14 Jun
2017

KU Book Club!

Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors!

We had a lot of fun at Sunday's book club meeting! Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair was the perfect book to start off the summer with!  Intrigue, danger, action, adventure, even a tiny bit of romance, that book had everything!  And it's the first of a series, so if you loved The Eyre Affair, KU has the whole series available, and they could easily eat up your summer, so be careful!

It was a ton of fun to meet a few new members also!  Some of us have been in the book club since the very beginning, so it's super exciting to have a new face now and again.  We love to make new book-loving friends!

Excited to take a chance on Hunter S Thompson!

We'll be meeting again on August 6th at 6 p.m. at Kards Unlimited!  Our discussion will be about Hunter S Thompson's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas!

Fear & Loathing IS a novel (there was a bit of discussion about that, I thought it was non-fiction), a roman à clef to be exact.  So really we were all right.  It's fiction, but it's real life that was fictionalized.

Whether you're already a big fan of Thompson, you've never read him, or even if you've read his work and dislike it, we'll be excited to hear all about what you think at the KU Book Club! Come talk books and drink drinks and have snacks with us!

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1 Jun
2017

June 2017 Calendar of Events

Happy June! Now that summer is unofficially underway, it's time for everything summer fun. Highlights of this month: Gay Pride Month, Doughnut Days, World Juggling Day, Father's Day, and Take Your Dog To Work Day, to name a few. Read on to find out what else we're stoked for this June! Read more >>

25 May
2017

Am I A Geek? Hell Yeah!

Geek

Noun. A knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast.

Verb. Be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.

Do geeks really need another reason to get excited? Probably not. It's kind of what we're known for. However, Geek Pride Day is May 25, and it is kind of everything. Started in 2008 by a blogger in Spain, this international day to celebrate everything geeky has gained rapid steam. So, members of the united geekdom, time to take your geek pride to a whole new level.

It's a lot of pressure to figure out the best way to celebrate. I've already been trying to decide what to wear for a week now. Do I go with my Pokemon trainer muscle shirt? My Game of Thrones direwolf T-shirt? Go full Trekkie with a uniform? Or stay low-key with punny tee?

Maybe I should just rotate my shirt by the hour.

Luckily, I'm working on Geek Pride Day, which when you work in the geekiest store in Pittsburgh is pretty ideal. I can say things like 'pew-pew' and 'Lexx is one of the most underrated sci-fi series of the 20th century' and it's totally acceptable. Do any of my coworkers know what Lexx is? No. Will I sing the Brunnen-G battle hymn for them anyway? Yes. And they will appreciate it because they, too, are geeks.

This is the gist of Lexx, one of the greatest sci-fi shows to ever exist.

What I love about the geekdom in general is how you can be a geek over just about anything, as long as you're really into it. Beat the latest Zelda in one sitting? Awesome! Can't start your day without finishing the New York Times crossword? So cool. Whether you spend every Sunday reading a new book without interacting with a single soul, or you taught yourself programming in your spare time, kudos. You know what you're all about.

What this means is that it's really easy to celebrate Geek Pride Day. Do what you love, and share your passion.

Side note: Do you know what I learned today because I'm a geek? In Ancient Greece, the word symposium meant 'drinking party.' Take that boring work conference that calls itself a symposium just to make it sound more fancy.

Did you see that? I geeked out for a second and it was really cool because we all learned something new (unless you already knew that, in which case, hats off to you).

If you're really at a loss how to best celebrate Geek Pride Day, you can always fall back on a gimme. Carry around your towel! Geek Pride Day coincides with Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. A galactic traveler such as yourself really never should leave the house without a towel, anyway.

Happy geeking :)

9 May
2017

Happy Birthday Kermit!

It seems as though the Muppets never go out of style.  They have been active since 1955, becoming well known in the 70s with The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie and maintaining that success throughout the 90s.  Even as their popularity waned slightly in the 2000s (before their 2010 resurgence) the funny furry puppets still held great affection in the hearts of their original audience (and the children of that audience).  You simply cannot understate their importance.

And now that we all agree that the Muppets are easily the most important thing ever in history, in perpetuity, it would be hard not to argue that there are few Muppets (or anything made of felt) more important than Kermit the Frog.

