Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I enjoy being productive!

I am posting today about Online Productivity tools. The featured website for the lesson was Google Docs. I had never heard of it, so this one was new for me, as well. I have been familiar with a few different office suites in the past; mainly Microsoft Office and Open Office, but this is a little different in that you can work online and also share your work with others, or let others contribute to your files. I love a good slideshow, so here's one I made as a test run for Google Docs.

OF COURSE there're uses for this stuff at work. There's really no end to the possibilities here. I have just made a slideshow in like 5 minutes after the first time I ever saw the site, so just think what you could do if you actually had some time to learn the ins and outs. And now my silly slideshow is published to the web, so if someone else wants to use it to illustrate online productivity, they can. The gist of all of these new Web 2.0 applications being that you can both edit and share various types of information, and organize it as well, the sky is really the limit. I can't thank my job enough for giving me the exposure to these tools that I might not have had otherwise. More ways to impose my opinion on others.....YES!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Duty Calls

I am sorry to admit I have been remiss of late; all caught up in the heady atmosphere created by blogging about old movies from my childhood. So, back to the serious business at hand, namely, my Web 2.0 training. So, firstly, let's discuss good ol' social networking. I'll confess I am somewhat ambivalent about social networking. I have Friendster, Myspace, and Facebook accounts. All of these were joined by me at the urgent behest of some friend or relative that explained that I just had to join so I could keep in touch with all of my friends or relatives. Especially Facebook, the newest one I belong to, wherein all my ultra-conservative cousins like to discuss their reasons to hate Obama (no likey). I can see how you could make use of them for business networking purposes, and especially on Facebook there are a lot of apps, like Virtual Bookshelf, that you could use for Library Purposes. On the other hand, people you thought you got away from in your past can search you and find you on these websites and make you feel guilty for not keeping in touch (also, no likey). Next up, social bookmarking. This is the first of the 2.0 lessons that was all news to me. I have not been exposed to the concept, except to ask somebody what that del.ici.ous thing was at the top of my screen sometimes. This is a totally cool idea. And clearly has myriad uses for anyone trying to organize information on the interwebs, and then share it with other like-minded users! Reference librarians can share with one another the website they found that is awesome for kids doing reports on Native American tomahawk construction, and not have to spend time rooting it up again next year when the new 4th graders ask the same questions. So cool. Personally, not really necessary at this point for my life, as my tag cloud would consist of "BAD CELEBRITY OUTFITS celebrity gossip CUTE CATS KITTENS weather IMDB TV LISTINGS naptiger" Which doesn't really warrant a cloud at this point. And also makes me slightly ashamed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Hotly Anticipated Results

Poll voters, all 6 of you, you have spoken. When faced with the choice between Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda, vs. Lily alone, vs. Burt Reynolds, Dom Delouise, and a boatload of others, vs. Burt and Sally Field, the big winner with 50% of the votes is 9 to 5 (what a way to make a livin'.) I can't really blame all three of you, since that movie has a fun title track, rat poison, animated birdies, and several fantasy scenarios. Plus Dolly is a surprisingly talented actress. She is a testament to how being self assured makes all the difference when people might be inclined to not take you seriously. I would like to point out that someone also would have voted if there had been an "Airplane" choice. So that would have brought my total to 7 votes. Well, it was my first poll, so I'll have better expectations next time. And also, I'd like to point out, that while 9 to 5 is a boss hating movie, I am in no way a boss hater. I have been lucky to have incredibly nice and understanding bosses my whole working life, and I certainly wish my current one(s) all the health and happiness they can get. And no rat poison.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Old School Disney makes for excellent Leprechauns.

At my elementary school, we used to have "Movie Day" at the beginning and end of the year. All the classes got to bring pillows and blankets and camp out on the gym floor as they projected Classic Disney films onto the wall drive-in style. This would have been from about 1980 to maybe 1984, when I moved away. So, for a total of about 8 times, I got to be exposed to some of the classics that have imprinted themselves onto my brain and forced me to shell out money as an adult to build my own collection of Old School Disney. There is an actual "Disney Classics" label which some of them have been released under, but there are others that I deem classic that haven't made it. One that has, though, and probably one of the finest of the whole bunch, is Darby O'Gill and the Little People. This is set in Ireland, and is the story of a older man (Darby, played by Albert Sharpe) who captures the king of the Leprechauns and tries to get him to own up to the whereabouts of his Pot 0' Gold. This man's daughter, Katie (Janet Munro), who looks after him, is unmarried and pays little heed to her old dad's crazy notions about the Little People because he likes to take a nip now and then. There's a subplot wherein our lovely Katie gets to have a romance with a young pre-Bond Sean Connery, who is incredibly handsome, and also a scene in which we see a banshee, which fueled many a nightmare in my younger days, which in no way affected my opinion of this movie. I LOVE IT. It has got an original premise, jaunty musical numbers, surprisingly good special-effects-tiny-leprechauns with live actors for 1959 (even though a few strings are visible here and there) and some excellent repartee betwixt our main guy and the leprechaun, King Brian. And if you aren't scared of banshees after you see this film, you are a strong character. I appreciate that this movie was made long enough ago that they hadn't started softening up and dumbing down plotlines for our precious youth, and really, if your kid is so protected from hardship, then maybe they only learn about death from movies, which is better than being forced to be a child soldier in Sudan or some such. I remember parents complaining 35 years later when the animated father lion got killed in the Lion King. Ridiculous! That banshee and various other aspects of Darby O'Gill lend it not only cultural integrity, but the right kind of thrills to sear those images into a 7 year-old's brain and make her blog about them twenty-some years later. AND, you get to be reminded again not to mess with the King of the Leprechauns, which is always good advice (along with that little chestnut about land wars in Asia). Incidentally, I feel a LOT of Classic Disney posts a-brewin', so if I ever refer to OSD in the header, that's a sign that you are about to go for a ride on the Old School Disney Nostalgia Express. Enjoy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Beasts and the power to master them....

Well, now it's time to delve into that other most revered genre of movies heretofore undiscussed; in a word, Fantasy. Oh, I still mean seventies and eighties movies, but instead of commentary on the state of society or relationships, as most of my previous posts regarding film have covered, I now refer to those films that contain characters or worlds outside of the mundane. And what more perfect film to represent the genre in all its glory, I ask you, than Beastmaster? This movie has it all, man. Holy cow is it good. Basically, the main guy, Dar, (Marc Singer) a prince, is abducted by the minions of an evil sorcerer, Maax (RIP TORN!!!) at birth. The minion in question (a witch) is then overpowered by a hunter, who then saves the baby and takes him to his village. As the boy grows, he displays the power to communicate with animals. When he is older, Maax sends a horde to wipe out his village. Natch, Dar uses his talents and some friends to help him exact revenge. This is a VERY skimpy synopsis, because I have left out the myriad things that make this movie truly enjoyable, not least of which are his two ferret pals that go with him everywhere and are exceedingly cute to look upon. There are also life-sucking bat creatures and crazed berserk warriors with green worms in their heads, a scantily clad girlie named Kiri (Tanya Roberts, who also played Sheena. Don't get me started. I literally couldn't get enough of that film for about 3 months when I was a kid. Example: "Sheena, your hair smells great, what do you wash it with?" "Why, zam-zam berries. What else would a woman use?" Spoken from the back of a zebra, no less. Enough said.) I would like to point out that there are also a falcon and a bear and a TIGER in the pic, and all of these animals both help and lend their power to our protagonist in the course of his adventures. I am not doing the movie justice with my description, I guarantee it. Suffice it to say that if you like muscles, loincloths, animals, doltish fellows, creepy monsters, RIP TORN(!!), stupid sidekicks, eye gouging, witchcraft, crossbows, swords, and severed heads, you've got your pick right here. And don't try to make claims on behalf of Krull, Conan the Governor, or Dragonslayer. I am way ahead of you. (I'm not totally unsympathetic to arguments in favor of Krull, but the others are nowhere close.) Beastmaster trumps the others because of the ANIMALS. This is Naptiger, man. Of course! Who doesn't fantasize about communicating with animals? You don't? Liar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baby Boom, reprise

I am posting to inform the world that I am to be an auntie again. I have five nephews, three by my sister and two of my brother's. My brother's wife is expecting a new baby in October. I found out yesterday; a fitting piece of news for Easter, indeed. I said 'I didn't expect to be an aunt again!' and my sister-in-law said 'I didn't expect to make you one again, either!' So, little he or she is rather unexpected, but it will be fun to have a tiny baby to manhandle again. My brother's youngest is five, so it's been a while. Naturally, my mother's reaction to the news was "Well, it had better be a girl." So tactful, Mom. Not, "Oooh, a new baby! How wonderful! And wouldn't it be nice to have a granddaughter?" or "Not that it matters, but how nice it would be to have a girl baby in the family," but just It Had Better Be A Girl. It had better be, or the poor little bugger may be wearing frilly lace dresses regardless. My sister had her third boy entirely in the hopes that if they tried again, it would be a girl. No dice. Also, my sister-in-law's sisters only have boys, too. So there is a powerful lack of baby to bestow bonnets, bows, crocheted booties, and the like on. All I hope (and my brother and sister-in-law too) is that the wee one is physically sound and his or her mom has an easy time. But that's just me. I'll pretend like I care when discussing it with my other family members, so they don't think I'm a traitor to the cause.
Personally, I think it would be fun if the bambino came on Halloween, so that I could tell it that all that candy was for him or her every year until it grew old enough to catch me in the lie. That's what aunts are for, incidentally. Lying for entertainment. Hence my excitement about a new victim; the other ones are wise to me now. Good luck, little zygote, and I'll see you in a few months....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Internet Gaming is my friend, but Edgar is not.

I have been a fan of internet gaming for a long time. As long as the internet has existed, as a matter of fact. I like to play seek-and-find games, which used to be less available, but are enjoying a surge in popularity these days. They basically consist of you looking for a list of hidden objects within a picture before the clock runs out. I can't get enough of that stuff. Especially because shooter or arcade style games stress me out (I'm afraid I'm going to get "killed" so much I can't play the game properly.) You know what else would stress me out? My PC trying run my household. Which brings me to the explanation of who Edgar is: one of the main characters in a movie called Electric Dreams. This movie is a straight up classic. I don't know why more people haven't seen it. When you Google it, it comes up as "obscure movies of the eighties" and its soundtrack is more famous than the movie itself. With good reason, since it features works by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO to those of us who are fans) who simply kick ass, in my opinion, and UB40, whom I have all the albums of, as well as Culture Club and some nice classical cuts. Let me enlighten you as to the plot: Dorky Guy (Lenny Von Dohlen, who according to IMDB is now to be found on Ghost Whisperer...that's a shame) gets a computer with all the possible bells and whistles, and proceeds to install it in his home with the hopes that automating all of his appliances through the computer will simplify his life. Girl (Virginia Madsen, of Sideways fame among other things) moves in upstairs. Girl is a concert cellist. Guy becomes smitten. By accident, guy spills a glass of champagne on computer, making it sentient (!!) Computer then thinks to itself that it might have a thing for Girl Upstairs, and proceeds to make Guy's life hell by screwing with the house that he is wired to run (Stereo up loud! Doors locked! Coffeemaker haywire! Etc.) and driving Guy absolutely insane. Girl, meanwhile, has a jerky boyfriend from the orchestra and ignores both Guy and Computer until she realizes something funny is going on downstairs. Of course, in the end, Guy gets Girl and computer gets the shaft. Not before the Computer divulges that his name is Edgarrrrr in an awesome campy sort of "electronic" voice that is done by Bud Cort. The first review on IMDB for this movie states that the guy who wrote it fell immediately in love with it and would now count it in his top ten of all time. I couldn't agree more. I can only hope that my spreading the word will improve its veiwership worldwide. Especially because in the way of all that is good and holy from my childhood, there appears to be a plan to reprise the movie in a modern context to be released in 2010, which, needless to say, is a travesty. Original or nothing! Up with ELO! Down with stupid remakes with no cultural relevance in today's world! Okay, I'm done.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A word regarding the genius of Diane Keaton

Okay. By now you've figured out that I'm a fan of movies from back in the day. (My back in the day, of course, being the seventies and eighties. Not that I don't appreciate the era before that, but I grew up on these, hence my affection for them.) Well, despite my recent discussion of seventies movies, and my poll at the bottom of the page which everyone is ignoring, I have plenty of eighties favorites, too. And this leads me to my point. Did you ever have a movie that, no matter what time it's on, no matter what you may have been thinking of doing, you feel you have to watch it in its entirety? You are literally compelled to watch the whole thing. And you want to, because you like that movie so much that it makes you feel glad to watch it again. Well, I have a few of these, but the first which helped me to identify the phenomenon is Baby Boom. This gem features Diane Keaton as a powerful shoulderpadded NY ad executive who finds herself saddled with a baby through a last-living-relative scenario. She initially intends to rid herself of "it", but becomes enamored instead, and tries to incorporate her new motherhood into her high powered career. This doesn't work out too well, so she hangs it all and moves to a farm in Vermont. The farm looks good on paper, but turns out to be a bit of a wreck, and she becomes despondent away from the city life. With the support of a handsome veterinarian, she gets on her feet and creates a successful business selling the baby food she's been forced to make out of boredom and a bumper crop of fruit from her orchard. She then, of course, gets a chance to meet with her former employers, who want to run her ad campaign, and she sticks it to them.
This movie is great on so many levels. It deals with the women's lib sort of "I can be a mom and work, too" concept that was so prevalent in the eighties, but shows how it can be possible only if a person retains their sense of family while working. And it shows how a woman can do anything on her own, but sometimes needs to realize support is not a bad thing. I would hazard that this is Diane Keaton's finest performance. I'm not kidding. Annie Hall is good, but she is ditsy in it and not a real, strong, independent lady. The Godfather stuff is fine, but it's not her own personal vehicle. And the stuff she's been up to lately doesn't even bear mentioning (crap). So, here's hoping I don't turn on the tv to check the weather some morning and find Baby Boom instead, because then I'll have to miss work, and I don't want to get fired.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wikis plus a little splainin' to do

Wikis are cool! I love Wikipedia; it's my default for reading about stuff I don't know (online, that is, not in real life, when I would of course use the many and fantastic resources of the Public Library.) I have yet to contribute to one, but as the training video about this week's lesson so aptly showed, the application of the wiki concept is useful for coordinating info, which is not something I had realized wikis were useful for. You know what else is useful? Giving your mom a tiny cat. You laugh, but I gave my mom one I came across on the side of the road last year, and it was a great move. She loves that cat. And, I am touted as a miracle worker for bringing the two of them together. They are like symbiotic creatures, one getting hedonistic lap scritchings 'round the clock, and the other getting all the worship a lady needs. My mom, I'm sure, has some nicknames for her (Treasurepaws). Her name, in fact, is Amanda for the vet, and Mandy for everyday. I, personally, like to call her The Chairman. (Of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. She's small.) My bff got to meet her in the few days she hung out at my house (before it became apparent that if she was to live, she needed to be absent from my cat's murderous intent) and dubbed her Tiny Naylor, after a restaurant owned by a sports celebrity that she used to frequent out in LA as a youth. So when we discuss her amongst ourselves, that's how she is named, i.e. "Did you see Naylor at your mom's last weekend?" and "Naylor is extremely cute. I may have to swallow her whole." This is all by way of explanation for the list o' cat nicknames you'll find on the left. I did put a disclaimer regarding my attitude towards cats, but I felt a deeper explanation of my love for nicknames and how they come about was in order. Which gives me an Idea. A wiki about cat nicknames? Ooh....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I lost 50 lbs in a week, and Lily Tomlin rocks.

I am now obeying the one rule! (You've seen it, you know what I mean...) I am eating acai berries, brushing my teeth with two magic ingredients, super-cleansing my colon, wearing Spanxx, applying botox for hair (that's the latest, don't you know) and eating bars/shakes/pills instead of actual food.

These are lies. April Fool's lies, to be exact. Actually, I believe you would have to be a fool to fall for that stuff, but I guess someone does, or they wouldn't keep trying to shove it all down your throat. I also think there's a good chance that using all of the pills, drugs, food supplements or replacements, creams, injections, and various other products, both topical and internal, could make you shrink like Lily Tomlin. Oh, man, I love that movie. You know what I'm talking about? The Incredible Shrinking Woman! She's a houswife (and this is the seventies, when there were probably about 1000% less products available to shrink you) who uses a combo of cleaning supplies and toiletries that have the freak effect of making her shrink to a tiny little person who then takes up residence in her daughter's dollhouse and tries to avoid the garbage disposal and the family cat. I have tried to get it at every video store in town, and even Netflix didn't have it before I quit using them, so I may have to try and buy it through Amazon, but the DVD has yet to be released, and I don't want no stinkin' VHS for the likes of a Tomlin classic. I have Big Business on DVD, for goodness' sake, and that may not even be as good.