This Day in History

by tosca on Friday, November 14, 2008

Just a quick fly-by post. More a 'did you know' than anything else.

November 14th, 1851 'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville (born 1819) was published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Today, the tale of the whaling ship has long been considered a classic novel. Who would have known at the time that 'Call me Ishmael' would go on to become one of the most well-known fiction opening lines? Personally, I'm betting it's right up there with, 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'

While Monsieur Melville's novel might be a great American classic today, for many years this was not the case. In fact, it bombed when it was first released, and at the time did not manage to live up to the hype of his first two successful novels (Typee and Omoo). In 1865 Melville left writing behind to become a customs inspector, and died in 1891. It wasn't until the 1920s that his work was 'discovered' (I'm not sure he would have considered it missing) by scholars, and from there ended up on high school reading lists.

Interestingly enough, Melville's final novel 'Billy Budd' was not published until 1924, a full 33 years after his death. Information for this post taken from The History Channel - This Day In History's lead story 'Moby-Dick published'. (Image taken from Claudia Knits).

'Call me Ishmael...'

Interesting stuff (to me)

by tosca on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, was toolin' around online in my bloglines account (as I am wont to do) and came across an interesting article at the Herald's online site. Why is the article interesting? Because it's Omar bin Laden. Who's he when he's at home? He's one of Osama bin Laden's 19 children. Why's he so gosh darned captivating? His pacifist views have landed him in a spot of bother in the Middle East and so he, and his wife Zaina Alsabah bin Laden (born Jane Felix-Browne in London), are hoping to seek political asylum in New Zealand. Why? Because, 'It's an amazing country with an amazing history. I believe they have a strong human rights stance and humanitarian stance.' So do I, although I wonder if Omar's paternal link would make people rethink that viewpoint. Read the article for yourself, and then check out the 'Your Views' link to the left of the story. The question is 'Would you be happy if Omar bin Laden tried to move to NZ?' and then readers are invited to Send Your Views (feel free to do this if you are so moved). I didn't have a view to send, probably because I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue (I'm confused - yes I think he should come but I'm not forgetting his father, but neither should I hold that against him but I'm not forgetting his father, he should have the same chance as anyone for a fresh start but I'm not forgetting his get the idea). I took one look at his dreadlocks and thought, 'Nah, come on over, she'll be right,' which is probably why I'll never make a good diplomat or politician. If you have a view feel free to post it as a comment - but keep it clean, please and thank you. (Image taken from NZ Herald's site).

Was merrily working towards completing my next NextReads Romance newsletter for December 2008 (check out our previous Newsletter issues here) and decided to hunt around for a few links of interest. Who'm I kidding? I got distracted - I always do! And I found the 'Romancing the Blog' blog. In particular, it was Kelly Watson's post 'Fighting the good fight' in which she warns readers she's going to be a little Ranty McRant. Seriously, if that's how she rants she can write my blog posts any time heh =) Kelly had read Wendy Crutcher's post last week and some comments struck home: the less than stellar service some readers receive from their public libraries. It was a damn good article and I encourage all of my readers (all 3 of you, one of whom is my mother, hi mum) to READ IT. And it's certainly made me think about how I'm putting together this newsletter from here on out (the December one will be SPECTACULAR I shit you not), and I'll be watching for how our staff in Manukau Libraries treat their romance readers. I'd have thought we were beyond the pointed looks and snobbery stage but apparently not - it's alive and thriving. A comment a colleague made last week reinforces this idea in my head: libraries do NOT belong to librarians. They belong to the community. Yay, Jody! Oh, before I forget, Romancing the Blog will be one of the links for the December newsletter ;0) (Image taken from Romancing the Blog).

So, if Kelly Watson's article gave me food for thought, then Wendy Crutcher's post from her blog 'The Misadventures Of...Super Librarian' had me in stitches! And boy did it ring some bells. The article I'm very badly blathering on about is 'Welcome To The Real World', in which Wendy lay the smack-downeth on the '...discussion on how public libraries are bowing down to the lowest common denominator by offering up entertainment drivel to people who are too cheap to join Netflix, how we're determined to expose porn to the masses, and how we're responsible for the dumbing down of a generation because we offer video gaming programs in libraries. Public libraries should be all about education! And great literature! And intellectually building up the masses of humanity!' Part of what has Wendy's panties in a bunch (hey, that's HER comment, not mine! and if you don't believe methen READ HER POST please) is that the debate is always '...started by 1) Librarians who should have retired 20 years ago 2) Librarians who have been locked in some academic ivory tower for the last 20 years and wouldn't know how a public library works today if it bit them in the ass or 3) all of the above.' Heh them's fighting words, and I agree with every word. I will be emailing the link for Superlibrarian's blog out to all of my colleagues because it is a) funny shit and b) very goddamned relevant! (Image taken from The Misadventures Of...Super librarian)

From Kelly's post to Wendy's...and from there to Caramel Lunacy's 'A Hoyden's Look At Literature : A Swashbuckling Romantic's reviews of the literary, not-so-literary, the great fun, and the truly awful' blog. It was the profile pic that caught my eye - and had me falling off my chair laughing, and so curiosity had me heading on over the associated blog ;0) There is always (some form of) method to my madness! I won't post the pic, instead I'll insist you go check it out for yerself heh. So, since reading the above 3 blogs I think I have a better handle on how I edit my December Romance newsletter. So keep one eye open...

What am I reading? Glad you asked! In the 2 weeks since I handed in my last assignment for the year I have read (in no particular order): Nicholas Sparks 'The lucky one', Julie Hearn 'Ivy', Julia Reed 'The house on First Street', Peter leitch with Phil Gifford 'What a ride, mate! : the life and times of the Mad Butcher', Jennifer Ashley 'Immortals : the redeeming', Richard Attenborough 'Entirely up to you, darling', Jim Butcher 'Storm front', Douglas Brinkley 'The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast', Patricia Briggs 'Moon called', Alyssa Day 'Atlantis rising : the warriors of Poseidon', Jack Canfield 'You've got to read this book! : 55 people tell the story of the book that changed their life', Jade lee 'Dragonborn', Jim Butcher 'Fool moon', Anne Rice 'Christ the lord : out of Egypt : a novel', Michelle Sagara 'Cast in courtlight', Sarah Vowell 'The partly cloudy patriot', Imaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin by 'left to tell : discovering God amidst the Rwandan holocaust' and Michelle Sagara 'Cast in secret'. School is out with a vengeance. That's the good news - now for the bad news. I have 24 books waiting to be picked up at the library. Eep. (Image taken from callumscott2's Flickr photostream).

Speaking of Fickr photostreams, we're currently holding a photo competition for youth called All Eyes on Manukau. The point of the competition? We want to see what Manukau looks like through their eyes, so this is their chance to challenge stereotypes and provoke comment! We have a few samples up on our Flickr photostream, and 4 entries from Sarah (our very first entrant) that you can view here.

Ok, so this was my 'anything interesting' post (remember, it's interesting to me, if you want interesting for you write yer own post). Next up is an item off the infodoodads Top 13 list. See ya when I see ya =)

Web 2.0 tools and NZ public libraries

by tosca on Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm looking at the Hastings District Library for this post. I have family in Hastings - so hello to both the Bruce and the Waerea families! And greetings from a misplaced-Wellingtonian-Jafa ;0) And yes, I know that's got nothing to do with the subject matter at hand but it'd be rude not to say anything heh. It's been so long since I looked at a public library for this exercise that I've forgotten exactly what it is that I actually do. Huh! So, where to from here? I have found the Hastings District Libraries 'Library News Update' blog which I have enjoyed reading. And I'm impressed with the turnout for the Flaxmere magic show! They've limited their posts to display 3 at a time, which I think is great because there's nothing worse than scrolling forever to find something on a site. Nice, very visual and uncluttered. They have an 'Ask a librarian' service and they also promote the 'Any Questions' online homework service. Niiiiiice =)

One Book - One Lincoln programme - Was looking around online to see the various ways in which libraries who use NextReads (which by the way is a fantastic readers' advisory tool) promote it, and came across the above programme. 'One Book - One Lincoln is a community reading program co-sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries and the Lincoln Journal Star. The program encourages all adults in Lincoln and Lancaster County to read and discuss the same book at the same time. The goal of the program is to encourage reading and dialogue by creating a community wide reading and discussion experience.' Allof this, and more, you can view/read on their site - but what a fantastic idea! I absolutely love it and would like to see something like this here in Manukau. One day. Maybe. I've requested the book 'The thirteenth tale' that they're reading this year. I'm with them in spirit heh. (Image taken from 'One Book One Lincoln' website).

