Friday, October 31, 2008
Oh, I know what I wanted to talk about. RSS feeds. I keep getting people saying to me "I don't know why I would bother, it's just more stuff to read." Or "I can't see how I would use it, I just go to whatever I want to read." What I'm thinking is that many folks just don't "get" the usefulness of RSS feeds at all. So I'm gonna tell you how I use them and why they work really well for me.
Think of all the magazines in your local newsagent. Say there's about 500. Now you're not going to be interested in every single magazine there right? Out of that 500, maybe 20 of them are something you'd like to read. So you buy a copy of each.
Now some magazines are weekly, some are monthly, some bimonthly, some seasonal, some totally sporadic. We know that from trying to catalogue the damn things. If you want to read them regularly, you need to keep going back to the newsagent to see if there is a new issue out. OR, you can subscribe and get them delivered to your door, whenever there is a new issue. No more multiple trips to the newsagent, it just shows up ready for you to read when there is a new one.
Think of RSS feeds as being subscriptions. Of course there are millions of things out there on the internet available for you to read. But you choose the ones that interest you. Now you can either go back to those websites every day, to see if there are any new posts (or issues) and waste all that time visiting sites with no new content, OR, you can subscribe via RSS feed, and have the new posts come to you. You get notification that there is new content, and then you can go and read it.
In my case, I'm finding it a Godsend when it comes to keeping up with all the 23 Things blogs. When I tell people that I read ALL of the staff blogs, they look horrified at me. But then I explain that I do so in usually less than an hour each day. That's because a) not everyone posts every day, and b) I subscribe to them all, so that I just go to bloglines (my subscription reader of choice) and it collates all the new posts for me. Easy peasy. And trust me... there are over 240 of you who are blogging so far, so that's a lot of trips to the newsagent so to speak!
But when I'm not 23 Thing-ing, there are other blogs I subscribe to. Friends of mine are blogging, and I love to see their photos and stuff, so I subscribe to those so I don't miss anything. There are a few fun things I subscribe to, like Cake Wrecks, Cute Overload, Ugly Overload, Shorpy, PostSecret and Photoshop Disasters. Then there are the informative things that I like to keep up with. Mythbusters website, some writers blogs, some library industry stuff and some women's health things I'm involved with.
The point is, what you subscribe to is what YOU find interesting and useful. Just like the magazines you read. We're not all going to be reading New Scientist, or Women's Weekly, or Patchwork and Quilting. It's all about collating what you read and getting it to you in an easy, timely fashion.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So may I introduce you all to Matt:
I discovered Matt Harding way back in 2005, when he made this first video and it became a bit of a viral thing on the internet, being emailed around, cheering people up. I watched the above video and was just delighted. Apparently he made this first video for his friends and family, so they could keep up with his backpacking around the world, posted it on YouTube and it got picked up from there.
Then I heard a bit over a year later that he had been sponsored by Stride Gum in the US, to go around and make another "Where the Hell is Matt?" video to advertise their gum. Being a wise man, Matt said "Yes! I will take your money and go visit all kinds of exotic locations and do my goofy dance." And here you have Where the Hell is Matt 2:
I particularly love the Rwandan children dancing with him in the second one. I always break into a smile at that point, if I'm not already doing so.
After seeing the second video, I emailed Matt through his website http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/, and told him how much I enjoyed watching his goofy dancing all over the world. He replied back and told me that he would be in Brisbane in late October/early November 2007, and was looking for people to come and dance with him for his next video. Unfortunately, that happened to co-incide with when I was in the US myself. D'oh!! I was really disappointed that I couldn't take part.
But then earlier this year, I saw his latest video:
It has brought me even more joy. I love that he's expanded on dancing with groups of people, particularly children around the world, and that he's been able to do his dance on the "vomit comet" zero gravity experience. And I LOVE the Bollywood bit in this latest one. You can see he has indeed included Brisbane again (I believe he has lived here on and off) by dancing in front of a Moreton Bay fig tree in the City Botanic gardens.
I was delighted to see that he has included two of my favourite sights from my trip to the US (though my visits didn't co-incide with him being there unfortunately), the "Bean" in Chicago, and the "painted lady" houses in San Francisco. Proof that I've been there myself, here are two of my photos from my trip:
Anyway, watching Matt do his goofy dance around the world has been just the tonic I have needed today after having a really tough morning, and I hope the videos make you smile as much as they do for me.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
But it got me thinking of some of the hilarious things that I've heard children say. Some of you might not already know, but before I got into libraries, my career was in child care. I was a full time, live in, 24 x 7 nanny for 5 years, and then years later I worked in a child care centre for a couple of years. I've also done stints in kindergartens, after school care and home day care.
When I worked in the child care centre, dealing with LOTS of kids from all kinds of backgrounds, I would hear the funniest things. One that particularly stands out in my mind as a bit of a hilarious eye opener was the dainty young miss of 5 who, when I complimented her on her adorable glittery shoes, piped up "Yeah, my Mummy stole them from the shop for me." Okkaaayyyy....
It was made all the more funny by her older brother nudging her and going "Shhhh!"
And then there was the little lad at after school care. We were having a group conversation with the children about the perils of smoking, and the teacher asked the group, "Put your hand up if anyone smokes at your house." A gorgeous little boy of 4, as cute as a bug, pops his hand up and the teacher asked "Who smokes at your house house Daniel?" To which Daniel eagerly replies "Uncle Marty does, sometimes through a bong." Righhhtttt....
Have you had any really cracker stories of kids saying highly inappropriate, hilarious or bizarre things? Leave me a comment!
Monday, October 27, 2008
She's not wearing any pants!!! I know she's not a shining example of young womanhood, but the look she is currently sporting is one I see often around the traps on ordinary, every-day girls. She was just an easy photo for me to find with Google to give an example.
Somewhere, tights or pantyhose became pants. Now I'm not talking leggings, those cotton/lycra mix fitted pants that we all wore in the 80's and 90's. They're pants, you can't see through those, and there are usually seams on at least the inside leg. If they are made by Razamattaz or Kolotex, and come in a cardboard packet... they're not PANTS!! They go under a skirt ladies. They are not a garment on their own.
Are pants now considered an accessory? Something you can choose to wear to accessorise an outfit? So often I see young ladies wearing an outfit that consists of a white man's shirt, a wide leather belt worn high under the bustline like an empire line, and opaque tights or even pantyhose. Yes, sheer pantyhose.
I know Humphrey B. Bear never wore them, but he was a man in a large bear suit, not a lady on her way to work or the movies or shopping.
The other day, I was walking down the street (along Fairfield Road to be exact) and was walking behind a young lady wearing the white shirt/no pants configuration, when she started to walk up the stairs of the overhead pass to Yeronga Station... and I got flashed by a white cotton gusset!
That's right - as a pants substitute, she had those pantyhose on with the white cotton gusset. Talk about a traumatic experience.
Perhaps young women are adopting Coco Chanel's old adage of before you leave the house, take a look at yourself in the mirror and take one thing off... and they're choosing their pants to be that one thing.
It makes me wonder, do parents no longer say "You're not going out like that!" to their daughters any more? I remember being told that when I was fully clothed, only in some kind of trendy 80's garb that my parents totally didn't understand (ripped jeans, black tights with holes in them worn over coloured tights, fluorescent leg warmers and sweat bands to match... you know, that goofy stuff from the 80's), but I can't imagine what reaction I would have got if I'd have tried the "pantyhose as pants" combination. I mean, I used to get hassled if I had make-up on, let alone the lack of any garment covering my body.
I asked a young friend of mine the other day "Kylie, am I getting old? Is this why I don't get the "no pants" thing?" to which my dear young friend answered "No Kath, I'm only 21 and I don't understand the lack of pants thing either."
Phew, I thought I was just becoming like my parents and just not getting the younger generation. But I'm not bothered by all the other trends that folks are running around in these days, while I wouldn't necessarily wear them myself, I know it's just fashion and they'll look back on it one day and cringe, just like I do when I think of my fluoro leg warmers and stuff.
But no pants... well, there's just too much exposure. It's not just some crazy fad, it's the complete lack of one crucial garment in any ensemble. It would be ok if there was a skirt present in lieu of pants, but I'm talking about no acceptable lower body garment at all.
So young ladies, if you are reading this, please put some pants on if you haven't already got some on. Again, Razamattaz is not a brand of pants. Cardboard packets with plastic windows in them containing garments that are in colours like nude, flesh, sun bronzed, midnight black, these are not pants. If it has a white cotton gusset, it is expected that you will wear something over the top of it.
You'll thank me in 20 years, I promise you.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
But today I decided to dedicate some time to it, as I really wanted to have a go at some of the things I'm not really up on.
One of those, is mashups. I knew already what mashups were, and was used to using other people's mashups, but hadn't really done anything along the lines of creating my own. So using http://www.bighugelabs.com/, I made this wonderful poster:
Whaddya reckon? I'm over cuteness at the moment, I'm going for some HOT! Ole Cedric Diggory up there does well as a vampire. Absolutely can't wait until the Twilight movie comes out, that's going to be awesome. Mind you, I need to catch up and read some more of Stephenie Meyer's series. I just haven't had a lot of reading time which sucks. I'll have to do something to actively change that. I don't buy the whole "There isn't enough time." schtick really. My belief is that if something is a priority to you, you'll make time for it.
Right, I'm off to play with some more mashups!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Is the world really going to end if we can't embed a video on our blog? Will your house fall down if the link to a page doesn't work? Is a policeman going to break down your door and haul you off to the big-house if you have to do a module of 23 Things again to "get it"? Are you going to lose your job if your blog comes out all funny with gobbledy-gook? I think not.
I do understand, sometimes it really gets on my quince when something doesn't do what it wants to do. I've got one blog site that "eats" my blogs the minute I hit "post"... which is particularly traumatic when it's a 2000 word blog I've just typed up! But really, is it WORTH getting so irate at it that you find yourself spewing out a big long email or blog post of complaint? I think not. Sure, have a bit of a foot stomp and a curse... and then let it go.
Remember, you can always ask someone for help. That's how Web2.0 and indeed 23 Things works. It's a form of "viral" education. I blog, you blog, we all blog. I post a video, or a link, or some other fun doohickey, and then if you like it, you post about it, learning from what I've done. The same way I have learnt from what someone else has done. I know it is a change to how you normally expect to learn something, but most importantly, it's a far less formal and structured way of learning. There is no real right or wrong with this programme and Web2.0 technology. It's all about having a go and tinkering with new things, and learning as you do so.
And besides, I see all of your odd bits that "don't work" before you get to fix them, and not one of you yet has done anything that's made me go "OH MY GOD!!! Look what so-and-so did! The idiot!!" Sure, I've got a few laughs, but none of them are laughs that I haven't had at my own self at some point.
So, a few pointers in how to deal with things that don't want to do what you want them to do, or don't make sense:
- Take a big, deep breath.
- Save whatever you're doing so you can go back to it later.
- Walk away... you don't have to finish anything NOW, THIS MINUTE.
- Ask someone. Calmly. If they don't know the answer, don't take it out on them, just ask someone else. Ask one of the "helper" folks, and yes, you can always ask me (just remember I will always get to everyone eventually, but I do get a bit swamped.)
- Take another big, deep breath.
- Have some chocolate, it always works for me.
- When you really want to have a rant, have the rant, but write it down and then save it.... don't hit send or post straight away. Pop it aside until tomorrow. It's more than likely you'll have got over it by then, and besides, the recipients don't really want that big blast of rant coming in their direction.
- Do something different. Ok, so the video doesn't work. Go find an article of interest or read someone else's blog. You can go back to what you were doing later, but still feel like you're doing something 23 Things related.
- And most of all, remember that this is supposed to be fun, relaxed, open ended training. The world won't end, I promise you. Nobody is going to write a big nasty report on you about how you were too stupid to embed a video, seriously. Instead, they're more likely to say "Oh, I couldn't do that either, doesn't that suck?"
And if you're really needing some help in the stress relief department, here's a nice video I found...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Ok, not me personally, but well... it feels that way. It could be the three rather hefty glasses of chardonnay talking though.
This evening I went to the launch of the QPLA Conference (Queensland Public Libraries Association) at State Library of Queensland. A rather lovely little soiree out on their tea-cup terrace, wine and nibblies in the cool breeze off the river. The guest of honour was supposed to be the absolutely divine William McInnes... but he didn't bloody well show up!
Now for those of you who don't already know, I'm possibly William's biggest fan. Have been for some... well, it will give away my age but it's about 20 years. I've run a fan mailing list for about 12 years, and a news-blog for about three. If you want to look at the news blog, go to: http//williamwatch.blogspot.com
He was supposed to be a guest speaker to launch the conference, and he just didn't turn up. The bugger! He'd better turn up tomorrow morning, he's the keynote speaker!
Well, if he's going to be like that, I'm going to go hang out with the other man of my dreams, Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters. He'd never stand me up. I'm sure of it!
Yeah, you can all hang shit on me now.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Does anybody read my blog? I read all of your blogs you know. Well, everyone who has either put theirs on the "Links to Library Staff Blogs" page or have sent me their blog address privately. I subscribe to every single one, that way I get updates when you make new posts.
One thing that is good blogging practice, is to leave a comment when you read someone's blog. Not every time, but as often as you can. Because it means your blogger keeps on blogging, when they have some feedback. They know they have an audience, they get to learn the bits their readers enjoy, and they can hone their skills.
So please, do leave comments if you are reading this blog. Tell me things you like, things you are not so fussed on (be constructive in your criticism though!), make suggestions. It helps me know what works in the blogosphere!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm really enjoying these library visits I'm doing. For many years, getting out to the branches and talking to the troops was something that I just couldn't do. So I kind of felt out of touch, and that I never actually got to talk to people about the realities of library-land. So often I would only hear of issues when they became big, unbearable ones, that I missed out on knowing what those smaller, constant, highly annoying issues were. It's good to meet people I've spoken to on the phone but not met before, and to see some long lost buddies who I used to work with when I was out there in library land.
I also really hope that my visits infect all of the troops with my passion for libraries and what we do in the community. I hope to spread my fascination with new innovations, and also bring some more fun to what we do. Cos I figure if you can't be laughing about the absurdities of life, then it's a pretty sad existance.
Plus it is also really good to get some feedback. To know what bits we get right, and what bits we need to work on. Not to mention that you're all so welcoming, it's lovely to go out there and get a change from sitting at my desk talking to you by email or over the phone.
So thanks folks!
Ok, just so you don't think I'm getting too touchy-feely or serious with you all, here's a video of a dramatic cat...
Which of course pays homage to the dramatic chipmunk:
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I think Jamie Oliver rocks. I really dig his passion for using his craft to change the world. He's not just making expensive meals at some exclusive restaurant. Nope, he's trying to change the way that Britain, and indeed the world, views food, changing nutrition and also working with getting kids off the streets and into a good solid career. You've got to admire someone with that kind of passion for what he does and for making a difference. I'm really excited about winning a copy of this latest book - anything that encourages me to cook more than I do is a good thing!
To be honest, I LOVE to cook. But I just don't bother most of the time because I'm only feeding myself. So I go for something simple, convenient and with my nutty busy lifestyle, quick. Not that I'm into junk food in a big way, but I tend to go for things I can just toss together quickly, OR I go for things I can cook up in a huge bulk lot and freeze. And it does get a bit dull - I miss spending an afternoon in the kitchen and coming up with a fabulous meal.
Maybe I need to throw more dinner parties. I am a great cook, really!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons cake flour (plain flour, not self-raising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg 3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips(optional)
a small splash of vanilla
1 coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes (in a 1000 watt oven). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
This one is to go and find a YouTube video of your favourite song when you were in High School, and embed it on your blog.
My favourite song was this one:
Bit embarrassing... cos it's still my favourite song of all time, even though it has the cheesiest film clip! (And it gives away my age!)
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
So today's meme is:
Tell us about your first memory, and share a picture that relates to it. You can call the blog "Memory Meme"
My first memory is of shoes. Many of you won't be surprised at that! And here's a corresponding picture:
It was when I was about two years old. I can remember laying on the back seat of my Grandparents car, with my feet up on the window. Their car was white. I had on red patent leather Mary-Jane shoes, very much like the ones above, only a deeper red and they had gold buckles on them. I also had on little white socks, with frills around the ankle. I remember the sound of my shoes tapping on the glass, and the smell of Minties which my Grandma always fed us when we were in the car (in the vain hope that we wouldn't puke - never worked for me!) The car is stopped and I can see trees moving outside the window in the wind. It's nice, not hot, but not cold either. The shade from the trees is falling across the car really prettily.
So what's your first memory? Go blog NOW! Oh but leave me a comment first... nobody leaves me comments!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008