Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Beautiful spring day today.
Photo walk.

Okay, so everything is still brown and snowy around here yet, but hey, it is officially spring.

Good Housekeeping Vintage

I picked up a Good Housekeeping Magazine (April 2010) and they had an old 1919 cover pic in there.
Can see more online.
I thought it was fun to look at.
Vintage Cover Art
(Link there takes you to


Freebie Ebook Find

I like this humor:
How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers
By: Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955)

Wood at Wiki.

Via delicious.

Even though nothing new, I like the way the website is set up.
You get audios, pics, a short para, download links.
Very nice presentation.

Sony Reader And Calibre Notes

Calibre over compresses jpg bookcovers in epub's. It uses the equivalent of about 29 compression in Paint Shop Pro 9. I don't like to go over 10 compression when an image includes text. Otherwise, too many artifacts.
Knowing an epub is just a zip file, I can go in and replace that bookcover.

rtf vs epub
My Sony Reader will read rtf files.
However, the file size is much larger than an epub and it loads, formats, navigates much slower.
Text sizing is smaller initially and also when I use the zoom larger feature on my Reader.
No bookcover image with an rtf. I prefer using thumbnails instead filenames on my Reader.
All in all, it is much better to convert an rtf to an epub with Calibre and then send it to my Sony Reader.
Bold the text helps with the dull touch screen on the Sony.
And remember to strip out line spacing and para indention with Calibre. It just hogs too much display space.

Increase contrast and sharpen helps images look better on the dull touch screen.
I think there are only 8 levels of grayscale on the Sony 600.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Up In The Air

Up in the Air (2009)
I loved this movie. It was even better the second time around when I did screenshots. Definitely a movie I'll watch again, so I'm glad I bought the DVD.

(Loosely? based on the book of same name, by Walter Kirn. Don't know how much different, but googling tells me he didn't have a traveling companion in the book.

Reminded me of In Good Company in some ways. Similar environment.

And (500) Days of Summer too. Maybe it was similar humor.

My first impression of the movie was not good because I didn't like the opening sequences and fast forwarded thru them. It was long. It was boring. Let's get to the movie already. But that was really about the only thing I didn't like and looking back, the opening fits.

Rated R for a brief bare butt scene and the F word.

Stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham,
Anna Kendrick (Twilight) as Natalie Keener.
I don't remember Anna in Twilight, but she is good in this movie. Plays the smart slick young woman on the fast track to success who hasn't been knocked around by life--yet.

I really didn't want anybody to change in this movie, which is unusual for me. I didn't want Ryan to have this big epiphany transformation and go for the relationship. I wanted him to stay the way he was.

I loved his efficiency at the airports.

I loved the cardboard picture he hauled around which didn't fit in his efficient travel bag.

I loved Ryan's sisters:
Amy Morton as Kara Bingham
Melanie Lynskey as Julie Bingham
I loved his brother-in-law to be.
Julie and Jim are getting married and my favorite scene is when Jim gets cold feet and Ryan talks to him. Jim is sitting on a tiny chair in the nursery reading the Velveteen Rabbit. He goes thru this long schpeel of what's the point.

Alex? Here's the big hint about her.

She calls Ryan a "parenthesis." Ouch. But really, she was the parenthesis.

And the big mystery was who played Natalie's boyfriend, Brian? His name was not in the movie credits nor any place online that I can find.



There is a long song list at the very end movie credits. Here are the ones that got my attention and I looked them up.

YouTube Video
Goin Home, by Dan Auerbach
At marker 43:47 panning the room where the office is emptying.

Song playing during the wedding scenes, about 01:25:25 marker:
YouTube Video

Help Yourself, by Sad Brad Smith

"I know you'll help us when you're feeling better and we realize that it might not be for a long, long time
But we're willing to wait on you
We believe in everything that you can do if you could only lay down your mind
I want you to try to help yourself

Take the time to take apart, each brick that sits outside your heart
And look around you
There's people everywhere
And though they don't always show it they're just as scared
And we'd be more prepared if you just pulled on through
I want you to try to help yourself..."

Then a few songs at the end when the credits are rolling.
Be Yourself, by Graham Nash
Up In The Air, by Kevin Renick, YouTube

OST Track List (Amazon):
1. This Land Is Your Land - Guthrie, Woody
2. Security Ballet - Kent, Rolfe
3. Goin' Home - Auerbach, Dan
4. Taken At All - Crosby, David
5. Angel In The Snow - Smith, Elliott
6. Help Yourself - Smith, Bradley Gran
7. Genova - Galvagna, Sacha
8. Lost In Detroit - Kent, Rolfe
9. Thank You Lord - Buchanan, Roy
10. Be Yourself [Demo Version] - Nash, Graham
11. The Snow Before Us - Jared Matt Greenber
12. Up In The Air - Renick, Kevin

Song Credits at end of movie ("Written by" not included--too long.):
This Land is Your Land, Performed by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Lonely in Love, Performed by Jeff Babko
Mood Indigo, Performed by Thelonious Monk
Goin' Home, Written & performed by Dan Auerbach
O.P.P, Performed by Naughty By Nature
Good Times, Performed by Chic
Bust a Move, Performed by Young MC
Sign You Name, Written & performed by Sananda Maitreya
By You Side, Performed by Blue Mountain
Time After Time, Performed by Anna Kendrick
Genova, Performed by Charles Atlas
Hurtin You, Written and performed by Ben Kweller
Angel In The Snow, Written & performed by Elliott Smith
Taken At All, Performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Help Yourself, Performed by Sad Brad Smith
The Snow Before Us, Performed by Charles Atlas
Thank You Lord, Written & performed by Roy Buchanan
Tickets To Life Theme, Written by David Winer
Up In The Air, Written and performed by Kevin Renick
Be Yourself, Performed by Graham Nash

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poetry Audios

BBC Arts - Romantics

Oh, these are good poetry readings!
Free mp3's to download.
Wonderful British accent.
Nice voices, good pacing, etc.
Four years old already (2006); can't believe I've never found these before.
I was looking for Keats and Wordsworth, but the rest are probably good too.

Also, here's one at YouTube that I thought was good.
Robert Frost's
Acquainted With The Night
Ron Perlman's voice.
I think the audio is from the Beauty and the Beast TV series soundtrack?


Note: I like shmoop's literature sections:
Classic Plot Analysis
Booker’s Seven Basic Plots
Three Act Plot Analysis

Google Books:

At Gutenberg:

Poems of Passion

I was looking for I Love You, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Found this:
Poems of Passion
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Read online or pdf and epub format download.
It doesn't have the I Love You poem, though.

Here's the full text of the "I Love You" poem from poemhunter (link above):

I love your lips when they're wet with wine
And red with a wild desire;
I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
Lit with a passionate fire.
I love your arms when the warm white flesh
Touches mine in a fond embrace;
I love your hair when the strands enmesh
Your kisses against my face.

Not for me the cold calm kiss
Of a virgin's bloodless love;
Not for me the saint's white bliss,
Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
But give me the love that so freely gives
And laughs at the whole world's blame,
With your body so young and warm in my arms,
It sets my poor heart aflame.

So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,
Still fragrant with ruby wine,
And say with a fervor born of the South
That your body and soul are mine.
Clasp me close in your warm young arms,
While the pale stars shine above,
And we'll live our whole young lives away
In the joys of a living love.

101 Famous Poems

A well-known book.

One hundred and one famous poems:
with a prose supplement
Compiled by Roy J Cook

Full View and download at google books in pdf format.

Available at MobileRead Forum

In Sony Reader lrf format.
(Has hyperlinks.)

Bedouin Song, by Bayard Taylor

Here's a little gem I dug out of a book at google books.

I love the pic with personal handwriting.

google books
The fireside encyclopaedia of poetry: Comprising the best poems of the most ...
edited by Henry Troth Coates
1881 - 1002 pages
Page 97

Complete Poem Text:

Bedouin Song,
by Bayard Taylor (1825-1878)

From the Desert I come to thee
On a stallion shod with fire;
And the winds are left behind
In the speed of my desire.
Under thy window I stand,
And the midnight hears my cry:
I love thee, I love but thee,
With a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

Look from thy window and see
My passion and my pain;
I lie on the sands below,
And I faint in thy disdain.
Let the night-winds touch thy brow
With the heat of my burning sigh,
And melt thee to hear the vow
Of a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

My steps are nightly driven,
By the fever in my breast,
To hear from thy lattice breathed
The word that shall give me rest.
Open the door of thy heart,
And open thy chamber door,
And my kisses shall teach thy lips
The love that shall fade no more

Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

Google Books Appreciation

I've been digging around in Google Books for poetry books.
I hadn't realized how powerful that search was.
Tons of books are available in Full View and Public Domain.
I'm not sure what the difference is between those two.
I do notice that sometimes the images are more protected.
Can download pdf and often epub, which my Sony Reader supports.

It's a bit like digging around in old books at a library only without the sensory experience of touching and smelling those books.
But then, if I really get a hankering, I can ask Google Books what libraries in my area have the book.

