Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Normally I never do New Years Resolutions, partially cause in the past few years I have been working and going to school and my goal was to survive that without going completely insane. I did set one goal for myself and that was to keep track of how much I read, which I did using GoodReads. I found out that I read over 500 books this year and that more then half of that was graphic novels/manga and that I read barely any nonfiction. I also finally convinced myself that it is okay to stop reading a book if I wasn't enjoying it.

This year I have my degree and I saw that Bookworming in the 21st Century and GreenBeanTeenQueen posted her resolutions and I thought that might be an interesting way to keep track of my resolutions.

1. Blog Goals
a. I want to get more involved in the blogging community.
b. Decide whether to add book reviews or not.
c. Post once a week.
d. Improve my blogging skills so that my blog feels more personalized, no offense intended to blogger I just want to improve.

2. Reading goals
a. Read more nonfiction.
b. Read the stuff I own and try not to have more library books out then I can handle.

3. Life stuff
a. Keep improving my skating (and maybe lose a little weight in the process).
b. Be more assertive.
c. Move into my own place. (I hope, I hope, I hope.)

Well those are my goals for the year, I will keep my fingers crossed. Feel free to post your own in the comments and have a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


One of the artists from Pixar created his own five minute film entitled Alma. It is absolutely gorgeous and yet incredibly creepy. Check it out below; unless dolls kind of freak you out; in which case I recommend you skip it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tis the Season

For all kinds of cutesy holiday tv specials and websites.

Via The Fire Wire I found out that the website TV Tango has been kind enough to figure out when all holiday related television special will be on and what channel they will be on. They have everything you remember from when you were little (Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Eight Crazy Nights) to the esoteric (Deathklok Christmas Special, Bam Margera's Where's Santa, Powerpuff Girls Twas the Flight Before Christmas). They have also included every holiday cooking show; for help planning your fabulous holiday meals or for absorbing virtual calories.

From the Mental Floss blog, there is Santa's Blog. How cool is that. You can get Santa's thoughts on all the goings on at the North Pole. Readers can even follow Santa on Twitter, great for helping get into the holiday spirit.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Love to Laugh

The arrival of Black Friday heralds the start of the holiday season. And while the holiday season is great because it means pretty Christmas trees and menorahs, cookies and hot chocolate and a couple of days off; it can also be pretty stressful what with midterms and finals, crowded stores and trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

That's why I've put together a list of books gauranteed to elicit at least a chuckle if not a full on LOL. So take a break from all the stuff you've got going up and curl up with one of these reads.

Tickle the Ivories from your Computer

Another gem from the people at VSL. Virtual Piano for Songwriters is a website that is just what it says; a virtual piano that can be played straight from your computer. The songbook that sits on the piano provides detailed instructions for using the piano. The only problem I had was figuring out how to use the arrows on the bottom. Otherwise number keys on your keyboard can be used to play chords and to play an individual key on the piano, just click with your mouse.
The creators recommend it be used for composing or beginner learning, but honestly it's just fun. So whether you have dreams of composing your own music or are just looking for a fun slightly educational way to kill time, this is something to consider.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movies and Book Series

The Mid-Continent Public Library has some great readers advisory stuff going on. Two of my favorite features from their site are Series and Sequels and Based on a Book.

Series and Sequels allows the user to find out what's next in a YA or Children's series. Since some series never really number their books and trilogy's such as the Maximum Ride series keep getting made longer, this is a quick and easy way to find out what's next or make sure you actually own an entire series. Users can search by book title, author, series title or subject.

Based on a Book lets readers find out if the book has been made into a movie, thus allowing the neverending, always heated and amusing for spectators "is the book better then the movie" debate to continue.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Road Trip!!!

In a couple of weeks I plan on going on a road trip with my friends down to Philadelphia for Roller Derby nationals (woo hoo). One of my favorite sites to check before I go anywhere is Atlas Obscura. Atlas Obscure is a website that lists all of the weird, strange, beautiful things and places that only the locals know about.

Heading to Philadelphia like I am? Then you might want to check out the Sonorous Stones in Ringing Rocks Park. The Stones in Ringing Rocks Park create a clear bell type tone when struck with a hammer. According to the site, not all of the stones create tones that can be heard by the human ear, but they do all create a tone. To add to the aura of this incredible geological wonder, why the stones create this tone is still unknown.

The Atlas Obscura covers places in numerous countries on all seven continents. If you are in Germany you should check out the Waldspirale, an incredible apartment complex designed by Austrian artist and architect Friedenshreich Hundertwasser, full of life, literally. The apartment complex has trees and other greenery built into it.

The user can search by place or type of attraction and the site is full of interactive maps. Check it out before your next trip or just because.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twisted Tales

Halloween began as Samhain, a night when people believed the veil between this world and the Otherworld was particularly thin. People would dress up as ghosts and demons to disguise themselves from harmful spirits. Since then Halloween has grown and become a night to wear a costume and go trick or treating. We are no longer limmitted to dressing up as ghosts and ghouls, we can be anything we want to be, whether it's a doctor, a cartoon character, or the traditional goblin or ghoul.

Growing up, many of us wanted to be a princess, genies or even a prince (how else do you convince the grown ups to let you carry that ultra cool sword). Of course fairy tales were originally not tales to amuse and delight such as they are now, originally they were tales told to scare children into behaving.

So instead of going the traditional rout and posting a list of creepy paranormal type books, I have included a list of Twisted Tales, fairy tales that have been modernized, had their settings changed or twisted in some other way. You can check out a pdf file of the list by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rainy Day Activities

I don't know what everyone else's weekend was like, but here all it did was rain. Of course this made me remember one of my favorite rainy day activities, paper craft. Paper craft is the art of cutting and folding paper into fun shapes. My favorite papercraft site is Cubeecraft. They provide fun full color templates that you can print, cut out and fold into your favorite video game, movie, cartoon and book characters, such as Mario Bros, Scott Pilgrim, various incarnations of Batman and the guys from Ghost Busters. They also have various inanimate objects, such as the mushrooms from Mario Bros, and pretty much every video game console.

Each item is marked with a difficulty level between one (the easiest) and five (the hardest) scissors. A thicker paper is recommended for this; I used 24 lb paper. You can use regular paper, but it is much harder. You can use scissors to cut everything out but it is much easier to use an exacto knife to cut the slots, and also make sure to put cardboard or some kind of mat underneath your paper, so you don't cut tables or floors. Also double check the printing directions on the site, if you aren't careful you could end up losing tabs (that's why my mushroom is a little bit crooked).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let There Be Art

Odosketch is a website I came across in my online travels. This website is a free flash drawing application. It mimics a sketch book and only offers the most basic of tools, some colors to draw with and an eraser. You can also play back your creations and watch every step you took, even the mistakes. Even the most artistically challenged user can get the hang of it, (I know cause even I was able to use it, check out my ultra cute mushroom).

You can check out new and featured sketches for inspiration, and there is a cloning feature that lets you add to the sketches of others. You have to create an account to save your artwork or use the cloning feature, and promise not to share you're e-mail with anyone else and they don't need any personal information from you beyond that. You can also embed your picture into another website or blog, like I did.

Friday, October 9, 2009

500 Essential Graphic Novels

So I somehow got this crazy idea that I want to read all of the books listed in the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels by Gene Kannenberg Jr. It started innocently enough, I joined the group on Goodreads as a way to branch out of my normal reading habits; but now the more books I read off the list the more I want to read the whole list.

I am not saying that every book I have read off the list has been a stellar read, in fact I can think of at least two that I absolutely hated; but the ones that I loved I have really loved. For example, I read Persepolis a while ago I did enjoy it, but I was probably never going to read anything else by Marjane Satrapi. Then I saw another one of her books, Embroideries was also on the list, so I took it out of the library and it is great. Like Satrapi's other books it's nonfiction. Marjane and the women of her family regularly gather to have tea and gossip. Through the gossip of her elders Marjane and the readers find out about the heartbreaks of both marriage for love and marriage for convenience. The stories are funny and heartfelt. Since the tales all revolve around love gone wrong, the reader can see the strength in all of the woman who survive these heartbreaks and are still able to raise families and become strong independent

Plus reading from the list has led me to books not on the list I might have never picked up. I have always been a Marvel girl with a love of the X-Men, especially Rogue and Nightcrawler and the Avengers. The only DC character I ever gave the time of day was Wonder Woman. Now I am following Birds of Prey, Green Arrow, and even Batman (he was always kind of dark with way too much deep introspection for my kiddie self) but now that I have read Jeph Loeb's noir style Batman, I am in love. And who knew there was a Green Arrow Black Canary book or that Marvel had Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein books as well.