Tag Archive: jobs


DiscoveryTime

I’m a bad blogger. I’ve been meaning to write forever but keep getting distracted. My new job in Youth Services at my local public library has been challenging, but also very enjoyable and I am learning a lot. I started doing Discoverytime (henceforth abbreviated at DT) on my own three weeks ago, and it is Preschool Storytime with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) component added in. Basically I read one nonfiction book and one fiction book, and do some activities or explain something scientific to the kids. I was supposed to train for a month and then do one on my own, but the person I was supposed to train with had some health issues so I ended up helping with two of them with a second person before doing it by myself. It is a lot of fun, though sometimes I think I’m having more fun than the parents or kids. It is supposed to be for ages 3-5, but I usually get a lot of younger kids as well, so it makes for an interesting storytime trying to find something that predominantly 2-4 year olds can understand. I usually will pick the books first and then find activities and songs to fit around it. They normally last 30-40 minutes. Prior to starting this 3 weeks ago, I had only done one Preschool storytime in Library Grad School. Aside from reading to my own 3 yr old son and some of his classmates at daycare, I did not have much experience with this age group. My first week by myself I did one on Bats and Echolocation, followed by Frogs, and the one this week on My Body: Exploring the Human Body. I picked bats because I’ve alwasy kind of been fascinated with them, despite their creepy reputation, so I try to convey that to the kids. I’ve loved frogs forever, so that’s why I picked them and I just thought the Human Body DT would be fun, assuming I made it fun and not too gross or complicated. I will say I definitely know a lot more about these three topics, but I have always enjoyed research so I find that part of the organization fun. I’m going to post my outline for what I did for the Bats below. This is my first DT so it was pretty rough, but the kids had a lot of fun with the activities, even if the songs weren’t that successful. I’ve definitely learned that bubble time is essential to a good storytime.

Honduran-white-bats-roost-under-Heliconia-leaf-

DiscoveryTime: Bats and Echolocation

  • Welcome to DiscoveryTime! My name is Miss Rachel. I’m so excited to see you guys and we’re going to have a wonderful time.
  • Welcome Song: Hello Hello
  • Book: Endangered Bats by Bobbie Kalman
    • Summary:
      • Almost 1,000 species (types) of bats in the world
      • ¼ are endangered, which means they might die out in the wild, where there is no people
      • Bats are warm-blooded mammals that have fur and drink milk from their mommies. Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake and hunt at night. They sleep upside down hanging from trees, cave walls and other structures.
      • Two groups of Bats: Microbats (small) which are carnivores (they eat meat, such as insects, fish, scorpions, lizards, frogs or birds) and Megabats (large) are herbivores (eat plants such as fruit or drink nectar from flowers or feed on pollen). Microbats help control insect populations, like mosquitoes from biting people. The smallest bat is the size of bumblebee, and the largest has wings that are nearly 6 ft across.
      • Some live alone but most live in colonies with many many other bats
      • Bats are losing their habitats (the places they live) to humans that are clearing forest for lumber, as well as farmers who use pesticides (harmful chemicals to kill insects) and pollution.
  • Fingerplay: Five Little Bats
    • First, make five bats, and tape one to each finger.Five little bats flew out one night (Hold up five fingers.)To have some fun in the bright moonlight. (Move your hand in a circle.)The first one said, “You can’t catch me!” (Move your thumb away to the side.)

      The second one said, “Look out for the tree!” (Shake your first finger in warning.)

      The third one said, “I love to swoop.” (Make your middle finger do a graceful dive.)

      The fourth one did a loop-the-loop. (Move your ring finger in a circle.)

      The fifth one said, “Let’s catch some gnats!” (Wiggle your little finger.)

      Isn’t it fun being five little bats! (Wiggle all five fingers.)

  • Song: I’m a Bat by Mary Flynn (sung to: You are my Sunshine)

I love the nighttime,

The dark, black nighttime,

And that is when I fly around.

I am nocturnal.

I love the nighttime.

‘Cause I’m a bat,

I fly without a sound!

  • Book: Nightsong by Ari Berk
  • Song: Bats are sleeping Bats are sleeping (sung to: Frere Jacques)

Bats are sleeping, Bats are sleeping

Upside down, upside down

Waiting for the night

Waiting for the night

Then fly around, Then fly around

  • Fingerplay: Two Little Bats
    • Two little bats (hold up 2 fingers or thumbs)

hanging in a cave (point fingers upside down)

one named Dan (hold up 1 finger)

and one named Dave (hold up other finger)

Fly away Dan! (1st finger makes flying motions to behind your back)

Fly away Dave! (2nd finger flies behind back)

Come back Dan, (1st finger returns)

Come back Dave. (2nd finger returns)

  • Activity: Echolocation
    • Bats use echolocation, a system of sending out high-pitched sounds that bounce off of objects, to move through the darkness and locate food. Has anyone seen the movie How to Train Your Dragon? The Nightfury Toothless uses echolocation through a plasma blast to do the same thing –so he can find his way in the dark without being able to see.
    • Bat Senses
      Though bats do not see very well, most bats send out sounds that bounce off objects and return to the bat’s ears as echoes. A bat can decide where objects are, how big objects are, even the shape of objects so they know what is food and what they might run into.

      • Vibrations
        • Have one or two children on one side of the room facing the wall with their eyes closed and behind them on the other side, have another child clap or use the bells/tambourine. Ask the child(ren) with their eyes closed to tell which side the noise is coming from.
        • Making paper cup telephones is an easy way to teach preschoolers about how sound travels. Make sure the string is pulled taut. Are the words heard more clearly? When someone talks into the cup, the bottom of the cup vibrates and the string carries the sound to the other cup. Ask them what they think will happen if the string is held loosely and then let the children experiment to find out.
          • Make a couple of examples and have the kids take turns with them
  • Bubble Time Songs: One Little Two Little Bubbles and I’m a Bubble by Jennifer Gasoi
  • Closing Song
    • WE WAVE GOODBYE LIKE THIS (Closing Song)
      To the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”

We wave goodbye like this.
We wave goodbye like this.
We clap our hands for all our friends.
We wave goodbye like this.

painted_bat_orange_0

Informational Sheet I gave the kids to take home

Factoids About Bats

  • In China, bats are symbols of good luck. The Chinese character wu-fu shows five bats with wings touching representing health, wealth, long life, good luck, and happiness.
  • Bat echolocation can detect objects as thin as a human hair, yet researchers can catch bats when they fly into nets. Why? Scientists think bats get used to flying safely along certain paths and sometimes do not notice new obstacles in their way.
  • Bats can purr! Like cats, a bat may vibrate, or purr, when resting or content.
  • People often fear vampire bats, but a protein from vampire saliva can help heal people after they have strokes.

Bat-Watching Area
Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching opportunity? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.

Directions to see the bats:
From 40th Street and Camelback Road intersection, head north on 40th Street. (Parking is very limited; please respect private property and restricted areas. You may need to park south of the intersection.) The path (levee) to the tunnel is located on the north side of the Arizona Canal. Head west on the path about 200 yards (past buildings and parking garage). You will see the flood control channel just north of the canal. Head north about 20 feet from the gravel path to the paved path. The paved path will take you to the top of the tunnel (you’ll see bat-watching information signs posted here), and you can look over as the bats fly out of the tunnel.

They exit the tunnel just after sunset each night (total exit time; approximately 45 minutes) throughout the summer months (May through October). If you’re an early bird, you may just want to see them return around sunrise each morning!

Book Reviews June 2014

First off, I would like to apologize for the infrequency of my posts lately. I just finished my second week at my new job in the Youth Services dept of my local public library (which is awesome by the way) and even though it has less hours than my last job, I am more busy than before. Plus I’m also watching my son on my off days, so I don’t get as much computer time as I normally have been getting. I am really backed up on writing up book reviews as a result. I’ve finished all the ones for May and a few for June, but still have about 14 to do, so those will be on next month’s post. I kinda got burned out on the Newbery Medal/Honors List this last month, but will try to pick it up again after a break. I have managed to read 155 books so far this year, which is pretty good since the year is half over.I’ve been having pretty good luck with my Advanced Reader’s Copies too and there are a lot of interesting books coming out soon, so there will definitely be more posts about them in the future. I’m currently listening to Lloyd Alexander’s 3rd book in The Chronicles of Prydain series, called The Castle of Lyr. This sounds like it may be the most exciting book in the series so far! Crazy to think that these books were written in the late 1960s as they seem very modern and timeless. I just started an interesting nonfiction book called Sorry! The English and Their Manners by Henry Hitchings. I’m hoping to get some insights into the English, as I am an Anglophile and my husband and his family are from there.

As usual I rate books on a scale of 1 – 5 stars, with one being the lowest and five the highest. I am still trying to finish my Caldecott Challenge, and with all the winners and honors. I’m down to 11 books left to read. I’m also completing a Newbery Challenge, where I’m reading all the award winners and at least one honor book.

Children

Dog Loves Counting written and illustrated by Louise Yates

Dog Loves Counting

I adored her other book Dog Loves Books, so when I saw this in the library, I decided to get it for my son as his teacher says he needs to see more numbers in print form. It had the same precious illustrations as the last book, but even cuter (if that’s actually possible) with the addition of a dodo and a baby sloth! Dog loves books but loves reading so much he can’t fall asleep. So he picks up a book on creatures and starts counting them from 1 – 10 and back down again. I’m looking forward to checking out Dog Loves Drawing as well. Recommended for ages 2-5, 4 stars.

Little Chicken’s Big Day by Katie and Jerry Davis

Little Chickens Big Day

This book just grabbed my attention at the library with its bright happy colors and simple illustrations (I thought it was adorable), so decided to get it for my son. Little Chicken does everything his Momma orders him to do and always responds with “I hear you cluckin’ Big Chicken!”. One day while out with him Momma, he wanders off after a butterfly and gets lost. She soon finds him and they go home, where they read a story together and go to bed. Recommended for ages 2-6, 4 stars.

Hey Mr. Choo Choo, Where Are You Going? written by Susan Wickberg, illustrated by Yumi Heo

Another train book I picked up for my son, the rhyming text and collage/painted illustrations really bring you into the story of this train taking children to the beach. My only gripe was that the book was a little long for my son. Recommended for ages 2-6, 3 stars.

And the Train Goes… written and illustrated by William Bee

And the Train Goes...

I think my son’s favorite part of this book were the end pages with the many different colored train wheels. It’s kind of amazing that this whole book was done, illustration and text, on a computer. It’s also funny that without realizing till the end of the book that the author was English, I gave most of the characters English accents. The book is about a train leaving the station and all the people and cars of the train. At the end, a parrot repeats everything that was said, all the sounds and phrases. I liked the book but got bored with it as it just kept going on forever. Recommended for ages 3-6, 2-1/2 stars.

Waking Dragons written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Derek Anderson

This has been a repeat read for my son, though the story is very simple. A young knight’s mother has left him a note to wake the dragons, so he does and gets them ready for the day. They take off their jammies, brush their teeth, eat breakfast, say goodbye to their mother and fly the young knight to Knight School (of course!). Recommended for ages 3-6, 3 stars.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners written and illustrated by Laurie Keller

When I saw this at the library, I knew I had to check it out. I love otters and as always, my husband and I want our son to have good manners, so this seemed like the perfect vehicle for that. The book is about Mr. Rabbit and his new neighbors, an Otter family. He is telling another animal how he hopes the new neighbors aren’t rude, like his last neighbor, but have good manners and gives examples. It was a cute book but a bit long-winded. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3 stars.

Dinosaur Train written and illustrated by John Steven Gurney

Dinosaur Train

I think my son loves this book for the cover image alone. He kept going on and on about the giant feet and the T-Rex inhaling all the smoke. It is about a young boy named Jesse who really loved dinosaurs and trains (just like my son), and after drawing a picture of the two together, he gets invited on a real train operated by them. After exploring the train car by car, the whole train leans over to look at a volcano that Jesse has seen and it topples over. After helping to right the train, he gets to ride up front with the engineer and they head back to Jesse’s room. Recommended for ages 3-7, 4 stars.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Take the Train (Mr. Putter and Tabby #8) written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard

I thought this was a pretty cute book, but I think my son was a little lost. Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby are friends with their next-door neighbors, Mrs. Teaberry and her bulldog Zeke. Mrs. Teaberry calls up Mr. Putter and asks him to join her on a short train trip. He reminisces and says how much he loves trains, even though he’s not been on one since he was a boy, and then agrees to go if they can take their respective pets. She assures him that it is possible but when they go to buy tickets, the ticket seller says no pets allowed. So they smuggle them on-board and have a grand old time. Recommended for ages 4-7, 3 stars.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss

Another Dr. Seuss book I’ve never read, I picked this up for my son because I know he likes the author/illustrator. This was an odd book. It was almost like he took all these single 2-page rhymes with illustrations that he had lying around and put them all in one book because it is not one continuous story, i.e. the fish, but a bunch of little stories. It was fun to read though, as it was rather silly, just a bit long for a nearly 3 year old. Recommended for ages 4-7, 2-1/2 stars.

Zella, Zack, and Zodiac written and illustrated by Bill Peet

I rather enjoyed this little story from Bill Peet, as did my son, who has become one of my favorite children’s book writers this year. Zella the zebra discovers an abandoned ostrich chick and rescues him by letting him ride on her back. She adopts him and names him Zack. As he gets older and can no longer ride on her back, they become distant. Eventually she has her own child, an awkward colt named Zodiac who is always tripping over his own hooves, a real danger when predators are lurking all around. Zella believes she has lost Zack forever until he rescues Zodiac from a lion. From then on, he is Zodiac’s protector. Recommended for ages 5-8, 3 stars.

Caldecott

Book of Mother Goose and Nursery Rhymes illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli

Book of Nursery & Mother Goose RhymesOld Mother Hubbard from Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes

I will admit since this is my 3rd out of 4 Nursery and Mother Goose books I’m having to read for the Caldecott Challenge, that I skimmed this one. It was massive, for a children’s book, at 192 pages! This book won a 1955 Caldecott Honor and I knew the illustrator because of her book Yonie Wondernose (which I rather enjoyed), that had won Caldecott Honor exactly ten years prior. I thought they were a delightful mix of black & white small pencil-drawn illustrations and full-color single page illustrations with a variety of known and previously unknown nursery rhymes. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3 stars.

The Most Wonderful Doll in the World written by Phyllis McGinley, illustrated by Helen Stone

I will admit that I did not want to read this book for a long time because it is about dolls, as I’ve always found them a little creepy. This book won a 1951 Caldecott Honor book, and is about a little girl named Dulcy (this name really dates the book) who has a large collection of dolls to play with but has just lost a doll named Angela she just received as a gift from a friend of the family. She goes on and on about the doll, each time inventing better and better things that it does. When she finally finds it again, she realizes that it didn’t do anything of things she said it did, but she was just imagining it. Recommended for ages 4-8, 2 stars.

Mr. T.W. Anthony Woo written and illustrated by Marie Hall Ets

Marie Hall Ets, the bane of my existence. Just kidding. This is actually one of her better books that won some sort of Caldecott, this one having won the 1952 Caldecott Honor. It’s a rather random story though. The title refers to the name of a mouse who lives with a shoemaker, along with a cat and a dog that are constantly fighting with each other. One day, the shoemaker goes out to run some errands and his meddlesome sister stops by and sees the shop in an absolute mess from the cat and dog. She decides that she must move in with her brother and take care of him, so she and her annoying repeating parrot move in without his permission and the first thing she does is get rid of the dog and the cat. The shoemaker comes back home all confused but is too nice to tell her to leave. He rescues the cat and dog from outside and they all plot together with the mouse to get rid of the sister (she is scared of mice). They do and all three and the shoemaker live the rest of their days in harmony. The illustrations are rather plain in black and white but tell the story nicely. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3 stars.

Young Adult

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

First off, I would like to say that this book is very hard to summarize, especially for anyone who has not read the rest of the series. The author is so good at storytelling and universe-building that she reminds me of George R.R. Martin, as they’re universe and character lists are so huge. So I recommend reading the first two books first so you won’t be totally lost by what I am going to describe. Let us proceed to the summary.

The Angels (Seraphim) have come to Earth and humankind is freaking out, thinking it is the apocalypse. The Angel’s leader Jael heads right to Rome and tells the humans that the Beasts (Chimera) are coming. This is really just a ploy to get his hands on some human weapon technology to finally destroy the Chimera. Akiva and his sister Liraz have managed to convince the Misbegotten Angels to combine forces with their former enemies, the Chimera, so they have a chance to defeat Jael. The mysterious Stelian Queen Scarab tries to kill Akiva but can’t as she discovers that his mother was Stelian. Throughout the book, we learn more background about Akiva and his mother Festival, and the Stelian’s role in Eretz and beyond.

Meanwhile, humans have discovered the resurrection pits left behind by the Chimeras and are mystified and horrified by them. A young woman named Eliza is one of the scientists allowed to study the bodies, and she believes that the Beasts are from another universe. It turns out that she knows this because she is descended from an angel, which becomes evident when she starts spouting Seraphic in front of everyone. Will Eliza ever figure out who she really is and what her purpose is? Will Akiva and Karou be able to stop Jael and have a chance at peace and a better life? To find out read this exciting conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Recommended for ages 15+, 5 stars.

It’s been at least a year since I last read the second book in the series, and it definitely took me awhile to remember what last happened in the book, as there were hardly any clues at the beginning of this one. I forgot how confusing this book can be trying to remember all the place and character names. It took me about 100 or so pages to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. It’s nice that the romance between Akiva and Karou is still one of the main focal points. I liked that despite all the bloodshed and pain, there was still time to dream about hope, love and a home together. Cassandra Clare definitely has some competition for who can write the best kisses, as Laini Taylor is quite good with the lead-up to them and the description of love. I loved the section about Zuzane and her mad eyebrow warfare skills in Italy! If I had to fight at the end of the world, she is definitely someone I would want on my team because she fights so hard for the ones she loves. I also loved (and was totally blown away) by the encounter between Jael and Akiva in the Papal Palace. He is one badass angel. I loved the story and I was sorry to see it end, though I’m glad it ended the way it did.

Ask the Passengers written by A.S. King, narrated by Devon Sorvari

Seventeen-year-old Astrid Jones feels really unappreciated by her friends and family. Her younger sister Ellis gets all the love and attention from their mother. Their dad is too stoned to really care about anything other than his office supplies at work. No one can understand why her friend Kristy, one of the most popular girls in school, hangs around her. Astrid may possibly be in love with her best friend Dee, who is already out of the closet. She lives in a really small town where everyone gossips about every little thing you do, so she has to worry about that as well.

The only thing she really enjoys is her AP Humanities class, where she is learning about Greek philosophers. In an attempt to feel more wanted, she sends waves of love towards passengers flying in airplanes above her house and everyone she sees. She does this even if they ignore or hate her. When she is sending out love to the anonymous passengers of the airplanes, every now and again, we hear their stories. It seems at first that these people have no connection to her, but after awhile, we can see that their stories are kind of like an extension of Astrid, if she were older.

Astrid feels like she is straddling two worlds. The very private one she shares with Dee and the public one she shares with Kristy and her family. Will she be able to figure out who she is and what she wants? Can she be truthful with everyone? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.

I had gotten the idea to read this book from Tara, The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say shhh!, and because she raved about it so much, I decided to give it a try. I’ve never read anything by the author but have heard for years that her books were good. I enjoyed hearing about the AP Humanities class and her learning about Greek philosophers, and how well it surprisingly blended with the story. I loved that she gave Socrates a first name (Frank) and made him kind of her protection, when things get too weird in her life. I’ve lived in small towns before and I know how limiting and frustrating it can be, so I could really identify with Astrid’s views on living in one.

Astrid’s mom, wow, she was a piece of work. I can identify with one parent loving your sibling more than you, but getting drunk with your teenage daughter is a whole other thing. And she thinks she’s the normal one in the family, geez.

Adult

City of Devils: A Novel by Diane Bretherick

Bittersweet: A Novel by Colleen McCullough

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More by Melisser Elliott

I’m always trying to get as much information as I can on the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle as I become more interested in joining it. I will admit also that after reading about how all types of meet including veal is processed in great detail, I was rather put off meat for a couple weeks. The book features useful information for those new to the idea of going completely vegan, which aside from eating a plant-based diet with no dairy or meat, also entails not wearing it in any form for clothing and shoes. For example, in addition to leather, you can’t wear wool from any animal, no fur naturally and silk. The author includes becoming involved with activism, profiles of vegans who have various food and apparel businesses and/or websites centered around the fact that they are vegans. I particularly liked the profiles as they not only had some good websites for references, but also seemed to profile real people and ask them why they went vegan, their favorite dish, favorite “accidently vegan” treat, item they can’t live without and more. She also discusses vegan companies that provide skincare products. The back section of the book is all about food and recipes, and I’d like the try the Tangy Cabbage Beet Slaw, Brussel Sprouts with Crispy Tempeh Over Soft Polenta, and Moroccan Chickpea and Kale Tangine with Quinoa. 3 stars.

Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland

Ok, first things first. This is not strictly a vegetarian cookbook but rather a pescetarian (vegetarian + fish) one. That out of the way, the recipes I found were delicious-sounding and easy to make. The photos they had were gorgeous, though I wish there were more of them. I in particular wanted to try the Mushroom-Almond Milk Soup (as I’m trying to use more cow’s milk alternatives), Cheese Grits with Black Beans and Avocado, Artichoke Enchiladas, Sunny-Side Up Yam and Black Bean Tostadas with Avocado, Quinoa Bowl with Avocado, Red Cabbage and Walnut, and the Peanut Butter/Amaranth Cookies. 4 stars.

After a lot of things being up in the air, it has finally been confirmed. I have been offered a job as a Library Assistant in the Youth Services Department at Phoenix Public Library!! I am so freaking excited! Currently creating a happy mix on youtube and having a dance party. I should feel more inspired now that I have something to look forward to every day.

Calvin and Hobbes Animated

 

June Life Update

Things have been really crazy lately. I’ve been really busy with work and haven’t had a whole lot of free time. This is especially true last week and this week so far. I hope everyone had a fantastic Father’s Day! My husband, son and I had lunch with my parents to celebrate. My hubby finally decided that he wanted a custom license plate for his gift, so we’re just waiting for the tag to come in before we can do anything. I finally got invitations for my son’s birthday party, but will probably get decorations closer to the day. The party is on July 14 but his birthday is the 15th. I can’t believe my big boy is going to be 2 years old!

I am horrible at remembering things, so I use Google Calendar to keep track of things for me, and it sends me email reminders. Usually I have one event a week but this week, I’ve got three. So feeling a bit overwhelmed. I decided to volunteer for a program at Phoenix Public Library called Talk Time, which is very similar to another program I did for two years in Columbia called Let’s Speak English (LSE), which allows ESL speakers to practice their English in a non-classroom setting. It is supposed to be more comfortable and make the students more at ease with conversing in English. I have several friends who I met through LSE and before when I was in school in Scotland that English is not their first language and I know how difficult it can be to do if you are not confident in your abilities or have been made fun of for the lack of English or many other reasons. I got to sit in on a Talk Time session last week and was surprised and pleased that so many people came. The previous week (which was the first one) only had 6 people, but the second one had 20+. I never had that many with LSE, it had a max of maybe 10 people. As we live in the Phoenix area, there are a lot of Mexican immigrants and this meetup was no exception, but there were also people from Korea, India, Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua as well. The big difference between Talk Time and LSE, aside from the numbers, is what I would be doing with the program. With LSE, I was one of many volunteers who partnered up with one or two internationals and talked in English. With Talk Time, I would be leading the session by myself. I met with the coordinator, who was very excited about my joining the program, especially as I could actually commit to 6+ months. So I am now completing 3 online courses in Adult Education, which I’m trying to finish by tomorrow (maybe more like by Wed or the end of the week, depending on how tired I am). I’m excited about volunteering again and yes, I hope this will add to my library experience so I can eventually get a good job in a system somewhere.

I also have to finish creating an art talk, before Saturday, which I’m making for one of the committees I’m a part of at my church. We have an art exhibition opening for the current exhibit of Ethiopian Orthodox Church art, a bit late, but better late than never. I’m going to give a bit of history on the church and on the icons/art in the exhibition. I’ve honestly never done one of these, so I’m a little nervous about boring people. I’ve discovered that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is incredibly old and complex, so it makes summarizing fun (not!). However, I am learning a bunch I didn’t know, so that’s always a bonus. I will post the speech/paper after I have given the talk.

I’m also finally getting my car tinted. I would never have thought about doing this prior to living in Arizona, as I think it’s a bit pretentious. However, with having a little one and trying to protect him from the sun as much as I can, it is now essential. Plus it is a dark colored car and we have no garage so it just gets hotter and hotter sitting outside and it will up the value of the car if we ever sell it.

Enterprise-Schematic-star-trek-the-next-generation

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Last week got kinda crazy. My boss’s fiance gave birth the week before last so he was out of the office pretty much all of that week and most of this past week. We had just been slammed with work and on top of that, my son and I got either food poisoning or this one-day stomach bug that’s been going around the Phoenix area. Then my hubby got sick and had to see a doctor. Last weekend I got to see the new Star Trek movie, which was awesome. I saw it in 2D but I know it would’ve been pretty cool in 3D as well. I had heard pretty mixed reviews on it, so wasn’t sure it was going to be all that great. I must say though, Benedict Cumberbatch made a very interesting villain, most of all because of his deep gravelly voice (so sexy). Not to mention Chris Pine playing the hero Captain Kirk, with that roguish bad-boy charm, who has to make some incredibly hard choices to get the job done. The movie was full of male and female eye candy, but a good story and a lot of action and adventure to keep everyone entertained as well. I’m hoping they’ll continue making more of these movies. I’ve always been an on-again off-again Star Trek fan, but right now I’m definitely a fan. I grew up watching Star Trek: Next Generation and ST: Deep Space Nine, which I just loved. Probably one of the only reasons I have any idea who Wil Wheaton is today is because of that show. Well that and he now does some of the best teen audiobook narration ever. I watched a bit of Star Trek: Voyagerand think that Janeway was a pretty good captain. I know I’ve watched the movie Star Trek Generations, and the latest Star Trek movie (2009), but I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the other movies. I’m gonna try to watch the original Star Trek series with Kirk, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, Spock et al, but it’s so spectacularly bad (low budget), I’m not sure how long I’ll last. Then I was hoping to tackle 1-6 of the original Star Trek movies.

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This weekend was the Phoenix Comicon. For those who have never been to a comic convention, it is definitely an interesting experience. This was my third one, and it was definitely the biggest and craziest one I’ve ever been to. I went to my first one totally by accident. I had a friend who was interning at the Museum for Comic Book Art in NYC and they were having one at the museum, and I was visiting, so I got invited to it. I wanna say that was the summer of 2003. Even though it was small, it had some really big name people there. Frank Miller, who created/illustrated the series From Hell, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns300, and Sin City just to name a few. My friend had an art-gasm being that close to a legend and got him to sign his copy of From Hell and he did a little drawing too. I discovered a few really cool things like Edward Einhorn, who did an Oz spin-off book called Paradox in Ozwhich was illustrated by the now pretty famous Eric Shanower, who does Oz comics/graphic novels. I’ve read his 5 volume set Adventures in Oz. I also discovered the series Max Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective by Frank Cammuso. That first comicon really opened my eyes to comics, though I probably didn’t really start reading them till around graduate school. My second comicon was last year in Tempe, and it was a bit bigger. I saw a lot of creators/illustrators I had never heard of and some that I had. It was a fun event.

The one I went to yesterday was similar but about 5 times bigger. It took me three hours just to walk all the way through all the vendors/artists/famous folks. They had actors/actresses from many sci-fi and fantasy shows like Babylon 5 (apparently this year was the 20th Anniversary of the show so they had about 14 cast members plus the shows creator there), The Walking Dead stars Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, and Michael Rooker (and I was impressed how friendly the last guy looked, not at all like his TV persona), some anime voice over actors, Wil Wheaton, and John Barrowman (star of Torchlight and a frequent guest of David Tennant’s Doctor Who). I would’ve really liked to have met the last two but everyone was charging a minimum of $20-50 for pictures and signatures, so I just checked them out from a far. One of my current favorite writers was there, Adam Rex, but he just happened to be away from his table when I was over there and wouldn’t be back for a half hour. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic, as I have never seen so many people in one area. There must’ve been more than 1000 people in the giant halls they blended together to have one giant space for all the vendors and creator/illustrators. The Society for Creative Anachronisms was there, along with L.A.R.P. (Live Action Role Play – another friend of mine used to do that). I have never seen people in so many different costumes in my life. There were people dressed up like unicorns, any number of superhero and anime stars, Disney princesses, zombies (even saw a zombie Snow White), Catwoman, and there was a guy dressed up like a Tusken Raider from Star Wars and his son was dressed up like a Jawa. There was one random pair of girls in literally just heels, underwear with something written across the butt and a very short top. There was one whole section just for this Star Wars charity group, but they had Lego Star Wars models (Millenium Falcon, Death Star, Star Destroyer). There was this one guy who did these almost pin-up versions of sci fi girls like Princess Leia and others. They had a lot of steampunk jewelry for sale, which I liked, but most of it was out of my price range. Lots of guys and girls were dressed up like Doctor Who, which I was pretty surprised about, to be honest. I mean I know more and more people know about it, but I didn’t think it was that popular. For some reason, that kid’s cartoon show Adventure Time was also really popular and there were quite a few teenagers dressed up like those characters. From a people-watching perspective, it was a very interesting time. There were a ton of families there with small children, though I’m glad I went by myself as I know my son would not have been a happy camper for that long there. His toddler patience is shorter than mine. I didn’t manage to make to any of the panel discussions even though there were quite a few that I had wanted to attend. I think if I decided to do this again, or even better, go to the San Diego Comicon (my ultimate goal), I would buy a two day or weekend pass far in advance. That way I could hit all the vendors one day and then take another day to do panels.

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