Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | And there shall be Comic-Con

Another ComicCon year has passed and I was able to fulfill a fantastic dream and go to this magical place with my daughter, Scout! This year was a little different than previous years. First off, there was no Doctor Who panel (ludicrous given the fact that the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, was to make his debut a scant few weeks AFTER the Con). Secondly, we were making the trip by car. 

By. Car. 

Keep in mind that the only way I had traveled to San Diego was in an airplane. Last year, I did this as a bucket list item upon arrival. 

The drive was long and full of traffic. And traffic. And some weird car issues that I'd rather forget (like those stupid hotel nachos). On the bright side, Scout and I had a proper road trip, enjoyed an overnight with friends in Los Angeles and listened to a ton of David Sedaris thanks to OverDrive and the library's audiobook collection! We took some time to stop and have some fun to and from San Diego. 

Drinks are the best reason to stop! 
Someone needed to get their energy out. 
I don't want to cheapen my experience at ComicCon by telling you that it was fun. It was more than fun. It was simply... amazing. 

The picture doesn't really show just how close she is! 

No, Michael Rooker... YOU rock!
We spent a lot of time going to panels at Zachary Levi's Nerd HQ. It's at Petco Park. It's free for anybody to go and enjoy. There are tons of free video games, picture opportunities and lovely views of the Padre's ballpark. I spent many happy hours off my feet in a stadium chair enjoying the breeze. One of Scout's big deals was being able to attend the Walking Dead panel there. For the bargain basement price of $22, she sat withing feet of the cast as fans asked questions about the show. It was worth it to not sleep outdoors for the panel at ComicCon the next day. The questions were asked in an intimate setting as opposed to a 3500+ seat auditorium. During a free panel at Nerd HQ, Scout was able to get Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon-Walking Dead) to pose for her. For $20, you can get a picture with one of the parade of stars coming to do panels at NerdHQ. Scout got her picture taken with Zac Levi !

Yeah. She went crazy before and after
this picture was taken. 
There were a lot of free things to do if you weren't able to snag a ticket to get into the ComicCon proper. Outside of Petco Park, the parking lot was taken over by many booths and MORE free stuff! Out of the many booths behind the stadium, I really enjoyed a couple. Every Simpsons Ever advertised the showing of every Simpsons episode and gave out free blue (Marge hair) cotton candy and donut pillows. There was a Hello Kitty Experience which allowed you to take a picture with the iconic Sanrio character and get free nail art! All of this was free!!!

It wouldn't be ComicCon without the costumes. Cosplay (as defined by the Oxford dictionary) is: the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and and anime. Many people also dressed up as their favorite television characters. 

 I love this Up cosplay. Kevin is a girl! 
People get darn creative!
I love this DeadMaus/Nyan Cat mashup!

Stars from the show, "Heroes of Cosplay"

Movies, television and video games are heavily promoted at ComicCon. From booths to bags, posters to pins, there was never a lack of free items for one to snag. I met and discovered a lot of amazing artists at ComicCon. They had booths in an area called Artists Alley. Some of my favorites are: 
Katie CookPatrick Ballesteros, Karen Hallion, and Pascal Campion

I have a friend who is an expert (to me) on comic book art. He took me around to every booth and we looked at every bit of art. My friend talked to a lot of the artists and I appreciated the work they did and how iconic they were in the comic book stratosphere. It was one of the best walking days I've had. I learned a lot about comic book history and appreciated the talent that was at the show. 

Mockingjay had a huge presence at ComicCon.
Scout rebels against the Capitol! 
ComicCon is the perfect place to advertise
new games....and pose with them! 

Selfies in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace! Our hotel had a free photo booth to advertise
the show Ascension. As  you can tell, we took full advantage of it. 

Security was a large presence in the hotel entrance and lobby. The entrants had to go up to the 4th floor pool entrance (our floor!!) to get to the party so it was easy to loiter around and sneak a peek before the celebrities went into the fete.
Scout and Matt Bennett

Saturday night was a huge night for Scout and the other kids in our room. It was the night of the Entertainment Weekly party. With good eyes and polite asking, Scout got a hug from Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead (Daryl Dixon), a dark (not visible at all) pic with Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Matt Bennett (Robby Shapiro) from VicTorious. Scout wants to add, "If you want to take a picture with a celebrity, make sure to call them by their REAL name and not the character they portrayed. 

This didn't mean that I didn't see anybody noteworthy! I had my share of elbow rubbing. I had to be quick on my feet and ready to ask at a minute's notice. I was starstruck by the passing by of Orlando Bloom, so my friend took a quick picture. 

Andy Serkus (voice of Golem) and
Orlando Bloom walking around.
This year was made extra special by having Scout with me. It was truly a dream come true for me and an amazing experience for her. Should you do it if it's your dream?


Like I said, even if you don't have a ticket to go into the convention center, there is SO much to do in and around ComicCon. 

Until next time, SCIENCE! (and a picture of me with Grant Inahara).

I ran out of line just to take picture with Grant Inahara from

The ride home made us sad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Learning | Scree

If you have read any of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody Mysteries, you have probably encountered the word scree, meaning landslip. (If you have not read them, the word comes up frequently, since the main characters are archaeologists who often excavate in Egypt. There's scree all over the place!)

This comes from an Old English word, related to the Swedish and Danish skred, meaning to slide or glide. 

It also means a mass of detritus, forming a precipitous, stony slope upon a mountain-side; also, the material composing such a slope.

Screefrom Carlos Baquero's photostream on 
Some rights reserved.

I turned to the Oxford English Dictionary for the definition, because I thought I had found another use of the word in the book I'm currently reading. 

It's an historical novel by Nancy E. Turner, titled My Name is Resolute.  

It's the story of a tenacious young girl who is captured from her aristocratic Jamaican home, then sold several times as a slave.  

She carries valuable family treasures, such as coins and jewelry, sewn into pockets on her petticoat. 

(She also settles in colonial Lexington, Massachusetts, in the years leading up to the American Revolution. But I'm getting ahead of myself.) 

Here's the quote from page 197, which employs the word scree:

"How shall I make myself into a woman? As I made an apron, as I made my own thread and turned it into a plaited cloth, hid my scree within, and then was abandoned by my only kin?"

I puzzled over this for a while.  Was this an editing error? Did the author really mean to use the word scree, or a similar word, screed? 

Screed is a word with multiple meanings;  it is probably derived from the word shred. Turner had already described that petticoat as tattered and patched up. I don't think she meant screed in the above passage.  

Scree lobelia in fruit, from John Sullivan's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
The original meaning of scree might be used here as a part of a metaphor, describing the changes in Resolute's circumstances as a series of slides and slips down a mountain.

The above photo of a scree lobelia plant bearing fruit amongst rocks on the side of a mountain reminds me of the main character, Resolute Talbot.  She is a strong-willed child, who grows into a determined, productive woman. I won't spoil the story for you with specific details, but she plays a very important role in the American Revolution.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Life| Easy Reader Book Series " Tool School"

I just came across this Easy Reader book series called " Tool School". There is Tia, the tape measure, Sophie the screwdriver and so on.

I like the concept of getting girls to read about these type of things. We don't always need a handy man around the house to fix things for us. 

These books are teaching little girls that they are fully capable of fixing things around the house.

These two books are appropriate for Kindergartners and First Graders. These books are full of colorful illustrations and simple words.

Give these books a try if your kids are just learning to read. You can place a hold on these two books and pick them up from your local library in a few days.

Tia Tape Measure and the move  

Sophie Screwdriver and the classroom

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Learning | Wolves

It happened two days in a row. Two very different kids asked for "wolf books." After talking to them a little bit to see what they meant by that, I discovered they both wanted fiction books about wolves.  I remembered Jack London's classic "White Fang," which I had read at their age, but I looked up a few newer series which have wolves.

Grey Wolves, scientific name Canus lupus. Status: Endangered. From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Both the boy and girl I helped chose books from Kathryn Lasky's Wolves of the Beyond series. This is a spinoff of her very popular animal fantasy series, The Guardians of Ga'hoole. The series starts off with a book called Lone Wolf, in which a baby wolf is born with a twisted paw.  How could a person resist reading further, to find out what happens to it? The series is recommended to readers in grades 3-7.

There's another series I would like to suggest.  In The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, the main character, Torak, is friends with a wolf cub.  In fact, he can communicate with the wolf cub.  This adventure takes place six thousand years before our time. Twelve year old Torak becomes separated from his tribe, and finds himself in a unique position to battle evil in his land. These books are recommended for readers age 10 and up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

She's Crafty | Art Journaling

Remember a while back, at the beginning of this year, I wrote about my crafty New Year's Resolutions? And one of my resolutions concerned art journals? Remember that? If you don't, read it here.

To tell you the truth, I almost forgot that I planned to revisit the topic. But revisit it I shall, in this very blog post.

During the last week of 2013 I went on a hunt for my first and oh-so-perfect art journal. I went to book stores and used book sales to find the "one" that I would spend some time with, exploring art and craft creation. Meet my journal, Red, a used book I finally found at the Friends of the Ripon Memorial Library book sale.

Red reminds me of a super hero!

You can find more information about all of our Friends of the Library book sales by clicking here.

Instead of a store-bought journal I decided to go with a used book and prep it for art journaling. This prep work involved ripping every tenth page out to make some extra room for paint textures and the bulk of added collage papers.

Pages removed.

Journaling in a used book offers the choice to work with text already on the page or to cover it up to various degrees and use the text as more decorative background. I have even used some of the ripped out pages (since I saved each and every one) to collage with random text blocks.

Re-purposing removed pages

On the night of New Years Eve I set aside a tiny chunk of time to create my first page.


And it was a lovely experience! A tiny project with complete creative freedom. A chance to make a tiny mess and focus on making something meaningful on my own terms. I didn't have to worry about the outcome too much. I rarely give myself the chance to be so loose with art. It's something I strive for in all that I create and think art journaling will help me expand that freedom.

Along with finding a bit of stillness in the chaos of life as journals are so great at doing.

If you're interested in starting you own art journal, we have plenty of books to get you started. Find one with a style you like and with projects that inspire you, that way your journey through art journals will be an inspiring and exciting adventure!

Here are the hands-on craft books that will show you all the wonderful things you can create in an art journal:

Journal Revolution: Rise up and Create!
Altered Art Circus!
The Art Journal Workshop
Creative Wildfire: an Introduction to Art Journaling
Raw Art Journaling
True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling
The Art of Vintage Journaling and Collage
The Journal Junkies Workshop
Journal Spilling
The Elemental Journal
Adventures in Mixed Media

We even have a book in our digital library showcasing the art journals of a few artists, illustrators, and designers.

An Illustrated Journey
Click here to borrow it from Overdrive.

So, let's talk about art journaling! Tell us in the comments whether you art journal, are thinking of starting an art journal, have any tips for beginners, have a favorite art journal craft book to gush about, or if you just want to say, "hello!"

Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | And Learns About Changing History

It's not everyday that we get to really understand historical events through the perspective of someone who was there

Understanding historical events is so very important to understanding where we are now, and to having true empathy for those who lived through terrible injustices. And just as important, it's a chance to applaud courage and bravery in the face of incredible odds.

Well, my friends, our community is quite fortunate to have an incredible opportunity this Friday, September 12, at 3:30 pm. 

Geraldine Hollis, a member of the Tougaloo Nine, will be here -- at the Cesar Chavez Central Library -- to talk about how a group of nine college students took a stand against injustice.

You won't want to miss her story! Trust me.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Just Life| A Farewell To Arms

I am reading Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms. I love Ernest Hemingway's introduction to this book. He talks about the grand tragedy of human wars.

"I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts by accredited representatives of the loyal citizens of their country who will fight it."

The book has two forewords. One by Ernest Hemingway's son Patrick Hemingway and one by his grandson Sean Hemingway

I like reading this book. The protagonist is Frederic Henry, an American volunteering as a soldier in the Italian Army during world war I. Frederic is in charge of transporting the wounded from the front Line. In the middle of the war, Fredric falls in love with Catherine Barkley, an English nurse working close to the front line. 

I don't know how their story ends, I haven't finished the book yet but I am savoring it.

To be honest, I don't want this book to end. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.

I leave you with these words by Hemingway:

Picture from Wikipedia

"If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. 

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. 

But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially."