Saturday, November 2, 2013

Books On Film | The Mouse and The Motorcycle

This month is going to be all about the kids. I'll talk about adaptation of some children's classics, starting with Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and The Motorcycle series.

The Mouse and The Motorcycle was published in 1965 and two sequels, Runaway Ralph (1970) and Ralph S. Mouse (1982) followed. All of the books feature a small talking mouse named Ralph, who befriends human children and gets into all sorts of adventures!

The first book was adapted into feature film in 1986, the second book as an ABC Special in 1988, and the third as a feature film in 1990. They all feature a small puppet Ralph.

The movies don't follow the books to the letter, but they are a lot of fun for young kids. The features are a bit dated and you'll have to pull out your VCR to watch them, however any kid who gets a kick of out the impossible will love Ralph!

Covers courtesy of LibraryThing.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Miss Moneypennypincher | Greeting Card Chuckles

Yesterday was my birthday and one of my very creative coworkers made me a handmade greeting card with a silly joke in it.  It got me thinking how much I spend on greeting cards.  

I try and buy the sets they have at Costco for $19.99 but sometimes I want more than a generic birthday/wedding/baby card.  I want something hilarious.  So, I take myself to the nearest greeting card store and find a fantastically funny card for WHOA!!!!! $3 to $6?  Even more for a "singing" card? What?!  I look through the cheap cards, but alas, nothing sticks out.  

Why don't I just make the card myself, as my amazing coworker did for me?  It's personal.  It saves money.  And let's be honest, we have some pretty funny joke books at the library, if I say so myself.  Check one out - free!  Give a joke card to everyone you know!
Courtesy of

Here's a few...

For your teacher:
What is a light year?
A year with very little homework!
Except your homework is fun (and I really want an A)! Thanks for being awesome, my "favorite" teacher!

For your doctor:
What did the grasshopper say when it hit the windshield?
"If I had any guts I'd do it again."
Thanks for taking such great care of my guts, Dr. ______!

 For your librarian:
What books did the owl like?
You're the best librarian around!  Thanks for always figuring out what books I need - even when all I know about it is that there is a girl and maybe a dog or possibly a cat in it.

 For Thanksgiving:
Why should you never talk like a turkey?
Because it's bad to use fowl language!
Especially when you have a mouth full of potatoes!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | Costumes at Disneyland

Confession time: I am a horrible costume builder. 

In fact, when Halloween time rolls around... I cringe because I can never think of a good costume to pull off! This anxiety was made worse when a few friends wanted to dress up when we went to Disneyland. 

Dress up? With costumes?  *gulp*

Turns out, Disneyland has an official position on wearing a costume: "(one cannot wear) adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character". In plain people talk: an adult can't wear something that looks like a legitimate Disney character. The only time an adult can wear a full fledged costume in Disneyland is when there's a special Halloween party that you buy a special ticket for. 

How does one dress like a Disney character but not?  Disneybounding. 

The term was new to me until this year. Disneybounding is taking the color palate and essence of a Disney character and using those items to make a "costume". This means, that ANYone can wear it into a Disney park and represent their favorite character and still stay well within the rules. 

This was something I could definitely get behind! My travel companions and I decided to dress up as a cohesive group. We chose the classic movies, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Each of us chose a different character within those movies. 

Clothes are a huge part of Disneybounding. Accessories really push it all over the top. My friend, Taylor, brought bows and hats for us to use and they really made the difference between "It looks good." and "We look AWESOME!". She found things on the cheap. The cost was $1.00 ea for the big bows and $1.00 for a pair of the little bows. She got the shirts at a shirt outlet in Stockton for $3.00 and the pants for $10.00 at K Mart. 

The cartoon Mr. Smee

The Bloggess as Smee (and a hat... I NEVER wear hats)
TinkerScout with green jeans! 


 Happy Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
and Pluto!! 
Grumpy Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

A lot of cast members (people who work at Disneyland) really loved it. It solidified us as a group and it made people smile. At the end of the day... it was just fun. Everyone was comfortable, happy.. and full of Disney spirit! My friends and I are already planning our next Disneybounding adventure. 

What would be yours?

Go out there and find your costumed adventure. 

Happy Halloween! 

Book Bucket List | Happy Halloween!

Today is one of my very most favorite days of the year.  I love seeing kids (and adults) in costumes, the spooky decorations, and especially the scary stories.  I know I've said before that I don't like to watch scary movies or television shows, which is true, but recently I've made an exception for American Horror Story: Coven.  I love that show, though it is super super creepy and is probably more appropriate for HBO.  So in honor of Halloween, I'm going to feature some of the books from our collection about the Salem Witch Trials.

Deliverance from evil is Frances Hill's historical novel about the frenzy the town of Salem went into after the first accusations of witchcraft by two young girls.  Hill brings the history and politics of the time into her novel, bringing the story to life with events that actually happened.

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent is more historical fiction about the Salem Witch Trials.  This book is from the point of view of Sarah Carrier, whose mother, Martha, was the first to be tried and killed for "practicing" witchcraft in Salem.  

I wish I'd been there : twenty historians bring to life dramatic events that changed America contains a number of events throughout American history.  A number of historians have written about a number of events including the Salem Witch Trials.

Also, if you're brave enough, we do have the first season of American Horror Story in our system and season two American Horror Story: Asylum through our Link+ system.  But be warned: This is definitely for mature audiences only!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Learning | Yes, Learning. That's What I'm Doing This Week!

This will be a short blog post. I'm attending the Internet Librarian 2013 conference in Monterey this week.  It's been difficult finding time to compose a post--and to make sure I am in a spot where wi-fi is functioning, when I try to edit it. And then there's the brain-brimming-over issue; I attend at least 5 informative sessions each day. 

For instance, on Tuesday night, I saw a wonderful presentation on metadata. Metadata is a word that means "data about data." Metadata helps us find the data we are looking for more easily--think in terms of the author, title and publication date of a book. If librarians didn't spend time thinking about the best ways to organize things, you might find really silly arrangements for books, perhaps by color, height, or number of pages.

Even at dinner, I've been joining other conference attendees for Dine-Arounds. We meet for dinner at a specified place, and converse about specific topics. One night, we talked about E-Books at a Greek restaurant. Another night, we talked about Creating New Services, while we ate at an Indian restaurant. The sampler plate I ordered there included some butter chicken. That reminded me of a mystery series by Tarquin Hall, about a detective named Vish Puri. The stories are set in India. One book in the series is called The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken.  I learned two things about butter chicken at that restaurant: it tastes really good, and it is not generally deadly.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

She's Crafty | East Bay Mini Maker Faire

We went on a field trip! A fun-filled, creative feast-for-the-eyes, whirlwind of a craft adventure and we've put together a field report.

Craft Adventure Field Report 001
Event: East Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013
Where: Park Day School and Studio One Art Center in Oakland, California.
Participants: Kaye, Malia, and Selena.

The East Bay Mini Maker Faire is modeled after a larger event known simply as the Maker Faire. Both celebrate creativity, innovation, learning and sharing. And while the Mini Maker Faire is named so because it is a fraction of the size a Maker Faire can be, let me tell ya - it's not really very mini. From flying robots and walking pods to walls decorated with fabiric-cover hangers and makers teaching how to screen print, this event had it all!

To get and in-depth account of what a Maker Faire is all about check out Lori's amazing blog posts, Maker Faire, Part 1 and Maker Faire, Part 2.

Now for the reports...

Malia: Back Entrance Overload and a Nerdy Derby

Set on the campus of Park Day School in Oakland and the adjoining grounds of Studio One Art Center, The East Bay Mini Maker Faire was nestled inside a residential area. We parked at a separate school campus down a small car-lined street and were already confronted with the cool and wonderous.

Murals made by students at Emerson Elementary

Surprisingly, we still had not glimpsed anything of the actual Faire itself except for the busy streets and streams of people walking towards something cool--you could see it on their faces. As we walked down the street and came around a corner we could see why: following heads turned toward the sky we saw a flying robot buzzing overhead, we heard cardboard boxes crashing and the screams of triumph as kids played Angry Birds IRL (in real life), merchandise calling my name under white canopies, colorful pennant flags, aquariums full of water plants...and this was the back entrance!

We got our little maps out and left it up to my niece what to do first. Selena is 18, but like her aunt she likes to make anything vaguely sword like so when she saw Duct Tape Swords we navigated the campus through a few wrong and right turns, down an incredibly packed area known as Food Truck Alley, and found the craft tables over-populated with munchkins half our size. We watched for a bit and planned to come back later.

Then we spotted the Nerdy Derby and watched kids push their hand made cars with fun names like, "Car" and "Death Wave" down tracks built on top of playground slides.

Kaye: Lady of Glass

One of the things I really enjoyed was watching a lady making beautiful beads from molten glass. She had lots of glass rods, each one a different color, laid out on her work-table. She wore special glasses to protect her eyes from the glare of the torch she had set in a clamp directly in front of her; and, with a hand to each side, she twirled the glass rod in the flame with one hand while holding a mandrel with hot glass wrapped around it in the other. Then, every once in a while, she would take the hot glass and mold it against a metal plate she had close by. It was like magic! A shape was taking form! I wish I could have stayed longer to see what the final bead would look like. But, Malia and Selena beckoned me on to explore other wonders. One day I hope to do what that lady had been doing...she had made it look so easy, I just knew I could do it too. I know that lots of things look easy but aren't, but I want to try it anyway. Just once.

Malia: Glovetopus and FIRE!

After scanning the crowd for a bit I spotted a sign for the Glovetopus. I've made a stuffed glove creature before but never a Glovetopus so I had to check it out. That's when we crossed a courtyard area dominated by a tall contraption with what I thought were arms capable of spinning and tanks of propane...ohmygosh, that's a thing capable of FIRE! We waited while the guy in a top hat and his buddy fiddled with nobs, grabbed a sledge hammer and asked for people to line up. The first kid came into the ring and hit a wooden lever much like one you would find at a carnival. Without knowing what to expect, the large burst of fire and heat was surprising but very, very cool!

For now, this is the end of our field report. However, we have so much more about the East Bay Mini Maker Faire to share, so stay tuned and stay crafty!

Kaye and Malia

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just Life | Got Pomegranate?

About three years ago, my dad planted two tiny pomegranate trees in our backyard. As of right now, my pomegranate trees have about 20 pomegranates on them ready for picking.
Pomegranates from our backyard 
Have you ever tasted a pomegranate? If not, you should be adventurous and try it. 

The Pomegranate tree is native to Iran. The inside of a pomegranate is full of tiny ruby like pulps.
Inside a pomegranate
To eat a pomegranate, I usually cut it in to 4 pieces and then I empty the tiny ruby pulps into a bowl and add a bit of salt to it before eating it. Inside a pomegranate, you also find these white paper thin membranes that cover the pulps, these membranes are not edible.

My mom cutting into a pomegranate
When I was a kid, I would squish a pomegranate with my fingers over and over then I would make a tiny hole in its skin to drink fresh pomegranate juice.

Then years later in U.S., I was introduced to POM pomegranate juice
which is delicious, but costly.

Pomegranates are pretty expensive here. You can pay around $4 for each. You can find them in grocery stores during Fall and Winter months.

Here is my mom preparing a bowl of pomegranates for my co-workers.

A serving of pomegranate provides you with almost half of your recommended daily supply of Vitamin C & K and Fiber.

In Persian cooking, we also use pomegranate paste which has the consistency of tomato paste but it is sweet and tangy.

The other day, my aunt added pomegranates to a bowl of Jello for her party and it was a big hit. I have seen people adding it to their green salads too.

My Pomegranate tree

It is said that pomegranate is a heavenly fruit so I guess even if I don't end up in heaven, at least I have tasted one if its fruits.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha