Monday, June 30, 2008

Weird Science

When you look at this picture close up, you see Albert Einstein, but if you stand about fifteen feet away, the picture will become Marilyn Monroe. Don't you love what you can do with PhotoShop? Thanks to Donna for sending it my way....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, June 27, 2008

ALA Panel

Here's the final description for my Sunday panel this weekend (this time with room number). Hope I can meet a few of your there...

First Author, First BookSunday, 6/29/08, 1:30pm - 3:30pmAnaheim Convention Center, Room 203 A
Be the very first to hear from writers who are sure to end up on the best-sellers list in this popular annual program. Meet newcomers Kaya McLaren (Church of the Dog, Penguin), Scott Douglas (Quiet, Please, Perseus Books), Mark Sarvas (Harry, Revised, Bloomsbury USA), Daniel White (The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind - and Almost Found Myself - on the Pacific Crest Trail, Harper-Collins), Janelle Brown (All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Spiegel & Grau), and Anya Ulinich (Petropolis, Penguin). Library Journal's book review editor, Barbara Hoffert, will moderate the program. The authors will sign copies of their books following the event most of which will be given away free while others will be sold at a generous discount.

Library Journal

Library Journal had a nice interview I did with them a few months back on their website yesterday...check it out if your bored. I mention in it a new book; it is true that I'm hard at work on a new book, but the most I can say about it is it's about the Internet. I hope to post some more news on it soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ALA Away & Other Things I Wanted to Say

I hope everyone is enjoying that free book; I've had several hundred downloads, so I'm glad to know a few people got it. It's already been converted to Kindle format (as well as an iPod notes format, iPhone format, and several other formats) here! So if you have a eReader, then go there and see if there's a compatible version for you.

Just reminder to all those going to ALA Anaheim this week, I will be at a panel called "First Authors, First Books."

To get ready for the panel, my wife gave me a haircut. She's given me plenty of haircuts (she used to cut hair for a living), but this is the first time she let me play my Xbox while she cut it; it was perhaps one of the most amazing experiences of my life! It takes a truly gifted woman to cut hair while someone is playing a game!

Also, to all you Louisiana readers, I'll be speaking at the Louisiana Book Festival in October; come hear me speak if you live in the area!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Wiki Book Project

I don't like the word Web 2.0. Some of you already know this. It's gimmicky, and really nothing more then rhetoric used by snobby lecturers at conferences no one wants to be at--for some reason these people believe the word can best be describe with a PowerPoint Presentation that is pretty, but makes no sense.

There is one good thing about the word. It's got people talking about the idea of Wiki. I believe Wiki is what the Web was made for--it brings a diverse group of people together to create something collaboratively that can be used to help the masses.

I read recently about a new Bible translation going on as a Wiki project. Only time will tell if the project is a success; I find it hard to believe that something like the Bible can be translated by scholars and amateurs alike and not have serious bias and debates arise. Regardless of the outcome, it's a fascinating experiment.

The idea of teamwork has never been so exciting! It's no longer about working closely with people you work with; it's about working closely with people you have never once meant!

One of the reasons I posted "The Library Tree" not just as an electronic book, but as a Wiki book was because I was curious to see how many people take it seriously, how many people take it as fun, and how many people try to vandalize the effort people are making. In reality I think it takes all three for such an experiment to work.

There needs to be people on a Wiki project who is all about order and structure; someone who just wants to be silly and have fun; and someone all about making waves.

So whoever you are, take those creative energies and put them to use...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Free

I had toyed for several years about making some of my writing free; I liked the idea, but obviously not the price! I believe what convinced me was finally concluding that readers should be rewarded.

Society is rapidly changing because of the Internet; the music industry is realizing this; the film industry is realizing this; and I believe the publishing industry will learn this very soon. Because so few books are digital, the publishing industry has been slow to feel the sting. Piracy, so far, has not been a big issue. If digital books catch on, they're going to have a rude awakening.

