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The Weird, Weird West

It's been a few years since I blogged about the resurgence of steampunk, first popularized in the 1980s.  Today I can report that steampunk is not only still going strong in speculative fiction but has been adopted by other genres as well, notably mystery and romance.  Even the superhero cosplay community has seen an increasing number of "steampunked" takes on popular characters.

I'm not sure why, but London (or some alt-history version of it) seems to be the unofficial capital of the steampunk world.  Easily three-quarters of the steampunk I've read has been set there.  Mind you, I have nothing against England's capital city, but it seems a shame that so many other worthy venues are going untapped.  Happily, I'm not the only one seeking new frontiers for my historical-flavored speculative fiction.  The American SF community has been staking their own claim on steampunk by reviving a setting they've dabbled in before: the Weird West.

What's Cooking?: The Luscious Elegant Cream Puff

This past weekend, I was invited to a dinner party and offered to bring dessert.  What to bake?  I just love small bites so I decided upon a medley of bite-sized desserts consisting of pumpkin tartlets, rainbow (tricolored) cookies, chocolate banana bread mini cupcakes, and mini cream puffs.   When the kids were young, cream puffs were always a favorite.  As a matter of fact that was the last time I made them.  As tempting as the other desserts were, the mocha cream-filled cream puffs were a big hit even though it wasn’t as puffy as I would have liked.  No one cared.  Who can resist this light airy cream-laden delight?

Beyond Books - The Oscars Redux

The Oscars have come and gone and, has been the case in the past, there have been mixed reviews on the telecast.  Some thought it was cutting edge humor.  Still others saw it as tasteless.  The producers, in my opinion, were trying to entice a younger audience to start watching this program, which, typically, tends to skew older demographically.  Whatever your opinion is on the telecast we can all agree that, as usual, it was way too long.

As to our own "can you guess the winner's contest".....we had one patron (out of 66 entries) who guessed all five winners correctly.  Kudos to our patron Joyce Loew.  Joyce won first prize of a new DVD of her own choosing.  We had seven patrons who guessed four categories correctly.  These patrons will have the opportunity to pick a new CD from a group of titles I have selected. 

Here are the DVD release dates of the other best picture nominees:

A Rose in Winter

Pink Rugosa roseO dreary February!  Much as I love winter, this is my least favorite month.  Winter is a ragged ruin of its old self.  Once-pristine snows are sooty piles of unmelting slush, paired with icy fogs, freezing temperatures, and the occasional "wintry mix."  At times it feels like spring-- so close!-- will never arrive to make the cold, wet dirt bloom.  But then I notice the rugosa rose by my back door.  It's flowered faithfully since the first year I planted it.  Every day I see its tiny, hopeful buds, and I can hope for spring because my rose does.  Today, I have another hopeful rose in mind.  It's in one of my favorite fairy tales, about a cursed prince, a brave girl, and a magical rose that blooms in bleakest winter. Can you guess which tale I mean?

Getting Library E-Books Just Got Easier!

If you have an ereader that has a web browser (any tablet such as Kindle Fire or the Nook tablet), getting library e-books just got easier! 

It takes only a few seconds to find a title and start reading. Accessing any borrowed title from your Bookshelf only requires a few clicks or taps.

eBooks: Click Borrow then Go to Bookshelf (you may be prompted to sign in) to read the title in your browser or download. If you want additional borrowing options, select a different format from the Bookshelf on your Account page.

Additional formats (your library may offer audiobooks, video, or music): Select the title you want, click (or tap) Borrow, then download it from your Bookshelf.

Better Than Google--I Still Believe

I recently had a conversation with one of our database representatives.  We were discussing the disappointing usage of his product.  Why was it not getting more use?  The rep offered to send me posters and bookmarks, offered to come in and do a demonstration for the staff, and even for the public.  I declined all these kind enticements because, frankly, it would be a waste of time.  Much as I hate to admit it, our databases are mostly under utilized.  This has nothing to do with the quality of the databases, their ease of use, or the spectacular information they contain.  The sad and unsurprising fact is that people eschew the databases to simply "google it".  People google everything and who can blame them?  As a librarian, I find this frustrating and understandable.  A google search is the fastest and easiest way to find information, no question.  But does fast and easy necessarily translate to accurate and reliable?  Heck, no!

Where Did the Audiobooks Go?

 

All the Fiction Audiobooks including mysteries and science fiction have been moved to the end of the Large Print collection on the main floor of the adult area.  All Nonfiction Audiobooks are still in the same location.  Playaways now face the entrance to the adult area of the library.  Please ask for assistance in locating these collections.  Placing our Fiction Audiobooks in the Large Print area allows more room for your favorite authors and titles. As an added bonus, the Romance Paperbacks are now where the Audiobooks used to be.  Just in time for Valentine's Day.

What's Cooking?: Happy Lunar New Year 4011!

Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday in many Asian countries where shops are closed for two weeks to a month. Created for the purpose of counting a 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar, each year is represented by twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac:  rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.   This Chinese Lunar New Year on February 10 is the Year of the Water Snake. Throughout Asia and Chinatowns in the western nations, the streets are lined with people watching the festive parades with lions and dragons dancing to the beating of heavy drums and clanging cymbals, and "embraced" with a relentless spray of firecrackers to scare away malevolent spirits from spoiling the chance of a prosperous and hopeful year.

Beyond Books - The Oscars

 

February is here and that means one thing for those among us who love the movies...it's time for the Oscars!

Amazingly enough, one of the contenders for best picture of the year, "Argo", is being released on DVD on Tuesday, February 19th; five days before the Oscars actually air on Sunday February 24th.  As with all DVD titles, we will have multiple copies of Argo available on its streetdate, the 19th.  Other big titles being released on DVD in February are Alex Cross (February 5th), Flight (February 5th), Skyfall (February 12th), Perks Of Being A Wallflower (February 12th) and The Master (February 26th).

This year the Oscar nominees for best picture are: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.

Update on Tax Forms

Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the IRS announced its plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30. As a side effect of this decision and the Relief Act, the standard 1040 form went under revision and will be shipping late. It can be accessed and printed online by clicking here.

The library will put out all available forms starting Friday, February 1. At this time, we have the following:

Federal

1040 EZ, Schedule B, Schedule E, Schedule EIC, Form 4868

State

IT-201, IT-201-ATT, IT-203,  IT-214,  IT-215, IT-216 

Please note: Form IT-2 has been discontinued.

We have recieved notice from the IRS that we can expect the following forms within a week: Schedule A, Schedule C, Schedule D, Form 8863 and Form 2441.

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