Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Flickr Groups

I wish I were a better photographer! As it is, I did find a Flickr group to join where the quality of the photo isn't as important as the content. I'm still finding Flickr a little confusing for some reason, and it took me a bit to figure out that you post to a group from your own pictures, not from the group page. But now I know!

Moving on to #5, I'm looking at some of the Flickr Mashups: so far, Retrievr is kind of pretty, although to me it seems to be searching more by color than by the shape of the image. An issue I have with it is that, once you've found an image, what can you do with it? It doesn't belong to you. Spell with Flickr is likewise fun to look at, but how much can we get away with using the pictures in pulls up?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slide Show

I got some pictures loaded and created a set, which can be viewed as a slide show.

Which, according to my classy dad, "looks like pictures from one of those booths where people take 5 pictures of their butt for a dollar." Which, technically speaking, they are. But, I mean, However, we probably didn't stay late enough at the fair to see that kind of thing. Demolition Derby, on the other hand, was pretty great, mostly because my pick won (GO, station wagons!).

I think the problem I had before was not making the pictures public; I think only people with Flickr accounts can be among friends and family to view private photos.

Apparently, I need some Flickr friends!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

Reading a book like this is what makes me miss working in a branch - I want to put this book in someone's hands because I had such a good time reading it.

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande is really a pretty typical YA problem novel - Mena, ashamed of the actions of her church friends, writes a letter that exposes them to a lawsuit, and leaves Mena starting high school, like Melinda in Speak, ostracized and the target of harassment by her former friends, made worse by their in-class boycott of a unit on evolution. Over the first few weeks of school, a dynamic biology teacher and a cute lab partner help Mena find a way to reconcile faith and science.

Sure, it's not perfect; the charismatic minister and the two-faced members of the youth group are maybe a little too evil, and Mena's parents are two dimensional (although this does reflect the way they've let their anger freeze out their daughter). But Mena's voice is so true, so real, without resorting to chatspeak or pop culture references that are passe before the book sees print. The first person narrative keeps the pace moving while Mena struggles with her emerging feelings for Casey, her lab partner, and learns that she can maintain her deep faith without the structure of a church, a similar resolution to Margaret Peterson Haddix's Leaving Fishers.

Mena is the reason that this book succeeds for me. She jumps right off the page, and I love that her guilty rebellion entails playing with the puppies at Casey's house and watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, rather than the usual bad behavior of the Gossip Girl or A-List variety.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More than meets the eye

So I've got one photo uploaded to Flickr.

It's a start, right? There are so many really beautiful pictures on Flickr, and some very strange pictures as well (Why does someone take a photo of every outfit she wears and post it? Better question, why did I look at two months worth of outfits?). Mine tend to be more mundane, and all of the same subject. New parent's prerogative, I guess.

I'm still exploring a lot of the options, like creating contacts. I've invited one person to be a contact, so I'll see how that goes. I'm also thinking about what I want as my Buddy Icon. I could get so bogged down in that type of thing that I never really use the site! Once I get a few more photos uploaded, I can play a little more. I used to have photos on Yahoo, which got dumped onto Photobucket. Yahoo was quick, but I think Flickr and Photobucket will take a bit more tinkering.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still avoiding Flickr

I'll get to it, tomorrow maybe. Tomorrow is always better.

I finished The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, and while I liked it, it didn't knock my socks off like its companions (Silent to the Bone and The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place) did. I think the two main characters felt a little aloof, from each other and from me as a reader. One, Amedeo, is New York city transplant to Northern Florida who is used to the company of adults while William's Southern accent reads as a little stilted in parts.

The two boys are brought together by the impending estate sale of former opera singer Mrs. Zender; Amedeo is Mrs. Zender's neighbor (and newest fan) and William's mother is organizing the sale. While never truly a diva on stage, Mrs. Zender is a diva in her own mind - she's used to having "people" and is not adjusting well to the modern world (although she does manage to navigate the drive-thru at Dairy Queen pretty well).

Various threads eventually pull together the stories of the boys' budding respect for each other, the family history of Amedeo's godfather, the Nazi's Degenerate Art Exhibit, and the conflicting aspects of Mrs. Zender's life and personality, although there is a little too much coincidence here, and the threads can be difficult to grasp at first. Themes range from the value of modern art to kitsch vs. Art, personal responsibility to national guilt. This will not have the wide appeal of other art history related novels as Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer or even Konigburg's own From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; however, this is exactly what I enjoy about her work. So many book reviews extol a book's attraction for reluctant readers, but E.L. Konigsburg's books don't ever try to to cater to that elusive group. She writes for readers with no apologies, no asides to explain new vocabulary in sly and witty ways - I even learned a new word: foxed. As in: "The pages were foxed, the edges darkened." Go on, go look it up. I did.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Getting Started on 2.0

I'm a little creaky - this is a late start for the Web 2.0 challenge, but I think I'm ready to get going.

I think I'll kill two birds with one blog, and use this as a way to log what I've read as well - something I wish I'd done back in the days I actually read a lot. Now I'm reading fewer books, but I have more trouble remembering them! Using the fancy-schmancy machine here as a book log will satisfy my Luddite tendencies.

I am excited to have received an advanced copy of E.L. Konigburg's newest, The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World. I'm just getting started on it, but I have high hopes; her last two were wonderful.

I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and a recent chapter actually made my inner Martha Stewart consider making cheese. Because a person who can barely throw together three of the four food groups for dinner needs to be making cheese.