Archive for lifestyle

me(n)tal health

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by phanteana

oh, the irony: back in the 80’s, Metal was deemed as a corrupting influence on young people. parents literally viewed it as the devil and claimed kids were doing drugs, having sex, or worse…committing heinous crimes and killing themselves because they believed there were hidden messages in the lyrics. fans of Metal were labeled as outcasts with few friends who did poorly in school, had trouble at home, or were just plain angry and depressed all the time.

today, there are still those parents who try to shield their kids from Metal. but its influence has taken a dramatic turn, and is now revered in some circles. one such is the mental health community, as more musicians and fans are sharing their stories of overcoming anxiety, depression, and mental illness. so the music that was once considered evil is actually a force of good in this world by helping people deal with stress and even saving lives. in other words, never judge an album by its cover.


body slams and books

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on December 21, 2017 by phanteana

if you’ve read enough of this blog, then you’re aware of my professional leanings: i’m a media library coordinator with an interest in coding. i even have my own portfolio (but you won’t get to see that just yet, because that would mean revealing my identity…muhahaha!). but enough about me, let’s talk about…the Milwaukee Public Library. why them? because they, like so many other libraries, have found a unique way to entice patrons into spending more time in the stacks…even if it meant rearranging the furniture and computer stations.


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music to die for: the story of Goth in 33 songs

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 29, 2017 by phanteana

music lists compiled as a “history of [insert genre here]” are always interesting to read. some songs fit perfectly, while others appear to be a square peg in a round hole. the story of Goth has long been up for debate: who really started it, where did it begin, etc. these theories can go on for days in online discussion forums and on social media, and sometimes a resolution is nowhere in sight.

to join in the ongoing debate, Pitchfork put together “The Story Of Goth In 33 Songs” in an attempt to shed some light on the dark side of modern music. in addition, they conducted a phone interview with Peter Murphy, who is often viewed as one of Godfathers of Goth despite never fully aligning himself with the title. Murphy’s solo albums are less brooding than his work with Bauhaus and his two greatest influences were David Bowie and Iggy Pop (who were credited with inventing Glam Rock and Punk, respectively), but he never lost his eerie creative flair (thank goodness).

while i can’t say i’m familiar with the latter entries on the list (other than Fever Ray’s “If I Had A Heart“), the classics i know and love certainly reflect the story of Goth well. my only issue with this list is the lack of inclusion of “Paint In Black“, which is probably one of the best representations of Goth in its infancy (and paved the way for numerous covers by both Goth and non-Goth artists)…a job well done, Mick.

Alexa, who you gonna code?

Posted in Popular Culture, Techie Stuff with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by phanteana

do you or someone you know own an Alexa? for anyone who might be living under a rock, it’s that wonderful invention that tells you what the weather is or how many calories are in a chicken wing. there have even been cases of individuals getting creative with their Alexas, such as this guy and also this Hamlet-inspired contraption. now…what if you could design your own voice app to interact with Alexa? well, you can thanks to Codecademy, who have partnered with Amazon to teach new and experienced coders how to build their own Alexa skills. Codecademy is already known for its free training in languages such as Python, JavaScript, and Ruby but also offers instructions on how to Make A Website and how to incorporate Responsive Design into said website. not only is the course free, but you don’t have to actually own an Alexa to participate. so go ahead, build you own voice app and ask Alexa all the crazy questions you want!

Goth’s not dead…it’s just matured

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , on July 5, 2017 by phanteana

despite its association with doom and gloom, Goth is alive and well…or at least is a little more mature. there was a time when Goth was considered youthful, with its “sleep all day, party all night, never grow old” mentality. but since most folks are not members of the Lost Boys they eventually get jobs, have families, pay mortgages, etc. but hey, we can still wear black and listen to Bauhaus!

so what’s the issue? lack of fresh blood (no pun intended). while it’s great that many folks who were teens and 20-somethings during the Goth heyday of the 80’s or the 90’s revival are still enjoying the music and managing to venture out to events when feasible, the younger generation just doesn’t seem to take much notice of it. one factor might be the economy…because let’s face it, having fun costs money. yet there are plenty of free or low-cost events taking place to alleviate this concern. another might be feeling out of place in a crowd full of 35 to 50-somethings who often reminisce about the good ol’ days. in addition, a lot of cities just aren’t hot beds for Goth as they used to be…Los Angeles and New Orleans are still going strong, as are Berlin & London. but places like New York have fallen behind in recent years, due to rising rents and declining attendance. still, those who are loyal will be around for many years to come.


the end of overdue fines?

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on February 24, 2017 by phanteana

come on, admit it…at some point in your life, you’ve forgotten to return a library item (or several) and were issued a late fee. when i was in elementary school, i borrowed a book from the school library and totally forgot to bring it back. after awhile, they said i could keep it and thankfully didn’t charge me. the book in question was this classic piece of childhood nostalgia, which has made appearances on eBay or Amazon from time to time (as other overdue library books have been known to do). i was lucky, but others weren’t and their library privileges were revoked until they redeemed themselves.

the idea of overdue fees began in the US during the early 20th Century, and seems to have stuck among public libraries. the drama of failure to return books still unfolds today, but librarians are beginning to have a change of heart. several states have already done away with overdue fines, because they were counterintuitive to their library’s mission and purpose. not everyone has the money to fork over if they or their kids misplace or lose a book. as a result, circulation within the children’s and young adult sections rose and staff members no longer engage in awkward conflicts with patrons who forget to bring everything back. the executive director of a library district in Colorado even went so far as to announce to patrons: “we trust you.” this is the message all libraries should send to their users.


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keep it as long as you like, Bart