Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The state of the union

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to the joint houses of Congress tonight. I've been compiling a few other famous speeches for the Datablog, so we can compare keywords, that sort of thing.

I've found the most amazing resource - the American Presidency Project based at the University of California. As well as every state of the union address ever made by a president, it houses over 80,000 digitised documents relating to US presidents, all in a searchable database. Love it!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Dude abides

As the Oscar buzz around Jeff Bridges's performance in Crazy Heart continues to build (and having just seen George Clooney in Up In The Air I can't decide if I want him to get it, Clooney is marvellous), Ben Walters at the Guardian has written an excellent piece on the continuing love for his most iconic role, The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Donate for Haiti

Just watching the Haiti news coverage on BBC News 24. It's so devastating to see the personal stories but there are stories of hope too - a woman too weak to give birth, rushed to hospital by the news crew, saved along with her healthy baby.

They need as much aid as they can get, please give what you can to the DEC appeal. You can donate online, call 0370 60 60 900 or text GIVE to 70077 to automatically give £5 (I think it comes off your next phone bill).

Oscars countdown

I've been busy with a few Datablog posts lately - one on teen drug misuse, one on deadly earthquakes - but my favourite one of the moment is tracking all the major winners over the film awards season.

Until the BBC lost the rights to the Oscars, it was one of the highlights of my television year, staying up late (usually til 6 or 7 in the morning) with popcorn and beer to watch it live. I miss the build-up but now that I'm writing about it I feel excited again.

Every year I plan to watch the films that have generated the most Oscar buzz, but never get round to it. This year I'm determined to catch at least some of them at the cinema - films like Up In the Air, The Hurt Locker, Crazy Heart, all of which have done well in the nominations so far. I don't think I'll be checking out Avatar though (despite the Golden Globe nods) - I'm sure it looks amazing but the story just doesn't seem that original.

The Academy Award nominations are out later this week but I'm prepared to look stupid by casting my predictions early - Jeff Bridges for best actor, Sandra Bullock best actress (white female teacher coaches black student - it's a shoe-in unless Oscar fave Meryl Streep wins the votes), Kathryn Bigelow for director, The Hurt Locker best film, Mo'Nique and Christoph Waltz for supporting roles (they've won everything so far so not much of a gamble!). Let's hope they get nominated now!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Resolution number 1

I finally got time to blog a bit, although it's not my big post about resolutions that I will get round to eventually!

One of my main resolutions this year though is to do my chartership with Cilip. Part of this involves documenting every work-related event I attend, so to avoid bombarding you with library-themed posts and to try and compartmentalise my life just a little (and isn't that what librarians are good at?) I've started a new blog over at wordpress.

If you're interested in library-related stuff, check it out at

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


So the resolution to write about resolutions isn't going so well... Today has been so crazy busy at work that I'm still here! Tomorrow is the news:rewired conference at City university but I'll try to blog at least a bit. Promise.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

New year new you

I've been neglecting the blogosphere of late - too distracted by the novelty of Twitter and the not-so-novel but nonetheless distracting Christmas period. Fear not, one of my new year's resolutions is to lavish much more attention on writing here and less on stalking @simonpegg et al.

More on resolutions tomorrow, promise.


I was searching photos of Mark on Google today (as you do) and came across one of the funniest things I've seen in ages, I'm still crying with laughter as I type. Scroll down to the bottom and note the picture caption...

Monday, 4 January 2010

Superbrain of Britain?

I had a fab Christmas chez Heslop in snowy Durham, but it wasn't quite the same without me and Dad beavering away at the computer into the wee hours, trying to find obscure photographs of northern sportsmen for the Northern Echo Superbrain quiz.

This year they've decided to run the quiz in January instead, and open it up online. Which means even less chance of winning anything, and more chance of answers cropping up on Yahoo!.

But it does mean anyone can take a look at the questions so if you're that way inclined, have a gander. Not as much fun as scribbling possible answers onto the newspaper in the back of the car on Christmas day, though.