Something that was not readily apparent to me is that there may be several versions of the same book available. That was a little confusing at first.
Sometimes there are different editions of the same book.
And/or the book(s) come from more than one library.
Note the file name spelling is goofy sometimes too.

Also, sometimes I can't search the book in Adobe pdf after I download it (images not text).
BUT, I CAN search the book at Google Books which has highlighting features.

Here are a few examples with the Google Books web page elements pasted together so they would fit my blog.

The household book of poetry
By Charles Anderson Dana
Version 1
Edition: 3 - 1859 - 798 pages

Version 2
Edition: 11 - 1869 - 816 pages

Version 3
1906 - 853 pages

Version 4
1919 - 862 pages

The fireside encyclopedia of poetry: comprising the best poems of the most ...
By Henry Troth Coates

Version 1
Edition: 34 - 1901 - 1002 pages

Version 2
1901 - 1027 pages

Version 3
1881 - 1002 pages

There could be more versions available of that one.

Info at google books:

Where do the books come from?
Currently, we are connecting readers with books in two ways:
the Partner Program
the Library Project.
We're working with several major libraries to include their collections in Google Books...
If the book is out of copyright, you’ll be able to view and download the entire book...

Library Partners
01. Bavarian State Library
02. Columbia University
03. Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)
04. Cornell University Library
05. Harvard University
06. Ghent University Library
07. Keio University Library
08. Lyon Municipal Library
09. The National Library of Catalonia
10. The New York Public Library
11. Oxford University
12. Princeton University
13. Stanford University
14. University of California
15. University Complutense of Madrid
16. University Library of Lausanne
17. University of Michigan
18. University of Texas at Austin
19. University of Virginia
20. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Few New Tunes

The Time of Times,
by Badly Drawn Boy

I was checking to see if that movie, Love Happens, was any good, and discovered that this song plays at the beginning of it.
The movie sounds like a dud, but the song is good.

by Badly Drawn Boy
is good too.

Listen to the songs at

EBooks and EPubs

I've been preoccupied with the whole ebooks thing.
I'm interested in creating my own ebooks and learning about the epub format.
I'm always doing research on something, and it would be nice to just put that on my Sony Reader to study.

I'll need to learn how to create my own epub's if I want more control over things like fonts, images, hyperlinks.

I'm not even sure what's all possible with my Sony PRS-600 Reader yet.

I installed the Firefox epub plugin which is handy if I want to take a quick look at an epub without loading a separate software (Calibre) to do it.

I have figured out some things in Calibre.
I changed the book cover image in the Edit Meta Info area.
Can make your own, look for ideas online.
Something fun to do:
Browse old bookcovers at coverbrowser.
Some of those make me laugh.
I found a few oldies for Jack London's Call of the Wild.
The old bookcovers show the St. Bernard characteristic of the dog, while the newer bookcovers emphasize wolf characteristics. Buck was a mix of St. Bernard (father) and Scotch shepherd (mother).

Google it.

See also: Photos of Jack London's first edition books.
Via: wiki.

Gutenberg's Call of the Wild has more accurate text than GoogleBooks. However, GoogleBooks has images in the EPub. I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

There is an Open Source EPub editing software called Sigil that I plan to try out.

Sigil Forum at MobileRead.

I found a GOOD newbie tut:
How to Make an ePub eBook by Hand
Via MobileRead Forum.

I figured out how to change the background color in the Calibre epub Viewer window.
I changed the background color to a gray.
Click on View, Click on Hammer, Enter code in User Stylesheet area.
body {

Via MobileRead again. "Custom CSS Stylesheets for Calibre's Viewer."

I picked up the sparknotes for my freebie Gutenberg classics.
Paste into word processing software, save in rtf format, covert to epub in Calibre, and send to my Sony Reader.
(Sparknotes also sells readymade ebooks.)

Calibre gives me some control of line spacing and paragraph indents, so that helps tremendously. I find that with such a tiny viewing area on the reader, I prefer to eliminate all that extra space, so I'm not turning pages so much. I'd really prefer a larger viewing area on my reader.

Sony PRS-900BC Reader Daily Edition
7" Paper-Like Touch Screen
Same width as my 600, only one inch longer.
Comes with a leather cover so knock that off the price comparison.
Bottom line, it's about $100 for an inch more reading area.
That real estate is expensive.

Here's a good MeFi Link for free ebooks.
"What are the best short novels available from Project Gutenberg?"

See also Gutenberg Tag at MeFi.