Thursday, July 31, 2008

Louisiana Book Festival

Details for the 6th annual Louisiana Book Festival have now been posted. Follow this link for details. The time of my presentation is still be arranged. Hope all of you in the area can make it.

I'll also be at the author party the night before if you'd like to go; I believe tickets for that is $40, but the festival the next day is completely free!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Placentia Library Earthquake Damage

My apartment wasn't the only one that took a slight beating from yesterdays shake...take a look at what it did to the Placentia Library, which is about three miles from me! The library is currently closed until middle August while it it repaired.

Earthquake Pictures

Below are pictures from yesterdays Earthquake; it looks a lot prettier in the pictures then when it happened; the floor hours earlier was covered with pieces from the ceiling and wall. And this place is billed luxory lofts!

It's been standing for almost 100 years, so I guess something has to be giving it the support it needs.

The funny thing is all week long my wife and I have been saying "we really need to go to Home Depot and get Earthquake straps for the bookcases." We still haven't got them, but the bookcase were about the only thing that weren't swaying.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California Still Knows How to Rock and Roll

As probably most of you have heard by now, California had a 5.4 earthquake (5.8 depending on where you get your news) today. It was about 15 miles from my home in Anaheim (the Earthquake was centered in Chino Hills), which meant my place got taken for a bit of a ride. But all is now well--except for lunch, which I was not able to finish before the quake hit :-(

While Earthquakes are nothing new to me (one of my earliest childhood memories was waking up to the Whittier quake of 1987), this one was particularly fun because A.) it was the first one I got to feel with my wife, and B.) It was the first one I got to feel in a tall building. Our apartment was built in the 1920's, and is one of the tallest buildings in Anaheim; from out floor it felt like a drop and then a swinging sensation.

While the quake wasn't as bad as the '94 one (that was 6.7), it was enough to do a bit of structural damage to our place. The wall on the third floor stairwell is partially gone, and there is a hairline crack from about the fifth floor down. We also could not make or receive phone calls for about a hour.

Just to give you an idea of how stupid Californian's are, about ten minutes after the quake (while aftershocks were still happening), someone got in the elevator to get to their second floor apartment--people are so lazy here that they would rather get stuck in an elevator during an aftershock then walk one flight of stairs!

While our apartment was being inspected, we did what any other sane couple would do: we went to Costco!

Warning: Blog Contains Nudity

However your feelings are about Nirvana, we've all seen the naked baby cover (FYI, it's below), but do you know the backstory behind the penis that changed the world (it kind of did change the world...I remember all the stores that would censor the cover by placing price stickers over the penis)? NPR's "All Things Considered" has the story.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty for Illegal Downloading

Yahoo! announced last week that it is doing away with its music service; so what happens to all the people who used Yahoo! to buy music? The easiest way to explain things: you're screwed. If you did a lot of downloading, then you better start backing up that music on CDs and then ripping it back onto the computer, because that's about the only way to get rid of the DRM.

To all those laughing and saying that didn't happen because you use iTunes...well your time could come to. Apple makes a lot of money off their little iTunes store, but they've screwed their customers over big time in the past. They've walked away from their customers in the past, and you better believe they'll do it again if they want to focus their energies on something else.

The problem that everyone is complaining about, is, of course DRM. When you buy a song with DRM you don't really buy the song; you buy the rights to play it on your computer or iPod, but if the company wants to they can just stop supporting that DRM at any moment.

Until the music industry comes up with a better get rid of DRM entirely...then why are people supposed to stop downloading music? Piracy is the easiest and most practical way to get a lot of music; iTunes is a bit of a hassle--especially if you don't want MP4 files.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, July 25, 2008

So Long, Golden Girl

As a Child, TV was my vice. Growing Pains, Full House, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, and, of course, The Wonder Years got me through much of childhood for various reasons. There was so much going on in the shows for me to relate to...I even had a friend named Boner. I grew out of TV after high school...actually I grew out of time, but when I heard that Estelle Getty died this past week, I couldn't help but spend some time thinking about my younger years.

Getty was my Golden Girl (yes, I am fully aware that this is a ridiculously bad pun).

It's probably not the show most people my age remember, but I was a loyal fan and Sophia Angelo Spirelli Petrillo Weinstock was my favorite character. I didn't watch the show because I wanted to be cool (who would do that?), I watched it because that's what my late great grandmother, or Granny, did. Unlike any show today, I could sit down with her in front of the TV and bond without saying words.

The character Granny resembled most was Sophia, so this is why I liked the character so much. What I liked more about her was she showed an old person didn't have to sit around and be old...they could go out and live harder then people half their age. That was my Granny...she lived the Sophia life and put younger people to shame.

When Granny was in her post 80 prime, she would drink beer with her pizza, play Mortal Combat with me, stay up late with me and let me watch rated-R movies, and tell me about the time she lived next door to Bonnie and Clyde. At the end of the day there was only one thing predictable about Granny, she'd have to pray for you.

There have been some great TV shows in the past, and I'm sure they'll be some great ones in the future; but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the one that Estelle Getty created for me and thousands of others.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sanrio You Disgust Me :-(

Yesterday's post was a bit serious...I guess I have to balance it out with something a little lighter.

My wife didn't tell me about her dirty little Hello Kitty secret until we had been dating several months; by then I was too in love with her to hold it against her. I guess it makes sense that a future librarian likes stuffed cats (granted a cat that looks part alien and part demon possessed). It's certainly isn't as bad as her love affair with those creepy little garden gnomes, but I digress.

When Diana sent me the pictures below, all I could do is ask why? Why would someone want a house that is Hello Kitty in every way? It's just wrong. I don't know where this house is or even if people live in it. I just know it's weird.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Bible as Literature

In my younger years, as a student of English Lit. at CSUF, I would spend hours in the library, while I was supposed to be in class, reading about the Bible as literature. The Bible, whatever your views on it's contents are, is the most fascinating book ever written. I wish more preachers would spend more time preaching about it's construction then it's contents, because it's construction is as beautiful as it's message.

The Bible is also full of parallels and symmetry. My favorite book is Genesis which has the craziest literary construction of any book ever wrote. What do I mean by parallels? Look at the "Tower of Babel" (Genesis 11:1-9):

a. introduction: all the Earth had one language (11:1)
b. people settle together in Shinar (11:2)
c. resolution of people "come let us..." (11:3-4)
d. CENTER OF STORY: God discovers the plot (11:5)
c. resolution of God "come let us..." (11:6-7)
b. people disperse from Shinar (11:8)
a. conclusion: all the Earth now has many languages (11:9)

Do you get the feeling that person who wrote the book knew what they were doing? Then there's also the creation account; look at the order of how it says things were created:

a. light
b. sea and sky
c. dry land
a. luminaries
b. fish and birds
c. land animals and humans
d. Sabbath

Here's's the story of Abraham and the promise of a son (Genesis 12:1-21:7):
a. introduction
b. Abram lies about Sarai
c. Lot settles in Sodom
d. Abram intercedes
e. promise of a son
f. Ishmael's birth
g. CENTER: God's covenant
f. Ishmael and Abraham circumcised
e. promise of a son
d. Abraham intercedes
c. Lot flees Sodom
b. Abraham lies abouut Sarah
a. conclusion

Entire books have been written about the literary structure of Genesis alone; if you really wanted to dissect it, it would take years of scholarship--and it's a pretty short book.

Another such parallel I saw this weekend. In the story of Abraham, Abraham has to sacrifice his son Isaac; he's about 100 years old at the time, and Isaac is the son he always wanted; but God tells him to do it, and so he does (this is all in Genesis 22, FYI); as the story goes, he takes Isaac to Moriah, which, traditionally (this is a matter of debate) is located at the Temple Mount; sorry to ruin the story for you if you don't know it, but God tells him at the last moment that he doesn't have to kill his son after was all a test.

Now fast forward to New Testament days; Jesus was crucified at Golgotha or Calvary. Unlike the Abraham story, historians have written record from people who weren't Christians that this was the spot that Jesus died; you can argue if you want whether or not Jesus rose from the dead, but the fact that he was crucified is true.

Now here's where the parallel is...the very spot where Jesus died and the spot where Abraham was to sacrifice his son are literally right next to each other. Kind of funny that the most important sacrifice in Jewish tradition and the most important one in Christian tradition happened basically in the same spot. The map below shows you how close. The "1" is where Jesus died, and the "2" is where Abraham traditionally went. I say traditionally because it's very possible that the location could have been many places...Moriah could have been someplace else, but it was still in Jerusalem; I'd like to believe that both sacrifices where actually on the same spot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Amazon Price Hike

Amazon raised the price of Quiet, Please by two dollars over the weekend! They have a couple newest copies in the $9.50 if you want a bargain. It makes a great gift for all those incoming library school grads! And the best part about buying it used is I don't see a dime!

In other news, Unshelved currently has Quiet, Please as the weeks ad! And go here to see the blurb the author of the series gave the book.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Thomas Pynchon Wiki

Apparently more than one person out there thinks Thomas Pynchon is one of the most complex people around. Need proof? Have you been to the Thomas Pynchon wiki project? Every major work (except for Slow Learner) is there. If you never read him, and want to see just how complex he is, then check out this site, and you'll learn very quickly why his books can be like puzzles. I recommend starting with the one for Against the Day. I'm surprised someone hasn't given this kind of treatment to Joyce.

Apparently the whole thing started the same day the book launched, because it was just way to hard for readers to keep track of everything. Here's the annotations for just one page of the 800+ page Pynchon epic:

Page 683
Franz JosefFranz Josef (1830-1916), Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia from 1848 to 1916. His 68-year reign is the third-longest in the recorded history of Europe.
the BelvedereThe Belvedere Palace, Vienna, comprises two magnificent baroque mansions facing each other across a sloping formal garden. Prince Eugene of Savoy, whose campaigns against the Turks enabled the Habsburg Emprie to reclaim Hungary, purchased some land beyond Vienna's city walls in 1693, upon which he ordered a park with elaborate water features and fountains to be built. In 1714 the Prince had the lower Belvedere built and in 1721 the upper one. The Palace now is open to public tours. See Belvedere Pictures.

Prince Eugene of SavoyPrince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) was the greatest general to serve the Habsburgs.

BallhausplatzBallhausplatz is a square in central Vienna containing the building that over 200 years has been the official residence of the State Chancellor. As a result, Ballhausplatz is often used as shorthand for the Austrian Chancellery
the Anglo-Russian EntenteCf page 618:the Anglo-Russian Entente.
WilhelmstrasseCf page 496:Wilhelmstrasse.
gemütlicher alter JungeGerman: good old boy.

a man who is standing where he should not be.This ominous sentence could be applied to the likes of GWB and those shady charcters who allegedly stood on the grassy knoll (among others).
some symmetry was being brokenSpontaneous symmetry breaking in physics takes place when a system that is symmetric with respect to some symmetry group goes into a vacuum state that is not symmetric. At this point the system no longer appears to behave in a symmetric manner. A common example to help explain this phenomenon is a ball sitting on top of a hill. This ball is in a completely symmetric state. However, it is not a stable one: the ball can easily roll down the hill. At some point, the ball will spontaneously roll down the hill in one direction or another. The symmetry has been broken because the direction the ball rolled down in has now been singled out from other directions [2].

Here, the meaning appears to be that the equilibrium of the twinned professors is broken; Werfner is in London, where he "should not be" (Renfrew's territory); a historical stasis has been broken; this must mean something. Perhaps a foreshadowing of the collapse of the Great Power "symmetry" of 1814 to 1914.

Not spontaneous symmetry broken, just plain broken symmetry. Cf page 537:broken symmetries.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Acres of Books...Acres No More :-(

Acres of Books is closing. Much like the Book Baron in Anaheim did a few months back, the store will be holding a series of sales until everything is gone. In about a week the store will begin to advertise sales in SoCal papers/publication, but from July 17th to July 23rd they are having their first sale. This was announce to people on their mailing list, but I believe it is open to anyone.

