Saturday, May 2, 2015

Books on Film | Age of Ultron & Far From The Madding Crowd


The Age of Ultron is upon us! Avengers: Age of Ultron will be released this weekend. It's based on the 2013 limited crossover Age of Ultron. Of course, don't go expecting any of the X-Men (except Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) or Fantastic Four to show up in the movie they way they do in the book. The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Marvel Comics are two different beasts due to rights issues. 
The artificial intelligence known as Ultron as fought for years to eradicate mankind- and now, it has all but succeeded. The few remaining heroes are battered, broken, almost beat and left considering desperate measures- some more desperate than others. but when Wolverine breaks ranks and pursues his own plan to defeat Ultron, will his drastic action cause more problems than it solves?

If you are interest in English period dramas instead of superheroes, then you may want to check out the adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel Far From The Madding Crowd which will also be released this weekend.
When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors: the seemingly commonplace man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the center of this novel.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

She's Crafty | Papel Picado

El Día de los Niño, The Day of the Child, is this Thursday, April 30th.

On this festive day, the Cesar Chavez branch will have a special program featuring a visit from local children's author Jennifer Torres. She will be reading from her new book, Finding the Music/En pos de la Musica and the celebration will continue with crafts after the story. So, come down to the Cesar Chavez branch this Thursday at 3:30 PM.

To help promote the program and give our branch some festive style, I made papel picado banners and fluffy paper flowers to hang near the entrance of our library and over the Children's library information desk.

According to the Papel Picado page on the Museum of International Folk Art website, papel picado translates to "punched" or "perforated paper." Artisans who make traditional papel picado make a large stack of tissue paper, top it with a template, and use a set of special sharpened chisels known as fierritos to punch out the design.

To make mine I followed a tutorial I found at the Happy Thought blog, which you can read here. Ellen Deakin & Harry Olden of Happy Thought also created a very handy video tutorial to show crafters how to make their style of papel picado, which is soo very fun and easy! To make the designs they feature on their page and the ones I used for my banner, you can download three templates at Happy Thought. Just a note, you do have to join their mailing list to get the templates. If you don't feel like doing that, do an internet search for "papel picado templates" or make your own.

The papel picado you make following the tutorial at Happy Thought is cut with scissors. You fold a stack of tissue paper in half and slide it into one of their symmetrical templates.

You only have to cut one side of the design, but since it's folded in half, you cut the whole thing. I found eight sheets of tissue paper just about right. I tried 16 at first but it was torture on my scissor hand!

Once you have all your sheets cut out, time to "string" them together. At Happy Thought, they have you lay long lengths of masking tape sticky side up. Then you lay a single cut sheet on half of the width of tape and fold the remaining half over, sandwiching the piece of tissue within the tape.

Masking tape makes quick work of putting the banner together and making it ready for hanging. I'm thoroughly infatuated with the idea!

I also found a great paper flower tutorial on Happy Thought: Mexican Paper Flowers Tutorial. There you learn how to make incredibly easy and fluffy tissue flowers that will brighten any space. And I can't stress enough how easy peasy these flowers are.

Give creating your own papel picado banner a try and let me know how it goes. After the program this Thursday, let me know how much fun you had making music and listening to Jennifer Torres tell the story of Reyna and her abuelito's vihuela from her book Finding the Music/En pos de la Musica. Don't know what a vihuela is? Well, you'll just have to come on down to Cesar Chavez to find out!


Learning | Apronym and Kibosh

I stumbled across a new word today, while I was trying to look up the origin of another word.  It all started when I used the word "kibosh" in conversation recently. You know, as in, putting the kibosh on something, to stop it. I knew what it meant, from context, but I really had no idea where it came from. So I decided to look it up. 
The Oxford English Dictionary (Cake!)

from Pete Prodoehl's photostream on

I would love to have this on my birthday cake!

I looked for kibosh in the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED is considered the best source for looking up word origins, but it wasn't much help this time. It declares the origin obscure (meaning nobody knows where the word originated,) but it also mentions that it could be Yiddish or Anglo-Hebraic. 

I decided to check our electronic databases. I didn't know if they would be any help, but I thought there might be an obscure article in a scholarly journal in there somewhere. So I went to Academic Search Premiere, and typed in "kibosh."  

That brought up too many news articles with headlines talking about putting the kibosh on things. 

I narrowed my results to scholarly journals. That cleared things up; instead of 66 articles, I had four. One of those four had a word in the title that I had never heard before: apronym. (The word kibosh was also in the article, as part of an apronym for BLOCKAGE; the article was not about the origin of kibosh.) 

Shoemaker in apron, holding his tools. (Cropped.)
from George Eastman House's photostream on
No known copyright issues.
Never mind kibosh! 

I had to know more about apronym and its meaning. The word I accidentally found has nothing to do with the names of aprons. 

Apronym is a relatively new word; it is a portmanteau of the words a propos and acronym. (For a discussion of portmanteaus, just click on the above link to my 2013 post about them.)

Here's a link to the article where I found the word apronym. It gives some fun examples of apronyms, in which are acronyms that form a real word, with the words that form the acronym relating to the meaning of the word. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder has an apronym of SAD. It might help to think of apronyms as plays on words, like puns.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Just Life| Art of War

How to crush your enemies. What an intriguing question? You can't believe how many of our library patrons ask for the book, Art of War

I checked the shelf but couldn't find a copy of the Art of War (maybe someday I'll read this book).

Another favorite of our patrons is the 48 laws of power by Robert Greene. 

So let's see what I can learn from the reference copy of the 48 laws of power. It had better be good. 

While browsing the book, I came across a few of these laws which caught my eyes:

  • Law #4: Always say less than necessary. (Well said)
  • Law #5: So much depends on your reputation. Guard it with your life.
  • Law #7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit.       (I don't agree with this one)
  • Law# 13: When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interest never to their mercy or gratitude.
  • Law #15: Crush your enemy totally.
  • Law #17: Keep others in suspended terror: Cultivate an air of unpredictability.

There you have it. If you are interested in these types of books, head to your local library to check out up to 25 free books.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha