Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recent Blogpost on NSCC LETS Blog: Instructional Technology: The Green Solution

This is a blog post, I wrote for the NSCC LETS Blog.  

An often unrealized potential of instructional technology is the ways it can benefit the environment and reduce waste.  Here are some of my favorite ways to reduce waste through technology.

Online Readings

By providing readings online and allowing students to bring digital devices to class to use when we are working on the class readings, means that students are less likely to print it out.  However, even if they do, I provide them with instructions on how to get the most out of printing by using double-sided and depending on their viewing preferences, possibly 2 pages per side of paper (therefore a 60-page document is reduced to 15 pieces of paper).  Particularly in courses that have massive (and often, overpriced) texts that have lots inside that may never be read, I like that I can provide just the necessities. And with a growing assortment of Open Textbooks that are online for free, it makes it even easier!

Read the rest of the blog post on their website.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Look What I Made: Apple Leather

So I can thank Hurricane Sandy for the opportunity to try this new recipe.  I'm a fan of my dehydrator as many of you know.  I've made potpourri and tea with it.  In September, I got into a conversation with someone who has been dehydrating for decades and he gave me some great tips that got me wondering what else I could do.  One idea was apple leather.  Fruit leather was what people made long before there was the classic (albeit unhealthy) child' snack, the Fruit Roll-Up.  It's a dehyrdated fruit mixture that is chewy and sweet (and much more healthy).

Thus with Sandy knocking out work for me for 2 days, one project I took to was making some apple leather and it came out pretty awesome.  I instantly bragged about it on Facebook and had a few people request the recipe.  So I figured I do one step better and capture it when I made it again.  So here it is.


  1. 1 Bag of Apples
  2. Rolled Oates (Optional)
  3. Pumpkin Spice (Optional)


  1. Large Pot
  2. Food precessor (or a really good masher)
  3. Dehydrator
  4. Parchment Paper


  1. Slice and decore the apples.
  2. Put sliced apples into large pot.
  3. Fill water to about 1 inch over the apples.
  4. Boil apples until mushy (10-15 or so minutes).
  5. Pour apple mush into food processor.
  6. Add 1 cup of rolled oates
  7. Add Pumpkin spice (or other relevant spices)
  8. Run processor until it's all mixed well (about 1 minute or so).
  9. Let cool for a few minutes (the sauce thickens while cooling).
  10. Line a dehydrator tray with parchment paper--1 layer preferably.
  11. Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper, try not to get it to more than 1 inch thickness.
  12. Add additional trays (usually 1-2 more depending on how thin you make it).
  13. Put on cover and start dehydrator. I generally do the highest temperature (about 155 F) but there's no set rule.
  14. When dried through, turn off dehydrator.
  15. Peel off parchment paper (should be relatively easy).
  16. Tear or cut into smaller pieces and store in dry air-tight container.


Picture of Ingredients and Tools

Slice up apples and throw them in the pot
Slice up apples and throw them in the pot

Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.
Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.

Place apples and other ingredients into food processor
Place apples and other ingredients into food processor

Run the processor.
Run the processor.

Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.
Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.

Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper. (Note: I went too thick with this example)
Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper.
(Note: I went too thick with this example)

Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make sure that it is dehydrating evenly
Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make
sure that it is dehydrating evenly

20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.
20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.

When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!
When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces
and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Look What I Made: Potpourri

So recently, I came into an abundance of wonderfully smelling flowers in vases that were starting to enter into the decay stage.  Rather than let them go to waste or try to hang them upside down to dry them out (my cats would have had a field day with that!), I decided to use my dehydrator and make some potpourri.  It was a pretty easy process and makes for a wonderful olfactory delight in the apartment.

So here's how I did it:
Flowers:  Step 1:  Bring the flowers together and find a container to put the pedals in.
Step 1:  Bring the flowers together and find a container to put the pedals in.

Flower pedals: Step 2:  Remove pedals from stems and place in bowl. Do your best to mix them up with all the other pedals.
Step 2:  Remove pedals from stems and place in bowl. Do your best to mix them up with all the other pedals.

Pedals in the dehydrator.  Step 3:  Spread out the pedals on the dehydrator trays. Fill the tray so that there's ample overlap.
Step 3:  Spread out the pedals on the dehydrator trays. Fill the tray so that there's ample overlap.

Dehydrated pedals. Step 4:  Run the dehydrator (temperature and times may vary, but continue until pedals are crunchy).
Step 4:  Run the dehydrator (temperature and times may vary, but continue until pedals are crunchy).

Bagged dehydrated pedals. Step 5:  Place the mix in an air-tight contain--preferably one in which you can press out any extra air.
Step 5:  Place the mix in an air-tight contain--preferably one in which you can press out any extra air.

Aroma lamp.  Step 6:  Find an aroma lamp that works well for you. (It can be run by tea lights or light bulbs)
Step 6:  Find an aroma lamp that works well for you. (It can be run by tea lights or light bulbs)

Aroma lamp with pedals. Step 7:  Place dried flowers in the cap. Add a non-scented oil (or even water) and enjoy the delightful smells.
Step 7:  Place dried flowers in the cap. Add a non-scented oil (or even water) and enjoy the delightful smells.

Pretty simple, quick to do, cheap, and a great way to upcycle flowers and keep their usage going long after they've hit their peak.  Enjoy and let me know if you've tried it!

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Youth Well (Mis)Spent: The Magic of the Woods

Other writers have harkened upon the power of the woods in a child's youth.  A forest is a beautiful opportunity for a youth to have access to.  In part because, it can help foster a sense of connection with nature, but also because a forest is a nether-region; a nonplace in conjunction to the human world.  The human world has addresses, landmarks, streets, names, but a forest lacks all but that which one pmay assign.     "Dad, I'm going to the woods" says and doesn't say where you are going.  It gives a sense but no approximation.  That the child gets to name his way through the woods as well as go on or off paths as he chooses, creates a deeper connection and magic.  Like magic, the child does not own it, but can work his way through it as he sees fit.  Then there's also the potential for danger that embodies the forest.  What could happen?  What is out there?  To the child, this is marvelous and exciting (though to some parents, frightening and due cause for denying adventures into the woods).

Picture of a field in Peabody, Massachusetts
I had the luck of growing up with acres of woodlands at the top of my street.  Though I spent a significant portion of my childhood playing video games, watching movies, and reading comics, I also spent a good portion playing, exploring, traversing, and retreating in those woodlands.  They were a key component of my childhood and teenage years.  Just as much I lost myself in a video game or comic book, I could immerse myself in the woods.  From six years old till my later teens, those woods were a destination I often set off to spend a significant amount of time.  

I learned much about the world from those woods (they were uniformly referred to "the woods" by all the kids in the neighborhood), had many an adventure there, and was taught much from the woods.  It was a place of escape as much as it was a place of danger and a place of safety.  I explored, I experimented, I observed, I encountered so much.  I spent many hours walks its paths and forging new ones; noting its changes, and leaving my own marks on it (more about that later).

Picture of a field in Peabody, Massachusetts
Beyond plants, the woods were the first place I came into contact with animals.  While in my younger years, I was told (and to varying degree believed and was intrigued by the idea) that there was a wild bobcat lurking in the woods.  I never did find that urban legend.  However, I did encounter other animals in fairly close proximity including muskrats, rabbits, turkeys, and even a fox.

The woods were also a place of realms, spaces that had folkloric names granted by older kids (such as the infamous "Party Rock") or those which I had christened including Biker's Lair, Paradise, Bamboo Village, Bear Hill, and My Mountain.  They were places that an neophyte would not necessarily distinguish, but I had quartered off into a specified domain.  I knew all the paths and ways of getting there.  Which path was quickest, which was the most scenic, which was the stealthiest.  They were imprinted upon the mental map of my mind and had walked them so many times, I still can idly recall the paths to get to any of them, though I have not stepped foot on any of them in 15 years.

Though I had no actual claim over them, they were indeed my woods for no one knew them like I did.  To be sure as much as I glorify the woods as saintly ground for my childhood, I still did not treat it with such reverence in my youth.  I left my impression upon them as surely they did upon me.  There were at least two times where my youthful fascination with fire led to small wild-fires (it's been 20 years; I'm sure we're pass the statute of limitations).  These were not intentional but as a place of exploration and experimentation, unfortunately, some experiments go out of control.  There were also the trees that I felled with an ax, not in a pursuit of building but in pursuit of working out frustration and building inner strength.
Picture of a field in Peabody, Massachusetts

The Phases of the Woods

The woods in my mind had three phases.  The first phase was marked by exploring and routine.  It was an extension of me in some ways.  I regularly engaged with it as a matter of daily life.  I would often take the woods to and from school because it was quicker (and cooler).  I can remember a morning of spring vacation getting up early and wandering about the woods, net in hand, capturing early signs of spring which were abundant therein.  It was where I first french kissed a girl (to be sure, it wasn't at "party rock").  They were the place I "ran away" from when I packed up a bag and hung it on a stick, just like they did in the cartoons, and trekked into the woods (only to return 2 hours later because no epic search party had been launched).  I build forts and forged paths.  I learned its secrets.

Picture of a field in Peabody, MassachusettsThe second phase occurred when a 2-3 acre section of the woods were significantly altered.   What had been while where plowed over, a rock pile was introduced (later I would use this place to break rocks with a sledge hammer, to again, work out aggression and frustration).  I don't know that it completely altered my relationship with the woods, but given that this was the section I played around in most and was a region I needed to walk in order to get deeper into the woods, I think it left a taint about it in my mind.  It spoke to something in my mind that these woulds were not entirely mine and would be gone someday (though I also fantasized about buying when I grew up).  Despite that, this was also the phase of retreat and escape to the woods.  By this point I was in middle and high school, and the woods were a place for me to wander away from the problems and challenges of school and family life.  I could go to the woods and be me without disruption or distraction.  I could find allow myself to think and be all the things I wanted to be without disruption from the world around.  It was a place of peace.  So much did I find those woods a place of peace that even today when I'm asked to visualize myself in a peaceful place for meditation or reflection, it's to those woods and the various niches I spent sitting, relaxing, thinking, being.

Google view of Meadow Golf Course in Peabody Massachusetts
See it on GoogleMaps
The final stage was the saddest and mayhaps be why I spent the time writing this.  I can remember when I was around 20.  The city had decided to turn much of it into a public golf course.  I travelled up there and walked around as they were in the formative stages of it.  It was actually heartbreaking.  So many of the nooks and crannies that I had strong palpable connections to were destroyed.  Those places that I had named were just names and no longer places.  I did actually cry.  It struck a nerve of sadness deep within me.  It hurt and left me with a sadness that the memories embedded throughout the woods were lost behind those that flash into my head from time to time when I walk in other woods or just triggered by different thoughts and moments.

The forest was always a place of magic and mystery.  Look at how many folk tales and fairy tales take place within them.  They can be a place of danger, but mostly because they are a place untamed.  And sometimes, that's what a child could use; untamed wilderness, to find himself or herself.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recommended Reading - 2011

Here is my most updated list of Recommended Readings. I’ve broken them down into general categories and listed them alphabetically by author’s last name.  Without a doubt, I’ve missed a few and I’m sure some are bound to raise an eyebrow.


  • I'm Not Scared by Ammaniti, Niccolò
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray
  • A Clockwork Orange by Burgess, Anthony
  • The Awakening by Chopin, Kate
  • The Good Earth by Buck, Pearl S.
  • The Souls of Black Folk by DuBois, W.E.B.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas, Alexandre
  • The Three Musketeers by Dumas, Alexandre
  • Invisible Man by Ellison, Ralph
  • Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
  • Bartleby and Benito Cereno by Melville, Herman
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  •  The Iliad by Homer
  • Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous
  • The Metamorphosis by Kafka, Franz
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver, Barbara
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee, Harper
  • Mary Reilly by Martin, Valerie
  • Beloved by Morrison, Toni
  • Lolita by Nabokov, Vladimir
  • Animal Farm  by Orwell, George
  • 1984 by Orwell, George
  • The Bell Jar by Plath, Sylvia
  • Twelve Angry Men by Rose, Reginald
  • The Jungle by Sinclair, Upton
  • Frankenstein by Shelley, Mary
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Smith, Betty
  • Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, John
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Stevenson, Robert Louis
  • Dracula by Stoker, Bram
  • Pudd'nhead Wilson by Twain, Mark
  • The Color Purple by Walker, Alice


  • On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Asma, Stephen T.
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Diamond, Jared
  • Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Kinzer, Stephen
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by Loewen, James W.
  • A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Zinn, Howard


  • Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Anderson, Chris
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Bronson, Po
  • The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by Brooks, David
  • The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Chabris, Christopher
  • Popular Culture: An Introduction by Freccero, Carla
  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Carr, Nicholas G.
  • Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them by Freedman, David H.
  • The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Gardner, Dan
  • The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Glassner, Barry
  • Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism by Illouz, Eva
  • Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea by Lakoff, George
  • Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives by Lakoff, George
  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World by McGonigal, Jane
  • Culture, Self, and Meaning by Munck, Victor C. de
  • Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media by Parenti, Michael
  • Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World, The Project on Disney by Project on Disney
  • Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't by Prothero, Stephen R
  • Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by Shields, David
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Shirky, Clay
  • The Truth About Lies by Shea, Andy
  • Inventing Popular Culture: From Folklore to Globalization by Storey, John
  • Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation by Turner, Chris
  • Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Waal, Frans de


  • The Coke Machine by Blanding, Michael
  • "They Take Our Jobs!": and 20 Other Myths about Immigration by Chomsky, Aviva
  • Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster by Davis, Mike
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • The Assault on Reason by Gore, Al
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Gourevitch, Philip
  • There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children by Greene, Melissa Fay
  • Black Like Me by Griffin, John Howard
  • Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming by Hawken, Paul
  • Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Kielburger, Craig The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Klein, Naomi
  • Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools by Kozol, Jonathan
  •  The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Kozol, Jonathan
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Kristof, Nicholas D.
  • We Are All the Same: A Story of a Boy's Courage and a Mother's Love by Wooten, James T.


  • No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Beavan, Colin The Vertical Farm by Despommier, Dickson
  • Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats by Ettlinger, Steve
  • Eating Animals by Foer, Jonathan Safran
  • The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy by Fishman, Charles
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Friedman, Thomas L.
  • Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything by Daniel Goleman
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Kingsolver, Barbara
  • The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health—and a Vision for Change by Leonard, Annie
  • The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability  by Owen, David
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Pollan, Michael
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Pollan, Michael
  • The End of Food by Roberts, Paul
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Shell, Ellen Ruppel
  • Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Schlosser, Eric
  • Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders by Scurlock, James D
  • $20 Per Gallon: How the Rising Cost of Gasoline Will Radically Change Our Lives by Steiner, Christopher
  • Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Wansink, Brian


  • Woman: An Intimate Geography by Angier, Natalie
  • The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts
  • Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by Chauncey, George
  • Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Clover, Carol J.
  • Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America by D'Emilio, John
  • Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving by Dodson, Betty
  • The Ethical Slut by Easton, Dossie
  • The Vagina Monologues  by Ensler, Eve
  • Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Feinberg, Leslie
  • Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality by Fausto-Sterling, Anne Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray by Fisher, Helen
  • Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity by Gamson, Joshua
  • City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 by Gilfoyle, Timothy J.
  • The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse by Staci Haines
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction by Maines, Rachel P.
  • How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States by Meyerowitz, Joanne J.
  • Symposium by Plato
  • Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution  by Shlain, Leonard
  • Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Simmons, Rachel
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Traister, Rebecca


  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Entire series) by Adams, Douglas
  • The Robot series by Isaac Asimov
  • The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
  • Ender's Game by Card, Orson Scott
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Dick, Philip K.
  • A Scanner Darkly by Dick, Philip K.
  • Crooked Little Vein by Ellis, Warren
  • Stone Butch Blues by Feinberg, Leslie
  • Neverwhere by Gaiman, Neil
  • From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Faust, Minister
  • The Last King of Scotland by Foden, Giles
  • The Maltese Falcon by Hammett, Dashiell
  • Double Indemnity by Cain, James M.
  • The Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglass
  • The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten by Geillor, Harrison
  • The Outsiders by Hinton, S.E
  • A Widow for One Year by Irving, John
  • The Body by King, Stephen
  • It by King, Stephen
  • Just After Sunset by King, Stephen
  • The Stand by King, Stephen
  • Let the Right One in by Lindqvist, John Ajvide
  • What Dreams May Come by Matheson, Richard
  • Fight Club by Palahniuk, Chuck
  • Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Quinn, Daniel
  • Q & A by Swarup, Vikas
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien, J.R.R.
  • Player Piano by Vonnegut, Kurt


  • Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre by Coogan, Peter
  • Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture by Duncan, Randy
  • Comics & Sequential Art by Eisner, Will
  • The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America by Hajdu, David
  • Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book by Jones, Gerard
  • 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Madden, Matt
  • Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City by O'Neil, Dennis
  • Comic Books As History: The Narrative Art of Jack Jackson, Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Pekar by Witek, Joseph
  • The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman by Yeffeth, Glenn


  • Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
  • Barefoot Gen by Nakazawa, Keiji
  • Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
  • A Drifting Life by Tatsumi, Yoshihiro
  • Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
  • Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka
  • With the Light... Vol. 1: Raising an Autistic Child by Tobe, Keiko


  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Bechdel, Alison
  • Powers by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Unwritten by Mike Carey
  • The Contract with God Trilogy by Eisner, Will
  • The Boys by Garth Ennis
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis
  • He Done Her Wrong by Gross, Milt
  • The Nightly News by Hickman, Jonathan
  • Transhuman by Hickman, Jonathan
  • Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe/World by Larry Gonick
  • Homer’s The Odyssey by Hinds, Gareth
  • Shakespeare's King Lear by Gareth Hind
  • The Broadcast by Hobbs, Eric
  • The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Jacobson, Sid
  • Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  • Invincible by Robert Kirkman
  • Still I Rise: A Cartoon History of African Americans by Jr., Roland Owen Laird
  • The Complete Essex County by Lemire, Jeff
  • Museum Vaults: Excerpts from the Journal of an Expert by Mathieu, Marc-Antoine
  • Asterios Polyp by Mazzucchelli, David
  • Making Comics by McCloud, Scott
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by McCloud, Scott
  • Superman: Red Son by Millar, Mark
  • Batman: Year One by Miller, Frank
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Miller, Frank
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
  • V for Vendetta by Moore, Alan
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • Captain America: Truth by Morales, Robert
  • Remains by Niles, Steve
  • The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics by Normanton, Peter
  • Suspended In Language: Niels Bohr's Life, Discoveries, And The Century He Shaped by Ottaviani, Jim
  • Three Shadows by Pedrosa, Cyril
  • Renfield: A Tale of Madness by Reed, Gary
  • Lovecraft by Rodionoff, Hans
  • Earth X by Alex Ross & Jim Kreuger
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
  • The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski
  • Disaster and Resistance: Political Comics by Tobocman, Seth
  • Understanding the Crash by Tobocman, Seth
  • Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Pride of Baghdad by Vaughan, Brian K.
  • Y: The Last Man  by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Irredeemable by Mark Waid
  • Kingdom Come by Waid, Mark
  • Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde ed. By George Walker
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • DMZ by Brian Woods
  • American Born Chinese by Yang, Gene Luen

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Green Doors of the Library: The One-Stop Entertainment Spot

Forget the video store; never mind the gigantic box bookstore, and thank you, but I like my music not surrounded by a thousand trinkets and distractions telling me in order to be hip, I need to buy this cool inane object.  There’s really only one thing I need to get fully enthralled with my entertainment and popular culture:  that bastion of democracy (as Ben Franklin himself believed), the library.

This is more than the repeated call of so many in this economic depression saying, “it saves money; it’s a public resource, etc.”   By now, many of us should know, besides having the latest books that come out, your local library can get you access to the latest movies DVDs (Twilight: New Moon, Mad Men: Season 3), music (Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas), and an array of other great resources such as audiobooks, language programs, archives, eBooks, and more.  But there’s a bigger and better reason to get hooked into the library.  Want to check out a local museum?  Your library probably has discontented (if not free) tickets.  Or you could attend one of the many different workshops that the library holds on computers, sewing, or join a book or film club.  Computer broken or internet connection down?  Libraries usually have several terminals open for public use.  A great example of the resources available is the Peabody Institute Library.    

More than ever before the library is your passport to a much larger world and with a library card, you can access it more easily than ever.  Many library systems now are part of larger networks and you can log in from your home computer or elsewhere.  Then, requesting books to your local library is as simple as a search, and a few clicks of the mouse.  The North of Boston Library Exchange allows people to search through the catalogues of some 28 area libraries; enabling people to gain access to some 741,000 items.  Trust me, for everything you can’t find; there’s 10 things you can find.  That is, without a doubt the library network won’t have everything; but they got a lot.  I use them extensively for graphic novels (a basic search reveals over 1000—though that number is probably under the actual amount since classifying graphic novels is tricky.  For instance, when I searched keyword “manga” it returned over 1500).  The beauty here is that I can request material any time I need to; even when the library is closed.  As soon as it arrives at my local library, they send me an email to come pick it up.  If I need to renew, I can do that online as well.

Additionally, for those needing further incentive it’s one of the greenest steps you can take to reduce your environmental imprint while simultaneously improving the quality of life; and it saves you a whole lot of money.  Inevitably, this sounds like a paid advertisement; but it’s more about providing information and tools to people.  We’re often just pre-programmed to buy out entertainment and it seems silly to do so when so much of it is already available and free.