Friday, June 28, 2013

Short Attention Span Challenge | Knotty Knotty!

Why Knot?  As I looked at the library book, Why Knot?, which inspired this week's blog post, I thought the same thing.  Why should I learn how to knot?  I remember briefly learning knots when I was at camp and trying to earn some sort of generic badge, although I couldn't recall how to tie any of the knots now.  I am not a fisherman or a sailor.  I am fairly sure I invented a new knot when I used two hairbands and a ribbon to straighten up my Christmas tree last year. However, according to Philippe Petit (You might have heard of him, the tightrope walker who illegally walked between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 1974.), there are many practical uses for knowing specific knots.  Such as, securing items in travel.  So wait, me just tying random twists and pulling the rope into strange convolutions is not the best way to tie that IKEA stuff onto the top of my car?  Who knew?  Another use, he says: rescuing people!  Yeah, I guess that's pretty important.  But the best use (although I'm not sure why this is more important than saving lives), says Petit, is making connections!  Linking pieces of land, creating bridges, and connecting people.  Okay, so knots are pretty important.  In fact, upon reading that, I remembered a  documentary I saw a few years ago about a region in China where people cross a river everyday by sliding across a rope.  So, they probably think effective knots are pretty nice too.

The Challenge:
Learn some useful knots.  I used the book referenced above, which includes a little rope to use while practicing your knots. You can check out the book and the rope at the library, but remember to bring BOTH back!

The Process:
Petit says a good knot has 4 virtues:
1.  It is easy to tie.
2.  It is stable under a load.
3.  It does not reduce the ultimate breaking strength of the rope.
4.  It is easy to untie.

Also it keeps it's shape.  Wait that is five things!  I'm still not sure why there weren't 5 virtues...

And he isn't the only one who thinks knots are important.  In 1933, Clifford Ashley wrote a book with over 7000 drawings and featured 3,854 knots!  I wonder if my double hairband ribbon knot is somewhere in there.  I bet knot! yucka yucka...

The same year, the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) was established. "Tyer" is intentional; the use of "tier" is ambiguous, they say. 

The IGKT has something called the Six Knot Challenge, where participants must tie six knots as quickly as possible.    The world record is 8.1 seconds.  I will not beat this record, I assure you, but as I am typing this it is 12:58 p.m. on Friday.  My blog is set to run at 2 p.m., so I am giving myself an entire hour.  I know, it is astonishingly fast. To make this more impressive, I will attempt this feat while working on the reference desk (which means I will be happily interrupted several times, for sure).

Sheet Bend Knot
The Result:

The Sheet Bend Knot (Common Bend, Ordinary Bend, Single Bend, Flag Bend, Swab Hitch, and the Barbers' Knot)
Use: This knot has many uses, such as fishing nets.  It can also be doubled and used to tie sheets together and escape out of a window!  Good to know in case I am kidnapped and placed somewhere with excess bedding.

It is now 1:12 p.m....

The Square Knot (Reef Knot, True Knot, Hard Knot, String Tie Knot, Common Knot, Regular Knot, Ordinary Knot, Flat Knot, Hercules Knot)
Use: Close a sack, tie a package, secure a roll, tie scarves, reef or furl sails on a boat.  Petit mentions that there is a Reef Knot in Arizona 9000 years old!  Also, in Ancient Greece brides tied these knots on their belts, and it was supposed to make them fertile.

1:22 p.m....
Square Knot
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
Use: to tie something to another object like a pole or mast.  It will not slip up and down on the object it is tied to.
1:36 p.m.

The Bowline (pronounced Bo-lynn or boo-lynn. Like Anne?)
You can tie this knot around yourself if you are about to fall down a cliff.  I'm not sure I ever quite got it right, so I think I'm doomed.

1:53 p.m....
My unsuccessful Bowline

Sheepshank (Dogshank, Catshank)
Use: To repair a damaged rope or shorten a rope.  Petit suggests using the loops to hang stuff when camping.

1:59 p.m...

Clove Hitch
(Builder's Hitch, Boatman's Hitch, Peg Knot, Double Half Hitch, Steamboat Hitch)
Use: Attach a rope to a post (or water bottle) super fast.

2:03 p.m.!  On no!!!!  In my defense, in this last hour I signed about 20 people up for our summer reading program, Reading is so Delicious! It has my stomach tied up in knots!  Have you signed up yet???
Clove Hitch

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | (Rules for) Leavin' on a Jetplane

This summer has been unusually high in air travel for me. I usually drive, but this year I have been lucky to snag some great deals at just the right time! Don't get me wrong, driving is great, but the gas prices have made my pocketbook sad. This year, I'll be traveling to 3 locations: Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego. All 3 places are within an hour and a half plane ride from my favorite airport, so they're not too far away. I do, though, have some great tips for plane travel that might just save your sanity! 

Pre-flight preparations: 

1) Go to your local library: Did you know the library lends e-books? You can bring your Nook or Kindle on your flight and hold tons of books with no weight at all! The library is also a great place to buy books at the Friends of the Library booksale. If you like the feeling of a book in your hand, this is the place for you. The cost is right under $1.00 per item (sometimes less!) and it's also helpful if you accidentally leave the book somewhere.

2) Pack Efficiently: This is much easier than it sounds. I try to plan outfits that can be mixed and matched into other outfits. I recently bought a cotton stretchy dress that can double from casual (with sandals) to fancy (with a colorful necklace and heels). If you're going to be gone for more than 5 days, see if there's a place where you can do laundry. I have these all in one sheets in my suitcase for just that purpose. There are smaller travel packs at your local store! 

3) Have a comfortable shoulder bag: For me, the shoulder bag doubles as my purse on the plane. I can hold my Nook, my wallet, camera, empty water bottle, magazines, cell phone, lip gloss, electronic plugs and chargers and gum all in there for easy access during the flight! (No lie... I carry all of that in my bag).  I keep my nicer purse wrapped up safely in my luggage for use over vacation with way less to carry! 

4) Print out your boarding passes at home: A majority of airlines allow you to print out your travel documents at home. This will save you time so you don's have to stand in line at the airport.

At the airport: 

4) SHOW UP EARLY: It's better to be safe than sorry. It's never easy to gauge if there will be a lot of people in the security line or if you'll breeze right through. Feeling worry about a line or rushing is never a good way to start a trip and if you're early, you have more time to relax at your gate and read!

5) Check the departure boards often: Many times, I have been met by a gate change before I get out of the security line. A lot of airlines will also offer a text message 

6) Find a comfy place with a plug for your electronics: I love knowing I'm not using any juice when I'm fiddling around on my cell phone or reading my Nook! If not for your electronics, then a comfortable spot for you to wait for your flight. 

7) Relax because you're on your way!

Please don't feel like you have to take all of my advice, but being organized and timely will help you to feel less anxiety at the start of your adventure. 

Stress-free adventures in the air are out there! 


Book Bucket List | Board Books Galore!

In honor of the very new addition to my family, this week I'm going to feature a few of my favorite board books.  Board books are printed on a very thick cardboard, which allow little hands to be a little more rough with them than other books.  I have to admit that I've already started a collection for our family's newest member!

Dear Zoo is a classic children's book and features lots of fun animals for the little ones.

Oops! by David Shannon is one of my favorites.  We get to see the ever energetic David as a baby and all of the trouble he is able to cause.

 W is for Wombat is a very colorful and bright alphabet book.  For each letter, a different Australian word is featured with an illustration.

The Runaway Bunny is one of my favorite books.  Baby bunny is always playing hide and seek, but his mother is able to find him every time!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning | Ice Cream!

We have had some hot days recently. Hot weather makes me think about ice cream. But that's not the only thing that made me think about ice cream.

There's a new book with a drawing of a scrumptious ice cream cone on the cover. It's called I Scream Ice Cream: A Book of Wordles.

This children's picture book isn't really about ice cream. It's about playing with words. As the inside flap of the front cover says, "What do 'I Scream' and 'Ice Cream' have in common? Nothing--besides the fact that they sound the same." This book depicts a phrase on one page, then illustrates a phrase that sounds the same on the next page.  The idea is to try to guess what the second set of words is, before you turn the page. I think when they say "wordles," they really mean "puns." Call these groups of words whatever you like, but they do inspire some silly thoughts. 

There are plenty of books that really are about ice cream at SSJCPL.  Some are stories, some tell the history of ice cream, and many of them tell us how ice cream is manufactured, or how to make it at home. 

Photo courtesy of Paul Pehrson's (docguy)
photostream on Some rights reserved.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just Life| Panteha Goes Bird Watching

Every morning I wake up from the songs of a hundred birds singing outside my window. This morning, they were having choir practice around 5:30am.  

Since last week, I have been trying to learn the names of some of these birds.

You see, from 10,000 bird species, I can only name about 20. I think it would be cool to learn the names of a few more. 

When I told my idea to my co-worker a few weeks back, she just went into action and grabbed this book Birds of the Northern California for me to help me jump start my bird watching adventure. Then she started marking pages that contain birds from this region with purple post-it notes. I was sweating as I was looking at the number of these post-it notes.

But as one once said, You can only learn one bird at a time and learning is only a journey not a destination.

Then I told the bird watching idea to my daughter who got excited about it. But nowadays, she just screams my name from the top of her lung as if her hair is on fire and when I rush to see what is the emergency, she just says very nonchalantly "Look mom, there is a bird outside our window". 
So far, we have been able to identify the birds listed below. We have seen quite a few birds since the beginning of our adventure, but since we don't know the names of most of them, I am proud to say that we have encountered quite a few UFOs in our bird watching adventures thus far.

So the following are the birds that we have identified so far: 

Bird #1 identified: American Robin. Have you seen this bird in your backyard yet? This bird lays tiny blue eggs.

Bird #2 identified: Western Scrub Jay.

Bird #3 identified: Mourning dove. This one has been cooing in our backyard for the past two days.

Also, the other day, me and my daughter went to our backyard and we saw a Hummingbird and what appeared to be a mockingbird. 

It is so hard to identify these birds. They fly so fast and so high and I don't want to use our binoculars in our tiny backyard to give our neighbors the wrong idea.  

After a while, my daughter got bored and started watering the whole backyard including me...that was the end of our bird watching for that day.

Time will tell what the future holds in our bird watching adventures. I will keep you posted as we discover names of these UFOs.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha