Posted by emather on 12.23.13

 
We had a great time at the Holiday Movie Roast program on Friday night.  As you can see, we decorated some holiday cookies and busted out our ugliest sweaters (congratulations to contest winners Tessa and Miranda!).  The true fun of the evening was roasting the insanely cheesy and unintentionally-hilarious Jingle All the Way.  We sent our snark out in the form of text messages, which appeared on the screen with scenes like this:
 
 
As you can imagine, finding material to make fun of wasn't too hard.  It is almost definitely the most fun anyone has ever had while watching Jingle All the Way.
 
 
 




Posted by emather on 12.18.13

“There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.”
 
That was said by Benjamin Franklin, a dude so cool and smart that we put him on the hundred dollar bill.
 
A few weeks ago, we wrote a cool post about intellectual property and fair use in regards to the Beastie Boys' song “Girls” and a web video parodying it.  There are various rules, laws, and ethics telling us the right ways to use other people’s ideas.  Fair Use allows us to use other people’s intellectual property, but under certain conditions: how you use the copyrighted work, if you change or alter it, the amount of the work you use, etc.  One thing that always works in your favor when using someone else’s work is to attribute the original creator.  Taking someone else’s ideas and claiming them as your own is the ugly flipside to Fair Use, and is a use that is almost never ever ever never “fair.”
 
Using someone else’s ideas without giving them credit is called plagiarism.  As some of you may have read, the actor/filmmaker Shia LaBeouf (of Transformers and Even Stevens fame) is in some hot water about a short film he just released.  Titled HowardCantour.com, it is an almost direct adaptation of a comic written by famous artist Daniel Clowes (author of Ghost World and many others) called Justin M. Damiano.  Nowhere in the credits for the film did LaBeouf say that his film was inspired by Clowes, and he never once contacted the author for permission to adapt his work. (Ironic that the “credits” don’t give proper credit, no?) LaBeouf has since apologized, but some people are even questioning if his apologies are plagiarized, too!
 
It’s a good thing I said my quote up top was from Benjamin Franklin.  Leaving that out would have been bad.  Even worse would have been leaving the quotation marks off. That would make it seem like that was my own idea, and my own words. But it wasn’t.  It was Franklin’s ideas, and Franklin’s words.  As you all know, when writing a research paper or anything else, it is essential that you credit where you get your ideas from.  A bibliography or works cited page, and in-text citations or footnotes, help keep you in the clear when it comes to plagiarism.  It’s important to build your own ideas off of the awesome ideas that have come before, but acknowledging from where you get those first ideas is also important.  If you ever have questions, talk with any of the HUB staff, and we’ll help you get your citations in order and avoid “counterfeiting” your ideas.




Posted by emather on 12.09.13

 
 
Now that it's all snowy and wintery outside, my very favorite thing to do is to light a fire (preferably in a fireplace) and cuddle up under a blanket with a warm drink and (most important ingredient) a good book.  My favorite books to do this with are often fantasies or science fiction (The Dark is Rising, The Magicians, and A Wrinkle in Time are perfect examples.) I really enjoy anything long and involved with a completely unique world that I can get completely lost in.  (Even better if the unique world exists just beneath our own reality.)  It's super-extra fun if the book takes place in winter. (Think along the lines of City of Thieves, Blankets, and The Golden Compass.) That way, I can feel all lucky and superior to the characters freezing their tails off.
 
In addition to the books posted here, we’ve got a display in the HUB of more “Books to Keep You Warm.” Come in and grab some great titles to take home and make your own magical toasty story cocoon.  You’ll just need to provide your own fire, blanket, and cocoa/cider/coffee.
 
How about all of you?  What books keep you warm when the snow is falling all around? Keep the convo going on our Facebook page, send us a Tweet, or just stop by the HUB to chat books.




Posted by emather on 11.18.13

This past Saturday, people all over the world celebrated International Gaming Day, and we had our own fun in the HUB.  We had a mini-Mario Kart tournament and a passport guide that steered us through an insane amount of classic and modern board games.  A big congratulations to Mason M., who won the Mario Kart tournament, and Rosy W., who won our prize drawing of completed passports.  Check out all the fun bellow!
gaming, programs




Posted by emather on 10.21.13

"I love you," he said.
She looked up at him, her eyes shiny and black, then looked away. "I know," she said.
He pulled one of his arms out from under her and traced her outline against the couch. he could spend all day like this, running his hand down her ribs, into her waist, out to her hips and back again...If he had all day, he would. If she weren't made of so many other miracles.
"You know?" he repeated. She smiled, so he kissed her. "You're not the Han Solo in this relationship, you know."
"I'm totally the Han Solo," she whispered. It was good to hear her. It was good to remember it was Eleanor under all this new flesh.
"Well, I"m not the Princess Leia," he said.
"Don't get so hung up on gender roles," Eleanor said.
 
Eleanor is a smart but shy outcast, struggling with enough personal and family problems to fill three after-school specials, the least of which is starting a new school. Park’s issues are less dramatic, but he still struggles with fitting in and getting along with his parents.  The two are forced to sit together on the bus, and end up bonding over comics, music, and a dislike for the idiots who also ride their bus.  Soon they form an unlikely friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship blossoms, though not without ever-growing complications.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a romance for people who don’t like romances.  (It’s still really good if you like romances, too.)  The novel boasts funny-but-realistic dialog and incredibly likeable characters.  The two narrators are so three-dimensional that you feel you’ve known them for years; it’s less like reading a romance and closer to simply watching two good friends discover how cool and amazing you already know they each are. On top of that, it features some of the steamiest hand-holding scenes put to paper. Seriously, it’s like the Fifty Shades of Grey of holding hands. (If you really think about it, though, holding hands is pretty steamy if you really like the hand you’re holding.)
 
The novel deals with issues of bullying and difficult family circumstances in very honest and direct ways, with all of the tough language and mature situations that those entail.  Because of this frankness, the book and its author garnered some extra attention last month, facing challenges in a Minnesota school district which ironically enough became news during Banned Books Week. It’s this honesty that makes the book so refreshing, though.  It’s the ability of Eleanor & Park (both the book and characters) to find happiness and connection in the midst of all the ugliness that life can throw at us that lifts the book above standard romantic cliché and become something simultaneously funny, honest, and beautifully life-affirming.
 




Posted by emather on 09.30.13

Last week was Banned Books Week, where people all over this great land of ours oppose censorship and celebrate intellectual freedom and the right to read. It's really one of our favorite weeks of the year, and we kind of couldn't shut up about it: we wrote about it on our blog AND read some hilarious/terrifying stories of book-bannings both past and present.
 
We also took to Instagram to share "mugshots" of the HUB staff with their favorite banned books:
 
 
Speaking of Instagram, we had some amazing submissions for our two social media contests.  Check out this winning review of a banned book we received on Twitter:
 
 
 
And maybe our favorite thing from this past week is the BBW-themed Instagram submission celebrating intellectual freedom from AH teen Delia L.:
 
 
Congratulations to both winners!  Swing by the HUB any time to pick up your prizes.
 
All in all, it was a great Banned Books Week (except for, ya know, all those books getting banned). So keep exercising your independence, and fight the system by reading banned books.  (For some reason, that really irritates the system.  We're still not sure why.)




Posted by emather on 09.16.13

 
 
 
“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
 
 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the newest book from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman (the Sandman comics, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods, two of the very best episodes of Doctor Who, and a zillion more awesome things). It is told in the form of a flashback, where the narrator (never named in the book) sits and remembers incidents from his childhood that had been long forgotten. He recalls an adventure he had after meeting his neighbor, Lettie Hempstock, who claimed that the pond behind her house was in fact an ocean.  Lettie, along with her mother and grandmother, while loving and welcoming, are also magical and mysterious (like the body of water in their backyard).  They lead the seven-year-old narrator on an adventure that begins wondrous and enchanting, but becomes increasingly fraught with peril and foreboding.  Soon, his life, family, and in fact all of existence become endangered.

Gaiman’s narrator, a major bookworm, explains of his preference for myths over tales of other sorts: “They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than that. They just were.” Gaiman has written books for the very young and books for adults, but all have an almost timeless and ageless quality to them, and Ocean is no different. At under 200 pages, the book is a quick read, and while it’s currently marketed for adults, it’s perfect for teens.  In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who’s searching for a fantasy book filled with the requisite magic and monsters, a story where terrifying beasties intrude on the quiet English countryside, or those looking to relive their childhood while realizing that you never really can, and probably shouldn’t.




Posted by emather on 09.03.13

Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2013
 
In honor of Banned Books Week, we are celebrating our intellectual freedom by having TWO social media contests during the month of September.
 
FIRST CONTEST!
 
Tweet us @Hub500 a review of a banned or challenged book and Tag it #Hub500BBW. You can read a brand new banned or challenged book, or one you've read before.  (I promise you've read at least one before; here are several frighteningly long lists...and they are nowhere near complete!).
 
SECOND CONTEST!
 
Post a photo to Instagram promoting intellectual liberty and the freedom to read.  Make sure to mention us (@hub500) and tag it #Hub500BBW.
 
The winner of each contest will be announced September 27th.  
 
So think freely, get creative, and READ BANNED BOOKS!