Posts by: Thomas Quinn

Boo!

Leo and Theo skeletons dressed in costumes

Photo: Tom Quinn. Pirate bedazzling: Whitney Stannard.

Okay, now that I have your attention: welcome to October, the month of horror movies! “But Tom,” you say, “what can I watch that won’t break the bank?” Well, I have some good news for you, and it will come free with your being part of Tufts: Kanopy!

Kanopy is a streaming service that Tufts subscribes to, and you therefore have access to at no extra cost. There are a ton of interesting documentaries, indie films, and movies from around the world on there, but right now I am here to talk about some good old fashioned horror films that you can watch for free (which I will keep reminding you of). And you can watch it on your laptop, phone, or even cast it to your TV, so it’s nice and convenient too

Note: every single link below will lead you to a listing on Kanopy unless otherwise noted. But a link is not an automatic endorsement – this is just a cross-section of somewhat famous movies, some of which you may have heard of, others you may not have. If I think highly of a particular film, I will note it in the description.

Older School Horror

Let’s say you’re like me, and one of the things you’re always curious about is where horror movies really started taking hold. What would you guess? Hitchcock, perhaps, with Psycho? Well, that’s 1960, and he did Dial M for Murder in 1954. So maybe even earlier? What if I told you that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a crazy psychological horror film from 1919? Or that Nosferatu is an unsettling vampire movie from 1922? Nosferatu, by the way, was a super unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, and the vampire design stands strong in the pantheon of frankly terrifying looking monsters.

But hey, maybe silent films aren’t your thing. That’s cool! Not everyone is into them. What about something like Black Sabbath from 1963 (no, not the band, although they’re excellent too). It’s a horror anthology starring Boris Karloff! Or 1964’s The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price, based on the book I Am Legend? Or, heck, speaking of Vincent Price, why not give House on Haunted Hill a shot?

I would be remiss if I didn’t end this section with Black Christmas. It’s not the first slasher film (arguably, that could be Psycho), but it laid the groundwork for the behemoths that would come after, like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream. So worth a watch if you’re into slashers!

Zombies and Creepy Towns Oh My

Let’s just get this out there: George Romero is King of the Modern Zombie. Every single zombie movie or TV show you have seen owes itself to Romero’s legacy, and particularly his startling debut Night of the Living Dead. In 97 minutes, in stark black and white, all filmed on the outskirts of Pittsburgh in a single house, Night of the Living Dead is, somehow, more than you’re ready for, even if you’ve watched all 157 seasons of The Walking Dead. And hey, if you’re on a Romero kick, why not check out Day of the Dead while you’re there? It’s the 3rd of his original Dead trilogy, and the opening song got sampled by The Gorillaz for their track “M1A1” off their debut album. Talk about legacy.

If you’d prefer “creepy town with murderers,” there’s always The Hills Have Eyes, from legend Wes Craven (who younger members of the audience may recognize from Scream fame). Incidentally, if you like that, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 is also on Kanopy.

Time to Laugh

Okay, that last section got heavy. Let’s get goofy. Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a send up of the slasher genre, particularly the “cabin the woods” type (like Friday the 13th). It’s a combination of “weekend fishing trip gone wrong” and “slasher flick,” and is a lot of fun for it. There is also the amazing What We Do in the Shadows, directed by Taika Waititi. This answers the question “what if vampires of different styles all lived in a house together as roommates in the modern era?” and answered it so well that there’s now a follow-up show with 2 seasons under its belt. I think I’ve watched each of these two movies twice now, and plan to watch them more. Indicidentally, Taika has two other movies on there: Boy and the heartwarming Hunt for the Wilderpeople. (If his name sounds familiar but you can’t place it: recently, he directed Thor: Ragnarock, and Jojo Rabbit. These are all from before that).

Although this one isn’t strictly a comedy, The Blob is a 1959 movie starring a teenage Steve McQueen, about a gelatinous blob that somehow terrorizes a town. Which feels like it’s got a great comedic vibe to it by today’s standards, you know?

Let’s Get Weird

Okay. Maybe the other stuff isn’t really your vibe. What if it’s the kind of horror movie filled with tension and weirdness? Like 1977’s Suspiria, directed by Italian master of horror Dario Argento? It was recently re-imagined (which might be where you recognize the name from), but this movie about a ballerina getting caught up in a dance company run by an evil witch still hits strong. Or perhaps Enemy, where Jake Gyllenhall plays both a minor movie actor and the stranger who looks identical to him, and ends up stalking him? Maybe Scanners, which is David Cronenberg’s movie about people who can explode heads. Or you could always check out David Lynch’s Eraserhead, which is pure David Lynch weirdness.

Of course, for some very modern and recent weirdness, you could always watch 2019’s The Lighthouse, starring Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, crazy facial hair, and crazier accents. And yes, that Robert Pattinson.

A24

Fun fact: the director of The Lighthouse also directed 2016’s The Witch, both of which were produced by A24, a studio with a strong showing on Kanopy. But I give them their own section because of some other movies of theirs you may recognize: Hereditary and Midsommar are both from the studio, as is Green Room. Go give their entire catalog a look, but here’s a link to their horror offerings.

 

At the end of the day, you’re the only person who knows what you’ll want to watch. But please know, I’m not even scratching the surface of Kanopy‘s offerings – they have 414 films listed under Horror & Thriller, which means if you started today and watched 1 per day you’d finish on November 30, 2021. And that’s assuming they don’t add more (which, come on, of course they will).

So. You have access to a treasure trove of free movies, and this is the season for horror. Go to the JumboSearch listing for Kanopy, follow the link out to the site, sign in using your Tufts username & password, and really make this month work for you! Five minutes worth of work for a ton of entertainment, and not a single extra dime spent. Aside from the popcorn you’ll need, but you’re on your own for that.

Spookily yours,
Tom

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Back in October 2019 and March 2020, HHSL Staff walked around and counted how many people of each program were around the library. You may remember us, with the clipboards, asking that question.

Or…to be more accurate, we walked around throughout October, and half of March. We didn’t actually end up getting all of the dates we had wanted to in March (apparently there’s a global pandemic on), so we ended up with a truncated version of the survey for that month: 4 days of data instead of 7. Still, when it comes to trying to make a better Hirsh Library for everyone, even truncated data is better than none! So here’s some of what I can see.

Fair warning: I’m going to have to extrapolate and make a couple of assumptions here, since we’re missing so much of March’s potential data. I’ve seen enough data over the years to have a good sense of what it would be, but what should and what is are always different, so maybe get a salt grain ready to take with this post. Finally, the Y axis is always going to be Number of People Counted in this post, because I want this to be as easy to read as possible!

Graph of amount of people in the library during affilliation statistics in October 2019

Click to enlarge.

Graph of amount of people in the library during affilliation statistics in March 2020

Click to enlarge.

So, here’s the base data. October 2019 and March 2020. As you can see, we counted…actually not that many more people, all things considered. March 3rd, 5th, and even the 11th were all right in line with what we saw in October, in terms of library population. In fact the difference between the most populated day in October and the one in March is only 34 people. Which is great!

In case you’re wondering what happened on March 13th: that was the last Friday we were open normal hours. Staff, faculty, and students were already voluntarily staying home to work from there to keep themselves safe from the rapidly growing COVID-19 threat. On March 15th, the following Sunday, Tufts made the decision to close the campuses, and Monday the 16th was the last day the library was physically staffed in person (as a note, we are very much here for you online). So what you’re seeing in that data is the effect the virus was already having on the life of the library. March 11th: relatively normal day. March 13th: signs of a new normal.

But we’re not here for discussion of the virus, we are here for discussion of the data!

Direct comparison bar graph of the days of the week we counted in March and October

Click to enlarge.

So, this is the same data as above, but oriented on what days of the week a given date was. Although the by-the-date data has its place, it’s good to know, say, what a week looks like. This is what a week and a half look like! And this is where that missing data makes me sad, because we’ll never know what the other days looked like in March. Traditionally, the weekends are the slowest days of the week, and the busiest tend to be Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. This is mostly matching, but…what was with that October Friday? My instinct is that it was an aberration, but without seeing in March it’s hard to tell how much of one it was. That a Friday was the busiest day we counted in October tells me that there must have been an event that day (a meeting? exams? a conference, perhaps?), but maybe it just chanced to be close to an exam.

In the end, one surprisingly busy day does not a library make. But it’s still fun to think about. Especially when you compare calendars to the data and realize that Friday, October 25th, happened to also be the second day of our pumpkin painting. Coincidence?

I think not.

Comparison of floor populations between October and March

Click to enlarge

Okay, last two charts! The first is the People by Floor. So this ignores dates, and focuses on the aggregate. One thing I’ve been noticing in the last year or so is that the counts we get on the 7th floor are always roughly twice that of the next closest floor (which alternates). As you can see from October, that sometimes makes for some goofy looking charts. This is one of those rare cases where the missing data actually won’t make any real difference. Barring anomalies, what you see with that chart falls in line with years of existing data. That one is one I always predict with easy clarity. Which brings us to the final, and everyone’s favorite: programs!

A graph comparing the number of people from each program counted during affiliation periods

Click to enlarge

This is sort of wild to look at. So, okay, Dental and Medical are the programs dominating the numbers. That makes perfect sense, and honestly outside of minor variations, that’s what tends to happen. They were close in October, though, so I would have loved to see what those numbers looked like in March. Especially given the sudden notable presences of PA, PHPD, and MBS. Look at that MBS presence in March! That’s so great to see. I love it when I see sudden jumps in the number of people in the library. We’re here for everybody, after all!

That’s it for me today. Thank you for reading along, and I hope to see you all online this summer, where we are all seven days of the week. If you’re unsure the best way to reach out, well, try checking out our Ask Us page. Or hey, you can still Schedule a Consultation. There are lots of options.

And remember: wear your mask.

Leo the skeleton wearing a homemade face mask

Photo credit: Tarlan Sedeghat

Stay safe everyone,
Tom

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In honor of this upcoming Memorial Day, Hirsh Library will be suspending our remote hours for the weekend. Effectively, we will be “closed” for this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (May 23th – 25th), and be back to our normal 8am – 8pm online staffed hours on Tuesday, May 26th.

You can always still reach out to us via Ask Us, and we will get back to you as soon as we’re back on Tuesday!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and stay safe!

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Hello hello everyone. It’s about that time again: Affiliation Survey, March 2020 edition!

Twice a year, the Hirsh Health Sciences Library runs the Affiliation Survey, where we walk around and ask every one of our lovely patrons which program they are with (Dental, Medical, PHPD, etc). This is all we ask. We will not ask for your name or even which year you’re in! The numbers we collect are used in aggregate so we can get a snapshot of what the library usage is like. You can take a look at my post from this past December  to see how the data turns out.

Here’s how it goes: there are 7 days spread out over the whole month, randomly chosen to try and maximize the usefulness of the numbers (in other words, we’re trying not to get skewed by specific exam blocks too much). On those days, HHSL staff (you’ll probably recognize us!) will walk around 4 times over the course of the day to gather the totals of how many people from each school are in the library. There will be signs and posters up this month, so you’re not caught unaware.

Keep your eyes out for them!

We won’t announce ahead of time which days we’re counting (see our need to randomize, above), so it’s safe to assume that it could just happen any day this month.

Don’t panic!

If you don’t want to be bothered (or to speak out loud), you are welcome to leave your ID next to you while you study. If that is still not good enough, you can write your program down on a piece of paper and leave that next to you. If you’re in a group room, feel free to stick a note to the outside of the door (on the wood – the windows must remain clear!) telling us how many people of what program(s) are in the room. Done and done. We will add that number to our count, and we will move on to the next person!

There are pencils, pens, markers, scrap paper, and tape down at the Service Desk on the 4th floor, so you can even make your sign bright and cheerful! If you have any questions or concerns, let us know either in person at the desk, or through Ask Us on our website. We’re here to help and make this quick and easy.

But otherwise, we look forward to seeing you all next month and finding out just what our beloved HHSL looks like this fine spring.

Good luck on studying and I look forward to seeing you in the library!
Tom

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Hi everyone!  Happy December. But we are here to talk about October, so…Happy October in Retrospect.

As you may recall, back in October we walked around and asked you all what school you were with. Well, this is the result!

Vertical bar graph of how many people from each program were counted in the library

Click to enlarge

We counted a lot of people! I for one am glad you all like us here. A few people have asked me if there were any surprises with this data, but honestly, not really. The Dental school coming in at 1274, Medical coming in at 1080, and Friedman coming in third with 231 is all the sort of thing I am used to seeing in these numbers. Which is not to say it’s bad! It’s actually quite nice to see how consistent we’ve been over the years, especially as we keep adding more and more seating (and subsequently see these numbers grow even larger from time to time).

Now for the unaware, we tend to time this survey so that we get a full week’s worth of data, even if they days themselves are spread out over the course of a month (randomized, with certain accounting for things like Indigenous Peoples’ Day). This is what that “week” ended up looking like this time:

Vertical bar graph of the number of people counted for each day of a calendar week

Click to enlarge

I found this data to be the surprising data. Friday was our busiest day! We counted 674 people on the Friday we did this, and that is astonishing to me. Wednesday being 642 makes sense, and traditionally the busiest day of the week for us tends to alternate between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and Saturday being the slowest at 281 sounds right to me. Heck, even Sunday only being 284 seems right. But Friday being the busiest day for counting? I am truly surprised by that.

Naturally, because I am me, I also broke this data up by time of the day and by floor, like so:

Vertical bar graph of the number of people counted for each time we walked around for the count

Click to enlarge

Vertical bar graph of the number of people counted on each floor

Click to enlarge

Remember earlier, when I was talking about the school/program breakdown being what I expected? Well, the times and floors are pretty typical of what I see month-to-month with our other data, but this is a great way to take a look at a day in the life of the library. We get crazy busy right around lunch, stay that way through the afternoon, there’s a slight tapering off around dinner, and then then the number of people in the library drops by the final count of the night (in this case, from 959 people at 6pm down to 328 at 3pm).

That graph of the floor count is frankly one of my favorite pieces of data in the library. We have been adding so many chairs and so much more furniture over the years the the amount of people on the 7th floor just keeps going up, and as of this past October we were counting over double the amount of people on that floor as any other! Just look at that: the 7th floor had 1605 people counted on it, and the 5th floor came in second at a distance (less than half!) 769 people. That’s nuts. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anybody who’s been up there, of course, but it’s still nuts.

 

Vertical bar graph of circulation data from July-November

Click to enlarge

Finally, to bring it all home and give you a spot of context, this graph is the Circulation data from July – November, which as of writing is the most recent data I have. To be clear, it is the number of checkouts per month, not the number of people who have checked things out (because if you check out a skull, a laptop, and a book, that could just be 1 person, but 3 checkouts. See how it works?). October is far and away the most checkouts, at 2616 – September is a relatively distant second at 1924. Given the change in some curricula on campus, I don’t know what to expect for the spring this year – generally, October and April are our busiest months, but time will tell! Hopefully I’ll have some interesting stories from the data come my next summer retrospective.

Well, thank you for reading! I hope this fall brought good things for you, and I hope the winter (and subsequent spring) bring even better! Have a great day everyone, and if you come by the desk on the 4th floor make sure to say hi! I’ll probably be there.

-Tom-

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Image source: https://pixabay.com/photo-1752164/

Exam season is upon us, which means it’s time for Extended Hours! Hirsh Library extends its weekend hours to help you study, and we will be open from 10am to 10pm on the following days:

Saturday, December 7th
Sunday, December 8th

Saturday, December 14th
Sunday, December 15th

We will also have free coffee for you all on the Saturdays! The coffee is scheduled to show up at 4pm, so so you can come take a quick study break and commiserate while you caffeinate.

As a reminder, the Med Ed building hours do not change. Swipe access is from 6am – 11pm, and if you are here by 11pm you can stay until midnight. Extended Hours are strictly for Hirsh Library services.

If you have any questions you can feel free to swing by the desk on the 4th floor, or call us at 617-636-6706. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you the next two weekends!

Happy Studying!

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Thanksgiving break is almost here, which means a chance to relax, recharge, and put those pants you have with elastic waists to good use! Hirsh Library will have altered hours for part of next week so we can go celebrate too, so here is the breakdown for you:

Monday 11/25:  7:45am-11:00pm (regular hours)

Tuesday 11/26:  7:45am-11:00pm (regular hours)

Wednesday 11/27: 7:45am-5pm

Thursday 11/28: Closed

Friday 11/29: Closed

Saturday 11/30: Closed

Sunday 12/1: 12-10pm (regular hours)

All of us here at Hirsh hope you have a happy, healthy, and above all relaxing break, and we will see you again when we return to normal hours on December 1st!

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Hi all,

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the HHSL Service Desk will be open 12pm – 7pm on Monday, October 14th. Will return to normal operating hours on Tuesday the 15th.

The swipe access for the building will remain unchanged.

Have a great (long) weekend, and we’ll see you next week!

Tom

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Hello hello everyone. It’s about that time again: time for the Affiliation Survey!

Twice a year, the Hirsh Health Sciences Library runs the Affiliation Survey, where we walk around and ask every one of our lovely patrons which program they are with (Dental, Medical, Sackler, etc). This is all we ask. We will not ask for your name or even which year you’re in! The numbers we collect are used in aggregate so we can get a snapshot of what the library usage is like. The graph you see above is the result of last year’s two Affiliation months, for instance.

Here’s how it goes: there are 7 days spread out over the whole month, randomly chosen to try and maximize the usefulness of the numbers (in other words, we’re trying not to get skewed by specific exam blocks too much). On those days, HHSL staff (you’ll probably recognize us!) will walk around 4 times over the course of the day to gather the totals of how many people from each school are in the library. There will be signs and posters up this month, so you’re not caught unaware.

Keep your eyes out for them!

We won’t announce ahead of time which days we’re counting (see our need to randomize, above), so it’s safe to assume that it could just happen any day this month.

Don’t panic!

If you don’t want to be bothered (or to speak out loud), you are welcome to leave your ID next to you while you study. If that is still not good enough, you can write your program down on a piece of paper and leave that next to you. If you’re in a group room, feel free to stick a note to the outside of the door (on the wood – the windows must remain clear!) telling us how many people of what program(s) are in the room. Done and done. We will add that number to our count, and we will move on to the next person!

There are pencils, pens, markers, scrap paper, and tape down at the Service Desk on the 4th floor, so you can even make your sign bright and cheerful! If you have any questions or concerns, let us know either in person at the desk, or through Ask Us on our website. We’re here to help and make this quick and easy.

But otherwise, we look forward to seeing you all this month and finding out just what our beloved HHSL looks like this fine autumn.

Good luck on studying and I look forward to seeing you in the library!
Tom

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Hello hello! I am here to let you know that this Monday, September 2nd, is Labor Day. Here at Hirsh Library, that means the desk will only be open from Noon until 7pm. So if you need any assistance or even just a phone charger, that’s the time to come visit us!

The building itself will be open its regular hours for scan access and studying.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the remaining days of summer, and we will see you in September!

Leo the Skeleton model smiling at the camera, wearing a light blue Tufts Alumni visor, with a button pinned to it of The Block

Leo the Skeleton, winner of my personal secret Nicest Colleague Award, six years running.

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