Altered States


Remember last week, Bits and Bramblers? Election Day? There were tons of maps, of all fifty states, all over every television and the internet. But here’s the thing…what if there were a blank map of the U.S.? Could you, say…put Delaware in the right spot? Or Kansas? Well…you’re about to get your chance.

Play the Know Your States game for your chance to drop the states in the right spot. Should you…let’s say, put Arkansas in the wrong spot, the game will not only correct you–it will tell you how many miles off you were. And once you’ve placed all fifty states, it will give you the average distance in miles you were off, along with how many states you got “perfect” and how long it took you to play.

Think you’re a genius at geography? Well, here’s your chance…start playing, and PLACE THOSE STATES! And then brag about how awesome your scores are, and challenge your friends and family to play. You could even try to bribe your Social Studies teacher to give you extra credit (sorry, Bits and Bramblers…I can’t promise that one will work.)

Ooooh…and if you need a refresher? Check out this classic video from Animaniacs. Not only will Wakko Warner point out the states on the map, he’ll also show you the capitals (and why not add that to your bragging rights, huh?)
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Gobble, Gobble…


Happy (day before) Thanksgiving, Bits and Bramblers! Yep, it’s that time of year again—time for the Macy’s Day Parade, football, turkey, cranberries, pie, and going to bed early so you can get to the stores at exactly 3:00 a.m. to start shopping. Or not. Maybe you’d rather stay in bed, then get up and eat some more pie. (Personally, I’m all for the “sleeping in and eating pie” plan.)

And now, it’s time for a little (day before) Thanksgiving entertainment. First off, my very favorite Thanksgiving YouTube video. I can’t get over how much I love those little Bric-a-Bracs with celebrity voices. So click play and watch Christopher Walken, John Madden, and Owen Wilson teach you all about the First Thanksgiving! (Kind of!)
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As you can see, it’s important to be as historically accurate as possible when talking about the first Thanksgiving. If not, suddenly the aliens were making pie for the Pilgrims, and the Indians were looking for ways to defeat Zombies. Don’t believe me? Then check out M/RCPL’s very own Puppet Posse with their take on the first Thanksgiving. But beware, this video contains several cute and cuddly puppets. Watch at your own risk…
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HAVE A VERY SAFE AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING, BITS AND BRAMBLERS…FULL OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, FUN, AND FOOD!



Garrr…


…We missed Talk Like a Pirate Day! Awwwww, man…how did that happen?

I guess it’s because your faaaaaaavorite librarians have all been working pretty hard on our shiny new website, which we just debuted this week (haaaaave you visited mrcpl.org lately? If not, take a look around…and let us know what you think!)

Anyway, it’s possible that we were working on the last minute details and completely forgot to talk like a pirate. Even though it would have been waaaaaaay more fun to talk like a pirate while drinking lots of caffeine and working on the website (“Hey Matey! I do nay be seein’ th’ image on this page!” See? How is that not more fun?)

But really, why can’t EVERY day be talk like a pirate day? I mean, that’s how my favorite pirate of all time does it—Steve the Pirate, from the cinematic classic Dodgeball: A True Underdog’s Story. So even if you did celebrate “Speak Like a Seafarin’ Hearty Tide,” feel free to do it again today—or any day! You can even look at the library’s website (did I mention it’s shiny? And new?) and tell us what you think of it, in Pirate Speak! Use Steve as inspiration!
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There Can Be Only One!


So, who do you think would win in a fight: Jace Wayland, from City of Bones, or Ai Ling from The Silver Phoenix? Personally, I’d bet on Jace (he’s got the whole
Nephilim thing going for him, after all…)

But you can vote for yourself by heading to the YA Fantasy Showdown. The site pairs up your favorite YA Fantasy characters—like Katsa from Graceling, and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series—and you vote on which one of them you think would win in a fight. The winners of each bracket go on to face each other, until we’re down to the final pair—and that fight will determine the winner.

They even make predictions on how they think each round would go, and who would come out on top (I’ll warn you, though…their take on the Ai Ling/Jace matchup isn’t pretty.)

So head to the YA Fantasy Showdown and vote for your favorites! All of them are there, from Aragorn to Katniss Everdeen (and who’s not going to vote for Katniss? She might win the whole thing…especially since we’re less than a week away from Mockingjay!)
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Read “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” RIGHT NOW!


Now…usually when I say “READ THIS NOW” it means the book is so good you should drop everything and READ IT NOW. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not saying that The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner isn’t good…I’m telling you that you can literally read it right now.

I know it sounds like a joke—I tell you that it’s available free online, you click the link, and boom. Not only is there no ebook, you’re now at some crazy spyware-ridden virus-filled site.

But it’s for real, honest. Stephenie Meyer wanted to give a gift to her fans (and I think we can all agree it’s a pretty awesome one.) You can read the entire book for free at Breetanner.com, from now until July 5th. So, seriously…GO READ IT NOW!

But if you wanted to go get some snacks first, that would be fine, too.

And remember, it’ll only be available until July 5th. But I’m guessing most Twilight fans will have the book read before June 30thright?
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Grab Your Popcorn: MAKE WAVES EDITION!


One of the best things about summer (other than the Summer Library Program…but you’ve already signed up for that, right? RIGHT?!) are the big summer movies. Some of them have been out for a few weeks (you’ve seen Iron Man 2, right? RIGHT?!) Aaaanyway…here are a few more movies coming soon to a theater near you!

First up, Despicable Me. It features the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segal, and Jack McBrayer. Need I say more? Catch it on July 9th:
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Next up, it’s The Last Airbender. In case you didn’t know, it’s based on the super popular Nickelodeon show, which we have here, at the library, called Avatar: The Last Airbender (but…you know…someone had already used that first word.) It hit’s theaters on July 2nd:
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Last—but OMG not least—it’s a new teaser trailer that was released less than a week ago. It’s the first look at Part I of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I won’t lie, Bits and Bramblers. It’s the first trailer in a long time that made me wince, hold my breath, and made me want to see more (what can I say? I’m a Potter girl through and through!) We’ll have to wait a little longer for this one…it hits theaters on November 19th:
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Allmusic, All The Time…


I’m one of those girls, Bits and Bramblers. One of those girls that has waaaay too many CDs, along with an iPod that holds a ridiculous number of songs. I’m one of those girls who burns CDs for special occasions, and says things like, “What do you mean you’ve never heard of Vampire Weekend? Never mind, I’ll burn you a mix CD.” That’s right…I’m an all-out music junkie.

Which is why allmusic is maybe one of the best websites ever. It’s got everything. On the front page? Music news. New Releases. An album of the day! But you’ll find the best stuff when you search for your favorite singer and/or band. Then you’ll get a biography, a discography (every album, and they year it was released,) along with a list of all their songs (complete with sound clips!)

Best of all, the site also gives you recommendations. For example…now that I’ve got you interested in Vampire Weekend? Allmusic says you might want to check out Ra Ra Riot (and they’re right…you totally should, that band is made of awesome.) What’s that? You’ve never heard of them? Never mind…now you can look them up on allmusic. And being an all-out music junkie, I’ll leave you with one of their music videos. Enjoy…and rock on, Bits and Bramblers!
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Need a Snow Distraction?


I’ll be honest with you Bits and Bramblers. I’m one of those people that likes snow in December, but…after that? Not so much. By this point, though, even those crazies that like snow are sick of it. Even snow days are getting boring, and that’s because there’s only so much you can do with snow before it gets old. Snowmen? Built four of ‘em. Snowball fight? Please. Snow Angels? They’ll just get covered up in an hour by MORE SNOW. Blech.
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But you’re smarter than that, right? You’re sitting in front of the warming glow of a computer. And you’ve come to the right place, because I have just the thing to keep you entertained. Why not play Ayiti: The Cost of Life? It’s a little like The Oregon Trail…but instead of getting across the U.S. in one piece, your job is to help one of rural Haiti’s families stay happy, healthy, and educated over a four year period (and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that things in Haiti have been pretty horrific lately…)

The thing is…I’m really bad at this game. I keep driving my family into poverty (not on purpose though. Then again, everyone in my covered wagon usually died of typhoid on the way to Oregon. Stupid typhoid…) But I’m sure you’ll be much better at the game than me, and it will give you a good idea of how difficult life is in Haiti (especially now!) And speaking of Haiti, you can make the “Season of Giving” last all year by donating to the relief effort, if you can (and remember…you need your parents permission!)

Hopefully, this distracts you from the snow! But still… stay safe and warm, Bits and Bramblers! We’ll leave you with one of my favorite performances from the Hope for Haiti telethon…here’s Coldplay with “A Message”!
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‘Tis the SEASON OF GIVING: FreeRice


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It’s really starting to feel like the holidays…isn’t it, Bits and Bramblers? Of course, part of that might be the cold and the snow (which really only needs to stick around for the holidays. And then it can be around 45 degrees until…let’s say March.) But back to the holidays…after all, it’s the season of giving!


…Because that’s always the best part, right? The giving, I mean. And when you’re giving someone a gift they reeaaallly wanted—or needed—it’s even better. So in the spirit of giving, we’ve decided to do a series of posts here at Bits and Brambles, letting you know about different websites and nonprofit organizations making a difference for those in need this holiday season.



…First up, FreeRice. If you’ve ever taken a vocabulary test, you can play FreeRice. They’ll give you a word, like “disorderly,” and a list of synonyms—and all you have to do is pick the word that means the same thing. See? It’s simple…if you’re wrong, you learn a new word. But if you’re right, then the site’s sponsors will donate 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. So the more words you get right, the more rice they’ll donate. It’s a win/win situation, Bits and Bramblers!


You learn a bunch of new words, which will make you look smart in front of your family, friends, and teachers (and will probably come in pretty hand on tests like…oh, the ACT/SAT.) And the whole time, you’re helping the United Nations end world hunger. And you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas. Come on…it doesn’t get any better than that.


You can learn a little more about the website—and the people that benefit from it—in this video. So what are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers? Start clicking…and help end world hunger!





How Average is YOUR Life?


Sometimes I hate Mondays, Bits and Bramblers…don’t you? Especially icky, overcast, totally average Mondays? Of course you do. There’s no point in lying. But…even in totally average days, you still have fun right?


So check out MyLifeIsAverage, the blog where people post their own funny, totally average moments. Totally anonymous people post random, average moments from their day—everything from deciding whether or not they want fries or onion rings from Burger King, to what results come up if you do the same search on Google and Yahoo.


The cool thing is, not only can you read about everyone’s totally average moments—you can add your own, too (totally anonymously, of course!) What better way to get through a icky average Monday than by reading about the random moments in other people’s average Monday?


Of course, another way to get through an icky, overcast average Monday is by searching YouTube for funny videos. Here’s a completely unaverage idea: awhile ago, one of my favorite singers, Ben Folds, held a contest last year. He encouraged college a capella groups and Glee Clubs to sing some of his songs, then upload them to YouTube. The best entries were actually compiled to make an album of some of Ben’s hits, a capella style—which is awesome. For some reason, this group didn’t make the album, but I’ll be honest…it’s still my favorite: