Sunday, October 31, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/31/2010 (The Story of Stuff, ebooks)

Image from The Book of Hallowe'en. Caption "A Black-Cat Table.", 1919, Author Ruth Edna Kelley

Daily Thoughts 10/31/2010

Have a happy Halloween.  The kids were out early today while it was light trick or treating.  We gave out candy.

I've been reading more of The Story of Stuff.  I agree with the author that stuff should be more durable, repairable, recyclable, and upgradable.  Too much stuff which you can buy nowadays is poor quality and easily broken.  I have had the same car for ten years and the same computer for six years with upgrades.  I just fixed my watchband yesterday.  I have had the same watch for over ten years.  I also agree with the idea of reducing the amount of material which we use to make things.  Packaging is getting lighter and more recyclable lightly.  I wish this was true of many other items.

Web Bits

Lynn Abbey, CJ Cherryh, and Jane Fancher have an ebooks site where all the proceeds go to the authors.  They are all excellent fantasy writers.

I took a few minutes to go back and check who was linked to my blog.  There is Publishing Perspectives and Meditative Reading

Blameless An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Blameless An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger.

This is a wonderfully silly fantastic novel. It manages to mashup steampunk with werewolves and vampires in a comedy of manners. It is quite fun to read.

The main character who is pregnant by a werewolf travels to Italy where she meets the templars and learns a bit about her fathers history.

Lots of silliness ensues. Alexia Terrabotti endures ornithopter rides, angry vampires, and pesto in her travels in Italy. She wards off villains with her weigted dart shooting parasol with the help of her trusty footman Floote and the cross dressing hatmaker Madame Lefleux.

The writing is lighthearted and fun. It is well worth following the author, Gail Carriger. Her blog is quite fun to read with its pictures of parasols and other victorian and steampunk fashions.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Junior Officers Reading Club Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey

The Junior Officers Reading Club Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey.

Patrick Hennessey describes his infantry and officer training in Britain. Then he describes his tour of duty, first as an honor guard for Buckingham Palace, then his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is very much a story about being a soldier willing to fight in hard circumstances.

Mixed in with his descriptions of of every day soldiering are descriptions of his reading. One of the books he is reading in Iraq is The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Thessiger. Another book is Allan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty which he reads in Afghanistan. He also writes about some of the films he watches in basic training like Band of Brothers, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan.

The writing is thoughtful, analytical, has a touch of black humor, and throws in some strong language. The strong language is appropriate for some of the muddy, dirty, sandy places in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also fits in the leave time where soldiers drink hard, read, and think.

The writing swtiches between thoughtful stretches and lulls between combat. The combat scenes are fast, people get killed, ambushed, blown apart by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), and are wounded. The author is up front about his desire to get on the ground and destroy the enemy.

The description of the ANA (Afghan National Army) and the Iraqui guard are not very flattering, but the enemy taliban and Al Qaedar are described as being far worse. You get a sense from the book that the fighting in Afghanistan is much more intense than in Iraq.  Also the descriptions of our allies in Afghanistan was quite eye opening.  He does a good job of describing how different their thinking is than people in the west. The one thing which he does say that is intriguing is that the Afghanis don't want doctors and aid, they want teachers and learning.  Patrick Hennessey also describes without hesitation how the taliban often use Chinese and Russian small arms and rpgs and are trained by Iranians.

I like the ending where Patrick Hennessey is sent to the United States to train marines to fight the taliban. Patrick Hennessey was promoted in the field to become the youngest frontline captain the United Kingdom's army. This book is honest, well written, thoughtful, often uncomfortable, and bloody.  It is a memoir.

Daily Thoughts 10/30/2010 (The Story of Stuff, Library Funding)

Geokeys, Globalization

Daily Thoughts 10/30/2010

Sometimes things are a bit tense.   Six people have been offered retirement packages.  There is no way to know if people will take them.  There are added years of service but no additional severance being offered.  With this comes a statement about peace of mind.  Apparently, this is in preparation for further budget cuts from the city.  There is a lot of hearsay flying around so I don't know the exact figures being given.  The final budget for the city is being prepared.  I could guess that we will experience another round of reduction in force, possibly with deeper cuts than before.  It is tiring and uncertain.  Currently the library is $400,000 in debt which is 10% of our current budget.  An easy way to say this is that the city has no money and it is very likely there will be considerable additional cuts.

We will be having a book sale in November on November 5th and 6th to raise money for the friends.  This usually brings in a couple of thousand dollars in total.  It also generates a lot of goodwill.   There is also the annual gala which is going to be hosted in the library on Thursday, November 11, 2010.   It is put together by the library foundation. Tickets are $50.  The foundation raised $20,000 for the childrens room last year.  Hopefully, they will do better this year.  In addition, there is the donation form on the library website.  But, it probably will not be enough. 

It would be nice to see a larger donor step up to the plate and for corporate sponsorship to happen as well.  We have had the Women's Enterprise Development Center, the African American Chamber of Commerce, members of the Chamber of Commerce come in to do programming, and will soon have SCORE counseling.  We also plan on working on a separate small business collection.

I spent some time looking for leads early in the year for prospects and the library recently updated our email list by over a thousand people.  It might help a little bit.

It leads me to thinking about my own future.  I have to consider different options.  The economy is in fairly bad shape. I'll probably be going to Thinking Outside the Library: Non-traditional Careers for Information Professionals .  There are other programs as well.

My watch band broke so I had to go and get it fixed. I took the bus downtown because it is very hard to find parking without paying. I read some more of The Story of Stuff. She is describing problems of countries which rely on mining, oil, and other extractive resources. Because these pay for the government and the citizens often don't, there are problems. It is interesting enough. Once again, though, she annoyed me by saying we could just use wind and solar to power our future. Wind, solar, solar towers and concentrators, biodiesel and other biofuels, geothermal, run of the river hydroelectric, wave generators like pelamis, waste to energy like plasma gasification, highly energy efficient devices, and advanced energy storage devices like flywheel energy storage together might completely power our future but not just wind and solar.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/29/2010 (Business Books, The Story of Stuff)

Interior with poppies and reading woman (Lizzy Hohlenberg), 1905, Oil On Canvas, by Anna Ancher, Skagens Museum

Daily Thoughts 10/29/2010

This morning, I started reading The Story of Stuff How Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health by Annie Leonard.  It is very much an environmentalist and anti-consumerist book.  It follows the path of our stuff from when it is made to when we use it to when we throw it away to when it ends in the dump.

This morning we talked about possibly merchandising (creating a separate collection) for the small business books.  I am looking at the Gaylord catalog which is a label catalog for business labels.  We also talked a bit about business dvds.

I did a little bit of weeding in the oversize books and a bit of shelf reading in the 800s.

In the New York Times book review, one book caught my attention; The Gun, The AK-47 and the Evolution of War by C.J. Chivers. 

On the way home, I read some more of The Story of Stuff.  The author is using a lot of liberal causes in her writing.  It feels very politically correct which can be annoying at times.  However, the sympathy there seems to be right.  I am not sure that I agree with everything she is saying.  I am reading this book because it is printed on recycled paper.  Ecolibris is doing a campaign to get people to read books printed on recycled paper.

Web Bits

All Hallow's Read

If you get a chance take a look at the New York Librarians Meetup blog, it is well worth going to their events.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/28/2010 (The Junior Officer's Reading Club)

U.S. Army Spc. Michael Perkins, right, assigned to 1st Calvary Division, hands boxes filled with books to a fellow soldier in Kirkuk, Iraq, April 26, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gustavo Olgiati, Government Photo, Public Domain.

Daily Thoughts 10/28/2010

I read some more of  The Junior Officers' Reading Club.  I like the description of how it was so hot in Iraq  that the pages were coming unglued from The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Thesiger's.  I also liked the authors decision to stop reading Don Quixote by Cervantes.  Most of the book is about soldiering.  There are a few literary references as you go through the book.

I did a little bit of weeding today in the oversize books and printed more copies of the Internet Marketing bibliography.  I also checked the displays to make sure they are in order.  The new website is starting to shape up nicely.  It is done with Drupal which is an open source system.

On the way home I read more of The Junior Officer's Reading Club.  It is interesting contemplating Patrick Hennessey reading Ayn Rand in Afghanistan.  For some reason, I find it utterly appropriate.

Web Bits

American Library Association Book Donation Programs List

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/27/2010 (Bibliography)

We can talk over Sops-in-wine.... Digital ID: 1701830. New York Public Library
We can talk over Sops-in-wine. And drink to our next meeting. Children's book illustrations / Illustrations -- Crane -- Floral fantasy in an old English garden

Daily Thoughts 10/27/2010

Today has been quiet.  I finished printing up a new internet marketing bibliography.  We are having an internet marketing class by a gentleman affiliated with the chamber of commerce.  Hopfully, it should have a positive impact for our library.

I also did a little work on my ordering today.  It is something I try to do every single day.  I am also thinking about the databases for musical; Naxos, Freegal, and Alexander Street.  I think it might be interesting to have music downloads at the public library.  We already have Overdrive for ebooks and downloadable audiobooks.

The Art of Non-Conformity Set Your Own Rules Live The Life You Want and Change the World by Chris Guilleabeau

The Art of Non-Conformity Set Your Own Rules Live The Life You Want and Change the World by Chris Guilleabeau

The contents of this book like the books title suffers from excess verbiage.  The message of the book could have been written in half the number of pages.  This makes the reading a bit distracting.

The Art of Non-Conformity starts with a series of exercises focusing on what you want to do with your life. Then it has no written exercises until the end of the book.  This creates a book too focused on telling you what to do, but not showing you how to do it.  This is a bit disappointing.

Chris Guillebeau spends most of the book talking about his own life and what he did to make himself able to live free from punching the clock.  His life is interesting and has some examples of how to be different; however it is more about telling you how he lived differently than showing the reader how to do it themselves.

The chapters on how to build a following on the internet and self education are quite good.  This book is designed to motivate you to do something different.  The motivation would work better if the book was shorter and more focused.

I learned something new, but would have been more satisfied if the book was shorter,  more focused, and showed you how to change, instead of focusing too much on the authors life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/26/2010 (The Junior Officers Reading Club)

Poster announcing the publication of Les Mystères de Paris (1843), a French language novel by Eugène Sue (1804-1857)

Daily Thoughts 10/26/2010

I did a little bit of weeding this morning in the oversize collection.  I also did some spot checking for the 800s in the poetry section.  I have also been looking at my planned orders for next month. 

This afternoon, I finished working on a bibliography for internet marketing which would be used in a program tomorrow.

On the train home, I started reading The Junior Officers' Reading Club Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey.  It is about a tour of duty in the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am enjoying reading about British boot camp and officer training camp right now.  He talks about some of the films they watch including Band of Brothers, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan.  I saw Gladiator which was enjoyable but not the other two films.  The book is quite thoughtful.

Web Bits

20 Heroic Librarians Who Save The World

Danny Devito is going to be the voice of the Lorax in a new live action Dr. Seuss film.  I am looking forward to it.

Zombies in the library calendar.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/25/2010 (online music, blameless)

Samuel Beckett, Playwright.

Daily Thoughts 10/25/2010

I started reading Gail Carriger's Blameless on the train to work this morning.

I did some spot checking in the 300s, fiction, and mass market paperbacks today.  I found a few places where people took the plastic covers off the books so we have to put on new covers. 

The visit to The Bliss Music Center at the New Rochelle Public Library was very interesting. It is a new music center at a public library. They have a number of different services. There are two services that streamed music to the library and allowed you to listen at a computer or login at home. The first was Naxos . The second service was Alexander Street Music Online  . It was interesting listening to the music from the database. The sound quality was good for both databases.

We also talked some services that let you download music. The first was Freegal which allowed you to download a certain amount of music each month and then put the music that went over the limit in a cue for the next month. It looks quite interesting.  . This would supplement our downloads of ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive. People also come in to use Pandora which is a set of online radio stations with a variety of different music.  . It was an interesting experience.

I spent the rest of the afternoon updating the displays and spot checking the 800s.

I am enjoying reading Blameless by Gail Carriger.  The author adds some new elements;  first there were werewolves and vampires, now there are templars.  It has become an even more complex mashup.  Now the main character is pregnant by a werewolf, pursued by steampunk vampires, and traveling into Italy.

A simple interview form which I filled out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Glamour of Grammar a Guide to Magic and Mystery of English by Roy Peter Clark

The Glamour of Grammar a Guide to Magic and Mystery of English by Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark makes grammar entertaining.  He brings out the glamour (as in magic) of the english language.  He asks you to immerse yourself in thinking about language.

This is not a dry and pedantic book.  It does not follow a prescriptive pattern with exact descriptions of how you should use language.  Instead, the author attempts to show you a variety of ways to use punctuation and grammar for different outcomes.  He even describes how and when to use taboo words and sentence fragments.  This was surprising and enjoyable.

For Roy Peter Clark grammar is a tool for self expression.  There are many different examples of how periods, colons, apostrophes, points and other punctuation is used.  My favorite example of grammar is the use of the punk rock band, "? and The Mysterians."

If you like language and word play: You will like this book.  There is a lot of lighthearted self referential humor in the writing.  I like how he describes Appendix A ( Words I Have Misspelled), and Appendix B (Words I Have Confused.).

This book gives grammar that zing which is missing from most grammar texts.  I enjoyed the book enough to want to read Roy Peter Clark's other book, Writing Tools.

Poking Around in Startup Space In New York City

Poking Around in Startup Space In New York City

I've been poking around a bit in startup space in New York city lately.  I find it entertaining.  It is much like this blog in a way.  I like doing it, but I am not quite sure why yet.  Sometimes you don't know the results until you take a look.  The habit came from when I worked at an ISP.  I always found the tech mixers to be very entertaining.  There is a kind of freedom in these places to talk about things which I don't find anywhere else.

Venture capital in New York City has been growing. There are a lot more companies starting up right now. People have been out of work so long, that many of them have decided to try new things. (Article from Crain's New York)

For example, there are startup weekends where computer developers are willing to start running a company in a weekend.

I checked New York Area Startups a few days ago. There were 1345 companies now there 1360 companies.  New York Area Startup is also on Linked In. On Demand Books which makes the Espresso Book Machine which is a print on demand machine is listed as one of the startups.

At the same time we are seeing a resurgence in spaces like NYC Resistor  and a rebirth of many hacker and maker spaces.  I have not gone to look at a hacker space yet.  It is something I plan on doing.  It is much like my urge to go visit The Soho Gallery for Digital Art, I will get there eventually.  There could be some very intersting new technology coming out at the community level by small companies and groups of individuals. Part of this growth could be because of new technology, specifically open source 3d printers.(New York Times Blog).

I see the possibility of some of the three dimensional print on demand technologies being eventually fused with paper print on demand technologies.  I do not think this is that far away in the future. Incorporating designs made of plastic, metals, and other materials is going to become fairly common in hardcover books.

Incubator spaces for green technology are also growing as well. This has been getting into the news. NYC Acre is an interesting example. There is also Green Spaces. (Article from Crain's New York Business)

There are also new ways people are finding to fund these ventures. Everything from Kickstarter to lending social networks like Prosper (Article from

There is a different feel to the ventures being formed than the dot com boom. The companies are lean in low rent areas. They use open source software, focus on customers, and are often tied in with social networks. There is less of a focus on earning massive amounts of cash, but instead making people a living. (Article from New York Times Blog).

The lean startup fits perfectly into the concept of coworking and many small startups are using coworking spaces like New Work City.  I visited this space to see how it looked.  Over time I will also take a look at some of the other spaces as well.

In my own field, I follow  which covers startups in the media field.  Also O'Reilly publishers sponsors the Maker Fair which is very much a hacker or maker space.

I can see a resurgence for the United States economy coming, it will not come immediately, it will not come from the government, or big business.  It will come from innovative spaces which need to grow and be supported.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/23/2010 (The Night Book Mobile)

Wise Owl On Books

Daily Thoughts 10/23/2010

I finished reading The Art of Non-Conformity.  The last chapters end with a couple of exercises in not doing things.  The first exercise is choosing what you do not need to keep.  I am going to give away some of my books, old clothes, old toys, and clean up some of the paper around the house.  The second action is choosing not to do certain things.  The habits which I could probably eliminate are playing video games and buying snacks.  I already am pretty watchful of how I spend my time.

The new website for our library is up.  It is much better than the old one.  The webmaster still needs to transfer some images over.  I did a little bit more weeding today.

We're putting together a bibliography on internet marketing.  This is for a class which is coming from the local chamber of commerce at the library.  We are going to use the cover art for each book and match the picture with the words for a dozen books.  Internet marketing is a very hot topic right now.

On the train home, I read The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger.  I found it to be a beautiful, but very sad book.  It is partially about the dark places where books can take you; the escape they bring to people in sad places.  Although, it was a book about a bookmobile, and libraries, it had a very dreamlike quality to it.  It is not something which I really want to review. 

The art had a very kind of outsider art feel to it.  The kind of feel of someone who has raw talent, but very little training and a slightly different outlook on the world.  The librarian who ran the bookmobile reminded me a little bit of William S. Burroughs for some reason.  It does take you to the places you may have read or been.  There is a feel of the old world library in the book.  The place with red carpets, tall bookcases, and a kind of otherworldly charm.

I don't want to reveal too much.  It is a sad, beautiful, a bit disturbing, and bookish tale.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/22/2010 (The Art of Non-Conformity, Acquisitions)

"The Chap Book--Thanksgiving no." "Art nouveau illustration showing two women holding trays of food.", 1895 by Will Bradley

Daily Thoughts 10/22/2010

Today has been quite quiet.  I did a little weeding in the oversize books, checked on the displays and looked over a few things which needed to be done.  I am going to be meeting with BWI this afternoon.  I am also going to be talking to Ingram next week.  Ingram offers a discount of 5% on video games which other vendors don't offer.  I am also planning a visit to a technology center at another local library with a colleague.

I also did some more reading through Booklist this morning for things to order and read the email newsletter Shelf Awareness which is interesting.  Shelf Awareness is well worth subscribing to 

The BWI visit went well.  We cleared up some issues and the sales representative offered us their free alert service for childrens and young adult books.  I put holds on I live in the future & here's how it works : why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted by Nick Bilton and The master switch : the rise and fall of information empire by Tim Wu.

The book, The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger came in for me to read. If you are interested in biographies in graphic novel form, there is a book called Ethel and Ernest A True Story by Raymond Briggs which is a very sweet tribute to the authors parents.

I spent some time reading from my Fundamentals of Acquisitions class.  I learned that there was an Association of Subscription Agents and  Intermediaries which was kind of interesting.

On the ride home, I read some more of The Art of Non-Conformity.  It has slowed a bit.  Some of the things he says are on target.  I especially like his view on self education often being more important than a university education.  He skipped out of high school and started community college when he was sixteen.  I tested out of high school when I was seventeen and went into community college. I don't regret it at all.  Right now, I am reading about how to gain followers and lead. It is a slightly different take than usual.

Web Bits 

Library Inc. From the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Booksellers on owning a cafe bookstore.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/21/2010 (William Gibson, The Art of Nonconformity)

Morning perusal, 1916, Oil On Canvas, Antonio Parreiras

Daily Thoughts 10/21/2010

On the train to work, I finished reading Difficult Personalities A Practical Guide to Managing The Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Helen McGrath, Ph.D. and Hazel Edwards, MEd.  It is about difficult personality types and different ways to interact with them.  The author draws a lot from the DSM-IV.  It is a hard book to read, because it often is quite direct about how to deal with difficulties.

The article The Library of the Future Today by Barbie E. Keiser in the periodical Searcher on October 2010 is truly excellent.  It describes how information is changing and ways to think about how the functions of librarians is changing.  It is focusing on a user centered model where librarians focus on the information needs of the people coming in instead of primarily as a source to store and retrieve physical materials.

I put the book Djibouti by Elmore Leonard on hold.  I like the idea of reading a novel about modern day pirates in Somalia.

I spent more time going through the order journals.  Two books caught my attention; Advantage How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge by Adam Segal and Destined For Failure: American Prosperity in the Age of Bailouts by Nicholas Sanchez and Others.  Both of these books address something which American policymakers are not talking about much;  innovation and new ideas from industry and getting Americans to produce more on its own shores. 

I spent a lot of time today reading through order journals.  We also had a meeting discussing our November gala for fundraising and different events we could have for fundraising during the next year.

On the way home, I started reading The Art of Non-Conformity Set Your Own Rules Live The Life You Want and Change The World by Chris Guillebeau.  This is not a new set of ideas more of a way to collect together a number of strategies for change and personal freedom.  He follows the philosophy of full freedom to make decisions in his life.  This has a little bit of the feeling of Jonathan Swift or Richard Burton.  I did two of the visualization exercises in the second part of the book;  imagine what your perfect day would be like and write down your most important goals.  This kind of free association often touches on other things because it is about change.

It reminded me a bit of William Gibson's article in the Wall Street Journal, The Future of the Book.  It would be interesting to see a print on demand machine that would print a hardcover book with low acid paper.  I would take it further with some other ideas.  Make the book out of 100% recycled material with plant based inks and design the printer so it was cradle to cradle; easy to repair, easy to upgrade, highly efficient with low energy use, and able to dismantle and recycle all the parts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/20/2010 (Graphic Novels)

Stilleben mit Juwelen, Musikinstrumenten und Globus, Öl auf Leinwand, 46 x 62 cm,19th Century, Anonymous

Daily Thoughts 10/20/2010

Today has been a quiet day.  I did a little bit more work with the request an item form.  Also, I think the form for our survey will be up soon.

The book Brains for Lunch drawn by Gahan Wilson with haiku by K.A. Holt came in for me to read.  It is quite fun, it is a series of haikus turned into a novel.  I especially like the zombie teenager, Loeb.

I am going to read two books, Burton & Swinburne, The Strange Affair of Spring Heel Jack by Mark Hodder which is a steampunk novel.  It is the authors first novel.  The second book is The Art of Non-Conformity Set Your Own Rules, Live The Life You Want and Change The World by Chris Guillbeau.

Today was very busy.  We had our graphic novels club.  It has a kind of built in audience because the teenagers who play magic cards use the room and one of the mothers who helps with the middle school and junior high school graphic novel club comes each time to request material and take suggestions.  I gave away several comics from my visit to New York Comic Con. Also, we get some circulation because people take the material we talk about out.

We also had a collection development meeting which went quite smoothly.  I am going to put some more of my orders in tomorrow.

I still have to talk with someone about setting up a poetry reading series.   People have started signing up for the SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business sessions.  I am going to work on a display for books tomorrow on business.

Web Bits

Be a librarian just add books. Little Librarian

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/19/2010 (Eco Libris, Acquisitions)

This picture was taken from number 757 of the magazine L'illustration, published on 29 August 1857. Wood engraving after a drawing by Jules Gaildrau. Illuminated Newsstand.

Daily Thoughts 10/19/2010

Today has been a very steady day.  I spent some time gathering selections for my Graphic Novel club tomorrow.  We also got a bunch of giveaways to distribute from .  This included posters, bookmarks, and other material for National Energy Awareness month which is this October.

I also went through my orders in preparation for tomorrows meeting for collection development.  I am also going over the assignments for shelf reading.

I worked a little more on the Fundamentals of Acquisitions class today from the American Library Association.  It gave some nice suggestions for upgrading my suggest an item web form.  I am looking at reading some recent material on acquisitions management.

Web Bits

I found this interesting.  It is a novel being written live for literacy.  The Novel Live.

The Eco Libris Campaign is a campaign to read books printed on recycled paper.  I intend to read this book to be reviewed on November 10, 2010; The story of stuff : how our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health--and a vision for change  by Annie Leonard with Ariane Conrad.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Vertical Farm Feeding The World in the 21st Century by Dr, Dickson Despommer.

The Vertical Farm Feeding The World in the 21st Century by Dr, Dickson Despommer

 This book is both utopian and visionary. However, I also found it to lacked some attribution for where the science and some of the philosophy for the things which he is describing are coming from.  He does not describe some of the more interesting and radical ideas that have come out of ecology recently.

Dr. John Despommier spends quite a bit of time describing how agriculture came into being. Then he describes how modern agriculture is wasteful from an ecological standpoint. I found some of his writing to be a bit overbearing. He jumps from bad modern farming methods to giant skyscraper farms.

There is very little of a median. He goes into greenhouses and how they work, but does not do much with bioshelters, organic farming, or natural pest control.

 He  also wants the vertical farms he is designing to be hermetically sealed liked the biosphere experiment. This did not work as planned in the biosphere experiment.

He also is arguing for moving hydroponics into the city. This is already starting to happen. It is just not happening in the fashion of skyscrapers. When he describes the advantages of a vertical farm, it is the exact same advantage of having urban greenhouses. I see urban greenhouses and farms as being incredible positive for people in cities.

The advantage which a vertical farm would have over a horizontal greenhouse would be that the system he is describing would use less land and probably have a greater surface area to place solar panels and wind turbines on.

He properly praises John Todd for his work on living machines which led to many breakthroughs with ideas for things like bioshelters, water purification based on living machines, and other concepts which are used in the book, The Vertical Farm.

I distinctly remember reading about a multistory bioshelter farm design for cities in the book Bioshelters, Ocean Arks, City Farming: Ecology as the Basis of Design written in 1984 published by Sierra Club Books. This was the basis for a later book, A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design, Island Press c2005.

I think Dr. Dickson Despommier synthesized a new idea from the work of many others. The scale of a vertical farm is what differentiates his idea. It is hard to imagine a skyscraper filled with greenery.

There is also a single sentence citation for the book, Cradle to Cradle Remaking The Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. This is a book about how to design things so there is very little waste in a closed loop system based on ecology. I did find it listed in recommended reads.

Dr. Despommier also uses the term "natural capitalism" without explaining where it comes from. Natural Capitalism is a term for businesses that use environmental principles. It is also a book, Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins.

I wish he had spent some more time describing the workings of how a vertical farm is put together. For example, I might have liked a little more on how Aeroponics which came from NASA works. Incidentally, Dr. Despommier also mentions Biosphere II which was a closed loop system for maintaining humans for long time periods in space. Many of the potential systems he is describing come from space research.

Dr. Despommier's description of the Eurofresh Farms is quite interesting. They are in the middle of the Arizona desert. There is another example of a closed system farm in the antarctic not mentioned in the book where they grow fresh food for researchers. It is also preparation for growing food on Mars.

The Vertical Farm which he is describing is a future design combining space research, agronomy, and bioshelter design inside a skyscraper. It uses both wind, solar, and biomass power. It commercializes concepts like aeroponics from NASA and adds to some ideas that already came from space research. Solar panels were originally invented at NASA.

This brings the theme to power in the book. Dr. Despommier describes how they will be using wind power, biomass, and solar power. He suggest plasma arc gasification as the way to get rid of biomass. Plasma arc gasification is very expensive. He also suggests that we grow fuel crops in vertical farms. Fuel crops like algae can grow on open water in big bags for far cheaper prices. I liked his sugestion from an earlier article in the New York magazine that they use pellet burning cogeneration for heat, power, and steam.

Dr. Despommier says this can only be built by governments doing research; there is no venture capital interested in this. This statement bothered me. Mr. Despommier is wrong. Bayer is doing research for this and many other companies are working on projects which involve these technologies.

Other companies are seeking venture capital to build these projects like Home Town Farms.  Many cities are becoming more interested in investing in urban agricultural greenhouses. In New York, there is  whch supplies Whole Foods markets. There are also combined systems called aquaponics which create closed loops for growing fish and vegetables together.

I thought the book was very interesting and very flawed. Most of the advantages which he is describing could be done with rooftop aquaponics, or moving advanced greenhouses into an urban setting. I am not convinced that stacking one greenhouse after another into a skyscraper is a good idea. I can see smaller buildings of three or four stories tried first.   This would reduce pollution, provide fresh organic food, create new jobs, and a cleaner environment.  It is well worth doing.

In the appendices, there is a lot of material on hydroponics and urban hydroponics with many websites. It would have been nice to see him list a few green incubators like Green Spaces  or NYC Acre . Also, it would have been nice to see a little bit on aquaponics as well.

The best part of ths book was the illustrations. They are incredible pictures of green cities, buildings and skyscrapers. In fact, his descriptions of green buildings were also superb. This is an excellent reason to take a look at this book.

This is a fascinating and flawed book. I found many of his ideas to be very interesting, but impractical. Maybe, I had some problems with his not going more deeply into parts of the philosophy behind building a vertical farm. I also did not like his over focus on the idea that the government will fund research into vertical farms. Vertical farms incorporate some fairly radical ideas about science and technology.

This book hopefully will stimulate people to look at the fascinating new developments in aeroponics, hydroponics, recycling, green buildings, cradle to cradle design, ecological design, and alternative energy which this book presents. I think most people will find this book fascinating.  I did have some questions about the authors approach and philosophy.

Daily Thoughts 10/18/2010 (Ebooks, Barnes and Noble)

Ravnen, 1890

Daily Thoughts 10/18/2010  

We thought the internet was killing print. But it isn't.

An article which says if a newspaper does well on the internet, it often does well in print also. If it does badly on the internet, it also often does badly in print. This is a very interesting idea. I am thinking that they are saying that the internet causes consolidation with less newspapers.

Hundreds Protest Departure of Encino Barnes & Noble. 

I find this article quite ironic in a way.  It is often the pattern of the big box stores. They move in and cause the closure of many small businesses, then they leave when things are not profitable enough. 

I also noticed that they cut library hours to five day service as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where Good Ideas Come From The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Where Good Ideas Come From The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

This book is a history of how good ideas and inventions come into being.  It is very scientific and technically oriented focusing on Charles Darwin, James D. Watson, Willis Haviland Carrier, Enrico Fermi, and other people with breakthrough ideas.  At the same time, it uses historical examples to extrapolate ways that individuals will likely become more innovative.

Some of the ideas behind the book are not intuitive.  For example, Tim Berner's Lee development of the world wide web occurred over a long time period without any single eureka moment.  Many ideas come from slow continuous development.

Steven Johnson describes many ways to increase individual innovation; keep a diary, browse libraries, bookstores, and the internet, have workspaces which mix order and disorder, keep a wide variety of hobbies, and go to places where ideas flow freely like cafes and innovative spaces. 

The author uses lots of stories and examples to illustrate his points.  He even has a timeline of innovation in the appendix of this book.  The Notes and Further Reading section cites numerous authors like Clay Shirky, Charles Darwin, Jaron Lanier, Malcolm Gladwell, Edward O. Wilson, and Lawrence Lessig.  This book will have an especially strong appeal to people interested in computers and new media.

The book is not just about individual ways that people can innovate.  It also describes some causes of innovation like serendipity, exaptation, and error. In addition it goes beyond the individual to include examples of environmental factors.  For example, cities condense the amount of people freeing people to try new things, and platforms like Twitter increase the ability to communicate new ideas.

I found the book to be very well organized.  This made it easy to think about what I was reading.  In addition to the appendix which had the Chronology of Key Innovations 1400 to 2000 and the Notes and Further Reading, there was a bibliography and index.  This is a very well put together book.  Amanda Dewey is listed as the designer for the book.  If you look on the internet, she has designed quite a few bestsellers.

Daily Thoughts 10/17/2010 (Hacking Work, The Vertical Farm)

Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) Русский: Книжная лавочка, Russian: Book shop, 1876

Daily Thoughts 10/17/2010

This is an article on the book Hacking Work Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein . It looks interesting, but also potentially troublesome.

I am going to write my review of The Vertical Farm tomorrow.  I did take a look around to see if there were any planned urban greenhouses for Manhattan and I found a company called Gotham Greens which is developing a rooftop greenhouse system.  It reads a little like a mix of marketing for Whole Foods and an experiment in urban agriculture.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/16/2010 (The Vertical Farm)

Designs by Chris Jacobs, and Rolf Mohr. 3d Modeling and rendering, Dean Fowler  Creative Commons 3.0 Unported.  Vertical Farm.

Daily Thoughts 10/16/2010

I read some more of The Vertical Farm last night.  I think Dr. Dickson Despommier got a number of things wrong.  He tells us that venture capital is not likely to support vertical farms.  Venture capital is already starting to support closed loop aquaponics systems for cities that combine fish tanks with hydroponics to create closed loops recycling the water in the systems.  It is just starting. This is an article on Big Green Boxes an aquaponics startup.  Another company which is starting based on the vertical farm concept is Home Town Farms

The book is conceptually interesting.  I like the ideas, but feel that the book is more about the idea than the practicalities of trying to build a vertical farm.  A book which might give a better sense of the design principles behind this book would be A Safe and Sustainable World, The Promise of Ecological Design by Nancy Jack Todd.  There are detailed descriptions of how aquaponics, bioshelters, and living machines work.  John Todd is the creater of many of the ideas in this book including living machines.

I'm a bit annoyed right now.  I went to my local library this afternoon and found out it is closed on the weekend.  I wrote my local representatives, but am not sure if it will get them to do anything yet.

Web Bits

I rather liked this article from Library Journal about Social Research Networks  It shows that social networks can be used for other things than just socializing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/15/2010 (The Vertical Farm)

William Richards Castle (1849–1935) donated his collection of books on history of the Pacific (he was born and lived in Hawaii) to Harvard library.

Daily Thoughts 10/15/2010

I read some more of the book, The Dragonfly Effect on the train to work.  It has an interesting feel to it.  It basically says the strongest messages are backed by emotions that have a straightforward message.

I worked a bit more on weeding in the oversize 300s.  I also did a little more work on the survey for our website.  Hopefully, it will be up soon.  I also pulled a few books from our storage from 1854.

I started reading The Vertical Farm Feeding The World In The 21st Century by Dr. Dickson Despommier.  The book reads like someone took the some of the principles of a bioshelter farm and scaled them up to fit inside a skyscraper.  It is a mix of the far fetched and the practical.  He does site John Todd briefly for his work on "living machine" water purification systems.  There is a very utopian feel to the writing.  Dr. Despommier uses ideas like "cradle to cradle", natural capitalism and other ideas from ecological design.  I can see the ideas being first tried out in smaller three or four story urban organic greenhouses before they attempt to put them in skyscrapers.

The Shadow Market How A Group of Wealthy Nations and Powerful Investors Secretly Dominate The World By Eric J. Wiener

The Shadow Market How A Group of Wealthy Nations and Powerful Investors Secretly Dominate The World By Eric J. Wiener

This book explains the flow of global capital away from the United States and Europe.  It gives many reasons why Europe and the United States currently are not growing and are in a recession.  The book describes how China, the Middle East, India, Brazil, and Russia are growing at an accelerated pace.  It also describes how Norway has an outsized impact on global markets because of its oil fueled sovereign wealth fund.

We learn how private equity and hedge funds which have little or no oversite are moving capital away from the United States into areas where there is more opportunity for growth.  There is no longer any responsibility to the country they operate in.  The goal is to generate as much wealth as possible irregardless of where the wealth is coming from.

At the same time countries are creating investment pools called Sovereign Wealth Funds which use their capital to invest as a country.  China, Norway, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates are some of the countries which have created these funds.  They are often used to buy up land, commodities, and oil which the countries need to operate.  In combination with government control of currency in places like China and Brazil, they create artificial markets where labor and capital is cheaper than in free markets.

Sovereign Wealth Funds are used to buy technology, commodities, oil, infrastructure, and development.  They are sources for national capital not individual investors.  This is a different kind of investing than the United States uses in the stock markest.

Not all of this is beneficial, many countries with Sovereign Wealth Funds use their money and oil for ends that are not beneficial to other countries.  The author uses the example of Libya, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates as possible places which fund terror.  He also describes how wealth is often used as a tool to push past human rights.

He also describes how the United States in its weakened condition is turning to more outside investment.  The United States is increasingly encouraging foreign investment onto our shores.  It reminds me very much of how our multinationals once invested in South American countries.

I found the book to be informative and alarmist.  It explained how the United States and Europe were losing their economic competitiveness.  I think it is a wake up call.  It reminds us that we cannot turn to the usual answers, but instead need to innovate, create new technology and ideas and put people back to work.  It showed how the Middle East, China, Russia, Venezuela, Norway, and other countries are using their wealth on a national level to change the commercial playing field.  It was well worth reading.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/14/2010 (Vertical Farms, turbine cars, score)

Marie Spartalli STillman (England, 1844 - 1927)  Beatrice, 1895 Watercolor, Gouache and Tempera on Paper

Daily Thoughts 10/14/2010

Slideshow from the book, Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation by Steve Lehto  . I have been interested in this for a long time. Jay Leno even built one of these for his personal use.  . There is talk of microturbine electric cars like this one from Jaguar with very high speed and long ranges.

I have always been interested in different visions of what technology might look like.  The book, The Vertical Farm Feeding The World In The 21st Century by Dr. Dickson Despommier has come in for me to read.   There is a certain pie in the sky feeling to this which I kind of like.

Today was another steady day.  I worked on creating a flyer for the SCORE small business counseling and arranging for people to start signing up.  I think it will go well. We also worked for a little bit on the survey form for our library.  I think it will be ready fairly soon.

I also started looking up material on the year 1854, the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens was published in 1854.  I probably will look for more material on this year.

On the way home, I read some more of The Dragonfly Effect.  It reminded me of how much we are tied in with the media if we use social networks.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/13/2010 (Where Ideas Come From, The Dragonfly Effect)

At left in the foreground, a printer removes a printed page from the press. The printer at right is inking the plate. In the background, compositors are using cast type., 1568, Artist Jost Amman 1539-1591

Daily Thoughts 10/13/2010

Today has been another quiet, steady day.  I read some more of Where Ideas Come From on the train to work.  I am learning about things like accidental invention, using one thing for another purpose called exaptation which is a neat idea.  I am also learning how the coffee house environment with liquid connections helps generate exchange of new ideas.  The book is quite interesting.  Right now, I am starting on reading the appendixes and looking over the index.  I finished reading it during lunch.

We have also started working on creating a survey for the library website.  We are using google docs , because it is free and will export the information from the questionnaire automatically into excel.  There are various minor things which I did like compile statistics, check the displays, check on the items which are being mended from storage, and make sure some paperwork gets done.

I also did some desk cleaning and filing today, sorting through the material which I had picked up from New York Comic Con.  I plan on giving a few free comics which I had picked up away as part of the Graphic Novels Club next week.

I have a few things which I am planning for tomorrow.  I have to design the SCORE Councilors for Americas Small Business flyer.

While reading the New York Times October 10, 2010 book review, I came across a book that looks truly fantastic; it is Six Novels In Woodcuts by Lynd Ward, Edited by Art Spiegelman.  Lynd Ward's art is beautiful.  His work predates graphic novels and is quite unique.  These are wordless pictures with descriptions next to them.  The pair of books containing the novels are 1,256 pages long.  Another book which looks very interesting is Create Dangerously The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edgewidge Danticat.  Edgewidge Widget is a very popular Haitian novelist.

I started reading The Dragonfly Effect Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith.  The book has website attached to it

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/12/2010 (Where Good Ideas Come From, Open Source)

Smiles Digital ID: 1258991. New York Public Library

Smiles, Galloway
Daily Thoughts 10/12/2010

Today has started off quietly.  I checked the displays.  I also had a meeting with a gentleman from SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business to set up one on one counseling sessions.  I think it went well.  I also called the EERE Information Center to request promotional material for Energy Awareness month which is this month, October.

I also did some weeding in the oversize 300s and picked out some large print books to go on the bookmobile which will go out tomorrow.

Sometimes, I think about open source.  I use Open Office at home.  Also, I've found many social networks are built on open source code.  Digg, Twitter, and Facebook use Cassandra as the backend database

I read some more of Where Good Ideas Come From by Stephen Johnson on the train home.  He is talking about how accidents create many new ideas.  He also reminds us that near perfect Six Sigma environments are not conducive to accidents of design that lead to innovation.  I like his admonition that it is just as importan to browse through the web and through libraries to find good ideas as it is to write everything down.  I do both daily.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The story is told by an orphan boy, Will Henry, who is the apprentice to Erasmus Grey, a monstrumologist, or scientist who studies monsters.  Erasmus Grey is clearly mad, obsessed and manic in his behavior seeking out monsters.

This novel focuses on the legendary anthroposophai, headless bipeds with rows of sharklike teeth in their stomachs.  What makes the monsters frightening actions endurable is the cold clinical scientific detachment that stems from Erasmus Grey; brains eaten, bodies ripped to shreds in frenzy, and children killed.  What would drive most other people mad fascinates and repels the monstrumologist.

The heros of the story are as dark as the creatures they are hunting.  We get an excellent description of nihilism, and being truly beyond good or evil when we meet the hunter Kearns.

The creatures are pulled directly out of Greek and African mythology.  The author adds a kind of natural history to the creatures with travelers accounts, bits of strange natural history, and inexplicabe deaths found in the newspapers.

This books writing is superb.  It combines modern psychological suspense with the old fashioned fear of ghost stories, classic horror, and strange cryptozoological accounts.  It is not overbearing, or overly gross and would be appropriate for both teenagers and adults.

The book won the Michael L. Printz Honor, YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors' Choice For Youth, Kids' Indie Next List, and Florida Books Award, Silver Medal. 

The story is gripping.  It makes me want to read the next book in the series, The Curse of the Wendigo (Monstrumologist) by Rick Yancey.

Daily Thoughts 10/11/2010 (Fictionaut, NBM)

Su Shi, Song Dynasty Poet and Statesman.  The picture was interesting.

Daily Thoughts 10/11/2010

I spent some time looking through the New York Area Startups website. for publishing startups.  I thought this site was very interesting which is a shared writing platform.  Most of the startups are kind of hard to figure out; their names don't match what they do.  It is important to have a name that matches with what you are doing.

I am following NBM on Goodreads now. NBM is an independent producer of graphic novels. I rather like their style.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/10/2010 (Selected Links Page, Singing Librarian, Dreadnought)

Librarian of Congress Luther Evans from 1945-1953

Daily Thoughts 10/10/2010

This morning, I watched a DC Universe original animated movie, Wonder Woman. I like to do my floor exercises when I watch silly cartoons or escapist films.  It was a bit of silly escapism.  Princess Diana fights Ares the God of War.  It was full of action and heroism. I liked one of the special features on an animated feature called Justice League The New Frontier.  Apparently, DC did a modern animated film in 2008 based on the old style costumes and technology from the 1950s which should be very interesting. 

I also went back and filled in some more links for my Selected Links page.  I am going back through 2008 right now.   It will be a steady process.  I finished today with my first pass through the selected links page. I have a lot of links up.  I am only including links that I actually wrote about.

It has been an interesting experience looking through my old blog posts.  I got much more commentary because I seemed to be more willing to state my opinions. Strong opinions or observations seem to me to be what generates comments more than anything else.  Some of the writing when I started is quite atrocious. Bad writing with horrid grammar also seems to attract attention especially if it is on literary topics which have academic or intellectual cachet.  Maybe in some far off time, I'll go back and edit it.  Practice seems to be what has made my writing somewhat better.  Practice and reading other peoples blogs.

On another note, The Singing Librarian Talks has come back, an excellent achievement for blogging.

I also am reading Dreadnought by Cherie Priest.  The main character, Mercy Lynch is a nurse.  The civil war in this world has been going on for over twenty years.  Mercy Lynch finds out her husband has died and must travel by dirigible, paddleboat, and train across a war torn landscape to meet her father who is in the Washington Territory.  I am finding the setting quite interesting. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/9/2010 (social media, twitter, facebook, the monstrumologist)

Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918), 1885, El lector (The Reader), Museo Thyssen Bornemisza

Daily Thoughts 10/9/2010

I created a display this morning for poetry.  I also checked the displays to see they were in order.  A new steampunk book came in for me to read, Dreadnought by Cherie Priest.  It looks interesting. 

While I was looking through various reviews I came across a new Ammon Shea book, The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses But No One Reads.  I rather like Ammon Shea because he writes about things like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and grammar with a very avant garde style.

I had a long train ride home from work.  This being the weekend of a holiday made the trains exceptionally slow, convoluted, and requiring multiple transfers.  This gave me a bit of extra reading time.  I finished reading The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey which was gripping. I could not put it down.  The mad doctor Erasmus Grey who collects, dissects, and eradicates monsters is absolutely convincing.  Will Henry, the orphan apprentice of Grey is also very well done.  The best though is the monster hunter Kearns hired to help them.  Kearns is the apex of nihilism and is an utter beast inside with a very refined exterior.  There is even a discussion guide to the book in the back.  An utterly fantastic read.

Web Bits

Malcolm Gladwell on Twitter and Facebook.

I am going to disagree with this in some ways. Twitter and Facebook can be used to feed into other forms of citizen journalism like blogs and news sites. They are part of a larger strategy which can be used to bring about change. They can be part of a larger advocacy strategy. This is a site called  It feeds news from the web into the site. There are twibbons banners which can be added to facebook and twitter. Save libraries feeds into Twitter and Facebook with news channels. Twitter and Facebook by themselves are just pieces of a larger puzzle. They are channels of communication.

Another piece which is missing from this article is that Twitter and Facebook can be used to host events that allow people to meetup in person over time. For example while they were holding rallies at an earlier date to keep New York Public Library open, these rallies were fed by many other types of groups, meetups, tweetups, and other organizational methods to gather people. On Facebook Urban Librarians Unite was part of the campaign to save Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and New York Public Libray Some of the groups through social media are not short term. A good example of this might be .  If you are thinking about all social networks being purely a platform for business, The American Library Association also has ALA Connect

These were just a piece of a larger strategy as well which included other communication channels; postcard campaigns, rallies, letters and email communications.  Twitter and Facebook feed right into journalism.  It is very easy to communicate using forums and other tools directly with the media now.

Many of the people in these groups blog as well and build a slow following. A good example of how to do this is through the book, We The Media,  Twitter and Facebook add to the ability to use grassroots journalism effectively.

Thinking that Twitter and Facebook as solely a written medium is also fallacious.  Twitter and Facebook can be tied into Youtube to create videos which can spread quickly.  I have not tried this yet.  It also possible to use podcasts to create audio as well.  It opens an entire new way to report what is happening from the opinion of the person experiencing the events.

There is nothing stopping people from using a complete media strategy with Facebook, Meetup, Twitter, Blogs, and other media.  For these things to be effective people would have to meet in person through specific gatherings over a long time period.  Social media is not an abstraction.  For it to work, take the time to meet some of the people who you are communicating with.

It also is a good venue to invite people for events like Bacon Palooza which is a fundraiser to help autistic children!/event.php?eid=152396631460119

I just got a book called The Dragonfly Effect Quick, Effective, and And Powerful Ways To Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith with Carlyle Adler.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Daily Thoughts 10/8/2010 (New York Comic Con)

Anna Brassey (nee Allnut) (1839-1887)[1] was an English traveller and writer. Her bestselling book: A Voyage in the Sunbeam, our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months was published in 1878. This illustration is from that book The daughter of John Allnut, she married the English member of parliament Sir Thomas Brassey (later Earl Brassey), with whom she lived near his Hastings constituency., 1883

Daily Thoughts 10/8/2010

I did get to New York Comic Con at 10:00 a.m. this morning.  It was very different than I expected.  There were a lot of computer gaming companies there.  Playstation, Wii, Nintendo, and others.  Because it was a combined show with Anime East, there were a lot of people in cosplay costumes.  Many of the costumes were of computer game characters or manga characters.  Costumes of Mario and Naruto characters were very popular.  I even took a little break and played a few turns of  the computer game Civilization V by Sid Meier.  There were a lot more big screens than last year showing films or live shots of multiplayer games.  This included the new Final Fantasy XIV online game.

Another thing which I saw was an exhibit for the new Intel computer chip as a chip for computer gamers.   They were giving out an Intel button with a picture from the new film from Dreamworks called Megamind.  Ford was also selling their Ford Fiesta in a comic book show.  I found the product placement to be a bit odd.  There was also a Green Hornet mobile with missiles and guns which was a little odd looking.  They are coming out with a Green Hornet film in January of 2011.

I looked through the copy of the latest Diamond Comic Previews magazine which I got at the show and they have a multi-page spread with a new Green Hornet.  It looks completely different than the Green Hornet I have read.

Booth #434 was where the American Library Association was.  They had some material on graphic novels in libraries plus a whole bunch of material on gaming in libraries.  I picked up an button to wear. I missed the group photograph, I was off looking at things.  I met one person who regularly attends the board of trustees meetings at the library and I met another gentleman who is a patron at our library who was shopping around the comic book he was creating.  He talks a lot about comics when I talk to him.  He suggested that we might want to get the anime Black Lagoon which is a little like Cowboy Bebop.

I walked a lot and looked at the booths and the artists.  There were a lot less booths than last year.  You could see the economies toll on the comics industry.  You could also see changes in the industry.  I saw a few people with Ipads.  There were also a number of displays for digital comics.  On the cover of Thor First Thunder being given at the Marvel booth, there was advertising for a free comics app  whch is an application for the Iphone.

I also saw a few local organizations.  Brooklyn has a yearly animation blockparty. I have not gone to it, but it looks very interesting.

There were a decent amount of free comics.  IDW gave away a free Dungeons and Dragons comic.  I especially liked the Darkhorse giveaway of Falling Skies which is based on a television series on TNT network.  Orbit Books gave away a copy of Gail Carriger's Blameless.  I am going to add it to my libraries collection.  I also picked up a button with the words Parasol Protectorate and a pink octopuss.  The Parasol Protectorate is the name of Gail Carriger's series.

While I was looking at science fiction books, I noticed that Avon Eos was using Netgalley to create a book with free samples of their work online.

I also saw the Museuem of Comic and Cartoon Art New York booth.  The museum is doing an Al Jaffe Art Exhibit from Oct 5, 2010 through January 30,2011.  Another organization which caught my attention was the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. 

One comic that caught my attention was an anthology called Reading With Pictures. It is from a nonprofit organization that uses comics as a tool for literacy.  There was no separate booth for them, but a lot of booths were selling the book.

I picked up two things while I was at the Abrams Comic Arts Booth;  A poster for the book by Audrey Niffenegger for her graphic novel, The Night Bookmobile which I had a chance to look at the New York Comic Con booth. It is about a lady who finds her way to a bookmobile at night and chooses to work there.  I have it up in my room.

I also picked up an Advanced Reading Copy of Empire State A Love Story (Or Not) by Jason Shiga.  I read this on the train home and enjoyed it very much.  It is about a very close friendship between a man and a woman.   The man travels to New York from Oakland California to visit New York to see her and find a job.  It is a slice of life comic about relationships. 

I wandered around looking at booths.  There were were some other interesting books which I saw.  I had gotten an invitation from For Beginner Books to look at their books.   I liked their new graphic novel, Poetry For Beginners.  Beginner Books does nonfiction graphic novels.

There were a few other booths which caught my attention,  which is about a wandering shaolin monk.  It won the Xeric Award.    Midtown Comics was handing out 25% off cards.  There was a postcard for the film, Will Eisner Portrait of a Sequential Artist which is a full length documentary from Montilla Pictures.

Net Comics which featured Manhwa or Korean comics had a very nicely done booth.  I liked the style of their comic the Great Catsby.   They were also giving away very nicely designed cloth bags.

If I had had a little more time, I would have spent some time looking at the Hermes Press books .  They had several Buck Rogers oversize full color books.

I originally planned on staying for the three hours of the professional only session, but ended up staying an extra hour and a half from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The show seemed geared towards a more general audience.  There were a lot of vendors selling comic books and graphic novels.  I saw vendors selling long bins of graphic novels instead of comics for 3 for $20.  It was an interesting show.