This bookstore is truly unique; it's a shame it's going to be gone, but it's not to late to see it before it is. If you live in the SoCal area you can even take the Metro; take the Blue line to Long Beach, and the stop is either 5th street or 1st street...both stops are just a few hundred feet from the store.

Call the store (562-437-6980) or check their website for more information.

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekend Funnies

In honor of Harry Guetzlaff, the weekend funnies are both from The Wittenburg Door's "Truth is Stranger then Fiction."

Friday, July 18, 2008


Harry Guetzlaff died this past Sunday after a long battle with cancer. Chances are you don't know him.

Guetzlaff was the managing editor of the Wittenburg Door Magazine. While the rest of the world nitpicks over whether or not a verse in the Bible said "the" or "thou" the Door staff does the best they can to find the lighter side of Christian religiousity, and make a few people laugh in the process.

There's a fitting tribute to the man on the Door's website, and I encourage you to check it out if you have the chance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Want Kindle 2.0 for Christmas?

If your hoping for a new Kindle for Christmas, you may be in luck. There's a new rumor out that says Amazon is preparing to launch two new Kindles (one in October and one a little later in the year or possibly 2009).

The new Kindle will alledgedly be smaller, cheaper, and prettier then the first generation one. Insiders say they are trying to target a younger audience.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that it addresses the flaws of the first generation models.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Can Anyone Stop Wii?

Nintendo took a risk when they decided to introduce a system (Wii) that was more about games than graphics, and it paid off.

Yesterday they announced they are taking another risk by trying to compete against Rock Band and Guitar Hero with their new game Wii Music.

They are going at it with full force it seems, as this game won't just have a guitar and will have 50 instruments! Everything from piano to, I pretty sure, a cow bell! It looks like it will even work with the traditional controllers so there's no need to buy extra stuff (except for the Wii Balance board, which is used as a drum kick).

I think the best thing about this game is, unlike other games, this one actually teaches you to play the drums.

I remember when the first Guitar Hero came out for PS2 several years ago, and all I could think was "that would be cool if it actually thought you how to play the guitar." I've said the same thing about every came that's come after it.

I hope this game succeeds and proves that it is possible to make learning fun and interactive.

It looks like the game will have a Christmas 2008 launch.

The real risk is going to be trusting gamers will buy a music game that doesn't have big pop songs; they didn't say what the song selection would be, but they did preview it with the soundtrack to Mario Brothers. Will kids play a game if they don't know the song? Time will tell.

The other drawback is there is said to be no scoring system; you simply play the game for fun and not points...kind of a weird concept considering most teens and even adults are used to playing a game until they win.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Finally Something Useful to Do With Encyclopedias!

Let's face it, Wikipedia will replace teachers, librarians, and any kind of educator very soon; I'd say we have a good ten years. I just hope wikipedia isn't still mad at me in ten years for that little McSweeney's prank (?) I pulled a few years back! (really Wikipedia, I meant no harm...I only meant to prove a point. Please, can we be friends?!)

So when people put all of their trust into the powers of Wikipedia, what should we do with all those encyclopedias? Well...a pictures worth a thousand words:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Speaking of Privacy....

Here's good news if you like stealing things: PrirateBay, one of the largest torrent sites on the Web, is working on new encryption software that will hide the identities of it's user.

What does this mean? Right now it's pretty easy for a movie studio to find out who downloaded a movie, and send them nasty notices in the mail saying stop it or they'll sue....I know a few people who have actually got the notices and they're not what I would call hardcore bootleggers. In fact, I've read several stories about movie studios uploading early copies of their movies just to get the IP addresses of those downloading it, so they can send those nasty letters.

Like basically every person under the age of 30, I've had my fun downloading things I'm not really supposed to in the past; for the most part it was legit bootlegs of things that don't exist in any other form..."I didn't have any way of getting it" isn't really an excuse for doing something illegal, but it helps me sleep better at night.

I'm actually a firm believer of making every form of entertainment free (books, movies, music, etc.), and using advertising to pay the bills. But maybe that's just me. I think bootlegging is just man's way of telling people find another way to make money. People used to bootleg Shakespeare plays...and before that monks used to bootleg books! It's been going on for hundreds of years!

If people are bootlegging movies, and movie studios can't do anything about it, then guess what? They'll find another way to make money and we will still be entertain. Maybe it's product placement in movies; maybe it's giving the movie out for free if you buy a certain cereal; or maybe it's simple movie licensing. This would help some indie movies, but it's probably not go to make as much for an action movie...which means studios will have to spend less on special effects and more on decent stories.

But until the laws are changed or privacy can truly be hidden, then I guess I have to stick with venting on a blog and staying away from downloading torrents that aren't exactly legal to download.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Out of Stock

Very sorry, but I am all out of "Quiet, Please" so I have removed the option to buy it from my website. You can, of course, still by unsigned copies at just about every bookstore and online.

I don't plan on ordering more copies anytime soon, but if I ever have more, I'll post a note here.

If you want something signed, and you don't care what it is, you can order "The Library Tree" (which you can also download for free)

Weekend Funnies

Friday, July 11, 2008

And Speaking of Movies...

Any fans of TCM out there? The official blog of TCM ( gave my book a nice little shout out this week! It's a blog about librarians in movies. Read it here.

Wall-E, I Think I May Love You

It's Friday, so why not talk about movies? In particular, Wall-E. If you haven't seen it, and haven't made plans to do anything, then make plans now and see it. This is by far the best movie of the year, the best Pixar movie ever, and the first movie in years to have me on the verge of letting a tear slip from my eye!

The last time I was so moved after seeing a movie was nearly ten years ago; the movie, in case you're wondering, was Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" (although "Once" came pretty darn close).

What made it so good? In my opinion, it was the lack of dialog. Wall-E doesn't really speak, and so the only way the audience will know what the heck is going on is through action. It is a perfect example of "actions speak louder then words."

I've heard a few people actually criticize it for having an environmental message! I don't know how that can be a bad thing, but for the record that's not what this stories about. It's a love story! It reminded me of how movies used to be made: with plots! It was one of those few movies that didn't have many looking at my cell phone every five minutes to see what time it was. It had me fully engaged and was an almost magical experience.

And like all Pixar movies, even the freakin credits were pretty! So just go see, and share your opinion of it in the comment area below if you feel so inclined...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's Not That I'm Anti-Google...

I don't know why I've been on a Google kick lately; I just enjoy pointing out the flaws of a major corporation, I guess. The latest? Somewhat old news, but perhaps it's news to you? Apparently, Google has had data (they don't say how much, but I'm guessing it's a quite a bit) stolen from one of the outsourced companies that keeps Google records.

The most important piece of information stolen was social security numbers of many of their employees (again they don't say how much, but I'm guessing it's a lot). None of this is funny or even unusual. But here's the kicker...the company that stored this highly private and sensitive information was not using encryption software to protect their information.

How does one of the largest and wealthiest companies of modern day America store sensitive information about their employees with a company not using any kind of encryption to protect that information?

I just hope the NSA isn't using the same company....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is Google Beyond the Law?

Google is all over the news lately; I pass on reading about most of it (just seems like all the news is about invasion of privacy, and it's getting old). I couldn't help but laugh, however, when I saw this picture of a cop pulling over one of the street view cars!

And speaking of Google Street View...check out this site, which has their favorite pictures of Google Street View scenes; I wonder if they pulled over to help the guy in the burning car? And if you want to see some pictures of Google's Street Map car fleet, then head over to Gizmodo, who has the shots.

I have also learned that Google has no problem taking your picture off Street Maps, provided you follow several somewhat complicated steps. Go here to see what they are...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Free Speech?

