buy a pair of goats for dairy, which he names Nat and Melissa.

Then he describes how he changes his house into a green "ranch". He buys a diesel truck and has the engine converted so it runs straight vegetable oil (svo). This process is described at a website called if you want to find out about it.

Then he goes into the hard work of transforming his life and his land. Everything from a homemade solar water heater, building a garden, starting a chicken hatchery, and putting in a solar powered pump for a new well is described.

There are small factoids peppered throughout the book. For example, "It takes three to four years of powering your home to offset the energy used to make your solar panels." These are all small green statements.

Also he includes some recipes in some of the chapters. These recipes often use ingredients from his garden. For example, there is a recipe for "Valisa's Kung Pao Chicken With Cold Sesame Noodles."

A lot of the book is about his hands on experiences dealing with people in his new "sustainable life". There is the army man who works part-time converting diesels to to straight vegetable oil, and there is the positive minded hippie who helps him put in his solar water heater.

Doug Fine is making a political statement in support of sustainable living. He is doing this by showing that you can take the time to do this.

The book has quite a bit of light humor in it. The writing is very easy to read. It is the kind of thing which you can read in one or two afternoons.

Doug Fine also shows how hard it can be to succeed in this kind of lifestyle. He fails in his attempt to learn how to hunt, and has difficult with the local predators who attempt to steal his chickens.

This book is an entertaining story. It is a slice of life book. If you like stories about the environment, or have a crunchy granola style of philosophy you might like this book.
He has a set of links at the back of the book to different websites which support sustainable living. The website for the book is

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Driving Miss Daisy, Ordering Computer Books, Random Thoughts

Driving Miss Daisy

We showed Driving Miss Daisy, starring Morgan Freeman in the auditorium. The film was nominated for nine acadmey awards. It was kind of sad, only a few people came. The film was beautiful to watch. I haven't decided what the next film we are going to show is. One of the patrons wants us to show Angels With Dirty Faces starring James Cagney. I think we are going to go back to more classic noire films. They seem to do better than newer films. Dashiell Hammett films or Alfred Hitchcock films do well. In a way, I like the classic films much better than the new films. Many of our patrons say the same thing. They want classic actors like Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, or Gregory Peck.

Ordering Computer Books

I spent quite a bit of time this morning selecting computer books. I tried to get a lot of books with lots of visual instruction in addition to text. Peachpit Press and Teach Yourself Visually are good for libraries because they include a lot of screen captures and photographs of computers. The computer books with visual instruction are often even more popular than the For Dummies series of books.

I also looked at a bunch of different publishers, O'Reilly Media-- especially, the missing manual series which seems to be functional. I reviewed Facebook The Missing Manual earlier on this site. I also reviewed Clear Blogging. I am ordering both of these books for our library.

Just so you know, I didn't forget blogging. I made sure we had books for Wordpress, Blogger, Facebook, and Myspace. I also ordered the new Darren Rowse book, Problogger Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six Figure Income.

Random Thoughts

I still haven't had time to review Hot Text. But, you might have noticed the style of my post has changed slightly. This is the result of having read Hot Text. Also some items are labelled more clearly in my sidebar.

One book came in for me today that was on hold, Farewell My Subaru An Epic Adventure In Local Living by Doug Fine. This is a book about experimenting with living a green lifestyle. I hope it is entertaining and educational.

Although, it has nothing to do with books. I am happy with my choice to invest in Capstone Turbine. They recently had a very large order for hybrid electric vehicle turbines for DesignLine city buses.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ordering Graphic Novels, Hot Text

Panel From Krazy Kat by George Harriman

Graphic Novels Ordering:
Good afternoon, life has been quite busy. I have a small reprieve, I spent most of the afternoon ordering graphic novels about a $1000 worth. First, I looked through the bestseller lists from Diamond Comic Book Distributors for the last several months. They list the top 50 bestselling graphic novels for each month. Most of this is superhero comic books which would be sold in comic book stores.

After I looked through the Diamond Comic Book Distributors list, I took some time to look at the bestselling graphic novels on Amazon. Again, this is mostly superhero comics. People are focused on a few characters, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Hulk, and Ironman. Then it switches to teams like the X-men, and the Justice League of America. There is a small sprinkling of other material like DMZ, Sandman, Fables, and slightly alternative titles.

Following Amazon, I looked through Publishers Weekly and chose the graphic novels with starred reviews in their review sections. Following this, I went to the award sites. There are three major comic book awards, the Harvey Award named after Harvey Kurtzman the founder of Mad Magazine, the Eisner Award named after Will Eisner, one of the creators of Captain America and the Spirit, and the Ignatz Award which is an alternative comic book award, it is named after Ignatz Mouse in the cartoon Krazy Kat.

I took a minute to look at Fantagraphics and Pantheon two of my favorite alternative comics publishers. Most of the material being presented was pretty boring. There was an interesting book on Fantagraphics called Rebel Visions The History of the Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975 by Patrick Rosencrantz which looked quite interesting. I also took a minute to look at the Midtown Comics website. Midtown Comics is in Manhattan. Virgin Comics is putting out a revised version of Dan Dare done by Garth Ennis. I was a little surprised at this.

I tried to create a mix of alternative, slice of life, superhero, and comics lit in the inital order. I have to wait and see how much of the order will be out of stock, out of print, and back ordered in a while.
Tomorrow, I think I will probably start looking at the computer books I have to order. I really have to take some time to visit a place where there is a lot of manga and look around carefully before I order any manga books. I don't know manga as well as I do graphic novels.
Hot Text
I finished reading Hot Text Web Writing That Works by Jonathan and Lisa Price on the train to work. This book has a lot of material in it. The book describes how writing for the internet is very different than writing for the printed page. The attention span of the reader on the web is much shorter, people do not like to scroll through pages of stuff, and want their answers much more immediately. I am going to start working on a review of the book, either tonight or tomorrow in the morning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Comparing Computers, Ordering Job Books

Don't you just wish you could do this to your computer sometimes.

This morning because of the computer debacle last night, I am going to look at purchasing a new computer. I am going to use the comparables method I learned while I was working as a real estate appraisers assistant before I became a librarian. What I am going to do is look at three different sources of information on computers, cnet, pc magazine, and consumer reports. I am going to take down the information on three computers which I like then I am going to compare the different features to see which one I will buy. Dell created a problem when I bought it last time, the hard drive did not last very long. I am thinking about possibly getting a Gateway because I need a media computer more than I need a business computer. This is my morning project.

I looked at CNET and I looked at PC Magazine online. They both rate HP Pavilion systems and Dell computers highly. HP Pavilion seems to be the most popular and highest rated system right now.

I am looking at Consumer Reports. They have a very nice free article on the best way to buy a computer.

Unfortunately, the ratings on their site are not free. I am going to look at the magazine to see the ratings in print for free at the library. The June 2008 Consumer Reports Magazine has the latest ratings for computers. So, it is very up to date.

I looked through Consumer Reports. The top two rated are Gateway FX computers and HP Pavilion computers. The problem with HP Pavilion computers is that they have poor customer service. Consumer reports rates Hewlett Packard's support poorly. This leaves me with a choice between Gateway FX and Dell computers.

After looking at the Gateway website, the Gateway deal for the DX442S which includes a 19" lcd monitor looks quite good.

This morning while I was on the train, I read some more of Hot Text Web Writing That Works. This book is going to take me several days to read properly still. I am on page 286 right now, about two thirds of the way through the book. It is quite information dense.

Today, I have spent several hours looking at and ordering job books. I have $1500 to spend. The career counselor who comes on Tuesdays, brought a list of recently ordered career books from another library. The list covered new books from 2005-2008. We also talked about what she needed to help her job. She travels from branch to branch, going to different libraries in our library cooperative.

The way resource sharing works is that in the county, we are a library cooperative. Every library has its own resources and budget, however, the catalog, the interlibrary loan, and some other things are shared through a central resources building.

She told me she needed more books on jobs and interviewing for ex-offenders, women returning to the workplace, being unemployed, working from home, and nursing resume books.

I also took a look at a variety of publishers; Arco Books, Barron Books, Ten Speed Press, Career Press, and the American Management Assocation for career books.

I picked out a few graphic novels for the summer reading display for summer loan. This allows people to take out books and bring them on vacation. Summer loan allows people to take out books for two months during the summer, but they must have a copyright on or before 2005. A few of the titles were Plastic Man On The Lam by Kyle Baker, The Magic Flute illustrated and adapted by P. Craig Russell, Age of Bronze The Story of the Trojan War, and Captain America Winter Soldier.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rambling On. Electric Morning

I feel a little rambunctious this morning. I have been reading more of Hot Text which is turning out to be very insightful. I wish I had read it earlier. It offers some interesting insights about how to write for the web.

I checked Locus Magazine and Science Fiction site this morning. I put House of Many Ways by Diana Wynn Jones on hold. This is something I am looking forward to read. Diana Wynn Jones has a really excellent sense of humor and does a very good job describing the fantastic.

Another book I am requesting is Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams.

The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel also just came here. It hasn't been processed yet. The cover has a very nice black and white image on the front.

After looking at, I took a little test which he had linked to on his site.

You Are a Little Negative...

You can be negative from time to time, but you rarely go overboard.

You have a realistic view of the world, and most people appreciate your honest insights.

Like everyone else, you have your darker moods.

But when you're feeling super negative, you keep your feelings to yourself.

I had a rather interesting experience this morning. While I was leaving, the fuse blew in the area of the computer room. Apparently, my computer somehow managed to overload the wiring. Iam not completely sure of this. I have to be careful when writing this. There was no brownout according to Con Ed. It only affected the front of my apartment. According to Con Edison people have been using a lot more energy in my area.

I am thinking about getting a battery device for my computer so it can power down properly if there is another brownout. I am lucky I had a functional surge protector which needed to be reset.

I am thinking I may need a new computer which can handle the web better and process things better. My computer is not that new, I upgraded it twice with new components, ram and programs. I am rather surprised it has lasted this long with the way I use it. The hard drive died earlier, but it was under warranty, so they sent me a new one.

I don't like spending money unless I know I will get something considerably better. I don't like Windows Vista. Right now, I have not decided what kind of computer to get. I think I'll get something soon...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Blue Room

I thought the image matched the poem quite well.

Happy Fathers Day. I am not blue, just a bit contemplative this morning.

I spent a little bit of time on various social networking blogs. On Fuelmyblog, I found a very interesting story site with word pictures. That is the best way to describe it. The stories have a very light, free quality to them. Travel and Sing.

I thought I would add a companion poem to an earlier poem I had written called Red Room. This one is called Blue Room. It is a dark poem like the earlier poem.

Blue Room

Blue room in a blue haze
White smoke drifts from tables

Silhouettes sit at tables
Heads tilted down listening

Beer, wine, whiskey, flows
Down parched lonely throats

Outside past dark midnight
Grey fog flows in the streets

Notes drift smooth, cool, clear
In the hazy white hot air

Blue room lonely sad room
drown your blues in a cup

Listen alone to the piano
A single tear on a soft cheek

The Good Fairies of New York-- Martin Millar-- Review

The Cottingley Fairies, Photograph from 1917

The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar is the story of two tiny winged fairies who end up in New York after a drunken evening. They end up in the house of Dinnie, a drunken, nasty, fat slob who can barely play the violin. They
discover that Dinnie has a magical fairy violin and scheme to get it.

Across the street is a very beautiful girl, Kerry who is a singer, artist, painter, sculptor, and shoplifter. Morag decides to move in with Kerry and help her out. Morag steals money from banks to help Kerry pay the rent.

Meanwhile, across the street, Morag is teaching Dinnie to play the violin. He also promises to make Kerry fall in love with Dinnie if he gives Morag the magic violin. Thus Morag begins a program of reforming Dinnie starting with making him wear
a pony tail, listen to alternative rock, become a vegetarian, lose weight, and stop watching the sex channel late at night.

Meanwhile the other fairies from Scotland are looking for Heather and Morag. They are in central park talking to the squirrels and other wildlife. The fairies are constantly fighting, making love, stealing, drinking, and carrying on.. It can be a bit saucy at times. It is all done in a humorous manner. This book would be part of the adult book collection, not the teenage collection.

There is a bag lady, Ghanaian fairies, Chinese fairies, Italian fairies, Scottish Fairies, English fairies, and the ghost of an electric guitarist.

This book is a combinations of a low rent love story, comedy, and urban fantasy. There is a rather unique style. If you like Terry Pratchett, you might like this book. It is not a very serious book at all. Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction to the book.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Book Review Sites

I have a large amount of money to order books now. The new director decided to restructure how collection development was being done. It is a bit overwhelming to walk in and find you have an email requesting you to order social science, graphic novels, manga, business, and job information center books in one step.

Right now, I am going to start looking for review sites for books in a number of categories. Can anyone suggest a good place to find good specialty book review sites. I am going to be adding to my list of book review sites. A decent place for business book reviews is . I am also going to look at the suggested book review sites from the library cooperative.

Suggesting practical book review sites for subjects like computers, business, management, investing, law, and other subjects would be quite helpful at this point.

I have been looking around again for some more practical book reviews. I found one other site-- . I have asked in a variety of places for sites.

I took some time to look at various library sites around the United States. Most are focused on fiction, not nonfiction titles. I did find somthing rather interesting. New York Public Library lists books as they appeared on air. This covers both books on television and books on national public radio.

Today was rather long. It was not particularly eventful. I am glad that Saturday will be over soon and I can focus on getting home.

I continued digging around for book review sites and found a few more interesting if small sites for nonfiction reviews focused on the social sciences. Scott London Book Reviews, it appears to focus on media and politics.

Findlaw also has a number of book reviews focusing on legal issues and legal literature.

The last site which looked interesting was the Internet Review of Books

I can also choose books by quality publishers, but even then you can't know if what you are getting is truly quality material. For law what first comes to mind for law in a public library setting are Nolo books, Nutshell books, and Sphinx Legal Publishing. For business, I will probably take a look at the American Management Association publishing site, the Wiley Investment Classics series, and a few other things.

Right now, I am just thinking about how I will do this properly. I'll probably have to go through the Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and New York Times Book Review again to catch what was missed.

On the way home on the subway, I read a bit of Hot Text Web Writing That Works by Jonathan and Lisa Price. It admonishes the writer on the web to write short paragraphs with short words. People read much more slowly on the web about 25% slower, and the resolution of web sites is much less clear than the resolution of images on paper. People seem to want to go in scan quickly, then read the short bit that interests them. It gives numerous examples of how to cut wordiness and increase clarity for writing on websites.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rainbow's End-- Vernor Vinge-- Thoughts

Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge is the story of Robert Gu who has been cured of Alzheimer's and rejuvenated so he looks like a teenager. Robert Gu has to learn to fit in again in a society that has changed tremendously. He is sent to a technical school to learn a new set of skills and be useful again. This is a mix of teenagers and rehabilitated adults.

I rather like the main character, he is a kind of man out of time. His son doesn't know quite what to make of him. The main character is cranky, mean, and does not hesitate to hurt or bother other people if it amuses him.

While at the technical school Robert is drawn into a sinister plot unwittingly. This starts as he joins up with a group of librarians at UCSD who recognize his literary genius from his past life. The librarians are trying to save all the books at the Theodore Geisel library from the shredding and processing machines.

The descriptions of everyday things are wonderful. People use wearable computers and contact lenses which simulate different environments adding overlays to the real world like the SpielbergRowling fantasy overlay. Cars pick you up and drive you where you want to go, then drive off by themselves. It is rather imaginative.

The librarians have a plan to destroy the shredders. This involves creating a disturbance aboveground while they slip past a set of secret biolabs to get at the shredders. This is where the second strand of the story picks up. Getting past the biolabs is really a setup for a crazed agent to plant a research project for mind controlling virus.

Only Mr. Rabbit, an intelligent AI can stop the virus with the help of Robert Gu and his niece Miri.

Aboveground a riot is occurring between the librareome and the people who are against the library. The two sides are trying to take over the library building using robots, construction equipment, toy mechanicals, and various gadgets.

This is a wildly entertaining book with a very convoluted plot which can be mind boggling at times. Sometimes you feel like you are in a state of futureshock like Robert Gu. This book is one of a string of near future thrillers that have come out recently that use familiar backdrops with advanced technology. Two other books in this style are Spook Country by William Gibson and Halting State by Charles Stross.

Rainbow's End won the 2007 Hugo Award. vernor Vinge has won four other Hugo awards. Another book by him which I really liked was A Fire Upon The Deep. This book is hard science fiction. It extrapolates existing science into a future world.

Morning Thoughts

I have finished reading The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. I read it while I was on the train. I noticed in back that Martin Millar also writes as Martin Scott. Martin Scott writes a series called Thraxas about a fat detective in a sword and sorcery setting. Thraxas won the World Fantasy Award. His website looks pretty interesting. Lonely Werewolf Girl looks like something I might read. I am looking at The Good Fairies of New York and Rainbow's End. I am going to start writing a short review for each tonight.

This morning, I went and got my car from the shop. Then I rushed to get to the train. I usually just drive my car to get groceries, the laundry, and a few places around the neighborhood which I can't get to by bus or if I need to take someone somewhere. I sometimes wonder why I still have it.

I did my usual things when I first get in, checking my email, and checking the general reference email. Someone wanted to know if their email worked, so they sent a message to the reference box for the library. I also checked the processing of some of the reference books before they went out on the shelves.

There were three books which I hadn't had a chance to check out last night. Futurecast, How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live And Work by Robert J. Shapiro, this was on the New York Times Bestseller List. Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost which is a fantasy novel, and Hot Text Web Writing That Works by Jonathan and Lisa Price. I think, the next book I am going to read is Hot Text. Hopefully, this will improve my web context writing skills.

I did a brief bit of cleaning up my blog and added some more keywords to my blog posts.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Morning Thoughts

A Wandering Scholar With A Walking Stick
This morning has been mostly putting inserts in the legal books as well as finishing up the weeding for the reference books. I also am going to weed more of the legal books today. It is doing everyday work.

I did a brief tour for a visiting librarian from the system headquarters of the areas where we have foreign language material, world language, some films, literacy books, and language instruction materials. She also asked questions about programming for Spanish speakers. I gave her the local contacts for SCORE, the Women's Enterprise Development Center, and the African American Chamber of Commerce. I also suggested that some programs get restarted. The school district ran out of money for GED classes and tutoring which they funded at our library.


I am rereading Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge. There are places where the book gets quite chaotic and complex. It can be hard to figure out what is happening exactly. I am rereading it to figure out what exactly happened at some points.

The chaos is kind of intriguing. There are a lot of little details which can catch you by surprise. For example the library at UCSD is the Theodore Geisel library. The book sometimes describes possible technology in a disorienting way, much like you are experiencing future shock, which the main character is experiencing. I think the second read will be enough for me to review it. The book is fascinating.


Today, I am doing the Open Microphone Poetry Program at 4:00 p.m. I think that I may read some of the haiku I wrote earlier. I have been pulling some poetry books to display as well. The room should be set up. We will have the typical water, strawberries, juice, and cookies. The community relations person is out, so I get to go shopping at the local supermarket.

Five people came in and read their original poetry. Three more people came in to read from a few books that I had selected and put aside on a cart. There was a lady with her little baby. The baby was very quiet. A few teenagers came in and out and drank the fruit punch and ate some strawberries.


They are breaking up the collection development ordering process right now, so I will probably have more coverage of things which I would order. This would include in addition, to the Job Information Center, graphic novels, anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy, and social sciences. I am asking that I get the same coverage in reference as I would in circulating materials, business and law. I am not sure what is happening yet. The new director is shaking things up a bit.

Sometimes when you think you have the least amount to say, you have the most amount once you start sitting down to write things.


I sometimes think I got my reading habits from my 90 year old grandmother. She reads all the time and likes to visit libraries. Unlike me, she reads lots of mystery books. She worked at Brown University for a while and was also a public schoolteacher.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thoughts for Today

Today has been pretty quiet. I discarded a large number of books today, mainly reference books. I haven't discarded any law books today.

On the subway here, I alternated between reading, The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar, and Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge. Both are fun to read.

While I was looking at Twitter this morning, I noticed that Tor had a link from their Twitter account to their Facebook account. . I followed the link to a list of books they were blogging about on Facebook. One of them seemed particularly interesting, Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. This is part of the Old Man's War setting, a military science fiction setting.

In The Courts Of The Crimson King-- S.M. Stirling-- Review

In The Courts of the Crimson King by S.M. Stirling is a tribute to the classic martian novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and C.L. Moore. The premise is that two hundred million years ago and throughout history, The Lords of Creation, an alien race seeded Mars and Venus with life and human beings. This became the classic Martian and Venusian civilization described in early science fiction.

The story starts in 2000 A.D. with a base on mars. Jeremy Wainwright (our hero) an archaeologist is on mars on an expedition to study the ruins of a dying civilization. Mars is slowingly turning into a wasteland. He is to travel with another human and a mercenary to the Kings Beneath the Mountain.

What follows is a classic chase and pursuit adventure story. The mercenary is really a princess, the potential martian heir to the crown. They must evade pirates, assassins, and survive a trip into a deadly underground ruin. Jeremy is captured and tortured by the evil rival prince. The story culminates in a classic duel for the crown.

The setting is a bit different. The martians are masters of biotechnology. They breed creatures for different purposes, for example, the engines of their airshops are giant squidlike creatures. They have bred dogs to be intelligent trackers, and birds to sing arias.

One thing which makes me a little uncomfortable is that the martians practice eugenics. Their society is caste ridden and people fight battles to preserve their germ line. There is a deep fascination with a game called Ataj which is a complex chess like game where pieces can change sides. The pieces represent different castes in martian society.

The details of the book were quite entertaining. It was clearly a homage to Barsoom. However, the eugenics bit got to me a little bit. Otherwise, the story is a classic chase and confront story which is entertaining to read.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


After my trip to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival, I stopped off at a used bookstore called Housing Works in Manhattan. I was surprised at how sparse the selection was. The selection used to be quite good. I guess not as many people are donating books to charitable organizations.

I should not be surprised. They don't have a booksale at the library near my house. This is kind of surprising. You would think every library needs a book sale. But, I guess this is getting quaint and old. People are clearly not reading as many books so booksales don't do as well.

The booksale at our library even looks a little quaint to me. It doesn't seem to be selling a whole lot of books. Even our larger booksale didn't do so well with a room full of books. Very few booksellers came to buy books. According to my supervisor, the book dealers used to line up to buy books from our booksale. Maybe, people are selling their books on ebay instead. You never can be too sure about these things. When I went to the sale, I did not see much to buy. However, I did buy a brownie and a cup of coffee.

Right now, It is very hot where I am working. It is 92 degrees inside. The fans are blowing around the building while I am sitting here. I took some time to look through the New York Times Book Review for this week, but didn't find anything.

I put another book on hold, The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria. It is #7 on the Publishers Weekly Nonfiction Bestseller List. I think the book is focused on the rise of China and India. I'm not too sure yet. I also placed Shadowbridge by Gary Frost on hold.

Two more books came in for me to read, The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. There is a surprise, Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction to the book which should be entertaining. The book is a trade paperback. The other book which came in is Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge.

When I get up to walk around the building I sweat a bit. I weeded some more law books this morning. My library aide, called in sick today. It is quite hot.

Monday, June 9, 2008

America's Hidden History-- Kenneth C. Davis-- Thoughts

America's Hidden History Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped A Nation by Kenneth C. Davis is an attempt to set the record straight about many ideas in American history. The book is entertaining, but at times hard to stomach. It is not a clean story which would come out of a textbook.

For example, the first story is about how French Huguenots tried to settle Florida in 1492. This did not last long. The Spaniards attacked the colony and killed all of them because they were protestant. They did not want the French to have a foothold close to South America.

The book is not politically correct. George Washington in his first military command ambushed a French diplomatic party in the wilderness, possibly sparking the French Indian War. It details how George Washington learned the ropes in commanding an army fighting in the French Indian War. George was an accomplished backwoodsman, horseman, and land surveyor.

The story of Benedict Arnold is very different than the one in the history textbooks. In this story, Benedict Arnold starts as a patriot fighting on the American side. But, he has a tendency to be arrogant and make lots of enemies. Every time he succeeds in a battle, his enemies thwart his ambitions of moving up in command. He also has made many enemies on the business side. This drives him into deep debt. Out of anger at not being promoted, and not being successful on the American side, he is bought by the British. Eventually, he retires in London.

The last section talks about Shays Rebellion and how the founders did not want a pure democracy. They believed democracy was unstable and would lead to mob rule. They aimed to create a republic. The colonists looked to Rome in many cases as their ideal.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The stories are very interesting. There are a lot of neat and different facts spread throughout the book. However, in some cases, he doesn't quite make his case. I am still not sure about the Shay's Rebellion interpretation, nor am I quite sure about his take on Ann Hutchinson.

The reason I might want someone to read this book, is because it shows that there can be a lot of different ways to interpret history. His interpretation does not match with your typical historical textbook in high school or college. It portrays historical figures as having blatant flaws and often acting in a tragic way. Kenneth C. Davis makes historical personages human. Some people will not like this book because it portrays some of the great Americans in a not so great way.

This bookc covers the time period in American history from the first colonies to the Constitutional Convention. There are notes, a bibliography, and an index. Everything is thoroughly cited. I wish there were some pictures and maps in the book, it would have made the book considerably better. I had some questions while I was reading that could have been answered by mpas.

More Thoughts

My car is being repaired. I was hoping it was done today so I could do laundry and shopping easily. Drat, it will take a bit more than usual today. I really enjoyed the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Art Fair yesterday, it is much different than the New York Comic Con.

Anyways, I finished reading America's Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis. It was an expose on aspects of American history which were brushed aside. I am going to write a review for it today.

I was looking at Twitter this morning. I found an interesting book title that one of the twitterers ContentContent suggested, Hot Text: Web Writing That Works by Jonathan Price and Lisa Price. I put it on hold at my library. It looks like it might be useful.

Because, I am not driving anywhere and I am not deeply motivated to clean house right now, I finished watching The Five Thousand Fingers of Dr. T written by Dr. Seuss. This is an entertaining movie because it is so strange. The sets are phantasmagorical, and the costuming is really really different. The costumes look like something out of a party colored cartoon.

The musica and singing is interesting if not a bit odd. It is all classical music, mainly piano. The ending, I hope could have been different. The little kid, Bart Collins, blows up the giant piano (this is a spoiler) and his dream ends. This is a very imaginative movie.

If you don't like surrealism, you might not like this film. If you want to see what Dr. Seuss would look like in a live action setting this gives a much better interpretation than the modern live action films of Dr. Seuss. It was written in 1953 when Dr. Seuss was still around.

This afternoon, I walked up to the library in the stifling heat. I returned a few items, then I read some magazines. I usually don't read magazines, but this time I decided to take a look. I browsed through several copies of Wired Magazine. I find Wired to be rather silly. There really was not anything of note in the magazines.

Then I sat down at the computer for a little bit and played with some social networking sites adding a few more "friends" to my Twitter network. I am finding Twitter to be both entertaining and easy to use. It is basically prepared soundbites.

I didn't find anything new to check out from my local branch library. I should probably look at the Manga a little more closely.

I couldn't stay too long, I had to take care of some minor things at home. Things like sorting some of the waste materials into the recycling bins outside and going for a short walk to the local produce market. I bought watermelon, bananas, oranges, cheese, cranberry juice, seltzer, cold cuts, cheese, and rolls.

It is very hot outside. This mitigated a little bit by a light wind. I would not call it picnic weather, it is too hot.

Right now, I just started reading In The Courts of the Crimson Kings by S.M. Stirling. It is about an alternate history, where aliens long ago terraformed mars and venus. It reminds me a little bit of John Carter of Mars or Carson of Venus. It has that old style touch. You can also detect a light touch of C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith, but not much. It feels like a homage to an earlier era in science fiction.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival New York, Morning Thoughts

Hmm, let me think about this. Today, I am definitely heading over to the Puck Building. The last time I was there, there was an outsider art exhibition going on. Today should be quite interesting. I have something to read on the subway, America's Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis.

