March 9th, 2010
If you’ve always wanted to have an alter ego or hidden identity here’s your chance. In honor of Teen Tech Week (March 7-13, 2010) some truly awesome librarians have compiled a list of websites where you can create your own Avatar. If you’re not sure what an avatar is dictionary.com defines it as “a graphical image that represents a person.” So, in other words it’s one of those cute little cartoony things that kind of looks like you but isn’t you.
Avatars are fun and easy to create and the best thing is, now your parents won’t be nagging you about Internet safety and posting your picture online. You can just use your Avatar and no one will know what you really look like. Bonus, creating an Avatar gives you a chance to see what you would look like as a celebrity.
Haven’t you always wondered what you’d look like with a giant, blue Marge Simpson beehive? Go to SimpsonizeMe.com and find out. Soon you’ll be attracting swell guys like Homer to all of your online postings. Or if you wanted to get a part in the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and got beat out by some other wimpy kid, go to the movie site and see what you’d look like as a stick figure.
For most of these sites all you need is an online picture and a little imagination. They’re so easy I was even able to create one. Here is another link to a site where you’ll find several other places to create an avatar. If you always thought you’d make a great anime character, now’s your chance to show the world.
March 1st, 2010
Good news for those who are ready for another serving of “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic publishing company has announced that “Mockingjay,” the third and final installment in this series, will be released August 24, 2010. Sort of unfortunate timing if you ask me, but this series is so engrossing that it just may have teens wishing away their summer so that they can hurry up and get this book.
I’m know I’m one of those who can’t wait to once again “fear the reaper!” Although Collins isn’t dishing anything about the plot of this book, we can be sure that there will be plenty of adventure, treachery and love triangle action. Let the games begin!
If you haven’t already become hooked on “The Hunger Games” maybe this booktrailer by Justin Breaux of Saint Amant High School will help whet your appetite.
December 18th, 2009
November 25th, 2009
Thaaaaaaaaaaat’s right, it’s almost time for Thanksgiving, and all the traditions that go along with it. Turkey. Pumpkin Pie. Cranberry Sauce. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Shopping on Black Friday (and if that’s what you’re planning, Bits and Bramblers, good luck…although I hear they’re having good sales at some pretty awesome stores…)
Anyway…no matter what you’re planning on doing this Thanksgiving, I hope you eat lots of good food, and have lots of fun with your family and friends!
Now…I was going to leave you with a funny Thanksgiving video, but I couldn’t decide between these two. So in the spirit of the holiday, I’m sharing both of them with you!
The first video answers several important questions. Namely, “What would the first Thanksgiving have been like if Christopher Walken was there?” It also gives you a pretty good idea for what to do if you’re stuck at your Grandma’s tomorrow…look around the room, grab some collectibles, and then create your own Bric-A-Brac Theater!
The next clip is so gross, you can’t help but watch. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you took all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, threw them in a super powerful blender, and made a sort of…Thanksgiving shake?
I’m seriously hoping the answer to that question was a big ol’ “NO!” But if—for some reason—you said “Yes,” then this clip ought to change your mind. Check out the Thanksgiving Edition of “Will it Blend?”
(SPOILER ALERT: The answer is yes. It will blend. Disgustingly.)
Now that you’ve laughed and you’re completely grossed out…HAVE A VERY SAFE AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING, BITS AND BRAMBLERS!!!!
November 23rd, 2009
It’s that time of year for the weather to turn bitter cold. While we’ve been lucky so far, it’s only a matter of time before we get those frigid temperatures, cold winds, and of course, the snow. If you’re one of those people that can’t wait for the snow to fly, check out this book by Graham McNamee, Bonechiller. It will leave you huddling under the blankets.
October 3rd, 2009
All right, Bits and Bramblers, today’s the last day of Banned Book Week. And remember our last post? In a nutshell, I told you all about how much I love banned books, and then I challenged you to name four frequently challenged books—I gave you a description, and you had to give me the author and title.
And I have to be honest, you guys did really, really good. But just in case you couldn’t figure them out, here are the answers…
This book series—which is also a popular TV show (XOXO)—was challenged for “offensive language, sexually explicit,” descriptions, and being “unsuited to age group.”
Have you heard the latest about B and S? Thaaaat’s right, it’s Gossip Girl. The books by Cecily Von Ziegesar (that are the basis for the hit TV show) were one of the most challenged in 2008.
You can find this book in the Classics section. It’s takes place in the Hamptons in the 1920’s, and it was challenged because of “language and sexual references in the book.” (Ha! And you thought classics were boring!)
Did you guess this one, Old Sports? It’s The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not only is this an amazing, amazing book, but there are two awesome movie versions, an older one with Robert Redford, and a newer one with Paul Rudd. Gatsby does love to throw giant all-night parties, so…maybe that’s why the book was challenged?
This teen book series about three friends who like to IM was was challenged for—wait for it—”offensive language, sexually explicit,” descriptions, and being “unsuited to age group.”
OMG! You got this one, right? It’s Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series, which includes TTFN and TTYL. Just like Gossip Girl, the series was one of the most challenged in 2008. Y? IDK…
And last but not least, another classic. This one is about a teen who just got kicked out of boarding school, and heads to New York City. It’s been challenged for…everything, from “excess vulgar language, sexual scenes,” and “things concerning moral issues,” to several complaints that is was just plain “obscene.”
I’m sure you all got this one, ’cause you’re no phonies. It’s The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it might be one of the most challenged books ever. But again…that doesn’t mean the book is bad.
In fact, I don’t think there’s a bad challenged books. Sure…there are a lot of books that I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the right to read them. Everyone has the right to say—and read—what they like. That’s part of being an American Citizen!
But you don’t have to take my word for it, Bits and Brambers. Because—just like so much else in the world—it’s better with puppets. Check out this video from the American Library Association:
Now…what are you waiting for, Bits and Brambers? READ A BANNED BOOK!
September 23rd, 2009
The next time your teacher assigns a book report or other class presentation and says that creativity counts, go straight to Xtranormal. This is a free website that allows you to choose characters and make your own movies about anything you want. Their slogan is: If you can type, you can make movies and I’m here to tell you that it’s true.
It just takes a few minutes to set up an account and then get ready to say “Action”. Actually, you don’t really say anything, you just type words in little boxes, choose camera angles (is this your best side?) add expressions, sound effects and movement and you’re Quentin Tarantino (minus the high forehead). Once you’ve previewed your movie and like the way it looks, you can publish it and save it to your Xtranormal account. The best part is, if you have a Youtube account, you can publish it to Youtube with one click.
This is really something worth looking into. Even if you don’t want to do something as lame as a school project, you can make little animated films to put on your Facebook or Myspace page. The possibilities are endless. I just discovered this yesterday and I’ve already written, directed and produced a short film. Sundance here I come!
August 14th, 2009
Now, I understand that the phrase, “It happened forty years ago,” usually means the story that you’re about to hear will be unbearably boring. Not this time, though. Because something big happened forty years ago in Bethel, New York…the Woodstock Festival & Concert!
Woodstock was supposed to be a big party, where you listened to incredible music (by The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana) and slept under the stars. But the big party kept getting bigger…and bigger. There were traffic jams up to twenty miles long to get to the festival…and there were around 500,000 guests!
So the big party turned into something even bigger. It turned into an event—three days of peace, love, and music that represented an entire generation.
In honor of Woodstock’s fortieth anniversary, you can stop by your faaaaaaaaavorite library and experience the concert through DVDs like Woodstock and Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music. If you’re all about the music, though, you can listen to CDs like The Best of Woodstock.
And speaking of the music, we’ll leave you with a classic performance that took place nearly forty years ago—and it’s still amazing. Here’s Jimi Hendrix with “Purple Haze.”
August 13th, 2009
…That’s right, it’s Left-Hander’s Day! Here at the library, we’re very big fans of this day—because a lot of your faaaaaaaavorite librarian’s all happen to be Lefties (including me!) So all you Lefties celebrate—and all you Righties pay attention. Because I think you’ve been keeping us down for far too long!
Seriously, think about it…throughout history, left-handed people haven’t had it easy—and I’m not just talking about 3-Ring Notebooks or those stupid little scissors, either. For awhile, people thought left-handed people were clumsy, stupid…even evil.
Really, Righties? Evil? Are you sure you’re not just…jealous?
I mean, after all…there are lots of studies about how Lefties process information different than Righties—Lefties “are thought to process information using a ‘visual simultaneous’ method in which several threads can be processed simultaneously.” (And let’s not forget that the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain, so…Lefties are the only ones in their right minds. Take THAT!)
Also, studies show that Lefties have natural advantages when it comes to things like playing sports, and that a high number of artists and scientists are left-handed. I mean there have been tons of great Lefties throughout history, like Alexander the Great, Babe Ruth, Prince William, President Obama...even Bart Simpson!
So even if you’re not lucky enough to be Southpaw, raise your left-hand in celebrate with us! I’ll leave you with a couple of my faaaaavorite Lefties, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (along with John Lennon and George Harrison, who—even though they aren’t all Lefties—are all still awesome!)