Friday, November 28, 2008


Well it's the end of MoVember, you know, when all the guys find a legitimate reason to go around with big, bad 70's porn star moustaches. They basically grow them up through November, and folks sponsor them money that goes to charity for men's health. Specifically prostate cancer and men's depression. I think it's great that men are getting proactive about their health issues, we gals have been having morning teas and pink days and all kinds of things to raise money for women's and children's health for a long time.

Anyway, yesterday was the big day, and those guys that were too scared to wear a mo for the whole month shaved out their beards to just mo's, people had morning teas and other events to raise money.

The Wellness Centre in my work building sold moustachioed cupcakes to raise money, and Di was kind enough to go and buy some for us. Here are some of the ones she came back with:

This guy has a serious overbite.

I'd look worried if I was green with big red lips and that mo.

Hitler cupcake anyone? There was no real reason that the boss got this cupcake. HONESTLY.

And Di spotted this one and was sure I would like it:


Why? Because it looks like Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters!! Don't believe me? Check this out:


Ok, then look, I modified it a bit to make it more like him:


I should have made little paper clip glasses. All right, shut up, I know I'm a nutbar.

A few guys in our office did the whole MoVember thing, but none looked quite so dodgy-riffic as Will:


To be fair, he always has a beard, he just shaved that tragic shape into it this morning for one day. Poor precious, it's his birthday tomorrow. What a look to sport!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Shanachies Visit BCCLS

It's time to tell you about the fantastic day I had when the Shanachies (Jaap van der Geer and Erik Boekesteijn from DOK: Delft Public Library) came to visit us here at BCCLS.

After meeting them at the SLQ UnConference, I was really looking forward to a longer workshop session with them here at BSQ, and for their reaction to Brisbane Square library. I was hopeful they would be as impressed with BCCLS as they had been with SLQ.

Introducing themselves to us and to camera for their documentary.

They gave a fantastic half day workshop, showing us lots of video of their trip around the US libraries, with lots of food for thought as to what lies in the future for libraries and librarians. They were full of great stories about what other libraries are doing around the world, and then finished the session by showing off lots of beautiful photos of DOK, the library concept centre in Delft, Holland, where they work when they're not travelling the world.

Showing us what they do, where they've been and what they've seen.

The thing that particularly impressed me was the fantastic gaming console unit they've come up with. Totally self contained with Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and X-Box with a huge LCD screen in a portable, lockable unit that can be transported anywhere and plugged in with one simple power plug. No more messing around with cables or leads or what bit goes where. I would really love to see us have something along the same lines that we could use regionally for gaming events in the library. Actually, here is a video Jaap and Erik have produced to demonstrate it:

Gaming Flightcase from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

How cool is that hey?

After the presentation, Sharan presented the guys with some fun gifts to remember Brisbane by:

Jaap re-enacts his encounter with a deadly brown snake. Somehow I think he may be exaggerating a little. While Erik meets Kevin the flotation crocodile.

After a luncheon down on BSQ13 (we just had to feed the poor guys, they were exhausted!) Sharan, Deannah, Deb from BSQ and myself took them on a tour of BSQ library. It was lots of fun to show them around, and I was so surprised that at the end of the tour when the guys wanted to conduct some interviews, Sharan put me up to be interviewed about Web2.0 and 23 Things! I was just there to be gopher and carry the bags!

They have put up the video they have made on to Vimeo, so I can share it with you here:

Brisbane City Council Library from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

All in all I had an awesome day and I really hope to visit Delft sometime in the not too distant future so I can see for myself the magnificent DOK library concept centre.

Thank you so much to Erik and Jaap, it was a pleasure to have you here and please come back again soon.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chocolate with Noeleen

Noeleen and I are practicing our image embedding in blogs. To demonstrate, here is some chocolate....

Seriously, give us all your chocolate and we promise not to hurt anyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snoop Dogg Makes Mashed Potatoes with Martha Stewart

This is too surreal NOT to share:

Martha blogs too by the way. Check it out at here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shanachie Video - State Library of Queensland

Before I go on to tell you all about when the Shanachies came to visit BCCLS, they have uploaded this video of their tour of State Library of Queensland. They mention someone we all know at the beginning. Enjoy!

Queensland State Library from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

Note that Erik and Jaap use to host their videos. An alternate service to YouTube.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

UnConferencing in BrisVegas


Had a few nutty busy days there, and life was pretty jam-packed. But I've had a couple of days of down time and I'm fresh and ready to tell you about something REALLY cool that happened this week.

Some of you may know that BCCLS had the Shanachies visit this week. Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap van der Geer of DOK, Delft Public Library in the Netherlands have for the past couple of years travelled around the world investigating library innovations and futures. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to come along and see the guys give their workshop on Friday morning, and I'm sure you'll agree that they are not only thought provoking and inspirational, but they're lots of fun too.

I was fortunate enough to go to the State Library of Queensland UnConference on Thursday, which was a really fantastic day. Erik and Jaap opened the day with a presentation on what they do which was lots of fun. After morning tea they had concurrent sessions on topics that the attendees nominated. The first I went to was one on gaming in libraries, chaired by Erik and Jaap who have done some cool things with gaming in Delft, like getting kids to create a library themed computer game called Dark Ink, Nintendo Wii tournaments with kids and the elderly, 24 hour LAN parties and they have created the most aweseome portable gaming unit that contains a Wii, an X-box and a Sony PlayStation as well as a big LCD tv, all in one box, with one plug and it's fully transportable and lockable.

After that, the next session was about engaging librarians and library staff in Web2.0, as well as extending that out to the entire organisation (ie councils or schools). We had just sat down in the training room at SLQ when Mary K from SLQ came in and said "Who had nominated a discussion topic that fits into this one?" I was sitting right by where she was standing so I owned up that I had, and she said "Thanks, you can chair the session then." Eeeep!

I was really pleased that I had Luke from CPL on one side of me, and Nataliya from BSQ on the other, so that I felt I had some BCC buddies with me! It wasn't so bad, with us being in the thick of 23 Things, we had plenty to discuss, and other public libraries were full of fresh approaches and ideas, and were also keen to see if we had overcome any of the challenges that they were facing. It was interesting to see that the same challenges were everywhere.

After lunch David West and Anne Spelman of Moreton Bay Regional Council Library Service gave a presentation of their Mash it Up Short Film Festival, which was a really cool and simple idea for drawing a new audience into libraries as well as injecting some imagination and culture. The day was ended by volunteers from the attendees giving short presentations on what their library service is doing with Web2.0. There are some interesting bits and bobs being done out there.

All in all a really rewarding event to attend, it filled me with lots of inspiration and direction.

I will be back as soon as possible to tell you more about the Shanachies visit to BCCLS on Friday as well, but this is enough for one post!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Favourite Nonsense Blogs

Looking for something fun to subscribe to once you've learned how to do the whole RSS feed thing? Well, I've got a few for you!

These are purely frivolous, silly bits of fun that I really enjoy each day, and I've got some examples here for you to go with them.

The first one is LOLCats or I Can Has Cheeseburger.

This picture is for Kerri B:


Then it's poochie counterpart I Has a Hotdog :


And then there is FAIL (a blog of when people get things terribly wrong!)

Cake Wrecks is fabulous fun too. It's subheading is "When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong."


That should give you all something to giggle over, and to bulk up your RSS feeds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Now Break it Up Fellas, Break it Up...

Notice it's always the chicks that step in to break it up huh?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reasons Why Cats Amuse Me, Vol 1

1. Because they put their heads in things and wander around looking silly...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go Away Summer

It's hot today. I'm not happy about that.

You see, I am a creature of the cold. I LOVE the cold. I'm happiest when my nose and fingers are nippy, the wind is blowing and I'm having to keep moving to keep warm.

This time last year, I was in the US. Lapping up the tail end of their autumn, in Wisconsin to be exact, where it was cold and windy. The lakes were starting to freeze, bits of snow were falling, sleet was around most days and one had to really rug up to go outside. It was delicious.

If I had my way, I'd be over there in the US and Canada for six months of every year. I'd head over about late October (ready for Halloween) and come back at Easter. That way I could enjoy Brisbane's gorgeous crystal clear and cool winter, but avoid the sticky, humid, breath-stealing summer. I'd have a white Christmas every year (oh boy that was fun last year, I was in Michigan) and be back here to enjoy jacaranda season. I'd get to see all my lovely friends over there, but still come home to those that are here in BrisVegas.

I'm trying to keep myself cool by remembering the delicious cold over in the US. Tramping around the streets of New York City, with my purple gloves on, watching the squirrels scamper through Union Square. Walking across a frozen river on a covered bridge in Frankenmuth, Michigan, all rugged up with gloves, scarf, woolly hat and my nose turning red in the cold. Stamping in snow in Chigago, making snowmen and hitting my friend Melissa on the butt with a big snowball.

This is the picture I have on my desktop wallpaper here at home at the moment:


Yes, those are my feet, in Chicago snow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Hundred and Fifty Four!!

I just looked at my blog subscriptions in Bloglines, and I've subscribed to 254 blogs, and that number climbs every day.

Of course, well over 75% of those are library staff blogs. If you're registered in 23 Things with your blog, I'll have subscribed to you, or will soon. Just so you know you've got one reader out there, someone holding your hand so to speak! When I can, I will leave comments on your posts too.

People kind of look horrified at me when I say I read everyone's blogs, like that's all I must do all day. But using Bloglines (or any other RSS tool), I find I can usually spend less than an hour per day catching up on everyone's blogs. That's because of course, not everyone posts every day, so there's only a certain percentage of new material to look at, and also, when people post pictures or videos, they're really quick to peruse. I've got it all down to a bit of a fine art now - I've had to or I'd go bonkers. But tools like Bloglines, or Google Reader using the RSS feed technology has enabled that. It all kind of intertwines eventually.

I've absolutely loved reading my colleagues blogs. So many people tell me their blog is boring, or that they don't know what to say, but I've discovered so much about people. I've discovered that we're full of artists and musicians, folks who've travelled, people with adorable pets, fascinating hobbies, great memories, interesting tastes and often just new perspectives on things. It's been a really steep learning curve on just how diverse and full of knowledge and skill and talent we all are.

Plus it all helps me do what I do... which is help you, my colleagues. That's what I'm passionate about in this whole 23 Things - not the technology itself (though some of it is lots of fun and really cool), but in helping you guys all learn what is happening in our library services and the big wide world, and helping you all find ways that you can streamline your work so that the day is just that little bit smoother. I figure if you save 10 minutes per day, that's time to have a cuppa that you might not have had before, isn't it?

And after the cruddy day I had yesterday, today I had two people who said the NICEST things to me. It really makes a difference when someone just says "Thanks", it makes the times you feel a bit run off your feet or tired or whatever really worth it. So to those people who have made a point of thanking me or complimenting me... I thank YOU. It's the positive, upbeat folks who really give me the warm fuzzies while I'm working on this project.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Had a Real Rough Day...

I've had a rough day today. Had my bum kicked, had someone be really rude to me, worked like a dog only to feel like it was for nothing, and I'm tired and grumpy.

How do you deal with a really rough day? What do you do to make it better?

I have a few things. I usually start by going for a walk with my iPod on, and listening to "Rough Day" by Paulini Curuenavuli. I can't find a decent version of it on YouTube, so I can't share it unfortunately. But it's upbeat and fun, and it's about someone who has had a rough day and they just want to get out and have fun to forget their day.

Then I like to put on some Mythbusters and watch them blow something up. My favourite Mythbusters explosion is when they vapourise a cement truck. Check it out:

Lovely, isn't it? Go on, watch it again. You know you want to. Better still, have some chocolate while you watch it again. Chocolate and explosions... I can't think of anything better!

Hmmm, I feel better already! Of course, while I have been getting that video for you all, I've watched about a dozen other Mythbusters explosions on YouTube. Go on, have a search, you'll have fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Multiply Your Intelligence

I've needed a wee break from blogging for the past week, things have been kind of intense with me dealing with a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I've needed some time to process that before I got talking about other stuff. As you may have been able to see from my last blog post, my tolerance level had dropped considerably!

But I'm back ready to blog!

I've found a wonderful subject to talk about today. Mythbusters! Ok, it's not directly Mythbusters, but the lads have cropped up with regards to the internet and Web2.0, that I think is VERY relevant to our whole 23 Things journey.

Being the solid Mythbusters fan that I am, I have Google alerts (where you get an email that tells you if there are any new pages/blogs about whatever subject you choose) on them. One of the alerts pointed me to this WONDERFUL interview with Patti Schiendelman from Makezine online magazine of Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Mythbusters fame.

It's such a comprehensive interview it's split into two parts, if you'd like to read all of it go to:

Make with Mythbusters: Part 1
Make with Mythbusters: Part 2

The part that particularly stood out for me as relevant to our 23 Things journey was this quote from Jamie:

JH: Well, the strange thing is that I'm finding it just as entertaining to read non-fiction. In particular, the thing that I've realized, especially recently - people talk about the impact of the Internet, and I'm sure different people use it, obviously, differently, but for me, it's just absolutely fantastic because I have no end of questions and I can answer those questions almost instantly. Obviously a lot of it's crap that you're going to run across; if you learn how to filter it, you're better off. I was halfway through my master's in Library Science, had a degree in Russian Language and Literature before that, I was
already really into Information Science, way before Mythbusters, before getting anywhere near where I am now. But the Internet - I think of it as something that's practically mind-altering. The amount of power that you have for advancement and development of technology - I don't think we've really seen the impact of it quite yet - people may not realize the potential of it. But when one learns how to really use the Internet, it's like you've multiplied your intelligence, your abilities by huge factors.

I knew I liked the guy! Not only is he a prolific reader (and if you read the whole article, some of his favourite fiction titles are a delight to discover), but he was also studying to be a librarian before he got into the career he is in now. How cool is that?

Now his point on the internet and it's potential really impressed me. This is not a man who jumps on to technology because it's new and cool, he's known for always taking the unadorned, elegant approach to problem solving. This is also not a young man (he just turned 52 in September), and this is also one of the most phenomenally intelligent men in this world. And he completely sees the potential of learning how to use the internet and it's tools (which is what Web2.0 technologies are, internet tools) to multiply your intelligence and as a source of information if you learn how to use it effectively.

Web2.0 is very much a buzzword, and unfortunately people are naturally adverse to buzzwords. I know I am. That's why I really loathe the term myself. But I don't want to see us tainted against these tools simply because the hype has overshadowed them a little. Think of books you've read or movies you've seen that have been hyped up, and you were a bit over the whole lot, but when you DID find out for yourself, you've been so glad you did so. Harry Potter was like that for me. I avoided reading those books because of all the hype, but when a trusted source convinced me to try them, I found them truly wonderful and regretted that I hadn't picked them up earlier, that I'd let hype turn me off them.

The whole point of 23 Things is that we are leading you into learning what the tools are, how to use them effectively and then YOU choose how they apply to you. Once you are armed with the skills and knowledge, your intelligence multiplies and you're able to do so many things more effectively and efficiently.

I really urge you to read the whole interview with Jamie and Adam, you won't regret it, they're both fun and fascinating. And as a treat, here are a couple of my favourite YouTube vids of the Mythbusters in action.

Jamie shooting fish in a barrel, Mythbusters style:

Adam demonstrating the power of lighter and heavier gases on the human voice: