Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Song of the Week: “America Says Hello” by The Chills

This week’s song “America Says Hello” is a caustic broadside fired at the hegemony and militarism of my native country by New Zealand’s The Chills.  I’d never heard of the band before this week, but they had much success in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s with their jangly-guitar rock style reminiscent of R.E.M.  Their new album Silver Bullets sounds musically like it could’ve been released 25 years ago, and sadly the political and environmental messages in the lyrics sound like not much has changed since 1990.  An excellent album, worth a listen.


Halloween Costume Generator for Archivists


Sexy Microfiche.

Originally posted on Derangement and Description:

Still trying to come up with a brilliant archives-themed Halloween costume? Use this handy generator! Also available as a PDF.

Halloween Costume Generator for Archivists (download PDF for readable text) Halloween Costume Generator for Archivists (download PDF for readable text)

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Honeymoon + 10: Day #2: Venice Walks

The second day of our honeymoon remembered….

Rooftops of Venice in the shadow of the Campanille.

In the early morning, Susan watches from our hotel window as a man and his dog pilot a work boat down the canal. After a tasty breakfast at our hotel, we follow walks around Venice from our Rick Steves’ guidebook. We start in Piazza di San Marco – home to Basilica di San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the Campanile. We ride the elevator to the top of the Campanile where we can see the red-clay rooftops of Venice and clear views across the lagoon. After strolling the waterfront and seeing the famous Bridge of Sighs, we head off in dense web of alleyways toward the Rialto. En route we visit the 10th century Church of San Moise with its Baroque 17th century facade. Our guidebook tells us that during World War II the Nazis had there local headquarters next door to this church named for one of the great patriarchs of Judaism (the irony of this occurred to Liam two days later while hiking the Seiser Alm). Further along our meandering brings us to Scala Contarini del Bovolo where we climb the spiral stair to the top. We are greeted by a slim, friendly gatto wearing a jewel-encrusted collar. The view here is more intimate than the Campanile, with views of tiny Venetian backyards and clotheslines.

Liam peaks out of the bovolo (“snail shell” in the Venetian dialect).

After a stop for a cappuccino, we emerge onto the Grand Canal by the Rialto Bridge where we are reacquainted with the throngs of tourists. We cross the bridge and enter the arcades of the Rialto Market (Erberia) where vegetables, cheese, fish, leather handbags, and tourist junk is sold. Susan is delighted by a UPS delivery boat and piles of pallets on the quayside. For lunch, Susan eats a plate full of tiny squid and Liam cannelloni in a dark, atmospheric pub along the shopping street called the Ruga. We follow lunch with another helping of gelato. Continuing our walk, we visit the Church of San Polo, its small stone nave decorated with art by Tintoretto, Veronese, and the Tiepolos. Like New Orleans, Venice is always ready for Carnival and mask shops are frequent along the tourist paths. We stop in Tragicomica and try on some masks, but don’t buy. Our next stop is the Frari Church, a larger medieval/early Renaissance building containing both paintings and the tomb of Liam’s favorite artist Titian. Next door is the Scuola Grande di San Rocco — home to a fraternal organization that performed charitable works for plague victims — and is richly decorated with religious art by Tintoretto. We enjoyed interpreting the religious themes in the dozens of giant canvases on the walls and carrying large mirrors to study the murals on the ceiling.

After all that walking and art, it was time to rest with pizza and beer at a cafe by the Academia Bridge. It was delightfully refreshing until the wind picked up and we got too cold. We ducked back into the alleyways zigzagging our way toward La Salute Church. Along the way we stopped at a gallery selling intriguing works of art by an artist named Tobia Rava. We continued are walk into a covered alley that felt like a dark tunnel. We emerged from the tunnel and found ourselves amidst twig-thin fashion models in a photoshoot. We are certain the photographer said, “Yes! Gauche Americans are exactly what this picture needs to make the cover of Elle!” We returned to our hotel to rest and wash up for supper at Osteria de Carla. The fact that all the other diners speak English and clutch Rick Steves’ guidebooks embarrasses Susan but the food is tasty enough to bury Liam’s shame.

We conclude the evening with a gondola ride. Susan chats up the gondolier:

“Have you gone under all 460 bridges in Venice?”.

“Si, most of them!” He shows as Marco Polo’s house and the City Hall as we sail along tiny canals as well as a brief float on the Grand Canal. In the darkness, we can peep in windows, look at the stars, and listen to the gondolier greet doormen and waiters as we pass. The motion-sensor doors on the fancier hotels slide open as we glide by. Venice looks just right from the water.

We eat more gelato before returning to Hotel Riva for the night.

Susan waits for the gondolier to return to begin a tour of Venice’s canals by night.

Full photo album from Day #2: Venice.

Beer Review: Peak Organic Fresh Cut (Can)

Beer: Peak Organic Fresh Cut
Brewer: Peak Organic Brewing Company
Source: 12 oz. can
Rating: ** (6 of 10)
Comments: This is a summertime beer that looks like golden sunshine with a bit of haze and smells of fresh-cut grass.  The taste is hop bitterness moderated with a little pepper spice.  The head deflated quickly and the beer has a thin mouthfeel.  This beer is bit too much on the bitter side for my taste but is a good summertime beer.

Curiously, I’ve reviewed this beer before from a bottle and liked it more then.

From the same brewery:

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby Leisure Time

Beer: Leisure Time Lager
Brewer: Jack’s Abby Brewing
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: ** (6.8 of 10)
Comments: This beer poured out is golden in color with a cloud hanging in the upper part of the glass resembling a jellyfish.  The aroma is a strong lemon citrus.   Flavor is a mix of bready sweetness, lemon, and spice.  The flavors are subtly bordering on bland.  It’s a pretty beer, good but basic.

From the same brewery:


Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

AuthorEoin Colfer
TitleArtemis Fowl: The Last Guardian
Narrator: Nathaniel Parker
Publication Info: New York : Listening Library, p2012.

The final installment in the Artemis Fowl series or so it would seem.  Opal Koboi has her biggest take over the world plot, Mulch Diggums has his biggest flatulence, and Artemis has his ultimate moment of genius.  And sacrifice.  Colfer’s humor stands out as Koboi raises an army with her minions occupying the bodies of the dead with comic results. It’s a nice distraction from the grim reality of a story that puts the entire world in peril.  This is a strong finale the series.

Rating: ***

Book Review: Timewyrm: Revelation by Paul Cornell

Author: Paul Cornell
TitleTimewyrm: Revelation
Publication Info: London : Dr Who Books, 1991.

The final book in the Timewyrm tetralogy is unlike any other Doctor Who story I’ve yet experienced.  For starters, one of the characters is a sentient church, there’s an English village on the moon, and much of the story takes place inside the Doctor’s mind.  That  may sound gimmicky but this a complex and ambitious novel that examines the Doctor’s grief and anguish through the previous incarnations who live in his mind.  This is a challenging book to read as it has a lot of characters and facets and leaps from one to the other rather quickly, but a very satisfying story that pushes the bounds of a Doctor Who adventure.  It’s also very influential as the revived television series has clearly mined this novel for ideas (and the author Cornell has also written screenplays for the show).

Recommended booksTimewyrm: Exodus by Terrance Dicks
Rating: ***1/2


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