Sometimes I wonder if very soon publishers will go away entirely; instead of selling a book to a publisher, the writer will solicit it to a publicist, and if they like it they'll take the writer on, send the book to Amazon, and then use their muscle to try and promote it. If the books a success, then some independent press will pick it up, and print it for all the people who still want a bound book for their bookshelf.

A lot of people would be outraged by this; I'd be one of them. If I enjoy the book, I like having it bound and on display in my library. But home libraries are, sadly, are becoming more iconoclastic. People have larger DVD and CD libraries than book ones.

If you like "The Library Tree" then feel free to buy a copy on my website; or simplely keep it on your harddrive; I'm not making much of a profit with this project, so I really don't care what you do. Whatever way you read it, I hope you enjoy it and tell a friend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wanna Know a Secret?

What is that picture on top all about? Let me tell you...

When I was a kid I used to love choose your own adventure books; but I frequently didn't like the adventure--I wanted to make my own.

Did you ever have that happen to you? Did you ever hate a book so much that you wanted to change it?! Well here's your chance.

A few years ago, I wrote a little book called The Library Tree. It is a whimsical library folktale of sorts, and now I'm giving it away! Some of you have already bought and read this book, and I thank you for your support; there's still a couple bound copies left, and if you'd really like one, then go to my Web store and buy it...but honestly, I'd be happier if you simply download and read it free and told all your friends about it!

The book is also licensed under the Creative Commons; you can edit it, change it, rewrite it...basically do whatever you want to it. The only thing you can't do is sell it for profit.

Why am I doing this? Call it an experiment, really. Plenty of people have started non-fiction Wiki efforts. How many people have started wiki fiction books? And this is the perfect book to start it with--it's short and it's a folktale (and folktales are frequently changed as they're passed down through the ages).

I think the future of publishing will get increasingly more collaborative, and this is just a chance for me and you to test the water. So have fun! If you enjoy the experiment, or enjoy the book, then tell a friend, blog about it, write a review, or do whatever it is you do when your excited about something.

There are a few ways to get this book:
1. Go to the blog for the book (
2. Download a PDF, MS Word, or TXT version of the book on my website (
3. Go right to the wiki page (

Creative Commons License

The Library Tree is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, June 20, 2008

About that Crash...

I'm a sucker for any Bob Dylan news, true or fake; the latest on the rumormill is that he did not actually get in a motorcycle crash. Not exactly new news; people have speculated for years about this claim, but a new book is out that claims to have further proof. Read about it here:

As with all alleged Dylan tell all's, one must question whether or not the author is just out to bank on Dylan's name...

And speaking of music stars, this must have been one incredible concert...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Office Spinoff?

I'm a huge fan of The Office and a sometimes fan of Flight of the Conchords, so imagine my joy when I heard a new project was at work that combines both! I've heard the rumors of an Office spin off for a few months, but as networks are scrabbling to figure out what to debut in the coming year it looks like those rumors might actually come true. Here's a story about the spin fingers are crossed that it will come true.

And speaking about things from down under (the Conchords are sort of from down under if you count New Zealand), "Quiet, Please" got a mention in The Age, one of the bigger news papers down there; see that review here. I didn't even know it had been published down there (and by a different publisher at that!) my book has basically hit, or will hit soon, every continent in the world except South America, Africa, and the Antarctica!

Also, for everyone not in Florida, the Tampa Tribune had a nice review of Quiet, Please here...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Roland, the New Celeb Blogger!

Those of you who don't get American Libraries Direct (ALA's weekly email), Roland (from the book) got a nice shout out! Looks like he's on his way to library blogger fame! Way to go, Roland! And remember, you heard about him first on this blog...

For those of you who did not read it, Roland was my guest blogger while I was away on my honeymoon. You can read those blogs here. He is better know for the big interview scene that was published in the middle of "Quiet, Please."

Below is the reference that AL made (it's from the blog he posted yesterday):
How to annoy a public librarianFive suggestions from Roland Saint-Laurent, among them: "If the computer you're working at has icons, delete them all as soon as you finish your session. I don't know why patrons do this, but I will occasionally see a computer station with either one, a couple, or all of the icons missing. Since there are a ton of computers in the library, it's usually not a terrible inconvenience to the public," but it certainly is annoying to the staff....Stay Down Here Where You Belong, June 17

The Iowa Situation

People frequently forget about libraries in times of tragedy; here's a personal account of the Iowa flooding situation from a librarian that came off an email list. If you are in a position to help, and would like to do so, I'm sure the American Red Cross would love to hear from you...

Here's the account:

Some of you have voiced concern/support to us here in Iowa. I'm thePreservation Librarian at the University of Iowa and past PARS chair.

I live in Cedar Rapids on a hill. We drove our real estate agent crazyinsisting that we live on a hill! Cedar Rapids is on the Cedar River.The River came up fast and ugly, going way beyond the 500 year floodplain, more than 12 feet over projected flood level, exceeding all pastrecords. On the plus side, it is receding very rapidly allowing us tobegin the recovery process.

Most of our cultural resources are along the river -- the publiclibrary, art museum, opera house, African American Museum, Czech/SlovakMuseum & Library. You get the idea. The 1st floor of the public libraryis wiped out. Luckily it's all replaceable books. The rare material ison 2nd floor but they can't get to the library yet so we may be dealingwith mold here soon.

I've been working primarily with the Czech and African American museums-- talking through the recovery process, etc. Today with the help ofsome local politicians we were able to get an exemption and get arecovery team and freezer truck into the Czech Museum area. The mud andguck was so thick that we weren't able to do much today except get someof the mud out. Tomorrow we plan to start packing the material out and"fight the good fight" to get the African American museum exempted so wecan start packing them out, too. Gary Frost joined me today and willcontinue to help this week.

Travel is difficult and patience-testing, taking at least double thetime to get any where. Roads have been washed out so even if the watergoes down, the road isn't there anymore anyway.

The University of Iowa is on the Iowa River. It came up slow, giving usa lot of time to prepare. It, too, exceeded all previous records but didnot get as high as projected. My director went along with my request toevacuate all special collections material and selected book areas out ofthe basement 5 foot above floor level. At the time I made the request wewere being denied sandbags. Of course, once we had most materials out,the sandbags arrived after all. The help was phenomenal. At 6PM Thursdaywe were told we had two days to evacuate-- Friday and Saturday. Knowing that dams might break we assumed one dayand got all our staff relocated, computers out and collections in thebasement per my request of 5 feet out by Friday 8PM. We were toldsometime on Friday that a dam of some sort did break and that we couldnot come back on Saturday. Actually we were told to stay home for aweek. We had hundreds of volunteers. Our evacuation was phenomenal.I've never seen anything like it. We have 3 elevators and 2 stairwellsto the basement. Our collections are crazy making, unfinished floor,compact shelves, narrow aisles. We used carts and elevators, human bookhanding chains in the stairwells, box brigades. I told everyone that Ihoped my worst fears were just that and that all this evacuation wasjust a practice exercise. Turned out that just what it was. We only got2" in the basement.

The Iowa River came up slow, it's going down slow. Our Art and MusicLibraries are on the 2nd floor of flooded buildings. We're veryconcerned that we'll have lots of mold. We think we'll be ok with the collection in Main Library.

Books of the Not So Distant Future

There's not enough book gossip in this word; this blog entry is the best book news I can come up's the books I'm excited to hear more about in coming months. In no particular order here they are:

"The Wordy Shipmate" by Sarah Vowell (October 2008). Vowell's account of Puritans sounds exciting! Well, okay, exciting is the wrong word, but I'm sure it will be a fun read.

"Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member" by Kevin Yee (July 2008). As a former employee at Disney's Anaheim Mouse Trap, I'm sure this will be a fun read...doesn't look like much of a story though.

"Ask a Ninja Presents The Ninja Handbook: This Book Looks Forward to Killing You Soon" by Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols (September 2008). I think I'm more looking forward to this book to fail than to do good. I'm tired of seeing every blogger and their mother try to make a quick buck on a book, and I want it to end! Maybe I'm wrong, I hope that I am, but this book just looks like the blog; the trouble with that is who wants to read a blog in a book? The writers of blogs can make fine writers, but more often then not when they try to publish books, they simply rehash what makes their blog popular. I'm a blog writer who published a book, but you don't have to be a fan of one to enjoy the other.

"Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile" by Rob Bell and Don Golden (October 2008). This looks like a pretty short, thought-provoking read. I'm a fan of Bell, so I'm sure I'll be a fan of this book.

"Indignation" by Philip Roth (September 2008). I always say I'm going to read Roth, but then I never do. Maybe this time I actually will...

And on the subject of publishing gossip, I recently heard that Amazon has yet to sell even 50,000 Kindles; some reports say it might not even be 20,000. All the buzz was on Kindle at the start of the month when Bezos talked at the Book Expo in L.A., and it's no wonder--Amazon knows how to spin a story!

I really want to have high hopes for the Kindle, because I think it has big potential in a dying publishing industry; but that same part of me wonders if the Kindle is going to be just like that thing Amazon pumped up several years ago...I think they called it the "it." A few months later they said "it" was actually the Segway...suddenly it was just a cool toy for yuppies and their friends.

When Toshiba is making a laptop that weighs about the same as a Kindle, then why would I want a Kindle? That's what you need to answer for me, Amazon! Because if I'm paying $360 for a book reader, then I want it to do so much more.

I think it would be great if there was a reader that let you read an authors book, and have the ability at anytime to see every bit of news about them, every blog they've written, and what's on their homepage. It's a great way to connect the reader to the author. I even could see the rebirth of the serial novel--writers writing chapters by the week and sending all their readers auto updates for a buck.

It seems like people are saying it's the either the death of publishing or the death of eBooks...I for one would like to see the two coexist.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Make It a Firefox Day!

Today is National Download Day! News to you? Probably news to just about everyone you know. The holiday is likely to pass, but one thing that's not likely to pass anytime soon is the Firefox web browser; to celebrate Download Day, Mozilla has released the long awaited Firefox 3.

Judging from the preview version I've already downloaded, it's not as innovating as I hoped for, but worth the download nonetheless. Firefox is also trying to break a world record for most downloads of a program in a single day. Read about that here, and then help them out already! Of course you can also wait a year when Microsoft will release a version of Internet Explorer that basically copies every single popular feature on the new Firefox 3!

Mozilla is also preparing to release a mobile version of the browser for cell phones.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Give the Jerk a Chance!

A few weeks, I mentioned Roland (from the book) had started a blog; he started it, in part, because of me. He was gripping about having a blog but no one visiting it; I told him it's because he never writes anything on it, and so for the past few weeks he has tried to write stuff on a regular bases.

His blog is bitter, vulgar, insensitive, snotty, egocentric, and, at times, laugh at loud funny! Sometimes he comes off sounding like a complete jerk, but I for one say give the jerk a chance by visiting his blog today! You just may find yourself completely not disappointed.

Today his blog was on the txt to reference service Cha, Cha, and I couldn't help but nod in agreement with everything he said. Both of us were all about Cha, Cha when it came out; we had high hopes that one day we would be replaced by a cell phone sitting where librarians once sat. After using the service almost religiously, we both have come to the firm conclusion that Cha, Cha sucks. We've asked simple questions and got wrong answers on more then one occasion.

If you have a horror story of your own about Cha, Cha, feel free to post it below in the comment section.

You Complete Me, Google

Is anyone else getting a little afraid of Google lately? Google satellite was a nice idea, then they introduced Street View, and thoughts of big brother is watching quickly came to mind--it was both cool and creepy all at once.

Everyday it seems something is added under the Google umbrella, and I can't help but wonder when I too will be cast under the umbrella...nothing more than a subsidiary of the Google Corporation (note to reader: this blog is owned by Google, so I kind of already am).

Well to creep me out just a little more, Google has generously offered to help me manage my medical records! How nice of them, right? Um...well sort of I guess. Google is full of great ideas, but maybe it's time for them just to simmer down before they control the world.

Maybe their next great idea can be Google Puppies; everyone likes puppies. There's nothing creepy about that...I need something un-creepy this time around, Google!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Here's one for all the Dad's! Happy Father's Day!

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Do You Say "Quiet, Please" In Korean?

Good news for anyone out there who speaks Korean; I have recieved word that a Korean publisher has agreed to translate and publish "Quiet, Please." I'll have news more news about this, as well as the Complex Chinese translation as it comes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

LJ Restaurant Review

If you'll be in town for ALA later this month, Library Journal has posted the restaurant guide that I did for them this year...check out my dining picks here. If you go to any of them, and enjoy them, let me know...

Also, I was on the John McMullen Show (KNEWS, Palm Springs); if you'd like to hear that, follow this link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quiet, Please vs. Free for All

Newsday reviewed "Quiet, Please" and "Free for All" on Sunday; I'm really surprised that this is one of the first times any Newspaper has reviewed the books side by side. Go here to read the reviews.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Library Themed Wedding - Part 2 of 2

All pictures are (C) Jack Rodriguez. All Rights Reserved.

See part one!

This is my amazing and beautiful bride (now wife!)

Yes, I wore Chuck Taylor's, but no they are not the ones from the cover of the book! I had the shoes picked out long before the cover came out, so I wasn't trying to copy the book!

That's Juan, Roland (from the book), me, and my best man & brother, Kevin.

Don't judge a book by it's cover...

Library Themed Wedding - Part 1 of 2

Here, at last, are some of the wedding pictures from Diana & I's wedding. If you use any of the pictures on a blog or in a magazine, please be nice and give credit to Jack Rodriguez, our wedding photographer. I'll have more pictures up tomorrow...

I wouldn't say our wedding was library-themed like our invites, but it did have many library elements. Below is one of the 30+ tables; each table was named after a writer that Diana & I like; it had a book by that writer, a framed picture of that writer, and a library card with the writers picture on it; every seat also had a book-themed crossword puzzle.

Our table was the Charles of Diana's favorite authors.

We didn't have a guestbook; instead we had small pieces of paper for guest to write notes to us on; these were stuff inside due date slips, and put in a small suitcase.

We originally wanted to do some kind of cake in the shape of a book, but it got too complicated; this one came out much prettier! I heard it tasted good, but we didn't actually eat it :( Diana is allergic to gluten, and we had a special smaller cake, which, while not pretty to look at, was quite good.

All pictures (C) Jack Rodriguez. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, June 6, 2008

Kansas City Star

Many of you already saw the Kansas City Star article earlier this week that I'm quoted in. For those who haven't here's the link:

It's a great article about how public libraries are changing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


If you are coming from LisNews, here are the links for those library-themed show story's:

The Library Tree & Other Design Tips

How's this for a librarian-themed home decorating?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Library-Themed Wedding Pictures!

Everyone has been asking "was your wedding library-themed?" (In case you never saw the library-themed invites, here they are again!) Now we finally have the pictures to prove that it was! I'll be uploading some of them to this blog next week, so if you want to see how we decorated, then come back then...

Until then you'll have to settle for the photo below....

(C) Jack Rodriguez. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Windows 7

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how much I thought Windows Vista much so that I'm ready to go completely Mac. Microsoft was out to redeem itself last week by showing off Windows 7. From the looks of it, I don't think they learned their lesson--simple is not a bad thing. Yeah it's cool you can move pictures around with your fingers; there's a lot of cool things that Windows Vista can do. The trouble is it takes so much memory to do all those things that the cool factore quickly fades. I have yet to hear what this OS actually does that makes it worth an upgrade.

Maybe it's just the video below to judge for yourself:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Call the Library Sex Line

Don't you hate when you call the library to renew books, and you have to listen to some erotic fantasy instead?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend Funnies