Monthly Archives: June 2014

Internet of “Stuff”!

In this week’s edition of the Library Things blog we’re going to talk about weird things on the internet. Which seems redundant, really (weird and the internet are pretty much interchangeable terms). A large part of my position is to scour the internet looking for “stuff”, and boy-howdy do I ever. That may be the first time I’ve ever used the phrase “boy-howdy”…and the last. I am leaving it, but I don’t like it. Anyway…today, as a part of my never ending search for “stuff” today I came across some particularly entertaining items compliments of Buzzfeed. Some were games, some were just interactive clicky things, others were just completely random and I’m going to share this glorious list of items with you, for your entertainment (of course).

#1: You’re Getting Old. This is both an awful truth and the name of the site. You simply enter in your birth date and voila! Details about how long you’ve been on this earth and some rando events that happened since you graced the world with your presence.

#2: GeoGuessr. This is a fabulous time suck for those amused by locations and quizzy items. You are shown a Google Maps styled area that could be anywhere in the world. You can explore some and you have to try to figure out where you’ve been placed. Sometimes the answers are obvious, sometimes they seem obvious. Fabulously entertaining for the strange folks like me, your humble blogging librarian.

#3 Hacker Typer. This is a weird one. Have you ever wanted to look like one of those fancy hackers in the movies? Well, now you can!! You can type anything…anything whatsoever…and it will generate what appears to be random hacking code. Fun stuff.

#4 Find The Invisible Cow. That’s what you do. Somewhere on this blank white page there is a cow (or goat if you play enough times…and perhaps others, I only tested it a few times). It’s not just moving your mouse over the page though. It’s like a “hot-cold” game with some dude saying “cow” over and over in varying tones based on how close you are. If he’s screaming, you’re close. Stupidly amusing.

#5 idaft. Are you a fan of Daft Punk? Have you ever wanted to be one of the guys? Well, have I got a page for you! This fancy little page interacts with your keyboard and basically lets you do the whole “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” song. Amusing.

#6 Incredibox. This is a fun place to kill about…a day. You get 7 dudes to use to make different beats, songs, diddys, whatever. All told you have 20 different noises to choose from some beats, some vocals…you get the idea. If you match up your creation to the ones programmed in, you get to watch a special treat. Oh…and you can record your creations. Fun!

#7 Run Pee. Yes…you read that right. It’s a site that will tell you when you’re safe to take a tinkle break during the movie of your choosing. Naturally, not every movie is on the list, but most stuff currently in theaters has made the page!

#8 Does the Dog Die. Another movie helper site. On this one you can search out your pet themed movies to see if the dog does in fact die. It’s a fabulous page for people like me, who can’t bear watching a beloved pooch perish. Apparently this does not apply just to dogs, but to pets in general. It will also let you know if a pet is injured.

#9 Whale. This page doesn’t actually have a name, so I’m calling it Whale…because that’s all that really is. It’s a killer whale that will follow your mouse around the page. It’s stupid, but amusing. Plus, It’ll kill a few minutes while you try to make it miss.

#10 Pointer Pointer. This is another fairly stupid, but ingenious little site. You move your pointer around (giving it time to think, of course) and it will generate a photo of people (or something) pointing at, or very near, your pointer. Silly.

#11 Akinator. This one has made its rounds about the interwebs fairly recently, but just in case you missed him…Akinator is the web genius/genie. You pick a real or fictional character (in your head) and answer his questions…and he’ll figure it out. It’s pretty surprising really. He’ll usually get it in about 20 questions or so. Apparently Mr. Bean is a befuddling choice if you don’t know too much about Mr. Bean…took him 56 guesses and he still came up with Rowan Atkinson instead of Mr. Bean specifically.

So…there are 11 silly internet goodies to on which you can kill some pretty serious time. These are in no particular order, and you may not find them nearly as amusing as I did, but give them a try just in case!

Have a wonderful week Avila, and stay tuned! I’ll be blogging from VEGAS in a few days!

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Mmmm…Coffee…

So here we are again. It’s lovely isn’t it? Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my personal favorites, coffee! Seriously. I’m sitting right next to a cup right now as is write this sitting I one of the many Roasterie shops around the KC area. I figured, why not, eh? It summer, not too many of you guys are working on big assignments or cramming for midterms/finals, and I’m guessing a good portion of you are probably consuming this to get through the mornings at your job (be it summer, your first real job, or the job you’ve head for.ev.er.). Am I right? I kind of figured it would be a decent gamble.

So, coffee. The bitter bean we turn into some crazy caffeinated bean juice. We drink it hot and cold, with gratuitous “additions” or black as night. But what do you really know about this tasty beverage?

Coffee has been consumed, supposedly, since the 9th century. It first started out in Ethiopia in the province of Kaffa. Over time it migrated through the Arab areas, taking the people by storm. By the 15th century it was being cultivated and the first coffee shops begin appearing all over Mecca. Much like our coffee shops today, they were dens of socializing, game playing, thinking/philosophizing, and (of course) politics. It was this political bent that caused the shops to be frequently banned, but they would crop up again and again eventually leading to a tax to minimize the disturbances. Much to no ones surprise the Arab countries did not want to share their wonderful drink/bean/plant with the world, and imposed a ban on transport of fertile beans. This was short lived…circumvented in 1616 by the Dutch. The Dutch brought coffee to the Netherlands and begin growing it in greenhouses; they also had some plans growing in India and Java (in moder day Indonesia). The wonderful beverage was quite popular in Europe and generally sold by lemonade vendors until the first coffee shop pooped up in Venice in1683… Cafe Florian, which is still in operation today. Coffee was not too far behind the first American settlers…the first literary mention of the drink was in 1668! Coffee shops soon followed in all the major cities including NYC, Philly, and Boston. In the United States, as with other counties, the coffee shops became hubs for planning and getting together. The Boston Tea Party was planned in one, and the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York were started in a coffee shop! The bitter bean continued to grow in popularity. In 1720 one plant took an eventful boat ride with French Naval Officier Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu. One rough voyage later they arrived at Martinique where the surprisingly still living coffee plant was interred…and grew….and grew…and grew! By 1770 it is recorded that there were between 18 and 19 million coffee plants on the island. And thus was born the newest cash crop! Martinique did not have the only soil that loved coffee, shortly after the Dutch brought coffee to its settlement of Surinam it flourished. Since then, coffee has become one of the most profitable crops of South and Central America. The British, not to be outdone by their conquering rivals, introduced coffee to its colony in Jamaica in 1730. Coffee grown in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains is still, to this day, the most famous and expensive coffee. Kona coffee of Hawaii is also climbing the charts…but North American growers are definitely not to quite the level of our South and Central American counterparts, or the Asian or African counterparts for that matter.

Curious about how it goes from tree to cup? Well…

Step 1) plant coffee plant in fertile soil. It likes warm, moist climates. Wait.

Step 2) harvest coffee “cherries”‘ the coffee fruit.

Step 3) “process”…removed the fruity flesh from around the bean

Step 4) dry….forever.

Step 5) roast. The beans are roasted at temps around 392 degrees F (200 C) to a desired hue. The flavor of your coffee depends on the roast…darker is usually more bitter.

Step 6) grind to pulp and brew with water.

Step 7) consume at last

Fun coffee facts:

  • There are multiple species of coffee plant. The most popular is arabica.
  • In 2003 it was the 6th largest legal export in value.
  • From 1998 – 2006 approximately 6.7 million tons of coffee were produced annually. The number has since risen.
  • Average U.S. consumption is 3.1 cups a day.
  • Demand for coffee in Europe was so strong by the 19th century, that in times of limited real coffee beans, substitutions were made using chicory root, acorns, and/or figs. Ew.

How caffeinated do you want to be?

Caffeine amt. based on 7 oz serving or 1 shot of espresso

  • Drip coffee: 115-175 mg
  • Espresso: 100 mg
  • Brewed coffee: 80-135 mg
  • Instant: 65-100 mg
  • Decaf, brewed: 3-4 mg
  • Decaf, instant: 2-3 mg

Best coffee tips:

  • Make sure your pot is clean (stale coffee scum=nasty flavor)
  • Use clean filtered water
  • Use fresh and quality coffee beans. Even better: grind your coffee just before brewing.

Want to learn more? Just want to be amused by coffee? Check these out:

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Summer and Reading!

I certainly hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far! I know those of us at the library have been enjoying it when we can. Our director just returned from a garden tour of England and the circulation manager just returned from a mission trip to Cuba! I, your friendly neighborhood blogging librarian, will be heading to Las Vegas (Vegas Baby!) to attend the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference; I’ll be hanging out with a bazillion (number slightly exaggerated) in Vegas…this could be interesting.

Any hoo…In library news: We’ve adopted a stray stuffed bunny. The blue-ish bunny was left outside our temporary housing in Avila Hall just after the end of spring semester and appeared to have been run over. We found this rather disturbing and brought him in, washed him up, and now he’s doing just dandy. He’s gone on many adventures already since the beginning of May, mostly to check things out around campus. His most recent adventure is a trip to Texas with our part-time assistant Elisabeth for a cataloging class. He’s been a little shy down there, but we’ve received a couple pictures which will be posted on Facebook soon. If you’re interested in Jack’s story, please check our Facebook Page! He’ll be sending a friend with me to Vegas, and I do believe a friend of his went to Cuba. 🙂  Other news: We’re still in our temporary housing in Avila Hall. In fact, we’ll be camping out down here until mid-August! As far as we have been told, the library construction/renovation project is moving quickly and smoothly as well as the other projects on campus (yay more parking!). Finally, We’ve received news that our campus internet may (*fingers crossed*) be changing to…Google Fiber! If all goes as planned, we’ll be hooked up to the new Google-y juice for the fall semester. Huzzah!

On top of bringing you good tidings and a library update, I popped on to our little blog to send out some reading suggestions. These are all about what I’ve been reading and think many of you would probably get a kick out of (I’m looking at you 20 something women-folk!). These are in a particular order…Yeah, I’m ranking them. Here are 5 books to help you survive the summer:

#1  Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This is the first book in the “Lunar Chronicles” series. The front cover (for most copies) shows a foot with bionic looking parts in a red shoe…and gives you only one minor clue to what is going on in this story. Yes, there is a cyborg and her name is Cinder. Cinder spends her time serving the needs of her stepmother and sisters working as a mechanic (and around the house like a slave) in New Beijing. The future is a new place, with androids, cyborgs (with no rights, of course), a quickly spreading and very deadly plague, and people living on the moon called Lunars. It’s an exciting retelling of (you guessed it…) Cinderella. Pick it up, and if you enjoy it, there are already two more books in the series available (the fourth is due out in 2015): Scarlet and Cress.

#2 Dorothy Must Die by Daniell Paige. Yes, another retelling, but this seems to be the summer of retellings so it’s cool (Maleficent is magnificent if you’ve got some cash to spare, btw). This retelling is not a reworking of the original story, but a story that grew from the first. Some parts of the story you know have changed and this time Dorothy is not the beloved, tornado traveling girl from Kansas. But…someone does come through via natural disaster: Amy Gumm (“Salvation Amy” to her enemies in high school). So similar and yet different from the Dorothy we’ve grown to love, Amy is dropped in OZ and sent on a mission: Dorothy Must Die. Seriously. She’s awful. It’s a story of Oz, magic, and perhaps a bit of romance. And…it’s going to be a series!

#3 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes…really. I know it’s a killer for “feels” but it really is a great book. The story is all about teenager Hazel Grace and her encounters with cancer, Augustus Waters, an alcoholic author, and just life in general. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and sometimes you’ll do both at the same time, but it is worth it. If nothing else, it gives you a different glimpse into a world I hope you will never experience.

#4 The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore. If you’ve read any of his other books, you’ve probably become accustomed to his humor…snarky, vulgar, and just right. If you’ve never experienced Mr. Moore, this is a decent starting spot, though you’ll miss out on Pocket’s origin story. I, naturally, suggest  you read anything this man has written, though. Anyway, this story is a retelling/mash up (I know, again…) up The Merchant of Venice, the Cask of Amontillado, Othello, and a smattering of other works by Poe and Shakespeare. It’s very irreverent, but a hilarious and fun read. You follow Pocket on his adventures in Venice while acting as a messenger (with his loyal Jeff and Drool) of his queen. There is death, fighting, lying, and loving and you’ll giggle your way through the whole thing. Also…the outside of the pages is dyed blue, so that’s pretty nifty.

#5 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The neat old pictures scattered throughout this book and it’s sequel (Hollow City) would be enough reason to read it, but the story itself is pretty cool. Sixteen year old Jacob thinks he just a normal kid whose grandfather is a little nutty. After his grandfather’s mysterious death, around which Jacob saw something “spooky”, Jacob sets off on a mission to figure out who exactly his grandpa was. Some hilarity ensues along with wonder and suspense as we follow him to a lonely island off the coast of Wales.

That’s all for now folks. I realize 80% of those books would be considered “teen”, but lets be realistic…they’re usually quick to read and some of those stories really are fabulous. These titles will entertain and enthrall and, if nothing else, help you kill a long summer afternoon or a dreary and rain soaked day.

Check back for library updates, more summer reading suggestions, and as always some random factoids about random things!

Happy Summer Avila & My Dear Readers!

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