Kermit made his debut in 1955 on The Jim Henson proto-Muppets creation, Sam and Friends, although he didn't really become a frog until his appearance in "The Frog Prince", at the time just resembling a plain lizard-like puppet.

He has taken the role as the de facto Muppet leader (in fact, since Disney took over the franchise, the "M" in Muppets has been dressed up to look like Kermit) and appeared occasionally on the children's entertainment juggernaut Sesame Street as an on-the-scene reporter.

Just...the best.

Kermit has since become a major celebrity, has written three books, starred and appeared in innumerable television shows, specials, and movies.  He has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame and was even nominated for an Academy Award for "The Rainbow Connection".

Why all this Kermit love?  Well because he's a national treasure!  Also it's his birthday today (yes, there's a little bit of controversy over this considering he was born as an egg with about a thousand other siblings, but we are counting his first appearance, on Sam and Friends) and we think he is worth it.  I mean, the dude is 62 years old and still looks great.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERMIT, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!

1 May
2017

May 2017 Calendar of Events

IT'S FINALLY MAYYYYY! This month is a month of leaves on trees, people running billions of miles (26.2) in one go, mini golf, pizza parties, and more! Read on to see all of the things we're celebrating this month: that three day weekend included.

Read more >>

27 Apr
2017

Guys. The Gods are coming.

This is Mr. Wednesday. He's my hero.

Ok.  So here's the thing about Kards Unlimited.  We. Love. Neil Gaiman.  Like a lot.  I know I've said this before, and I know you know it, so I won't wax too verbose about how much we love Neil Gaiman. Suffice it to say that his books have had a great influence on most of the employees of the store and that when people need help picking a book we recommend his books 9 out of 10 times (or more.)

Shadow and Mad Sweeney's fight. OMG you guys, read this book.

Coming in the wake of the many successful TV adaptations of awesome fantastical novels in recent years, American Gods the series premieres on Starz on April 30th at 9 p.m. and we could not possibly be more excited.  Here's a link to the trailer.  It's amazing.

Just to give you a little bit of spoiler-free background information, American Gods is the story of how all the various gods that people brought to America from their home countries need to band together to stop themselves from being eradicated by the new gods of America like the internet and TV and stuff.  Neil Gaiman tells it a lot better than I do.  And I have high hopes for how the series will handle his source material.  This show seems especially relevant given the current climate of intolerance and xenophobia going around.  The book doesn't necessarily deal with those themes, but it does feature an America that celebrates its diversity.  The America Gaiman portrays is a country unashamedly built of millions of different people and their stories.  It's a place we should try to remember and to inhabit.

Anyway, we at KU are intensely excited for this show, so if you are too, don't hesitate to come in and share your excitement with us!  The more screaming the better!  And check out our awesome countdown timer on the sidebar to find out exactly how long you have to wait for the first episode!

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22 Apr
2017

It’s April 23rd, which means it’s Talk Like Shakespeare Day again!

Talk Like Shakespeare Day cards! Yes! Get them!

Forsooth! Today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day!
The best of all the days throughout the year!
When all of us who love the Bard will say
"To be, or not to be?" in voices clear!
The works of William Shakespeare we shall read
and gaily plays and poems shall recite;
until the words ring loudly in our heads
and people speak in iambs day and night.
Of other days may other poets sing,
I'll keep my words for April twenty-third.
For truly, William Shakespeare is the king
of all the English language, says this nerd.
If you be not a faithful fan of his,
Then kindly up a rope please take a whiz!

In all seriousness, though, April 23rd is Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  It's because he was born (probably) and died on April 23rd. Same day, different years, obviously.  I don't feel the need to tell you any more facts about Shakespeare, as he is probably the most well-known writer the English language has yet produced and if you're that interested in learning more about him, you can read his Wikipedia page.  Fascinating stuff, actually.

What I am going to do is post a picture and a video which are both amazing and Shakespeare related, and leave it at that.

 

Possible best post on Tumblr

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18 Apr
2017

World Juggler’s Day! No… Wait… International Juggler’s Day!

  1. Baqet III is buried in the Ancient Egyptian cemetery site, Beni Hassan. Painted in memorials of life’s loves and life’s joys hieroglyphics donned upon his tomb reflect weavers, acrobats and, pictured below, the earliest known record of juggling.
  2. April 18th isn’t World Juggler’s Day. World Juggler’s Day is the Saturday closest to June 17th. April 18th is International Juggler’s Day which is another way to say World Juggler’s Day which, as you learned earlier, isn’t today. I asked over at r/Juggling why this was and user thomthomthomthom provided a reliable answer:

  3. In 1998 my mother and I come across a juggler at Monroeville Mall who was demonstrating and selling a VHS instructional video and 3 ball set from a company called More Balls Than Most which mom bought on the spot for me. From their pristine, succinct and humorous instruction I grew skilled in technical juggling tricks such as; the cascade, showers, the reverse cascade, columns, the yo-yo, the oy-oy, the claw (what it would look like if cats could juggle), Mill’s Mess, Rubenstein’s Revenge and, my mother’s personal favorite, juggler’s tennis.
  4. Clouds of dancers and fog pall over the whole stage; lights crash, a creaking and wooing-ahhs and yelps of the choir spill over as a half-lizard/half-man appears from his smoggy chrysalis emerging into a heap of human-ish form. The clouds part, a cosmic witch of the stars peers through the darkness and drops a ball into his hand. I am enraptured by the poetic menagerie of Viktor Kee’s use of his body, the conquering of the space around him, all for the juggle.

  5. In 2000 my high school gym teacher Mr. Verico had to put up with not only me but also Shannon Norman in his class. Sometimes he’d teach the whole class yelling from his best Henry Rollins impression (whom he looked like) while wearing Shannon’s studded and punk patch bedecked leather jacket just to make a point; we were people to him, we weren’t just high school kids. For 2 years Verico let me juggle as my gym credit. I showed him progress, he charted it, I aced it.
  6. Contact juggling is when the ball, usually a large, heavy, clear acrylic ball, glides smoothly across the surface of the juggler’s body. David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth, for example, is contact juggling. BUT! IT’S NOT BOWIE! It is Michael Moschen who is crouched, blinded, behind David Bowie and with his right arm under Bowie’s arm he is the juggler behind the Goblin King’s crystal balls.

  7. In 2010 I made 6 videos for a friend on the basics of juggling and how to get started. Heavily influenced by More Balls Than Most I imitated their teaching style and made a sarcastically awkward set of instructional videos ridden with snarky quips about my balls. Here's step 1!

  8. I spent much of 2016's summer in the park filming myself and sharing the videos on Instagram and on YouTube when, through various video editing apps and after an incident of accidental artistry, I found I was able to convert my videos from what juggling looks like into what juggling looks like to me. The video series shows the transcendentally emotional, psychological and psychedelic connection that I have to juggling. I have never felt as if I were singular but rather, something plural and as I have always referred to myself as “we” and or “us” then that makes me a “they.” In the video series I show my selves in cooperation; I show you them, working as one.

  9. In 2016 Shipwreck Asunder is in the middle of barber school dreaming of straight razors and carnival tents when Mike Willis and T.J. Harris at Modern Era Weddings call him up and hire him to wrangle Pittsburgh’s finest circus artists. Modern Era Weddings (winners of 9 “The Knot” awards), a full service wedding entertainment, planning, DJ, and documentation company decides, “you know what? Pittsburgh needs a full service, comprehensive circus arts collaborative and we’re going to give them one!” Shipwreck calls me, tells me to get my balls and meet him in the South Side for practice. Now after 18 years of juggling I accept my first job as a juggler. I choose the stage name Zero, a character from my children's-book-for-adults "The Adventures of Zero and The Girl" which, with all the world's fingers crossed, will be published and on sale at Kards Unlimited in the nearing future. 
  10. Speaking of the nearing future... I will be working with Kards Unlimited staff to develop a juggling props and magic tricks section for the store. How will you know Kards Unlimited will be selling juggling props and magic tricks? Why you’ll see me and my friends from Pittsburgh’s Circus Arts Collaborative (website coming soon!) giving demonstrations and inspiring the youth of today to follow in our playful footsteps. Perhaps one day some child's mother will turn him or her into a juggler because of me. Which I think would be pretty slick.
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