All posts by cary

B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Controller)

Image by Flickr user Brian J. Matis (CC)
Image by Flickr user Brian J. Matis (CC)

While out with friends the other night, a discussion about sharing arose. At first the topic centered around food and couples and the issue of “stealing” food from each other’s plates. The majority of folks (including my husband and I) couldn’t abide by the notion, saying that when each ordered a plate of food it was automatically implied that the individual meals would be consumed only by the person ordering.  Food from one plate would only be shared at the expressed verbal request by the other party AND the food owner’s agreement to do so.

And then I proceeded to steal a french fry from my husband’s plate. Partially in jest. Partially because I wanted a french fry.

As the conversation progressed, the subject of sharing broadened to possessions, especially collections of collectible toys, comic books and video games. What were the boundaries to sharing (and by extension, borrowing and trading) then? With friends? With children (your own and others)? Each of us at the table admitted to having at least one thing/collection that we would not, under any circumstances, share with other people. My thing was video game controllers.

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A Halloween Tribute to Troma

Do you like your Halloween coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. I certainly do. I’m not big on inviting scary, horror-riffic stuff into my life, so I tend to take most anything around this spookiest time of year with many grains of salt. And that goes doubly for scary movies, which, for many, are a must every October. Last year round this time I talked about my favorite “non-horror scary” movies, my made-up and preferential film genre for this time of year. While I don’t mind your typical blood ‘n’ guts/ghostly/mindf*** horror movies, I much prefer the lighter, funnier, and unnecessarily silly movies that highlight all things frightful and eerie.

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Preserving Information: It’s Not Magic, It’s People (And it takes a lot of work!)

A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.
A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.

Do you remember what it was like doing research and writing papers in the Stone Age? When the most accessible fonts of knowledge we had occurred the forms of gigantic sets of encyclopedias, miles worth of microfilm, and card catalogs so large that they could easily fill up one of today’s server farms? If you don’t, then we might not be able to be friends.

Okay, I’m just joking there.  (Or, am I?) But there is a strange yet noticeable divide growing between the traditional and the digital when it comes to accessing information. I see it all the time in my work. When people ask if we have a certain bit of historical data in our archives/library, the first question is not longer “is it available?” but “is it digitized?” (Or, likewise, “can I view it online?”) This question doesn’t just come from young students who grew up with iPads in hand, but seasoned scholars, those with well-preserved pasts in the information Stone Age and futures in the all-encompassing digital world. And it’s not something I’m immune to myself. I’ve done plenty of Internet searches for tidbits of information that I can’t see to find. There are still lots of (hidden) vital nodes of our culture that can’t be located online (yet).

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The Story of a Forty Dollar Tablet

I currently own a Nexus 7 tablet, and it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve made in a long time. The thing is fast and powerful, perfect for writing, web surfing, and moderate gaming. Being quite happy with it, I had in mind obtaining something a little cheaper for work, something I could use essentially as a digital notebook. Over the course of several months, I kept an eye on sales and Amazon just to see if something interesting popped up. I aimed to keep my potential acquisition in the one hundred dollar range with hopes of finding something for a little less than that. The mere thought of getting a tablet for as little as forty dollars never crossed my mind.

Only then, it crossed my path.

While skimming through the sale circulars from the Sunday paper a few weeks ago, a little item caught my attention: a forty dollar tablet. Yep, four-zero bucks, as in two $20 bills, four 10-spots, etc., etc. There’s just no way…I mean, forty dollars…? My mind railed. What would you even  get for that? According to the ad, you actually got something that, from all outward appearances, seemed decent enough. Say hello to the Nobis.

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Listening Party: Modern Era Musicals

Following up on last week’s post, my love of musicals doesn’t stop with the golden era. In fact, I probably like just as many if not more musicals from the current “modern era.” Honestly, other than the date range (mid to late 1960s to the present), modern musicals tend to follow similar formulas to those of golden era musicals – speech, song, dance number, exposition, song, dance number, etc. In my mind, the difference comes in staging and storytelling (though it really depends on the show). Modern musicals tend to have more technical wizardry going on backstage and their staging is often more abstract (i.e. using scaffolding and minimal props as the set rather than fully realized backdrops that are meant to “feel” real). Story-wise, anything goes. Gone are the confines of a boy-meet-girl love story or happy endings. It’s not that golden era musicals didn’t cover complex subjects – at the heart of South Pacific is war and racism after all – it’s that they usually covered them up in lighthearted song and dance. Modern musicals are more likely to show humanity at its worst, and maybe, at its best, but always in song.

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Listening Party: Golden Era Musicals

Thank goodness it’s October, amirite! As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a good portion of September avoiding the world and hiding under blankets. During that time, and especially during rounds of yarn crafting, musicals tended to occupy my ears.  When I’m knitting or crocheting, my musical preferences tends towards stuff that is fluffy, lively, yet not terribly distracting. Those parameters eliminate a sizable portion of my usual catalog of music. But most musicals, from traditional fare like The Sound of Music to the modern thrummings of Phantom of the Opera, fit the bill perfectly. They keep my mind awake and help me concentrate on my work. Plus, there’s something about the ebb and flow of a good musical that help my brain relax into a wonderful zen-like state.

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Introverted Septembers

Here in the great Northern U. S., we are enjoying some of the most crisp and beautiful fall weather we’ve had in a long time. True, the leaves have yet to change and the stray shower occasionally intervenes, but for the most part, we’ve had clear skies and cooler temps since around the start of the month. It’s the perfect time to get outside and do something! Anything! Just be happy in the cool breezes and glowing sun!

So why do I just want to stay indoors, curled up under blankets in some sort of state of pre-hibernation? There something about the start of fall and the month of September in particular that rekindles my introverted tendencies.

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