I have had breakfast already as well, a deathwich (two scrambled eggs on a roll with swiss cheese, salt and pepper and ketchup, and a cup of coffee. It does wake you up, even if it is terribly bad for you.

I watched a little bit more of the film, The Five Thousand Fingers of Dr. T. It is truly bizarre. All of the other instruments have been locked in the dungeon by Dr. Terwilliker and only piano playing is allowed. There is a wonderful sequence where a Seussian orchestra comes out and plays a truly odd set of songs. There are trombones, accordions, strange looking trumpets, odd looking violins, piccolos, and some odd things that look like a cross between a hookah and a trumpet. Also various things are thrown at gongs. It is all very silly. Only Dr. Seuss could have come up with the things in this film.

Anyways, I am off to pursue the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival.

I got to the Puck building without incident, the trains ran on time today. There were three large ballrooms in the Puck Building filled with exhibitors. It was mostly alternative comics.

However, DC Vertigo was also there. DC Vertigo does the more offbeat titles from DC, things like John Constantine Hellblazer and DMZ. Quite a few of the DC Vertigo imprint are science fiction comics. They were giving away free copies of some of the vertigo DC series.

They also have a new series of graphic novels aimed at teenage girls called Minx. They had free Advance Copies of Water Baby, Janes In Love, and Emiko Superstar. These are all hip slice of life type comics for teenage girls. They tell stories about boyfriends, going to the beach, going to dances and concerts, and other everyday life teenage events. This is the kind of thing which we should get to balance out our collection of graphic novels and include material for girls. I think the series is entertaining. The stories are well written.

Darkhorse comics was there also. I picked up a copy of Tales of the Fear Agent created by Rick Remender and Tony Moore. The frontispiece artist signed the book, Jack Davis. This is a compilation of science fiction stories featuring a hardcore space mercenary. Jack Davis calls it similar to EC comics science fiction. It reminds me a bit of Eagle Comics, Strontium Dog, or Alien Worlds from the 1980s.

I picked up catalogs from NBM, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, and First Second. Unfortunately, Pantheon didn't bring any catalogs. They have a catalog on their website.

There were various small independents at most of the tables. All kind of things. T-shirts, little wooden toys, plush toys, music, and videos. It was a mostly younger crowd. I picked up a few odd little comics like Space Chick and Space Chicken by People were selling a variety of mini-comics and ashcans for consumption.

One of the featured guests had a catalog for his new book, Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Chip Kidd. I missed his talk, but went to the next one. The museum is in a tiny unassuming space on 594 Broadway in Manhattan. Virgin Comics also has offices on the same floor which is kind of interesting.

There were pictures all over the walls for the exhibit, Moving Pictures: Comics to Film. I don't think the whole exhibit was up. It was kind of unique. There were lobby posters from Barbarella, Fritz The Cat, X-Men, Flash Gordon, and a wide variety of movies tied in with comic books. There were also movie stills from the x-men, fantastic four, hellboy, sin city, and numerous other films. In the entrance way, they had posters from the previous Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art festivals. I will definitely visit when there are less people around.

I heard David Heatley give a talk in the museum space. He gives a lot of credit to Chris Ware in helping him start his career. It was about his career as a designer and an alternative comics artist. He is going to release a new book called My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down under the publisher Pantheon. It was kind of interesting. The art work was not that interesting to me, but the process he was describing was. I recognized the cover he drew for Best American Comics 2007. This is his blog.

There were tables where people were drawing sketches for different fees. The fee went as a donation to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. I paid $20 to have R. Sikoryak do a sketch of me. I'll probably hang it up on my wall somewhere. I remembered him because he did cover art for The Comics Journal.

It was enjoyable walking around the festival. There was a lot to see. Much of it was very different than the mainstream comic titles. The entrance fee of $10 was well worth it for a single day. Just the lecture would have been worth the $10