Newseum - found in an article from Huffington Post that came through my Bloglines account and oohh err it's basically the current day's newspaper front pages from around America and some of the rest of the world. Today's lot features an alert across the top: Please be patient with the site, we are experiencing a high volume of traffic today. And if you couldn't guess the reason, then check out the screen shot beside this pagraph *eyes right* ;-) But I think I'm prob going to visit this site daily, even if only for a quick image check each morning of the world at a glance. Have also highlighted this in the 'History and Current Events November 2008' NextReads newsletter links section (this newsletter is due out this week and is produced by the ever-helpful Natz2-D2 YAY).

I subscribe to rss updates for 'Random House library services' and their movie-tie-ins-page has a piece about John Boyne's 'The boy in striped pyjamas' film. Unsure if any of you read the book but it was a tear jerker. It's a young adult/junior fiction novel that's written from a child's perspective. For the first part of the book you have no idea where it's set or even why the story is important - you just know it is. Soon, though, you notice that the story is peppered with small but significant clues (like the dinner guest Bruno's parents refer to as the Fury) and when you start to put it together it's spine-chilling. The ending is inevitable, you could see the novel moving toward that conclusion - I'm not sure that logically there was any other way it could've gone - but that doesn't stop it from being any less desperately sad. And Boyne's ending paragraph, I don't remember it spot on, but it's something to the effect that it's all just a story, and how everybody knows that stories aren't true. Probably made me cry harder because it did happen and the horror of it is beyond words. Have read a few reviews of the book that were pretty harsh and it made me wonder, when did we lose our ability to just appreciate a book, good, (semi) bad or otherwise? Why do we have to rip it to shit and publicly condemn it? I usually find that my opinion runs against the common thread - if the critics thought it was great I detested it, and if they thought it was crap I liked it. Now, I give up. If I like it I tell everyone, and if I detested it I wince and move on to another one. Needless to say I told umpteen people about Boyne's book. (Image taken from RandomHouse).

I started this post a day or so after completing my previous one and, since then, three major events have happend, two internationally, the other national. The events: first is that Senator Barack Obama was voted in as President of the United States of America - a history making moment; second is that Proposition 8 - a California State Ballot proposition aiming to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman - received a YES vote of 52.5%, showing that Americans would rather give farming animals rights before legally allowing (I hate that term 'allowing') same-sex couples to marry - where is the love, people? (yes animals need to be protected but ahead of human rights?); and third is that National have come into power, making John Key the Prime Minister of New Zealand. To the first, HELL YES, it's long overdue (although what does it say that Americans want a brown President before a woman, and would the decision for Clinton/Obama have been different if it was a different woman in question?); what the hell to the second - oh, by all means, let's restrict marriage as an instituion for, say, teens who get knocked up, drop out of college and keep alive the idea of the shotgun-wedding, hey, that's a holy union all right; and omg to the third - what was NZ thinking of? I hesitate to make the comparison with President Bush, but I'm not far off it. I can't help but feel slightly thankful that President Obama is commited to ending the war in Iraq because I wonder if our troops may have ended up there under a new government. National has never had a great track record in working with Maori and I don't have great hopes now. Is it a huge issue? Yeah, Labour aren't fantastic but better the devil you know. The proof of the pudding is in the eating...Will he get rid of the Treaty of Waitangi? I hope to Christ he doesn't. I heard a comment recently that Maori would be no better off than they are right now if the Treaty were taken away - and, while in some part I agree, I'm reluctant to have it removed. It gives Maori and the government something to work towards - a blueprint, if you will. I think Maori might be effed royally without it! (Image taken from National Party's offical website). So for now I play the waiting game...bah humbug.

On This Day: 10th November, 1969 - Sesame Street screened for the very first time! Since its inception, well over 74 million people have watched the show. Today, an estimated 8 million people in the US watch the show. And YES I was a Sesame Street baby =)

Thing 27 : Photobucket

by tosca on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, then tonight is your answer.' (President Obama's victory speech, filmed in Grant Park, which you can view here). Whether or not you're a fan of politics, American or otherwise, it is a truly momentous occasion. And yes, I'm unashamedly biased. It is a new era. (Image taken from

I'm trying to do 1 post a week now that I've completed my last assignment for this year (2 papers to go though and then I have the level 5 diploma, although I do miss having a social life - I vaguely remember what it looked like!). Now, if I remember rightly, my last post involved looking at Google Reader which was one of the items infodoodads listed as 'Google Suite'. Umm I feel like crap because I didn't use it much - and I hate admitting that because I use Google Docs and Google Groups and Gmail and I like them. I think it's prob because I'm already a fan of Bloglines and hate change for the sake of change and, to be fair, prob didn't give it quite the go I should have. So it's ME not Google Reader. (Image taken from Google Reader).

I think I also covered book-related sites/blogs in that last one, as well. Which means we're up to - kaka, that doesn't make sense, eh. Ok let's switch it a bit, here's the deal for format:

  • NZ public libraries and the web 2.0 tools they may/may not be using
  • anything of interest
  • infodoodads Top 13 list (and when I run out of those I'll simply find some other list)
  • book-related sites or blogs of interest (or even just what I'm reading atm)
  • learning 2.1 tutorial (until I finish the list)

Hi de hi! Ho de ho. Ok, so I'm up to the next learning 2.1 exercise which is Thing 27 : Photobucket. I am to err create an account, search for images/videos to do with a fav book or books and save at least 2 or 3 into an album or sub-album, use the 'Find stuff' to browse, be sure to click the 'My album' tab and blog about the experience. But just before I do that I'm going to do a quick catch-up on post-win Obama news AND watch my sisters supervise their pyromaniac offspring in safetly shooting rockets. The mind boggles! Back in a few... (Image taken from the Thing 27 activity page for Learning 2.1: Explore ... Discover ... Play)

Eek, just now one of my sisters (who shall remain nameless yet forever infamous in our family stories) accidentally put a rocket in upside down and lit it...only to have it fall over and shoot the youngest sister (I have 6 sisters altogether) in the butt heh. Even funnier was that the youngest one happened to be filming it at the time so you see these lovely sparks shooting up and then sideways, then you hear a whole lot of swearing, and then suddenly the picture starts to jerk as she hotfoots it for safety. Incredibly dangerous - and awfully hilarious! Siblings provide me with endless amusement, even though my mother constantly assures me that's NOT their function. Hmmph. Really, some people are so touchy :-) (Image taken from

At the time of my posting (approx 9pm) there are roughly 6,318,685,209 images (and still climbing) currently on Photobucket. Whoa! So, Photobucket - very easy process to join, once again 'catatonichataholic' came into play. A harder part is trying to think of something I've read recently that wasn't course readings related. Uhh crap, am going to hafta look up My Info D'OH. Ok, 'The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast' by Douglas Brinkley is what I've chosen, so I've used the keywords 'hurricane katrina' to search by. I found a couple of amazing images and videos that go some way toward capturing the human emotion and widespread turmoil of the time, and you can view them in my 'katrina' album. I then clicked on 'Find Stuff' and went for the category 'Comedy & Fun' and selected a funny - which you can check out here. I think (assuming I've done it right, geez). Err I didn't enjoy searching by 'Find Stuff' at all - it seemed a tad bit random. I know - that's not a bad thing but it could be the lateness of the hour but random so does not appeal to me at 11pm at night. Other than my grumpiness it's actually a very easy-to-use site and, maybe tomorrow, I'll enjoy the experience a lot more! (Image taken from my Photobucket account).

My overall opinion is not worth the toilet paper it's written on (or whatever the cyber equivalent is heh) BUT I like it, what I've seen/used. It's different from Flickr - not better or worse, just different. I do remember a colleague telling me that he had a Photobucket account and a lot of his images, which he got from other Photobucket users, were removed from his account - copyright reasons, I think? Which I find slightly funny because I read somewhere that whatever images are in Photobucket are fair game for any and all users to access as long as it's not for commercial purposes. It kinda soured him on the idea of it, understandbly so, and that made me a bit wary about this exercise.

Cripes, one of these days I'm going to write a small-ish post. YEAH RIGHT ;0)