Did you here the one about the librarian cited and removed from a McCain Rally for holding a sign that equals "McCain=Bush"? Kind of sounds like the start of a joke. Apparently, she was protesting on private property, so she was not allowed to protest. Makes you wonder why all of these town hall meetings aren't held on private property, and then no one will be able to protest anything....

The video below is the woman; it's kind of cheesy and doesn't have the magic that the "Don't Taz Me Bro" video filmed at the John Kerry rally had, but it's worth a look.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Jesse Helms, You Will Be Missed?

What's not to love about a guy who said this: "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

Not a very loving quote? Well how about if I said he was also a big advocate of tobacco? That makes him sound like a real sweetheart, right?

Well someone has to love this guy, because he was the longest-serving popularly-elected Senator in the history of North Carolina.

I don't agree with his politics, but I still pause and dwell on his name because he's represents everything that the eighties and Regan politics were about; he is the symbol of an era.

President Regan's dead, Falwell's dead, and now Helms is dead. Perhaps we can now say the eighties is dead and it's time invent a new era of America whatever that means.

It takes all kinds of people to make this country work, and our thoughts and prayers should go out the families of those we don't always agree with...they to shape this country.

Weekend Funnies

Friday, July 4, 2008

Acres of Books

A few months back, I spoke of the closure of one of SoCal's finest books stores: Acres of Books. LA Observed has posted a new article about Ray Bradbury speaking there, and if you even have the slightest love of bookstores, then you should read Bradbury's words.

Bradbury thinks it's bad that Downtown LA doesn't have a bookstore...he should come to Anaheim! The largest bookstore is a whole in the wall shop in Downtown Disney that devotes almost as much space to it's coffee as it does it's books. Even Anaheim's cherished used bookstore, The Book Baron, closed its doors this year.

When record stores and big bookstores are almost non-existent, chain stores like Target and Costco only carry bestsellers at best, and even libraries frequently only have enough money for hot titles, where exactly are we supposed to go discover new talent?

If you haven't visited your local independent record or bookstore lately, then you better get to it before it's too late...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh, No! Did I Really Watch the Baby Laughing 50 Times

I didn't really care about the Viacom / Google lawsuit...until now! Now it appears my privacy is at stake. I don't get it. I didn't do anything wrong...I don't even watch anything on the Viacom network. CBS just plain sucks, and I'm surprised they even have shows people would upload and watch on YouTube, and MTV is just a bunch of Reality TV shows. So why should my privacy be violated?

I do the right thing...I simply use YouTube for watching some guys 15 seconds of fame, and look where it's gotten me! Now Viacoms basically going to get all this free market research stuff based on the viewer habits of millions of people who could care less about Viacom.

I'd like to say I'm boycotting Viacom, but how do you boycott something you don't watch?

Is This the Beginning of the End?

Readers of this blog will know that I believe Microsoft is on a downward spiral, and desperately needs to sex things up (note to read: while I do have an Apple computer, my primary computer is a I really am hoping for them to get better.) Need more proof? The picture below is something my wife (also a Microsoft hater...she's embarrassed when she has to tell her cool friends that she owns Windows OS and not Leopard); it's a picture of an Apple computer being used to give a PowerPoint Presentation at a Microsoft conference! So it's so bad even Microsoft employees don't use their own products!

Can anyone save this company?

City Paper

The City Paper in Baltimore has a review of Quiet, Please up; they believe the cast of characters is better suited for TV...if that's the case, then would someone in Hollywood please buy this book and put it in that domain?! And if he's available, please get Morgan Freeman to play me...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Does the Bible Kill?

I love bizarre stories that involve religion; how's this one for you...scientist believe that the ink used to write part of an ancient Bible was the cause of death for several monks. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Librarian Fashion

My wife and fashion guru past along this blog about a new line of clothes targeted at geeks. They have gone ahead and presupposed all librarians are geeks...probably a true statement, but I know of several that fall into the category of geekier than geeky.

It's still nice to know there's designers who have our back in the fashion world. The company, called Rhombus, has a website where you can purchase clothes from this years collection. Visit the page here.