Monthly Archives: April 2011

Adele & My obsession with Youtube remixes

I friend of mine recently sent me this link on Facebook, and to be honest I took my time getting around to listening to it. I’m glad I took my time beause it has allowed me to be able to talk to you about an important subject: The expansion of enjoying your favourite songs by finding remixes of them on Youtube. I have been doing this for a while now (and loving it!), but I’d never heard of Adele before and was pleased with the quality of the remixes I was hearing online. I am a fan of dub, music. This is one of the finest contemporary dub songs ever made…EVER: Witness Dub by Roots Manuva!

In case you’re not familiar with her, here’s the low don on Adele. SHe’s from Britain and in 2007 she gained fame with the opening track, Daydreamer, of her debut album, 19. Way to go Adele (even though you’d look a lot more powerful without the smoke)!

Anyway, the point is that after I heard the remix my friend had sent me I did a search for some dubbier versions of Adele’s song.
This one is my favourite, nice dirty base, with a decent depth of sound: Dubstep Bondo Remix.

As a runner up I’m including this track: Dubstep Remix. The reason this remix is second is because it may sound alright at first, but after you’re heard ten dubstep remixes you’ll realize how formulaic this remix is. It is a nice effort I will give it that, but remixes are ( I feel ) about asserting creativity and this song sounds like a musical version of connect the dots.

For anyone interested in what the orginal album version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep sounds like check it out here, and enjoy it… it’s good!

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Accreditation!

I have but one final grade to receive before completing my MLIS and being able to “officially” announce anything… but it’s my time now, so I do what I want!

As always suggestions or comments of almost any nature are welcome. Leave a reply on my FYI.

PS I did a Google search for the query “Seal of approval”, filtering for pictures labeled for reuse (the copyRIGHT thing to do ….wan-wan, dad joke! [I am not actually a dad, just got the bad jokes, and tube socks])… This picture is really the closest to what I envisioned out of what was returned.
To be honest the Flickr stream where I found the seal of approval is pretty darned cute… check out Vincent the Bear, etc!

The Other Side of Truth

Naidoo, B. (2000). The other side of truth. London: Puffin Books.

This story focuses on the lives of two Nigerian children who are forced to flee their home after the “Brass Buttons” of Nigeria’s ruling powers assassinate their mother in retribution for the political newspaper writings of their father. The heroine, Sade (pronounced Sha-day) and her younger brother Femi, are sent to London with a stranger to find an uncle who has gone missing. Abandoned on the cold London streets they eventually wind up as refugees with the British immigration services. This book touches on many painful, but important topics, racial violence, immigration, bullying in school, the inequity that exists within and between world states… all in all this is a very powerful book, both painful and inspiring to read. When it was first published this book won the Carnagie award for children’s literature, amongst many others, and a stand alone sequel, Web of Lies, has subsequently been published by Beverly Naidoo.

F.A.M.E.

Brown, C….and about 20 other people. (2011). F.A.M.E. S.I.: Jive.

Officially, I am against violence. Unofficially, People Magazine needs to have it’s reviewers smacked upside their heads like Chris Brown did to Rhianna. They are quoted as saying that this album of Chris’ was exactly what Micheal Jackson would have made if he were 21 in 2011. It is not. Yes, the tunes are catchy, but Micheal Jackson could write lyrics (ie. full, grammatically correct sentences). Chris can only talk about how wealthy and handsome he is. Chris is just some punk who, at best, gets to approve the beats that other people make for him… also if you’re a “singer” ditch the autotune Chris as well as your talk box effects might have been fresh in 1998 when Cher released her hit song Believe… but now they are getting’ plaaayed OUT!

Pop music has always gotten a bit of ridicule, but remember the days when Ella Fiztgerald and Frank Sinatra were considered “Pop Music”!?! Those people had talent, while Chris Brown has only good looks, great agents and creative producers. After all he is barely credited with making half the album (I suspect that’s the part of the album that sucks). Don’t believe me? Well, check out the track credits at Allmusic.com. The songs “Look at me now” and “She ain’t you” are perfect examples of the cool beats and terrible lyrics/vocals that pervade this album. In fact “She ain’t you” samples the beat from Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature“…maybe that’s what the tools from People magazine caught on to.

Good hip-hop lyricists are people like KRS-One or Talib Kwali. People who can bust a sick, original beat are people like Juan Atkins of Cybotron or Grand Master Flash. If you want the whole packadge there are tons of folks who have risen to stardom for true talent, as a starter I suggest you witness the fitness of Roots Manuva, legend extraordinaire (then check out how he remixed that same song a few years later…SIIIIIIICKNESSS!) Keep in mind that most of these cats were blowing up around the time I was born (1983)!

What do we have now? We have an immature Chris Brown riding the wave of other people’s hard work, unable to control his temper because he’s being coddled by an industry that will forgive his flaws/crimes until the paper stops flowing. I’m not saying that Chris shouldn’t be given a chance to redeem his disgraceful actions, I’m saying he isn’t reforming because that he’s not being encouraged too.

I wish modern pop stars were more interested in making music than headlines.

Public Libraries Teen Pages

Previously they were the most neglected age group of patrons, but service for teenagers is now becoming an integral focus for public libraries, and what better way to reach out to and interact with teens than through the web. I’d like to take a brief aside from discussing physical material to talk about outreach and access from the libraries website.

Hennepin County Public Library (HCPL)

As you may have noticed one of my Links of Interest takes people to a page of HCPL’s website where teens can post their own reading lists. The HCPL is know for being ahead of the curve when it comes to utilizing technology, and their teen page is no exception. As you can see from the screen shot they have a very capable web designer working on this site. It is very visually appealing, and I am mildly surprised to find that one of the first descriptive words that comes to me when trying to describe this site is…cool! In addition to which a quick scan of the teen page and it’s links contain some valuable, though out content. Beauty and brains are a winning combination! However, I feel this site is a little too cluttered and with so many visuals I suspect that teens may just click on images that appeal to them rather than taking the time to read all the headings and figure out what exactly is going in in the site.

This clustering of images is contrasted against theMilton Public Library (MPL). As you can see from the screenshot of the MPL their teen page still has similar content as the HCPL page has, however I find the MPL’s page to be MUCH easier to access. There are still visuals, as any good website needs, but they are small and serve more to enhance the written content rather than overpowering it.

These are both pages from libraries that physically exist (which means they have funding of some kind beyond what ads can generate… unlike this next site). When searching for Library sites for teens I stumbled across theAwesome Library (online only) and I have to say it is the site I am using as an example of what NOT to do! While the first two sites have comparable screen shots of their homepage the awesome library homepage for teens is a big turnoff. It’s too bad because the content isn’t terrible. There is clearly an effort here to provide kids with up to date, reliable info, but the site is hampered by google ads and the content isn’t always the most academic, for example I wouldn’t be overly confident in citing MSNB.com as my sole source of information.

So, some quick lesson for your Teen page of you public library:

  1. Use visuals, but don’t make the site as cluttered as a teenagers room (not all teens rooms are cluttered, I’ll admit… just 99.9% 😉 )
  2. Make the page inclusive, HCPL has random polls and the book lists for teen input and MPL has the Reader rants section.
  3. Don’t use web design that looks like it’s from the 1990’s (most teens were barely even born in that century)… I’m pointing the finger at you “Awesome” Library.

The New York Times Upfront

The New York times upfront. (2008). New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc. May 4, 2009.

I was drawn to this edition of the New York Times Upfront magazine because it contained an article by Peter Menzel that was basically a synopsis of the full length coffee table book he coauthored with Faith D’Aluisio called Hungry Plant: What the world eats. The original book was quite intriguing and I was pleased to see it’s exposure to the teen market. In fact I found all the articles in the magazine to be very well written. Another piece called Is it a Show or an Ad? delved into the subversive advertising that saturates modern entertainment shows. It was similar to reading a copy of Adbusters, but without the aggressively pessimistic cynicism.
So, don’t be turned off by the fact that this magazine looks fairly identical to the adult version of the New York Times magazine (methinks this here’s an attempt to make life-long loyalists for the NYTM empire) the magazine will appeal to teens because it talks about issues they care about, without lying or beating around the bush.
The magazine gains further credibility for me because there are twenty high school teachers listed as advisors in the credits of the magazine.
To view this issue and many more in full by accessing the New York Times Upfront archives through Scholastic’s website

Band of Acadians

Skelton, J. (2009). Band of Acadians: A novel. Toronto: Dundurn Press

John Skelton definitely did his homework before writing this book, but it is more than factual accuracy that appeals to me about how he set the story. This is one of the few books that has balance between the female and male characters. There is an equal representation of sexes in the lead characters, although overall there are more male than female characters, and both sexes are active participants progressing the narrative and showing multiple dimensions.

The book chronicles the escape of fifty boys and fifty girls from Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, their flight to Louisburg (the approximate distance is displayed in the Google map at the end of this post), and their eventually settling in Westmount where they successfully defend themselves from several British assaults. The story takes place in 1775 the dialogue is digestible for modern vocabularies, although I did find myself forgetting that the characters were French because the books is, obviously, written in English.

This is book that every fan of historical fiction can enjoy regardless of sex or gender. However, the way that it is written seems to be geared more towards male readers than female. Within a few sentences of the books beginning the escape is underway and there are many marvelous fight scenes throughout and some very noble heroics against the British forces at the end.

Though not my favourite genre this historical work was appealing and if anyone needed a bit of a boost getting into Canadian history (say, for a high school history class for example) I would happily recommend this book.