Thursday, November 29, 2007

YouTube. ITube. WeAllTube.

Does it seem to you that YouTube has been around since "Internet" became a household word? Behold! It's only two years old but it's the fourth most-visited site in the world. Which just goes to show that the social aspect of the Web is a major force behind so much of what's available on it.

If you ask around, you'll probably find people who have at least one favorite video on YouTube. I've blogged about a few of mine, like OK GO's treadmill music video. I tend to look for humorous or musical things. I like to search "library", too, which brings up Library Dominoes and Allen County Library Zombies. Sometimes I'll find something that offers both humor and music (Pachelbel Rant) or music and libraries (Reading On A Dream).

My daughter, home from college for Thanksgiving break, insisted I view Drama Prairie Dog. It lasts five seconds. It's hilarious. I don't know why.

YouTube provides a chance to see all the hot stuff from the comedy shows...did you miss the SNL presidential debate parodies? Never fear, you can find them on YouTube. A British version of the Daily Show offered their ideas regarding how Donald Rumsfeld occupied himself during press conferences. You can view music videos from early MTV, or footage from favorite TV shows, or Leonard Nimoy singing about Bilbo Baggins (which is really bad. You are warned.)

YouTube wasn't the first of its kind. Squizzle was among the earliest, established in 2003. You could find nerdy Star Wars fans doing dance routines with imaginary lightsabers, or cats behaving badly, or footage of A Day In The Life of A Staff Room Coffee Pot. Squizzle is free, mostly, but it offers a premium membership, the primary benefits being no pop-up ads and the right to vote on which submissions are allowed to post. Yup, Squizzle members get to vote on whether or not a video can be added to the database. And, unlike YouTube, Squizzle's philosophy regarding site content is "if it can't be appropriately viewed at work, it can't be on Squizzle." No grossness, Jackass wannabes, or nudity/adult content. I find that refreshing.

A final note. My brother-in-law suggested a sub-site for YouTube. People could post footage of their colonoscopies and the site would be called YourTube. I promised him I would include that in my blog. It's an unfortunate fact that when you reach a certain age, colonoscopies and other 'procedures' offer a lot of grist for the humor-mill.

Update - 12/9/2007 - Hooray, I found the KRL video!  There are actually two videos, one of them done by KRL Studio Productions.  See if you can find it.  My review is "Two thumbs way up!"

And in the spirit of following the assignments, here's a video you might enjoy, How to charge an iPod using electrolytes and an onion:

Knowing how to do this may save you from iPod withdrawal when the power goes out.

Next time: Comedians. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Woohoo for LibraryThing!

All righty then. I have a new addiction - LibraryThing. Although I've lurked around the site for awhile, I've never taken the plunge and set up my own account; krl2.0 booted me into it and now I cannot stop adding to my library catalog. It's patently obvious that the 200 titles allowed in the free account will be woefully inadequate. I must choose wisely.

My favorite bit is seeing how many other people have cataloged the same title that I have. Ninety-seven people have Penrod in their library! I haven't yet met a person who has heard of that book, but here is a highly discriminating group of readers who care enough about it to catalog it. In a peculiar sort of way, I feel...I don't know...less alone in my love for the book. And yes, that's a little weird, but there it is. It's like being a Wookie and suddenly finding all these other Wookies in the world.

This is turning into something ridiculous, isn't it?

Tagging is still mildly intimidating. I can't shake the desire to add a tag that nobody else has thought to add. I love words, especially those wonderful words that aren't particularly useful in daily conversation, like ineffable or callipygian. I thought tagging might be a place for those, but no. Tags are descriptions (I remind myself). We're not trying to create a thesaurus here.

The hardest part of adding the LibraryThing widget to my blog was deciding how it would be displayed. Recent Titles? Random Title Mash? And it sure didn't start out where it is now, on the left. I'm getting better at moving things around in Blogger. (I could really use some lessons from Hannahgrams.)

I think we have something terrific to offer our patrons with LibraryThing. They can use it to keep a list of want-to-reads, as an alternative to the Keep option in KitCat.

And that concludes my post about LibraryThing. If you haven't reached weeks 7/8 yet, be encouraged - I think you'll enjoy that piece of Web 2.0 when you get there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You did what??

Practical Jokes. I'm conflicted regarding practical jokes, probably because they often turn out to be mean rather than funny, and I absolutely hate it when someone is hurt because of a joke. But when a practical joke is intelligently planned and creatively executed, and does no harm, I'm all over it.

This topic came up in a recent conversation with friends. We were reminiscing about practical jokes we had experienced. One thing was apparent right away - married couples can be the worst offenders, probably because they know each other so well.

One couple (I'll call them George and Martha) had a long, long history of inspired mutual pranking. One of the best happened several years ago. George had an hour-and-a-half commute both to and from work every weekday, traveling on major freeways. George had a birthday. Martha thought it would be fun to put a sign on the back of his van: "Honk! It's my birthday!"

Puget Sound commuters are a friendly lot and they were happy to celebrate George's birthday with him. George called Martha fifteen minutes into his commute to confirm dinner plans, and by the way (he said), it seemed that there were a lot of impatient drivers on the road today. George called Martha again twenty minutes later. People were honking at him, for crying out loud. Why are they honking??! What's wrong with these people??! Martha made sympathizing noises. George hung up. Ten minutes later he called again. It was a long, long morning commute for George.

He found the sign when he went out for lunch.

Now that's a great practical joke. Maybe a teensy bit borderline, because it didn't do George's blood pressure any good, and there's the whole 'road rage' phenomena to consider. But it worked because Martha knew George really well - an easy-going, hard-to-ruffle guy.

One of my favorite childhood programs was Candid Camera, a jam-packed half-hour of very startled people. We always watched it while visiting my grandparents; it came on right after Lawrence Welk. Punk'd is a recent version of Candid Camera. All I know about Punk'd is what I learned on Saturday Night Live when Justin Timberlake hosted. Justin Timberlake is a very funny guy. Have you seen his Target skit from that episode? Oh my.

Humor is what it is, no matter where you live. However, each culture has its own way of expressing it and it seems every region in the world makes fun of another region in one form or another. Does anyone remember those Poland jokes from the 70s? Alas that I do.

Um, I'm losing focus here. Practical Jokes.

The Japanese enjoy puns made with intelligence and wit, both verbal and visual. A single stroke in Kanji can cleverly change the meaning of a word. There are many examples of Haiku regarding the funnier side of human nature. But I have to point out that the Japanese also really enjoy practical jokes. They have their own version of Candid Camera. Many of the pranks are diabolical and would inspire lawsuits if they were done in the U.S., but some are hilarious. One of the best is Troop of 100 Men, involving a large group of young men and the proverbial innocent bystander. Obviously, if you ever travel there you had better keep your wits about you. (Side note - elderly Japanese people are impossible to prank, if this program is any indication.)

I'm not much of a practical joker but I've certainly been on the receiving end, primarily at the hands of my children on April Fool's Day. My favorite? "Look, Mom, someone wrote 'gullible' on the ceiling!" Did I look up? Yup.

So, assorted ramblings about practical jokes. Love 'em or hate 'em. What's next? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

gone a'flickrin'

What's funny this week? The bookdrop. Tucked within a returned book was a note with the message "I'm sorry for returning this book."

My humor folder just grows and grows.

I've been a Flickr junkie for awhile, starting way back when the site was fairly new. It has always been a good place to find an image for a bookmark or desktop wallpaper, and really fun to browse around.

While browsing one day, I made a happy discovery: Librarian Trading Cards. Have you seen these? Those early cards were great. They covered the gamut of the library world - reference librarians, YP librarians, The Rampaging Librarian, The Kilted Librarian...on and on. The cards have become much more sophisticated since then, thanks to all those cool publishing tools now available.

There are currently 319 Librarian Trading Cards, so you could spend (um, waste) an awful lot of time looking at them. But I have some favorites you might like to visit. These became favorites for a variety of reasons. Maybe I really liked the 'personal info' section, or the photo grabbed me. (I'm easily beguiled by peculiar photos.) Or...well...there was just something about it. Here are four to get you started, if you're inclined to look.

Hairy, Scary, Ordinary (branch manager)

deck7836470 (head of Library Systems)

Librarian Heroes (a variation on the trading card theme)

The Construction Librarian (a day in the life...)

Another thing I like about Flickr photos - the photostreams! When I discover a wonderful photo, I can view other photos taken by the same person. Disclaimer: I do not spend hours on Flickr. It just sounds like it.

While you were visiting those trading cards (making a grand assumption), did you notice the tags to the right? How about the "save to" button down in the right-hand corner? Flickr even has a blog. Web2.0. It's everywhere.

I'll finish up my Flickr blogpost with hb19, a photographer who uses clouds and jetstreams in unusual ways. Go ahead, take a look.

Next time: Japanese pranks. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 2, 2007

And now for something completely silly...

I was not able to post anything for a week and I went through Blog Withdrawal. It's nice to be back.

Since krl2pt0 is entering one of the catch-up-or-play weeks, here is one of my favorite ways to waste time - Line Rider. This is not only a test to see if I can embed a YouTube file, but also a way for you to see what has been achieved by dedicated (some would say demented) Line Rider people.

Line Rider, you ask? It's a site that lets you draw a ski slope, down which a small sledder travels. If you don't draw the slope very well, dire things happen to the sledder. It's a little tricky to learn but really addictive once you get it.

So, let's see if I can embed something from YouTube. Introducing: Line Rider- The Jagged Edge:

Hmmm. In Compose, all I see is an empty box with a little red x in the upper left corner. I wonder what happens when I Preview?

(gasp) It worked!! It looks badly pixelated, though. Doggone. If you go to YouTube and search Line Rider, you'll find many (much clearer) entries to watch.

Ok, so, after watching that video, this is important to remember - somebody drew all those lines. How much time do you think it must have taken? How often did that person start over? Try something, crash the Rider, and try something else? It's staggering.

So, that's my post for today. Silly indeed. Stay tuned.