standout albums of 2010 (in my humble opinion)

It’s 2011, and these are the albums of 2010 that I’m still listening to on a weekly basis.

I haven’t listened to every album that was released last year. Who has the time? I have, however, listened to quite a few of the 2010 releases over the year, both out of personal interest and for the local community radio station where I volunteer.

There were quite a few surprise favorites among the bunch. Surprise in that I didn’t expect I’d like them, much less become obsessed with them and continue to listen with great pleasure months later. So, with that, I bring you the top unexpected favorite album of 2010.

Dan Black – ((un))

Released in the UK last year, the album made its way to US shores in February this year. I saw the press releases due to my work with Blogcritics, but nothing about them made me think this would be an album I’d enjoy. However, when I saw it on the “to be reviewed” shelf at the radio station in April, I gave it a cursory listen and decided it might be worth giving more attention.

Eight months later, I’m still listening to it, and count it among my go-to albums for when I need energy and a happy mood. Black has successfully melded synthpop, creative lyrical songwriting, and addictive hooks. This is no flash in the pan album/artist — there’s potential for longevity and continued freshness in Black’s sound.

Marina & the Diamonds – The Family Jewels

Marina Diamandis released her debut album in March, but I didn’t notice it until a friend sent me a link to the video for “I Am Not a Robot.” This sparked my interest enough that when I had the opportunity to review it for the radio station, I gave it a few spins. It’s still spinning on regular rotation in my personal library now.

The album is chock full of pop hooks, delivered by a woman who’s vocal range and technique is impressive in this age of female pop stars who are more popular for their paparazzi photos than their musical talents. She frequently belts out higher notes that make my cats cringe when I attempt to sing along. Marina can hit them with ease. I cannot. This is probably why she’s a huge UK pop star and I’m some shmuck writing music reviews.

Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

I can’t remember how I first ran across this album — whether it was one I picked to review for the radio station or one that a music director handed to me thinking I’d like it. Regardless, I found myself listening to Phantogram on repeat for a week or so in May, and few things will make me happy in the way I am when I hear the first few bars of “Mouthful of Diamonds.”

Sarah Barthel’s sweet and pure vocals are a nice balance to the rough (and often bizarre) vocal delivery from her partner, Josh Carter. The arrangements are a meld of synthpop, hip-hop, and singer/songwriter folk/pop. It’s similar to Dan Black, but a little more digitized and dirty.

Honorable Mentions:

Jennifer Knapp – Letting Go
I reviewed this for Blogcritics back in May, and you can read the full review if you like. In brief, this is her best album to date, and well deserving of a listen for anyone who enjoys thoughtful lyrics, strong female vocals, and music that straddles the line between acoustic and electric folk-pop.

The Like – Release Me
From what I understand, this is nothing like their earlier releases. The album has a 60’s girl-group sound with a modern attitude, similar to the Pipettes.

Indigo Girls – Staring Down the Brilliant Dream
Of course I have to include this in my list, but mostly because I’ve been a long-time fan of the group. This is a live album, and serves both as a gift to fans and as an excellent “best of” album to introduce the group to new listeners. I gave it a full review in August, if you’re interested in reading more.

Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup – “We No Speak Americano
I discovered this song when a friend linked to a video created by Irish step dancers Suzanne Cleary & Peter Harding doing their hand dance to this track. I watched the video countless times before researching and discovering that the track is an international hit. Even without the hand dancing, it’s still one of my favorite dance tracks of 2010.

Article first published as Standout Albums of 2010 (In My Humble Opinion) on Blogcritics.

Learning 2009: Image Resources for Teaching

Presenters: Jeannine Keefer and Crista LaPrade

Keefer provided the attendees with a brief overview of licensed images. Specifically, ArtStor and why it would be used in the classroom (mainly art historians). There are also many free or Creative Commons licensed resources for images:

  • Flickr – range from amateur to professional, free to fully copyrighted
  • Picasa – similar to Flickr, but less communal
  • Google Images – search across the web
  • Google Earth – geotagged photos for specific locations
  • Creative Commons – search across several sites
  • MorgueFile – stock photography
  • OpenPhoto – stock photography
  • TinEye – reverse image search engine for finding more like the one you have
  • Cooliris – browser plugin for quickly flipping through images on various sites
  • Social networks like Facebook & MySpace

LaPrade and Boatwright Library’s Digital Production Services does all of the digitization and scanning for the library as well as scanning for faculty who need to convert analog images to digital for non-art classroom purposes. Non-presentation uses for this service (ideas beyond PowerPoint) include creating reference posters for students and images supplementing faculty publications (within copyright). Unfortunately, faculty will have to find their own storage (DVDs, flash drives, etc.) and delivery options, as DPS currently does not have a server for storage and delivery.

There are many resources you could use to share images in the classroom, including Blackboard and ArtStor, but also free image storage/sharing resources or your own web pages or blog. However, there are several factors to consider, since these can also be tools for managing the images: purpose, platform, ownership, collection size, image manipulation, metadata, budget, tech support, data integrity, file types, and presentation tool. Some possible solutions include Adobe Bridge (with the full version of Photoshop), Extensis Portfolio, Flickr, and Picasa.

(Side note: I think that many of the folks in the room were expecting to have a discussion of how faculty are actually using images in their teaching, and perhaps less about the tools that can be used to do so.)

a few things

On Sunday, I tried out Skype for the first time. I had installed it on my laptop and gotten a headset and microphone earlier in the week because I had a phone interview with Susan Werner scheduled on Saturday. I thought I could use Skype and record the conversation to my laptop. Instead, I ended … Continue reading “a few things”

On Sunday, I tried out Skype for the first time. I had installed it on my laptop and gotten a headset and microphone earlier in the week because I had a phone interview with Susan Werner scheduled on Saturday. I thought I could use Skype and record the conversation to my laptop. Instead, I ended up using a speaker phone and recording the conversation to minidisc. So, it wasn’t until Sunday that I decided to give it a go and call my parents via Skype’s free domestic calls special (until the end of the year). Impressive. The sound quality was better than what I usually get on my cheap cell phone.

The interview with Susan Werner was awesome and a lot of fun. My week has been a bit much, but I hope to have the transcript transcribed and edited for public consumption by Saturday. It will be posted here as well as on Blogcritics.org. If you haven’t downloaded Susan’s alternative national anthem (“My Strange Nation”) yet, do it now.

Also on Sunday, I decided I’d better finally watch the two Netflix DVDs I’ve had for nearly two months. That was when I discovered I had misplaced them. After a frantic ten minute search of the house, I gave up and instead watched some stuff I’d downloaded a while ago. I let it simmer until last night, when in a flash of insight after some more searching I remembered one more place I might have stashed them, and there they were. However, by that point it was nearing midnight and I decided that Battlestar Galactica and Crash can wait for the weekend. Particularly since I’ll have Monday off, too!

muffins

I have added a link to Powell’s books on the left. They have a good selection, and if you purchase anything through that link, I get a commission that will go towards paying off my school debt. Alternatively, there is always Save Anna. Kentucky is attempting to narrow the information technology gap by mandating that … Continue reading “muffins”

I have added a link to Powell’s books on the left. They have a good selection, and if you purchase anything through that link, I get a commission that will go towards paying off my school debt. Alternatively, there is always Save Anna.

Kentucky is attempting to narrow the information technology gap by mandating that all new housing units funded more than 50% by the Kentucky Housing Corporation have to be wired for broadband Internet access. In this day and age, it is virtually a necessity for education that kids have access to the Internet at home. Now, even low-income kids in Kentucky have the potential to succeed as well as their peers from wealthier families.

More censorship from the warmongers. Two activists in New York were arrested and held in jail for several hours after hanging flyers with pictures of ordinary Iraqi citizens around the city.

My sister sent me a link to a website that has cute and artsy flash films about muffins. I liked “Feed Me” best of all the ones I watched.

happy new year!

I have been here, there, and everywhere these past few weeks, but now that I’m back home and starting to get settled in, it’s about time I did something with this weblog. The year 2002 has come and gone, and now it’s time for everyone to get a new calendar for 2003. I have an … Continue reading “happy new year!”

I have been here, there, and everywhere these past few weeks, but now that I’m back home and starting to get settled in, it’s about time I did something with this weblog.

The year 2002 has come and gone, and now it’s time for everyone to get a new calendar for 2003. I have an idea of what might be hanging on the walls of bibliophiles in Ocean County (NJ)…

Speaking of librarians, one of my favorite librarian webloggers (Jessamyn West) has created five technically legal signs to hang in your library now that the Patriot Act has stripped away patron privacy.

Some creative soul has put together a poignant flash animation regarding the aforementioned Patriot Act and other similar measures being taking by the current administration under the umbrella of national security. Oh, and take note of the URL. I think it’s rather amusing.

Speaking of the current administration, here’s a list of the twenty most annoying “conservatives” of 2002. The comments at the bottom are interesting, if a bit peevish. Looks like word got out to the “conservatives” about this list and they came whining.

One of my colleagues directed me to a website yesterday that contains information and images from an art exhibit currently being shown in Chicago. The basic theme of the show is that the art is “on the legal fringes of intellectual property.”

bye bye old bumper stickers

I had a small accident on the road the other day that resulted in my rear bumper needing to be replaced. Thankfully, that’s the only thing that was damaged. Unfortunately, I will also have to replace the bumperstickers I have collected on in over the past three years. If anyone wants to contribute, I’ll be … Continue reading “bye bye old bumper stickers”

I had a small accident on the road the other day that resulted in my rear bumper needing to be replaced. Thankfully, that’s the only thing that was damaged. Unfortunately, I will also have to replace the bumperstickers I have collected on in over the past three years. If anyone wants to contribute, I’ll be making a list of them shortly. Oh, and if anyone knows where I could get a few of these, that would be splendid.

    How popular is your name? Now you can find out, as well as seeing how it has changed in popularity over the past decade.
    Here’s a new old board game straight from the royal chambers of Ur. It requres Flash, and even though it says it is for two players, you can play it against yourself. Although, it’s more fun with two.
    Lis Harvey has been characterised in Ripley’s Believe It or Not for her world record setting tour earlier this fall (see 10/25/2002 entry)

snow day!

Bummed that you don’t have a snow day today? Go ahead and build your own storm! Okay, so it’s not a snow storm, but it does come with cool sound effects. I have been enjoying Mark Fiore‘s flash animations for some time now. They’re perfect political fun for a snowy afternoon. Sip some hot chocolate … Continue reading “snow day!”

Bummed that you don’t have a snow day today? Go ahead and build your own storm! Okay, so it’s not a snow storm, but it does come with cool sound effects.

I have been enjoying Mark Fiore‘s flash animations for some time now. They’re perfect political fun for a snowy afternoon. Sip some hot chocolate and laugh at Dubya’s antics.

Need more Dubya humor? How about some pictures of the potential outcome of a sex change operation? What if Bush was a girl?

The latest issue of Library Juice has an interview with the librarian who inspired me to create my own weblog, Jessamyn West. She talks about why she no longer lables herself an anarchist librarian, among other things.

Here’s another thing to do on a snow day: Find out who has covered your favorite music artists as well as the songs they have covered. The Covers Project is a database with the intent of building cover chains (i.e. A covered B, B covered C, C covered D, etc.).

Last but not least, before you forward any email to me, take a look at this.

wild librarians

I read an article today in Library Juice about “Wild Librarian” websites; places like Anarchist Librarians and The Modified Librarian. I’m not sure if I would include the Eclectic Librarian in those ranks. I don’t intend to be a “wild librarian”, so perhaps it’s important that I explain why I chose that name for this … Continue reading “wild librarians”

I read an article today in Library Juice about “Wild Librarian” websites; places like Anarchist Librarians and The Modified Librarian. I’m not sure if I would include the Eclectic Librarian in those ranks. I don’t intend to be a “wild librarian”, so perhaps it’s important that I explain why I chose that name for this site. I had been writing this blog under the oh-so-creative title “because everyone else is doing it”, but when I decided to get a real web hosting service (PowWeb) and register my own domain name, I needed something short and snappy that described me, and I didn’t want to use my own name. My chosen profession and paycheck earning love is as a librarian, but I certainly don’t fit the stereotype. I have many diverse interests, which anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly will have discovered. Thus, the name “Eclectic Librarian” seemed to be the best descriptor of me and my interests. I don’t see it as playing on the supposed incongruity of having eclectic tastes and being a librarian.

“Thus, attempts such as these at busting the stereotype can have the paradoxical effect of reinforcing the stereotype. In highlighting the incongruity of being a wild librarian, they assert that the incongruity is an incongruity after all.”

Well. On with the links:

    Someone is having fun with Flash. Here’s a short (but humorous) clip of Opera Baby. [judy]
    Looking for a new job and want to make use of online resources? Here are a few tips. [free pint]

dumpster diving in dmoz

It’s been a long time since I was a junior in college exploring the World Wide Web for the first time. I started off with random directory searches in Yahoo!, but once I found my niches, I rarely ventured out again, unless it was a focused search on Google or some other search engine. Today … Continue reading “dumpster diving in dmoz”

It’s been a long time since I was a junior in college exploring the World Wide Web for the first time. I started off with random directory searches in Yahoo!, but once I found my niches, I rarely ventured out again, unless it was a focused search on Google or some other search engine.
Today was different. Today, I decided to explore my new preferred directory, dmoz, and see what I could find. Here are a few of the more interesting sites:

I think that’s enough fun for one day… Okay, one more, but this one I dredged out of my memory from those early years of internet surfing – the Dumpster Diver courtesy of HoosierTimes.com.