Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bingeworthy TV: Avatar: The Last Airbender

“Water... Earth... Fire... Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he still has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone. But I believe Aang can save the world.”
This is a lot of pressure for a twelve-year-old boy who just came out of an iceberg. Aang, the last of the airbenders and title character of Avatar: The Last Airbender, has been encased in suspended animation for a hundred years. During that time, a war has raged and the Fire Nation has committed genocide against the Air Nomads, leaving Aang as the last of his people. In order to restore balance to the world, Aang has a year to master the remaining three elements. In each nation there are individuals who can “bend” or control their element through psychokinetic martial arts. The avatar is the only person who can master all four elements and is tasked with maintaining peace and order in the world and acting as mediator between humans and spirits.
Aang sets out on his flying bison, Appa, with his new friends Katara and Sokka to find the water, earth, and fire bending teachers so that he can realize his potential as the Avatar and end the war before it is too late. As awesome as this responsibility is, Aang is still a child and finds plenty of time to have fun and get into all kinds of shenanigans while evading and a couple times escaping Fire Nation custody. This show is fun for the whole family; children and adults alike will be riveted by Aang’s adventures, heartbreaks, and transformation into a young man with the weight or the world on his shoulders.
~Becca, Technical Services

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bingeworthy TV: Doctor Who

Doctor Who is the definition of a fandom that is bigger on the inside.  If you’re looking for a series to watch where you don’t have to be sad about it ending too soon, this is the one for you! Doctor Who began in 1963 (yes, you read that right) and is still going strong 840 episodes later!

If you’re not looking to start from the beginning, the most recent Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is a great place to start watching. Each season acts as a stand-alone for those wanting to “test the waters” and features action, humor, and science fiction wrapped into one fantastic package!

For those new to Who, it is about an alien named the Doctor who has a spaceship that can travel throughout time and space (the TARDIS). He goes on adventures with various companions and saves the universe from aliens who want to destroy it. He has a special ability to regenerate into a new body when he is injured, which has led to many different actors portraying the Doctor.

The series has always been ahead of its time culturally and addresses many current social issues in fun and creative ways. This has led to Jodie Whittaker becoming the first female actress to portray the Doctor beginning this October. I seriously can’t wait!

-Thea, Technical Services

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bingeworthy TV: Boardwalk Empire

Period dramas can be an entertaining mix of historical facts and popular folklore. Writers of these historical dramas have a way of sparking a viewer’s interest in history that a dry textbook doesn’t. Boardwalk Empire is definitely one of those shows if you are a history enthusiast like myself. It is fascinating how the show’s creator and writers recreate a period piece to tell this type of story.
The show is set in the Prohibition Era and takes you inside the criminal underworld in Atlantic City. Boardwalk Empire is centered around the life of Nucky Thompson. His character is based on real life 1920s New Jersey political figure Enoch Lewis “Nucky” Johnson and his colleagues and rivals.
The inner conflicts of each character help the viewer get a glimpse of what life was like on both sides of the law. There are the criminals and there is the law, and even some law enforcement could not resist the temptation of booze. The conflict between the characters gives momentum to the story line in each episode and builds all the way to the final season.
This show has elements meant for a mature audience: sex, crime, scandals, and violence. Yet the story cannot be fully understood nor effective without them. In my opinion, if there were a “watered down” version of this show, it would not have lasted five seasons.
From the cinematic scenes to the finely recreated sets, the cast and crew bring the historic Atlantic City to life. This series is so compelling that you cannot get away from your TV. So, get your snacks and put on your comfortable clothes because this show is a must-see!

-Alanda, Circulation

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Staff Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson contains a lot of information jam-packed in a little book. Could someone learn a subject like astrophysics in a hurry? Do I know all about astrophysics now? No, but I do have a general idea about the problems astrophysicists are working with and a genuine interest in these mysteries. That is perhaps the best place to be on a new subject. Tyson has the book extremely well organized and his enthusiasm is infectious.

We start out with the Big Bang Theory, how that theory came about, and the substances that made up that very early universe after the Big Bang. I never took chemistry in high-school, and I remember just bits and pieces from physics (sorry Mrs. Walton), so a lot of the terms went over my head. One gets the general picture of the universe in its infancy with particles swirling around, interacting with each other creating a kind of cosmic soup. He made me want to go back and figure out how protons, electrons, and neutrons work. What are those things called quarks? – and what a great name! 

Along the way we discover things like Dark Matter and Dark Energy – how they were discovered and what they are. Einstein gets his props of course and it’s emphasized just how much of a mark this guy left on the field of physics and consequently, the world. Most of modern astrophysics comes back to his theories – attempting to tweak, prove, or disprove some aspect. The chapter on light captured my interest, having a wife who is a visual artist kept me thinking about the relationship between light, colors, and our ability to see. 

This is a great introduction to the subject of astrophysics and it’s laid out in a language one doesn't need an advanced degree to understand. Don’t approach this book thinking you’ll be an expert when you finish. Expect to think about the universe as an astrophysicist might and get a taste for their language and the problems they’re working on today. This book begs for multiple readings. It may cause you, like me, to want to dust off those mental shelves of information you packed away after high-school and re-approach these subjects with a new found optimism and curiosity. It’s never too late to flex those science muscles and practice your career as an armchair Astrophysicist.

~Ben, Adult Services

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bingeworthy TV: The Librarians

What’s cooler than being a librarian? Being a librarian that collects and protects the world’s magical artifacts while battling those who want to misuse magic! The Librarians is based off of TNT’s hit movie series starring Noah Wyle as Flynn Carson (Carnegie-Stout has The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice).
Wyle reprises his role of Flynn in the TV series. It stars Rebecca Romijn as Colonel Eve Baird, Flynn’s guardian. She’s joined by three new librarians who each have special abilities. Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth) has an amazing ability to visualize difficult mathematical equations, Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim) is a master thief, and Jacob Stone (Christian Kane) specializes in art history and architecture. John Larroquette also stars as Jenkins, the caretaker of the library.
The team goes on exciting adventures looking for magical artifacts while going up against super villains such as Prospero (from Shakespeare’s Tempest), James Moriarty (from Sherlock Holmes), and Apep, the Egyptian god of chaos. It has the perfect mix of action, comedy, and drama. What’s even better: this series is very family-friendly!
Unfortunately, TNT recently decided to cancel the series after four seasons. However, producer Dean Devlin is looking for a new venue to host the show… fingers crossed!
-Thea, Technical Services

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bingeworthy TV: Firefly

“You can’t stop the signal”
It’s never too late to become a Browncoat! I watched and fell in love with Firefly back when it aired on Fox in 2002 and wept when it was cancelled unceremoniously after one short season. In 2005, after a fan support campaign, the story continued with the movie Serenity and has continued since with the release of graphic novels, video games, board games, and, hopefully, an upcoming series of books. Even after all these years Firefly still remains my favorite show of all time.
Set in the year 2517 all the resources of earth have been used up and people have set out into space finding new solar systems and terraforming planets for inhabitation. The story centers around nine individuals living together as part of the renegade crew of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. They live on the fringes of the galaxy taking jobs mostly within the pioneer culture of the struggling newly inhabited planets.
Each member of the crew is there for their own reasons, some transparent and others not. The captain and his first mate fought on the losing side of the galaxy’s civil war and haven’t completely given up the fight. A brother and sister are on the run from some sinister government conspiracy. The mercenary is along for the money. The preacher has a mysterious past. The pilot is there for love. The ever optimistic mechanic has an intuitive gift for machines. Finally, there’s the high society companion, slumming it on the fringes of society. Together this ragtag bunch try to keep flying, sometimes working together and other times trying to kill each other.
~Rebecca, Technical Services