March 31, 2005

YA44: Hard Love

Finished another good one (on tape) in the car on the way to phone banking tonight.

hardlove.gifHard Love
Ellen Wittlinger
Simon & Schuster, New York: 1999
240 pages
Unabridged Audio, narrated by Mark Webber, 4 hours, 58 minutes (3 tapes)
Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Lambda Literary Award
A YALSA Quick Pick for Young Adults, 2000
A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, 2000

John Galardi is "a witty misanthrope", a high school junior who has just published the first issue of his zine "Bananafish" under the name of Giovanni. In the years following his parent's divorce, he's closed himself off to most emotions (though there is some serious anger hiding under the surface). Marisol is a self-proclaimed "Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Cambridge, Massachusetts, rich spoiled lesbian private-school gifted-and-talented writer virgin looking for love." Her zine, Escape Velocity, inspires John to stake out the lobby of Tower Records until she shows up with the next issue. A strange friendship develops, and John finds himself falling in love for the first time (despite frequent reminders from Marisol that she is in fact a lesbian). After a disasterous sidetrip to the prom, the two end up at a weekend zine conference in Cape Cod. The book is named after a song by Bob Franke which nicely sums up their relationship and helps them to realize what they have come to mean to one another.

PW called it a "somewhat overdramatized account of unrequited love explor[ing] the complexity of relationships in the 1990s." But they go on to say that "This self-consciously up-to-date novel scratches the surface of perhaps too many issues, but John's intelligent, literate yet raw entries betray more to readers than he knows of himself. The awkwardness of awakening sexuality, a growing preoccupation with identity, and crossing the line from friendship to more are all themes here with which teens will readily identify."

Ages 12-up, Grade 8 Up

this quote really struck me, so I checked out the book so I could capture the lines (I'm glad I did get the book, because the layout mimics the zine style and is quite interesting)

"I always wanted to paint, didn't you?"
"No. I was never any good at art."
"I'm not either; I just want to do everything. Why can't we all do everything we want to? I'd be a writer and a singer and a painter and a politician and... maybe an Olympic track star."
"In one lifetime?"
"Why not? Sleep less."

Posted by Emily at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Yay Eduard!, updated

Yay Eduard! He now has a couple of weeks to choose between four awesome sounding schools. Everyone should weigh in with their good (or at least well meaning) advice here and I'll pass it along to him :)

Bucknell (bill)
Connecticut College (paul & aimee)
Skidmore (carrie, hanna)
Kenyon (um, I don't think I know anyone who went there, do I?)

Congrats!!!

Posted by Emily at 05:28 PM | Comments (5)

March 29, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/29

Another Tuesday night on the J desk... it was extra busy because the library had been closed Sunday (and is always closed Mondays). Some of the questions:

"do you have books on famous people?" (ended up with a biography of Sally Ride)
arts & crafts
The Great Gatsby
Narnia
Betsy Ross
Elizabeth I video
SAT 9, 7th grade prep book
graph paper
leadership quote from MLK
trans-saharan trade
why do things float?
Pokemon chapter books
Tycoon video games (Zoo Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, etc.)
Hindi DVDs: Tum Bin, Mission Kashmir (and 2 others we didn't seem to have)
SAT 9, 2nd grade prep book
Christian books
A to Z Mysteries
printer paper
printer paper
pencil
Vietnamese children's CDs
Lemony Snicket #7
veterinarian, pediatrician
Lemony Snicket #6
Sojourner Truth
SF Private Schools
South Carolina (state report info)
Magic School Bus videos
Fushigi Yugi (same girl from last week)
biographies for 4th graders
George Washington Carver
George Washington
10 Carrot Diamond CD
help finding picture books from recommended list
Ricky Ricotta books by Dav Pilkey
manga
scissors
Magic School Bus books
etc.

Posted by Emily at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

Title IX

Carrie will be all over the latest Title IX rulings, since that's a pet topic of hers, but it turns out our very own John Cooney was the lawyer involved! What a great win! Congrats -- and thank you!

Supreme Court Ruling Protects Title IX Whistleblowers The Associated Press

A landmark gender-equity law protects whistleblowers who accuse academic institutions of sex discrimination, the Supreme Court said Tuesday, ruling that coaches and teachers may sue for retaliation if they are fired for complaining on behalf of others.

The 5-4 decision sides with Alabama high school coach Roderick Jackson, who said his girls' basketball team received worse treatment than the boys' team. It is a victory for women's advocates who say the legal protection will prompt reports of bias that would otherwise go unsaid or unheeded.

Congress intended to allow whistleblower suits when it passed the Title IX law, justices said.


--------
Supreme Court expands Title IX protections
Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - When Roderick Jackson started coaching girls' basketball at his Alabama high school, it didn't take long for him to start complaining about how his players were treated worse than the boys' team.

In letter after letter, he complained. The girls practiced in an old, unheated gymnasium while the boys' teams used a new, heated gym. The girls couldn't take the school bus to games at other schools unless the boys were playing there. Even the equipment - not a great expense in basketball - was inadequate. One year, Jackson said, the school gave the girls' team only two basketballs for its practices and games.

Instead of improving the conditions for the girls, however, the Birmingham Board of Education fired him as coach, Jackson said. When he filed a lawsuit alleging that he was a victim of retaliation, the school board argued he had no case under federal law, and lower courts agreed.

But in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the Supreme Court came down strongly on Jackson's side, paving the way for his lawsuit against the school board and opening the courthouse door to others who say they see unlawful sex discrimination in schools.

Posted by Emily at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

YA43: Prom

prombook.jpgI saw this one in B&N the other day, and since I had liked Speak and since they were offering signed copies (it says "Dance!" and the author's signature), I decided I might as well go for it. Plus, with Brooke here shopping for prom dresses, a book about the prom seemed appropriate. I managed to finish the last few chapters this afternoon in time to blog a bit about it before I need to rush off to work. I liked it. The main character has a voice so out of my sphere of experience, but I found myself caught up in her life and the people around her and looking forward to seeing how the prom turned out.

Prom
Laurie Halse Anderson
Viking Juvenile, 2005
215 pages
reviews

Ashley Hannigan is barely getting through the last months of her urban Philadelphia high school, has a huge backlog of detentions to serve, a drop-out boyfriend she wants to move in with, a pretty crazy family, and a job serving pizza in a rat costume. So when her math teacher steals the money that was supposed to pay for the prom, no one is more surprised than Ashley that she ends up saving the day -- even though she had no intention of getting swept up in the prom fever that her best friend, mother, aunts, and everyone else was obsessed with.

Booklist explains that, "Here, though Anderson's bright, witty narrator is a self-professed 'ordinary kid,' whose problems, while intensely felt, are as common as a burger and fries. She's as ambivalent about her boyfriend, who is both sweet and undependable, as she is about her college prospects; her part-time job serving pizza in a rat costume is far from fulfilling; and her family, which she calls 'no-extra-money-for-nothin’-poor,' mortifies her (her pregnant mother's belly 'screams to the world' that her parents have sex), even as they offer love and support. In clipped chapters (some just a sentence long), Ashley tells her story in an authentic, sympathetic voice that combines gum-snapping, tell-it-like-it-is humor with honest questions about her future. The dramatic ending may be a bit over-the-top, but teens will love Ashley's clear view of high-school hypocrisies, dating and the fierce bonds of friendship." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books writes, "Ashley represents a point of view not often seen in literature for young people, that of the kid who's not expecting or desiring to go to college, who's satisfied with her working-class surroundings and future. Her cheerful pell-mell family and neighborhood is depicted with tenderness as well as humor.... Anderson keeps the pace swift, dividing the narrative into numbered sections that are more brief scenes than chapters and emphasizing snappy dialogue that's imbued with the reality of longtime friendships. The Cinderella theme is handled with the lightest of touches (readers may not even initially pick up on the heroine's name); it's not really a story about Cinderella so much as a tale about the impulse to have one's moment of celebration, and readers will revel in Ashley's opportunity while dreaming of their own."

Ages 12 & up, Grades 7 & up

1.

Once upon a time there was an eighteen-year-old girl who dragged her butt out of bed and hauled it all the way to school on a sunny day in May.

2.

That was me.

Posted by Emily at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Merc Op Ed

Yay! A nice oped in today's SJ Mercury News:

Libraries' last chance: a `yes'
TAX EXPIRES SOON; WITHOUT IT, HOURS AND PROGRAMS WILL BE CUT
Mercury News Editorial

There's one more chance to avoid a plunge in hours, programs and staffing throughout Santa Clara County's excellent library system. The library tax that expires in June -- and now makes up 20 percent of the operating budget -- is up for renewal in a special election in April.

If you live in the nine cities and the unincorporated areas served by the library district, watch for your ballot in the mail and mark those "yes'' votes.

Posted by Emily at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

You know you're a geek when...

...you take polls that tell you what file extension you are (thanks Julia)

You are .inf You are informative.  When you are gone you make life very difficult for others.
Which File Extension are You?

(of course a real geek then goes to check if they get all the goofy file extension jokes in all the possible outcomes. sigh)

Posted by Emily at 02:53 PM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2005

Peter's Retirement Breakfast

This morning was Peter's big retirement breakfast at The Tech. Each department (plus the volunteers) paraded in (some in costumes) and presented him with parting gifts. The volunteers gave him one of those famous mango vests (now also retired) with everyone's signatures. I unfortunately had to duck out before the end for an rss meeting at work, but it was nice to see everyone (since it had been way too long). Next Tuesday's my very last VAB meeting.
peterretire3.jpgpeterretire1.jpg
peterretire2.jpg

Whoa: freaky googling. I just posted this a couple of minutes ago and thought I'd look up to see if there were any press releases or other information about the retirement. So I google a few key phrases to check, and my post is already there indexed (about 20 minutes later). Wow! This could get a person in trouble (as a certain company learned this weekend when a press release was accidentally posted and even though they removed it very shortly, it had already been cached by google and effectively leaked to the universe)Nevermind, it wasn't as freaky as I thought -- the post that comes up in the search is actually my old December one from the announcement of the retirement, but it links to my Tech Category Archive, which of course has this post now added to the top. Phew, that would have been just too fast for me to cope with :)

I did notice, while doing this, that "retirement" is still a very relative term, since apparently he's been out interviewing for a very cool sounding position.

Posted by Emily at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

Yay Eduard!

Word's in that Eduard received two acceptance letters this morning! Yahoo!

Posted by Emily at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2005

Doug, Barbi, Brooke and MaNu visit

dbbdinner.jpg
Doug, Barbi, Brooke and their exchange student Manuela popped into town on a whirlwind tour of California schools.

Posted by Emily at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

YA42: The Sandman, Vol 1: Preludes & Nocturns

sandman.jpgThe Sandman: Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (Sandman #1)
by
Neil Gaiman
Illustrators: Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III
DC Comics, 1991 (originally published as individual magazines, 1988-89)

Read this one today (since I realized that many of my library books were overdue and couldn't be renewed again so I might as well finish as many as I can up so I can return them when the library is open on Tuesday). Can't say I really liked it or understood most of it, but I think it will grow on me as I read more of them and have a chance to talk to folks who really love the series.

The introduction by Virgigo Executive Editor Karen Berger explains that, "This first volume of the SANDMAN series is very much a work in progress; that of a talented writer who eventually honed and refined his skills and progressively developed his initial concept -- a series about dreams: personal, nocturnal, and imaginary -- and expandid it in ways that produced some classically modern and unforgettable stories." She also writes that, "SANDMAN also has a dispropotionate number of women who read the series, probably the most of any mainstream comic. In a medium that is still widely occupied by males, that in itself is a major achievement."

Preludes & Nocturnes is the 1st volume of 10 in THE SANDMAN LIBRARY. The back explains that you can read them in order or as individual volumes.

summary

Posted by Emily at 06:42 PM | Comments (1)

More hamentaschen

Just can't quite get enough of Purim, so S and I made one last batch of hamentaschen -- some with a very untraditional but yummy goat cheese & dried apricot filling and some with the much more traditional poppy seed filling (this time from a can, since I'm not as much as a stickler for everything-from-scratch as Ellen is.) I should have asked her for her grandmother's dough recipe though, because that was the best dough I've worked with. Today's didn't come out quite as well, but they were still fun and tasty (they look more appetizing in person)
hamentaschen3.jpghamentaschen4.jpg

Posted by Emily at 03:11 PM | Comments (1)

Happy Birthday Donald!

Happy birthday today to Donald!!! (who I just noticed is leaving the UT Dems soon to become President and Chief Operating Officer of Vigilant Worldwide Communications)

Posted by Emily at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

YA41: Someone Like You

Finished another book on tape in the car this morning on the way home from our regular Saturday morning campaign meeting. I really enjoyed it and was completely laughing out loud at the final scene. Along the way I had caught myself yelling at the mom character and completely sympathizing with the main character Halley.

someone.jpgSomeone Like You
Sarah Dessen
(not at all related to the Ashley Judd movie, which is actually based on the v.v. good chicklit book, Animal Husbandry)
About the Book
Puffin Books, 1998, 281 pages
Listening Library, 4 tapes

Halley's just about to turn 16 and life is definitely changing. She's fighting with her Mom all the time, her best friend's boyfriend is killed in a motocycle accident and finds out she's pregnant with his baby, she starts hanging out with a wilder crowd and meets a very wild boy... There are some great details like the clean-cut accountant that Scarlett's mother is dating and his slow transformation into his alter-ego Vlad from the medeival reenactments... the utterly disasterous start to prom night and its glorious, goofy ending...

PW writes, "Dessen's realistic portrayal of contemporary teens and their moral challenges breathes fresh life into well-worn themes of rebellion and first love.... This romance/coming-of-age story is not as tightly written as Dessen's debut, That Summer; it suffers from some scenes reminiscent of soap opera and from flat presentations of almost all the adult characters. But Dessen's fully developed characterizations of charismatic teens, particularly the rebel-without-a-cause-type Macon, are sure to attract readersAespecially those who, like Halley, have felt the urge to take a walk on the wild side." From Audiofile, "Adolescence is hard--at times exciting, at times terrifying, and often both at the same time. For Halley, her sixteenth summer brings sadness, death, new life, and changing relationships with family and friends. Katherine Powell brings all the characters to life. Halley's somewhat unsure, introverted manner at first contrasts with Scarlett's confident, extroverted personality; gradually each voice changes as Halley's romance with Macon forces her to withdraw from her mother and to make her own decisions as she matures. The scenes between mother and daughter grate, appropriately so, as Powell accentuates the growing separation, revealing both underlying humor and adolescent sarcasm. The scenes between Halley and Scarlett are absolutely right, and Powell makes this candid treatment of teenage pregnancy a powerful book." The NY Times was not as kind, writing: "It will entertain teen-age girls, but its reliance on the conventions of so many young-adult novels pegs in as a genre piece."

Gr. 7-12, Ages 12-up

Posted by Emily at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Bye Bob

byebob.jpgBob, one of my favorite people on the planet, has lived here in the Bay Area for 2 years and we never managed to get together even once. So, when I got invited to his going-away party (he's moving back to DC to work at EMILY's List), I knew I just HAD to be there. Yet another of the many reasons I need to get myself back to DC for a visit! And of course the craziest small world thing is that in the brief time I popped into the party, it turned out I knew the first two people I talked to! One worked at the White House at the same time I did (that's when I had met Bob, so it made sense) and the other had been at the National Partnership for Women and Families and I had done their web site when I was at NMP. Both woman had said I looked familiar, but that usually doesn't lead to actually knowing the person! Good luck to you Bob on your absolutely amazing sounding job, and KEEP IN TOUCH! :*


Posted by Emily at 09:04 PM | Comments (508)

Happy Birthday Valerie!

Happy birthday today to Valerie!

Posted by Emily at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Purim!

purim.jpgHappy Purim! As I was explaining to someone last night, you can't go wrong with a holiday where you're supposed to dress up as a queen and eat cookies. (of course, sadly I ate all my hamentaschen earlier in the week).

You can take a Purim Quiz here (I only got 9 out of the 12, some of them are hard!) or play the Bajillion Dollars Question Game (I got 1000 points, beating Jono and Gefilte Fish)

Posted by Emily at 07:19 AM | Comments (17)

March 24, 2005

YA40: Flipped

I didn't even realize that this book was by the author of the Sammy Keyes series (Amytha had recommended them for my 6-12 class and I loved Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and later listened to Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, and I often recommend the series to folks when they're looking for a good mystery for kids) It's a fun, quick read.

cover_flipped.gifFlipped
Wendelin Van Draanen
Trade Paperback | Knopf Books for Young Readers | Juvenile Fiction - Love & Romance; Juvenile Fiction - Humorous Stories| 0-375-82544-4 | $8.95

A fun, "he-said, she-said" romance told in alternating chapters by two eighth graders (Bryce and Juli) who describe how their feelings change about themselves and each other from when they meet at age 7 until their teenage interactions. It reminded me a lot of Star Girl -- down to Bryce's grandfather's advice that "Every once in a while you'll find someone iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare." There could be a whole subgenre of amazing, eccentric girls and the cowardly, conformist boys who barely realize what they're letting slip away from them.

The Amazon review explains that, "With Flipped, mystery author Wendelin Van Draanen has taken a break from her Sammy Keyes series, and the result is flipping fantastic. Bryce and Juli's rants and raves about each other ring so true that teen readers will quickly identify with at least one of these hilarious feuding egos, if not both. A perfect introduction to the adolescent war between the sexes." Publisher's Weekly wrote that, "With a charismatic leading lady kids will flip over, a compelling dynamic between the two narrators and a resonant ending (including a clever double entendre on the title), this novel is a great deal larger than the sum of its parts." From School Library Journal: "Right from the upside-down chick on the book's cover, there's lots of laugh-out-loud egg puns and humor in this novel. There's also, however, a substantial amount of serious social commentary woven in, as well as an exploration of the importance of perspective in relationships. Well-rounded secondary characters keep subplots rolling in this funny, fast-paced, egg-cellent winner."

Ages 10-14, Grade 6-9

Posted by Emily at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Late night

Well, I think I'll pay for it in the morning, but I had a great evening out with Emy seeing Vincent at Brixton at Theatre Works. On the way home, I shocked Emy by admitting I had never been to a Krispie Kreme for fresh-from-the-oven donuts, so we went through the 24 hour drive-in and treated ourselves to some excellent (but not hot because we didn't time it right) donuts. We're just going to have to go back...

The play was really excellent but I'll have to write about it in the morning... it's waaaay too late on a school night (and I do have a paper to finish...)

Posted by Emily at 12:21 AM | Comments (3)

March 22, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/22

4 hours J:

information on the seven capital (aka deadly) sins for a 5th grader (a tough one!)
how monkeys communicate with other monkeys
sign language
Frenchtown Summer
To Space & Back
James Forten
Jupiter
Fushigi Yugi videos
career information on being an accountant
20th century music
bears
Captain Underpants
cursive handwriting
10 Carrot Diamond CD
Something Upstairs
nonfiction for 2nd graders
Wht is a baby anteater called (another tough one!)
geology homework help
etc.

and since it was World Water Day, I pulled out some interesting sounding water-related books for a display, and worked on weeding JEs.

Posted by Emily at 11:33 PM | Comments (15)

YA39: Trickster's Choice

Finished listening to this one in the car on the way home from work today and absolutely loved it. I was worried at the beginning because the chapters start with quotes from other sources to give a bit of history, advice, etc. and the first one was so dense to listen to (it would have been easier to read I think) that I thought the whole story would be like that. But as soon as I met the characters and got into the action I was completely hooked. Now I'm going to have to go track down the next one in the series as well...

tricksterschoice.jpgTrickster's Choice (Daughter of the Lioness Book 1)
Tamora Pierce
New York : Random House, c2003. 422 pages
New York : Random House/Listening Library, p2003. 7 cassettes (11 hr., 54 min.)
excerpts

School Library Journal described it well: "With magic, spells, winged horses that are part human and part metal, crows that take human form (and provide a romance for Aly), brutal fighting, treason, and attempted kidnapping, this fantasy has plenty to hold readers' attention. It also offers an interesting examination of race, as well as a look at an adolescent's finding her independence, an especially difficult task with such a powerful mother. Aly is a strong, intelligent, and resilient feminist who stretches this fantasy to a parable of girl-power. The book at times bogs down in the sheer number of characters and relationships, and in the author's zealous attention to descriptive details, but Pierce's fans will enjoy it."

The Booklist review (by one of my hero-librarians, GraceAnne DeCandido) says: "A marvelous cast of characters, human, mage, and animal; a tangled web of political and racial tensions; and the promise of other Aly stories to come will engage Pierce's legions of fans and win over even more."

Grades 7-12
One of the teens' top ten for 2004

Posted by Emily at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Merc Article

Oops, I seemed to have missed this article from the Merc about the campaign kickoff:

CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF FOR LIBRARY MEASURES

Source: MICHELE JURICH, Mercury News
About 40 members of the Campbell community, including representatives from city, state and federal offices, attended the kick-off March 8 of the Campbell campaign for Measures A and B.The Measure A campaign to renew the parcel tax for county library services, as well as the campaign for Measure B, which would increase the library tax by $12 a year, is under way in Campbell. Advocates at phone banks are calling Campbell voters from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, said Evan Low, a campaign leader.

A two-thirds majority is necessary to pass the renewal of the library parcel tax. Measure B can be passed only if Measure A is passed. Ballots will be mailed to voters and must be returned by May 3. Voters in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and unincorporated areas including Alum Rock will decide the measure.


Published on March 17, 2005, Page 10, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

Posted by Emily at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Shachar!

A very happy birthday today to Shachar!
birthdaycupcakes1.jpgbirthdaycupcakes2.jpg

Posted by Emily at 08:03 AM | Comments (3)

March 20, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/20

Busy Sunday afternoon on the reference desks (4 A, 2 J)

Some of the questions:

Bud, Not Buddy
last week's Mercury News
books about gardening in California
Nat King Cole
FireArms by Winchester
bluebook
lost computer file (note to self to email mgmt about signs reminding people that files saved to the hard drive will be erased when the computer restarts)
Japanese Internment
Within the Context of No Context
Microsoft Excel 2003
Antartica
Little Prince in Spanish
Hardy Boys v. 86
Hawk Moon
Ella Fitzgerald
puppy training
today's NY Times
computer paper (x12)
tango music cd
flood map of the town
Diary of Anne Frank on tape
literary criticism of Sherwood Anderson
CD w/ I Know Him So Well (from the musical Chess) but not on the Chess soundtrack (Whitney Houston covered it)
Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet soundtrack
Shakespeare in Love educational guide
short story anthologies
check on hold status (x2)
phone number for a neighboring library
videos by Stephen Quillen
Shrek
article from Science magazine about robots walking
The Lion Sleeps Tonight song on a cd
cursive handwriting instruction
science fair experiments about cleaning glass
complaint that the number of holds before being charged should be raised to 5 (currently 3 and then its $1 each) (note to self to pass the comment along)
and two of the librarians signed up to help table for the campaign at the farmers' market

Posted by Emily at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

YA38: Double Helix

Next up in the YA List: Double Helix by Nancy Werlin

Dial Books, 2004
256 p.

Reading level: middle and high school
Curriculum areas: English, Biology, Ethics, Psychology

Teacher's Guide (co-authored by my YA Professor)

School Library Journal explains that "Werlin clearly and dramatically raises fundamental bioethical issues for teens to ponder. She also creates a riveting story with sharply etched characters and complex relationships that will stick with readers long after the book is closed. An essential purchase for YA collections." In Booklist's starred review, they write that "Werlin has proved herself to be one of the best youth thriller writers working today." In this book, "Werlin delivers more than just a solid thriller-cum-growing-up story. She offers a thoughtful consideration of genetic engineering and takes a stand, but not at the expense of an intriguing mystery." The review calls it "A solidly crafted, thoughtful novel featuring a clever, obsessed kid who finds truths, small and large, about life, family, and, of course, himself."

A good one to start some interesting discussions about genetic engineering and ethics. I enjoyed it -- I liked the characters and thought it was well told. And it definitely makes you think.

Posted by Emily at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Word of the day: spoonerism

Today's word of the day from dictionary.com was spoonerism (and since this is the chocolatespoon site, afterall, I thought I'd include it):

spoonerism \SPOO-nuh-riz-uhm\, noun: The transposition of usually initial sounds in a pair of words.

Some examples:

* We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish ["half-formed wish"] inside us.
* The Lord is a shoving leopard ["loving shepherd"].
* It is kisstomary to cuss ["customary to kiss"] the bride.
* Is the bean dizzy ["dean busy"]?
* When the boys come back from France, we'll have the hags flung out ["flags hung out"]!
* Let me sew you to your sheet ["show you to your seat"].

Spoonerism comes from the name of the Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), a kindly but nervous Anglican clergyman and educationalist. All the above examples were committed by (or attributed to) him.

There are some other funny ones here and a good definition here. There are some bad jokes with spoonerism puns here. Apparently July 22 is even Spoonerism Day. The Capitol Steps do some fun things with spoonerisms as well.

Posted by Emily at 09:58 AM | Comments (72)

March 19, 2005

Ice Princess

IP_poster.jpgJulia and I saw Ice Princess, the new Disney movie we've been anxiously awaiting. An excellent skating movie (Lisa, you're going to have to go) with a smart lead character, good mother-daughter issues and resolution, and a great cast. Michelle Trachtenberg (from Buffy) is Casey, Joan Cusack plays her Mom, and Kim Cattrall is her coach.

Posted by Emily at 07:52 PM | Comments (4)

Rainbows and Hamentaschen

On the way to our campaign meeting this morning there was a great rainbow. The picture (though the front window of the car) doesn't do it justice, but it was a particularly nice onerainbowarrow.jpg

After the meeting, Ellen and I made hamentaschen! We even made the poppy seed filling from scratch (though we're not sure about it). The apricot ones are still our favorites, and we made the more traditional prune ones as well.
ellenhamentash.jpgemilyhamentasch.jpgpoppyfilling.jpgapricot.jpg

Purim isn't until next Friday (3/25 - or 3/26 if you live in a walled city... though I can't remember why) but they're pretty time consuming so we thought we'd get a jump start. Last year I had hoped to make some but never got around to it at all.

And while they were baking, we even polished off the next round of thank you notes for contributors!

Hmm... I just looked up my entry from last March where I didn't get around to making hamentaschen and realized that I've been volunteering at KTEH for a whole year now! That went by so fast!

Posted by Emily at 01:54 PM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2005

Tonight on KTEH

This is my last shift of this pledge drive. The Travel & Leisure Auction is coming up in a couple of weeks which should be a lot of fun.

Tonight we have:

Mystery!
For Love Nor Money
Friday, March 18, 8:00pm
CHANNEL 54 (KTEH/Channel 54)
A schoolmarm disappears from a Victorian living-history museum. Hetty (Patricia Routledge) and company don period garb to investigate. Oddly enough, the solution involves a passion for cheese. In other action, Geoffrey (Dominic Monaghan) proposes to Janet (Suzanne Maddock). But does he really mean it?

13gantryrow.jpg
13 Gantry Row
Friday, March 18, 9:09pm
CHANNEL 54 (KTEH/Channel 54)
A couple get some nasty shocks after moving into a mass killer's former home.
(An Australian horror movie that sounds a bit too scary for my taste)


Posted by Emily at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

Congrats to Karen!

Karen told me on IM yesterday and Brian sent along this announcement today by email:

Karen Dahl promoted to Director of Operations We are delighted to announce Karen Dahl's promotion from manager to director. Karen continues to exceed our expectations at every level of her work. She demonstrates an unwavering commitment to excellence and precision, and is a model advocate for infusing field perspective into all project outcomes. Karen's many accomplishments (e.g. Organization Priorities and planning, Almost SAM, Internal Communications) have already made Jumpstart a better managed organization. This impact is very important and we are thrilled about the potential impact of her future work at Jumpstart. Please join us in congratulating Karen!

Way to go! Congrats!!

Posted by Emily at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

Little Prince Quiz

via Oyzon via misbehaving

pilot.
You are the pilot.


Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Emily at 06:55 AM | Comments (1264)

March 17, 2005

Helping a colleague

One of my classmates is working on a project to test page rankings in google, etc. so I'm trying to help by posting these two links:

This one's a cool map of generic soda names around the country showing a bit of statistic brilliance

You can learn more about his project and Help a library dude, on his blog.

I just hope google doesn't mind him messing with the rankings...

Posted by Emily at 09:50 PM | Comments (2553)

The Place to Be

Two of my favorite people in the world are both moving to DC to work for EMILY's List, one of my favorite organizations (and not just because of the name... though I always did want to work there so I could answer the phone and say "EMILY's List, this is Emily") Congrats to Carrie and Bob -- and I am super jealous of each of them and both of them and wish them both the very best of luck!

Posted by Emily at 09:12 PM | Comments (5)

YA37: King of the Mild Frontier

kingofmild.jpgChris Crutcher is one of the best YA writers out there, and his autobiography, King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography, is just as good as his books and hysterically funny. It helps to have read some of his books first, because you see the real life experiences that inspired many of the characters and scenes.

School Library Journal said, "For those who want to know the real poop behind this popular author's characters (and, to some extent, his character), this is the book you've been waiting for.... His signature wit was sharpened in response to both his feelings of inadequacy and his competitive nature, honed by participation in high school and college sports. He addresses issues about his use of profanity in his writing for teens. Tough and tender reminiscences focus primarily on family, social, and school conflicts, but lessons derived from his career as a teacher, therapist, and writer are also described. Hyperbole lightens the mood as the author portrays himself as a young crybaby, academic misfit, and athletic klutz, utterly without self-aggrandizement. Abrupt transitions, some convoluted sentences, and nonlinear progression may challenge some readers, but the narrative holds undeniable appeal for the author's fans and demonstrates the power of writing to help both reader and writer heal emotional/psychic wounds." Booklist's starred review says, "Like his novels, Crutcher's autobiography is full of heartbreak, poignancy, and hilarity... This honest, insightful, revealing autobiography is a joy to read. Crutcher's fans will relish this intimate glimpse of the author, and the book may win some new readers for his fiction." PW said, "Readers will clasp this hard-to-put-down book to their hearts even as they laugh sympathetically." While Kirkus called it "...a deeply moral and philosophical work with important messages about life, death, relativity, heroism" (which seems a bit over the top)

272 pages
HarperTempest, 2003

Of his books, so far I've only read Chinese Handcuffs and Whale Talk, but I thought they were both fantastic. His other books are: Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (which is supposed to be really great), Stotan!, Athletic Shorts : Six Short Stories, The Sledding Hill, Running Loose, Ironman, The Crazy Horse Electric Game, and maybe a few others.

Posted by Emily at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Tongue Rolling

Ok, I know this is random, but I was just talking about this with S the other day and then Mom sent this adorable photo of my cousin rolling her tongue (I wonder if her twin brother can too?). Mom can. I can't. I can't remember if my Dad can (can you?) Brian? Anyway, I always thought it would be a terribly cool thing to be able to do and always found it so frustrating that I couldn't (even with a genetic explanation). I'm sure I had to chart the whole family in elementary school but can't remember what I concluded at the time.

tonguerolling.jpg

Articles like this one seem to shed some doubt over the heridary reliability of this trait which doesn't help. Apparently, tongue rolling is a trait that can be learned (ha! i've tried and tried but apparently can't learn it ... though I just practiced a bit more and it seems to curl a bit more than I remember it used to doing, but still not that nice tight curl others can do).

Posted by Emily at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Gathering Momentum

A great night of phone banking tonight -- especially because Joel applied a little peer pressure and bet Ellen an hour of phone time so they both had to show up. :)
phonebankellen.jpgphonebankjoel.jpgphonebankpaul.jpg

C'mon, you know you want to come and help out too!

Posted by Emily at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Capt. J.B. Greenhut

I know, I should be working on my YA paper or sleeping, but I was curious about Captain Greenhut (I believe he's my mom's mom's mom's dad's dad) after a conversation at dinner the other night, and since our library is testing a new database that gives access to old NY Times issues, I thought I'd add in JB's obituary to my family history project page. Here's an excerpt - I think I learned 87 new things about him.

New York Times 1857-Current; Nov 18, 1918; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2001)
pg. 15

Capt. J.B. Greenhut, War Vertan, Dies
Was Second Man in Illinois, His Early Home, to Answer Call of President Lincoln.
--
Career as Merchant Here
--
Held Out for Years in Northward March of Trade -- His Home Once "Summer Capital."

After an illness of more than a month, Captain Joseph B. Greenhut, merchant and civil war veteran, died yesterday morning of heart disease in his home at 325 West End Avenue. The Captain's career, from the time he roamed the streets of Mobile looking for work to the final liquidation of the Greenhut Company, of which he was President, in the Spring of thus year, had been full of adventure in all its phases. He enlisted in the civil war as a private, and by the end of the war had risen to the brevet rank of Colonel. He was wounded at Fort Donelson and barely escaped having his arm amputated as a result.

On February 28, 1843, a son was born to Benedict and Mina Greenhut in Bushop-Purnitz, Austria, and nine years later they brought him to Chicago, Ill., where for three years he attended the public schools. The desire to make his fortune took him from th eclassroom and he made his way to Mobile, where he arrived with only 25 cents in his pocket. After several days passed in walking the streets, a tinsmith engaged him as a solder heater. The boy quickly mastered the tinsmith's trade, and when he left the South to enlist inthe Union Army he had laid the foundation of experience which was later to carry him to success.

Greenhut was the second man in Chicago to offer his services when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers. He joined Company A of the Twelfth Illinois Infantry as a private and was promoted to sergeant after three months service. He was wounded at Fort Donelson when it unconditionally surrendered to General Grant in his first great victory of 1862. He was temporarily incapacitated for service by his wound, but after a time he reentered the army as Captain of Company K, Eighty-second Illinois Infantry, in which he passed nearly all the remainder of the war, taking part in some of the most important engagements. He was present at Fredericksburg, Chanoelloraville, and at the three memorable days at Gettysburg. After the last battle he served as Captain Adjutant-General, and Chief of Staff of the Third Brigage, Third Divisions, (Carl Schurz's,) of the Eleventh Army Corps.

After Gettysburg, Captain Greenhut went South with his brigade to help extricate General Rosecrans from his difficulties at Chattanooga, and was in the actions at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain in the celebrated "Battle Above the Clouds." He was also in the campaign of East Tennessee to extricate General Burnside, who was surrounded at Knoxville by Longstreet.

The military record of Captain Greenhut led to the granting of the brevet rank of Colonel when he resigned from the army in April, 1864, but he retained the title of Captain which he had earned by hard fighting, preferring it to his brevel rank.

Just before retirement as Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, at the instance of General Edward S. Salomon, had the General Staff look through all the original records of the Department to ascertain just what Captain Greenhut's achievements had been. As a result, the staff recommend that the Secretary send to the Captain a letter of thanks for his most valuable services. The official letter of teh War Department, prized by Captain Greenhut's family, is as follows...
...

After the war Captain Greenhut settled in Perorial, Ill., where he passed thirty years of his life. He organized several distilling companies, one of which was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1872 and another of which failed in 1877. Later he became President of the Great Western Distillery Company, at that time the largest in the world. He founded the Glucose Company of America, which later became the Corn Products Company.

Captain Greenhut was known best in this city for his association with the Siegel-Cooper store, and later with the J.B. Greenhut Company at Eighteenth Street and Sixth Avenue. The original store began business of Sept. 12, 1897, and the opening was something of a sensation. It was estimated that 150,000 persons endeavored to get in for the public exhibition that night. In 1902 the Greenhuts bought out Henry Siegel. Then in 1907 Altman & Co. moved uptown and left vacant the building on the west side of Sixth Avenue.

...

Until March 1917, Captain Greenhut was President of the company. He then retured and devoted his leisure time mainly to golf, which was his hobby. He was a Royal Arch Mason, a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith, of the Grand Army of the Republic, and of the Loyal Legion, Illinois Commandery, and associate member of the New York Commandery. He was one of the Directors of the Montefiore Home in this city.

In 1909 he prchased Shadow Lawn, the $1,000,000 estate of John A. McCall, who was President of the New York Life Insurance Company at the time of the Hughes investigation. The estate becaome the Summer capital of the country while occupied by President Wilson.

In 1866 Captain Greenhut married Miss Clara Wolfner of Chicago, who survives him. Three children, Miss Fannie Greenhut, Benedict J. Greenhut, and Nelso W. Greenhut, live in this city. A son, Walter, is dead. On the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary, which was celebrated by a dinner at Sherry's in 1916, Mrs. Greenhut said: Captain Greenhut and I were childhood sweethearts. His family and mine were dear friends. We were engaged when I was 14 and married when I had reached the age of 16. The ceremony was performed in the hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, and there were about 1,500 guests present."

The funeral of Mr. Greenhut, at his West End Avenue home, will be private, but the serives at Temple Emanuel at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, will be ublic, and will be conducted by Rabbi Joseph Silverman. The burial will be at Salem Field Cemetary.

Posted by Emily at 10:07 PM | Comments (5)

Campbell Reporter Article

Nice piece about the campaign:

Library needs two measures approved to restore cuts
Moryt Milo
Campbell Reporter, March 16, 2005

Posted by Emily at 12:29 PM | Comments (17)

March 15, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/15

4 hours J tonight, here are some of the questions/requests:

Ku Klux Klan
Neberry Award winning books I'd recommend for 6th graders
Children's Bible
Easter books
Dear Mr. henshaw
lyrics to a Christmas song where I gave you my heart and the next day...
Double Fudge
Ireland, St. Patrick
Madeline
Maisy
dictionary
Clifford's First Snow Day
Chad
Simpsons
Harry Potter
Katie Kazoo
Pokemon
SAT 9, 5th grade study guide
Pixie Tricks series
books about baby animals growing into adult animals (life stages)
Stregga Nona
Happy Birthday Felicity
Escape from Fire Mountain
Doctor Coyote
Seven Sleeper Series
Day of the Blizzard
Brocolli Tapes
Citizen study guide
Oklahoma
Goodnight Moon
MLK Jr.
books about reasons to become a doctor/what to expect if you become a doctor (for an eigth grade career day project)
and others

Posted by Emily at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Update on Salinas Library

Some updates on the Salinas Libraries (via Mad Librarian):

The Salinas (Calif.) city council voted 6–0 March 1 to keep its three libraries open 36 hours per week through mid-June and 8–10 hours per week from July to December, if Mayor Anna Caballero’s goal to raise $500,000 is reached before June 30.
The Salinas Californian article

The Save Salinas Libraries! web site where you can donate via paypal.

Posted by Emily at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Public Transit!

Looks like Los Gatos is going to get a shuttle to the new Campbell light rail station! There's an article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal. It will definitely be an improvement from taking the bus to the Blossom Hill Light Rail (which made it over an hour trip to get to downtown SJ) And its very cool that the Campbell Light Rail station is opening in July -- that's been under construction for as long as I can remember and will definitely be a boost to cute little downtown Campbell (now we just need to get the library reopened Sundays and Mondays...)

Posted by Emily at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

Arts Advocacy Day

Today is Arts Advocacy Day brought to you by the folks at Americans for the Arts. Take action here:

Tell Congress You Support the Arts


Enter ZIP



And here's Mom on Westport Now with Chris Shays.

Posted by Emily at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

LJ Article

Our campaign is mentioned in a Library Journal article talking about different referenda and measures. Its really interesting to look at what passed and failed for different towns around the country.

The Good Fight--Library Referenda 2004
By Anne Marie Gold

Here's the section we're in:

Mail votes coming in CA

California did not have any building referenda on the ballot in 2004, but it did see several major libraries at the polls looking for operational support. Seven of nine libraries, including the facilities in San Jose, Sacramento,and Fresno, were successful in renewing funding sources. In the case of San Jose and Sacramento, the funding was changed from assessments, which only required a 50% vote, to special taxes requiring the higher threshold of two-thirds voter approval. When both measures were initially passed in 1996, libraries were able to use assessment financing. Unfortunately, that same ballot allowed for the passage of Proposition 218, which outlawed that type of financing for libraries.

Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) failed in its attempt to renew its funding source, another turnaround from an assessment to a special tax. Service reductions have already begun. According to Melinda Cervantes, SCCLD county librarian, the library will be going back to the voters in May 2005 with a mail ballot for two measures, one at the same dollar amount as the prior assessment, and a second that increases the tax by $12. In order for the second, higher tax to pass, the tax at the renewal amount would also have to pass.

A mail ballot will be a new option for Santa Clara (it will be the first time such a mechanism is used in the state for a library tax measure), and Cervantes says that the library believes it will have a better chance to pass the measures, as mail ballots generally have higher voter participation, and a targeted campaign can be mounted. She notes that the Fresno County Library and the Coalinga- Huron Library District were successful in renewing their 1/8¢ sales tax, which represents significant portions of their operating budgets.

Posted by Emily at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

More chances to come phone bank

We've moved Thursday's MeetUp to be a chance to come and phone bank, so if you were planning to come to that (or just want to be a good friend and help phone bank), I'll be phoning from the SJ location Wednesday night and back at the Campbell spot on Thursday. So let me know if anyone wants to come along or meet up there and I can give you all the info. Its really easy and fun to do. Julia came along last Monday and rocked at it (of course). They're phoning 6-8:30pm Monday-Thursday (and we're thinking of adding more days since we have a LOT more folks to contact).

Posted by Emily at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

YA36: The Year of Secret Assignments

On a much lighter and more enjoyable note than Monster, last night I finished:

secretassignments.jpgThe Year of Secret Assignments
Jaclyn Moriarty
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004

What fun! Its a bit like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, but Australian and you hear more from the boys. It features three tenth grade girls who have been assigned pen pals (boys from the rival school) for their English assignment. The book is told in the letters back and forth, plus diary entries, emails, a goofy writer's journal, notes from parents, and other missives. They get into more trouble than you'd think possible and definitely have fun doing it. (I must say I'm partial to these stories of groups of high school girls, though sadly none of my 'Spoons' are probably reading these entries these days.)

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that one of the characters is an Emily. The three girls are Lydia Jaackson-Oberman, Emily Melissa-Anne Thompson, Cassie Aganovic.

The Amazon review says it well: "Moriarty's captivating comedy of manners reads like a breezy 21st century version of Jane Austen--with no end of ridiculous misunderstandings, angst-ridden speeches, and heartfelt make-ups. Female teen fans of Ann Brasheres' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts will waste no time swapping copies of The Year of Secret Assignments, with all their best buds." School Library Journal wrote: " The adventures of the friends are funny, exciting, and, at times, poignant as they deal with problems of growing up and developing relationships. This delightful book set in Australia is full of fun, engaging characters, and important messages about friendship." Booklist said: "There are a few coarse moments... and the story's myriad devices wear thin in places. But this is an unusual novel with an exhilarating pace, irrepressible characters, and a screwball humor that will easily attract teens, many of whom will yearn for madcap adventures and unshakably devoted friends like these." And Horn Book's starred review called it " ...fast and funny but not frothy...is complex, original, unpredicable enough that it's much more than guilty-pleasure read."

Here's a great list of Read Alkes from the King County Library System

Nothing But the Truth by Avi
Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
Big Book of Bart Simpson by Matt Groening
Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
All American Girl by Meg Cabot
The Year My Life Went Down the Loo by Katie Maxwell
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Frozen Rodeo by Catherine Clark
Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot
Love Among the Walnuts by Jean Ferris

Ones from the list I've read already:
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend
Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Posted by Emily at 04:34 PM | Comments (85)

YA35: Monster

monster.jpgMonster
Walter Dean Myers
HarperCollins, 1999
288 pages
audio version: 2hrs, 34 minutes (2 cassettes)

The story is written as the screenplay that 16-year-old Steve Harmon creates during his incarceration and trial for his participation in a felony-robbery. He attempts to reconstruct and reconfigure the events of the crime, trying to figure out if he is the "monster" the prosecutor has described him as. Its a disturbing tale from inside the justice system (I'd be interested to see how Dad would compare it to his juvenile prosecuting days)

2000 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, 2000 Michael L. Printz Award, 1999 National Book Award Finalist, 01 Heartland Award for Excellence in YA Lit Finalist, 00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List, and 00-01 Black-Eyed Susan Award Masterlist
2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), Hornbook Fanfare 2000, Michael L. Printz Award 2000, 2000 Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor Book, 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)

From Booklist: "Myers combines an innovative format, complex moral issues, and an intriguingly sympathetic but flawed protagonist in this cautionary tale of a 16-year-old on trial for felony murder." The Amazon review writes, "Steve is an adolescent caught up in the violent circumstances of an adult world--a situation most teens can relate to on some level. Readers will no doubt be attracted to the novel's handwriting-style typeface, emphasis on dialogue, and fast-paced courtroom action. By weaving together Steve's journal entries and his script, Myers has given the first-person voice a new twist and added yet another worthy volume to his already admirable body of work." From Kirkus: "The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes written entirely in dialogue alternate with thoughtful, introspective journal entries that offer a sense of Steve's terror and confusion, and that deftly demonstrate Myers's point: the road from innocence to trouble is comprised of small, almost invisible steps, each involving an experience in which a 'positive moral decision' was not made." School Library Jounral wrote: "Monster will challenge readers with difficult questions, to which there are no definitive answers. In some respects, the novel is reminiscent of Virginia Walter's Making Up Megaboy (DK Ink, 1998), another book enriched by its ambiguity. Like it, Monster lends itself well to classroom or group discussion. It's an emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing."

discussion questions/reading group guide (pdf)

Posted by Emily at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

Family Dinner

santacruz0313.jpg
Alan & Andy were in town, so Shachar and I went and had dinner at Margaret & Alan's with them and Annie & Harold.
alanandyharoldannie.jpgsantacruz0313b.jpg
and of course they all promised to check for their photo on the blog... so hello to all of you! It was great seeing you and thanks for the lovely dinner!

Posted by Emily at 09:18 PM | Comments (3)

YA34: Homecoming

Ok, for slightly younger kids (9-12) but it was great and I'm going to include it as a stretch (plus the series continues as Dicey gets older) I've seen lesson plans for grades 7-9, so it should count. I've been listening to it in the car for the last week and just finished the last tape yesterday afternoon. I'll definitely want to read the rest of the series once I'm done with the required reading for this class.

"Part survival tale, part family story, this classic on-the-road novel features a family of four brave children led by thirteen-year-old Dicey. Abandoned by their mother in the parking lot of a Connecticut mall, the Tillerman children make a long, dangerous trip to Maryland to find a home."

Homecoming
(part of the Tillerman series)
Cynthia Voigt

My classmates said I had to read this when I wrote about Izzy Willy Nilly on our class discussion board.

"A glowing book...An enthralling journey to a gratifying end."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

The AudioFile review (since I was listening to the book in this form), says: Homecoming is one of those rare books for all ages part adventure, part family story, about people you grow to care about. Published for children, Homecoming and the other novels about the Tillerman family have become classics and favorites of both children and adults. Barbara Caruso’s narrative style is low-key, like the author’s, bit it grows on you. Her voice soon become an extension of the book rather than an intermediary. This is one of those wonderfully done recorded books which makes a traffic jam bearable and a long dull trip enjoyable."

Dicey's Song, the sequel to HOMECOMING, won the 1983 Newbery Medal.

There's a tv movie which would be interesting to see as well.

Posted by Emily at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2005

YA33: Star Girl


Star Girl
by Jerry Spinelli
Knopf Books for Young Readers (New York: 2000)
186 pages

She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.
A wonderful story about non-conformity, friendship, high school pressures to fit in, finding someone who makes you look at the world differently... The official description reads: "In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever."

PW described her as "Part fairy godmother, part outcast, part dream-come-true, the star of Spinelli's novel shares many of the mythical qualities as the protagonist of his Maniac Magee. Spinelli poses searching questions about loyalty to one's friends and oneself and leaves readers to form their own answers." Parents Choice calls it "a unique love story and humorous tragedy." Kirkus Reviews called it "a magical and heartbreaking tale." Booklist was much less forgiving: "Dialogue, plot, and supporting cast are strong: the problem here is Stargirl herself. She may have been homeschooled, may not have seen much TV, but despite her name, she has lived on planet earth for 15 years, and her naivete is overplayed and annoying."

An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
A Publishers Weekly Choice of the Year's Best Books

View a Booktalk from the Bensenville Community Public Library.

When the author was asked if he believes that people like Stargirl really exist or if she is a fantasy character," he replied that "Stargirl is as real as hope, as real as possibility, as real as the best in human nature. Outrageous? I hope so. Thank goodness for the outrageous among us. I wish I were more outrageous, less predictable, more unrealistic. I understand that the story carries a whiff of fantasy, of the tall tale. The story, and in particular the character, are intended to raise dust in the corners of credibility, to challenge our routine ways of seeing ourselves. When Archie says to Leo, 'She is us more than we are us,' he refers to both her essential humanity and to our own often unrealized potential." That's the appeal for me of course -- I wish I was unique and danced to my own drummer (or ukelele), but am really frightfully boring and conformist.

Ages 12-up, Gr 6-10

Here's a list of books you might like if you liked Stargirl (from Nancy J. Keane and Barrington PL)

    Ones I've read
  • Buddha Boy, by Kathe Koja
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • The Misfits by James Howe
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Ones I haven't yet
  • Alice, I Think by Susan Juby
  • Amandine by Adele Griffin
  • Backwater by Joan Bauer
  • Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon
  • Dolores: Seven Stories About Her by Bruce Brooks
  • Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
  • The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle
  • Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger
  • Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
  • Squashed by Joan Bauer
  • Thwonk by Joan Bauer
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Posted by Emily at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2005

Teen Magazines, Part I

Trying to squeeze in some teen magazine readings to add to my YA class assignment (which is coming down to the wire, so there will hopefully be a bunch of postings about it this week)

cosmogirl.jpg
Cosmo Girl
Feb 05 Issue (this cover image is the current issue, not February's)

cover story:
360 Ways to be Irresitible!
Throughout the issue, find secrets, tips, and tricks to look -- and feel -- hot!

interesting features:

  • Calendar with daily code work -- go to cosmogirl.com/wintoday to enter each day (what a great way to drive traffic to the site and to assure that readers look at that page of the magazine every single day!)
    Grand prize: a cellphone encrusted with diamonds (?!?!)
  • Embarassing stories, fun secrets, LOL jokes
  • personality linked to one of the elements quiz: I got "wood" and it suggests that I keep a small tree (i.e. a bonsai) in my room to enhance my inner wood energy
  • Cool ways to paint your walls
  • ad for Zoey 101, 8pm Sunday on Nick (you can IM or email her at zoeybgirl)
  • Behind the scenes at Electra, Racing Stripes, Coach Carter
  • "Ask College Girl"
  • Runway to Hallway (fashion)
  • Become an Activist (and Change the World)
  • 20 Ways to Love Yourself (adapted from Swim Naked, Defy Gravity and 99 Other Essential Things to Accomplish Before Turning 30
  • Girls' Night In! "You've IMed the world, you're out of gossip, and Everwood is a repeat. Now what are you going to do?" I was pleased to see that there were books in the options -- including a suggestion of starting a love short story book club!

Who's hot?

  • profile of Matt Long from Jack & Bobby
  • 6 degrees of Mandy Moore
  • lots on Lindsay Lohan
  • poster boys: Chirs Carmack (Luck Ward on the OC), Steve Hower (Van Montgomery on Reba), Josh Dehamed (Danny McCoy on Los Vegas), George Stults (Kevin KinFirk on 7th heaven)

"As its name suggests, the new CosmoGirl! borrows heavily from Hearst's juggernaut Cosmopolitan. Take away the sex, substitute "backpack" for "bedside" astrologer, use younger fashions and models, include Hollywood's younger hunks (and throw in some stickers of the stars), focus on giving girls confidence to be themselves, have lots of contest giveaways--and you have CosmoGirl!." (Cosmo Gets a Little Sister, Folio, 9/1/99)

"Already the oldest (launched in August 1999) and biggest (1.25-million ratebase) of the teen-sister titles, Cosmogirl! got even stronger when Hearst acquired teen leader Seventeen in May from Primedia. With that addition, says a Cosmogirl! spokesperson, "Hearst essentially owns the teen category." George Janson, senior partner and director for print at MediaEdge: CIA, calls the title the "cheerleader" of the bunch, "for girls who are still figuring out who they are,"whereas the magazine markets itself as something that "gives power to girls,"says publisher Kristine Welker. Either way, adds Janson, "I've been very impressed with Cosmogirl!'s growth, their numbers and how they're performing on the newsstand." Other media buyers agree that Cosmogirl! has the healthiest spot in the marketplace. Welker reports the 10-times-yearly title is planning to raise its ratebase in 2004, and points out that it made it onto Adweek's "40 Under 40" list for 2002. On the competition: "From a marketing and advertising standpoint, it is rare that Cosmogirl! gets compared to the other titles. Cosmogirl!'s distinct voice offers a realistic approach to a teen's budget." (Face-Off: Younger Sibling Rivalry, Folio, 7/1/03)

A recent Detroit News Article talks about Cosmo Girl and other magazines:

Teen girls' mags turn a new page
'Little sister' publications give jolt of excitement to a tired genre
By Lauren Bishiop / Cincinnati Enquirer

Take a look at the girls' teen magazine section of any bookstore or newsstand, and you'll find the choices -- not to mention the neon colors and dazzlingly white smiles of teen idols -- dizzying.

Not that long ago, young women in the market for a teen magazine had few choices: Seventeen, Teen and YM. But things are changing. The market is now dominated by so-called "little sister" publications, namely Teen People (the first to debut, in 1998), CosmoGirl!, ElleGirl and Teen Vogue.

Now, 60-year-old Seventeen is the last of the old-guard teen magazines on the newsstands. Because of declining circulation, YM ceased publication after its December-January issue, two years after Teen's demise.

The remaining magazines that target this market -- including newcomers such as Justine and a batch of celebrity-obsessed publications such as Twist and J-14 -- all are vying for the dollars of the roughly 33 million 12- to 19-year-olds who spent more than $175 billion last year, according to Illinois-based market research firm Teenage Research Unlimited. Contrary to prevailing wisdom, teens are not turning exclusively to the Internet as their information source.

"If Teen Vogue says something is in style, then (teens) believe it. Seventeen is seen as the big sister and best friend all rolled up into one," says Michael Wood, vice president of Teenage Research Unlimited. "These magazines have worked very hard to position themselves with authority, and I just don't see girls going elsewhere for that kind of information."

On the pages

What's the difference in girls' teen magazines? Here's a peek at what's in the March issues of some.
Teen People -- Ashlee Simpson gets the cover of this issue featuring prom dresses less than $100 and "Shocking True Stories!," such as "My parents are in jail." A new section on boys includes quizzes and dating advice. The cover boasts of 10 pages of hair, makeup and other beauty info.
CosmoGirl! -- Cover shows Destiny's Child and promotes a 24-page pull-out shopping magazine inside. The issue also includes an article on a teen who died after popping some pills -- "Read This Before Your Next Party," the magazine warns -- and a story on what guys say behind girls' backs.
ElleGirl -- Are you addicted to bad boys? Interested in a $40,000 camp for socialites? Want "247 Ways to Look Fabulous"? The magazine includes all of these stories, as well as an article on "The Lindsay Lohan no one knows."
Teen Vogue -- Highlights spring fashion, mastering the use of eyeliner, dressing for the prom, an interview with Emmy Rossum of "The Phantom of the Opera" and an article questioning whether the drinking age should be lowered.
Justine -- Serves up 247 prom essentials, a girls' guide to driving and the story of a bone marrow donor. Shane West also gets a mention on the cover, along with a reference to a quiz to determine how adventurous you are.

Posted by Emily at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

Tonight on KTEH

Tonight I'm the shader (this time on my own). Here's what's on:

hetty.jpgMystery: Mind over Muscle
Friday, March 11, 8:00pm
CHANNEL 54 (KTEH/Channel 54)
Posing as Hetty's (Patricia Routledge) weakling nephew, Geoffrey (Dominic Monaghan) enrolls in a gym to investigate a muscleman with an illegal steroid scam. Seems the tough guy is blackmailing the husband of Hetty's hairdresser. In the climactic chase scene, Janet (Suzanne Maddock) comes to the rescue with a forklift. Meanwhile, Robert (Derek Benfield) gets hired as an opinionated newspaper columnist.

jonathancreek.jpgJonathan Creek
The Wrestler's Tomb
Friday, March 11, 9:09pm
CHANNEL 54 (KTEH/Channel 54)
The wife of a philandering artist is suspected in his murder, and Creek and Magellan team up to figure out how she could have done it. Creek: Alan Davies.

(which is very exciting because Hanna introduced me to the show when I was in London last time and its v.v. fun)


Posted by Emily at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

YA32: the perks of being a wallflower

perks_book.jpgthe perks of being a wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
MTV, 1999
256 pages

I hadn't even heard of this one, but someone mentioned it in class and I liked the title, so when I recognized it in the teen section at King I grabbed it and put it on my pile. Turns out it has been a huge smash hit (according to this review/interview, it has sold tons of copies, become a cult favorite and been the target of morality campaigns). It is the story of an emotional 15 year old boy experiencing the joys and pains of freshman year. Its told entirely in letters from August 1991-1992 (my senior year in high school like many of the characters) Through a young English teacher, he is given a number of books to read and write about over the year which are woven into the narrative of what's going on with his friends and family. The list of books include On the Road, Naked Lunch, The Stranger, This Side of Paradise, Peter Pan, A Separate Peace, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, Walden, and The Fountainhead (one blogger wrote that, "Despite its unbelievability, the lists are one of the most fascinating parts of the novel. It is full of lists of other books and of songs. The book is almost worth reading just for an exploration of the things listed therein and their functions within the narrative.")

Ouch though, the PW review is pretty harsh: "A trite coming-of-age novel that could easily appeal to a YA readership, filmmaker Chbosky's debut broadcasts its intentions with the publisher's announcement that ads will run on MTV." School Library Journal was more forgiving: "Grounded in a specific time (the 1991/92 academic year) and place (western Pennsylvania), Charlie, his friends, and family are palpably real. His grandfather is an embarrassing bigot; his new best friend is gay; his sister must resolve her pregnancy without her boyfriends support. Charlie develops from an observant wallflower into his own man of action, and, with the help of a therapist, he begins to face the sexual abuse he had experienced as a child. This report on his life will engage teen readers for years to come." Kirkus is mixed, writing: "Aspiring filmmaker/first-novelist Chbosky adds an upbeat ending to a tale of teenaged angst... the right combination of realism and uplift to allow it on high school reading lists, though some might object to the sexuality, drinking, and dope-smoking. More sophisticated readers might object to the rip-off of Salinger, though Chbosky pays homage by having his protagonist read Catcher in the Rye." ... and : "A plain-written narrative suggesting that passivity, and thinking too much, lead to confusion and anxiety. Perhaps the folks at (co-publisher) MTV see the synergy here with Daria or any number of videos by the sensitive singer-songwriters they feature."

I certainly couldn't put it down.

I found this old Time Magazine article that talks about the book:

Time, July 19, 1999 v154 i3 p79

Reads Like Teen Spirit: Edgy fiction is making literature "cool" again. (trends in young adult literature)(The Arts/Books)(Brief Article) David Spitz.

Charlie has issues. His favorite aunt passed away, and his best friend just committed suicide. The girl he loves wants him as a friend; a girl he does not love wants him as a lover. His 18-year-old sister is pregnant. The LSD he took is not sitting well. And he has a math quiz looming. Charlie is the high school freshman protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, a 29-year-old screenwriter. Published by MTV, it is one of a new generation of novels geared toward teenagers, for whom such subjects are increasingly just part of growing up.

Young-adult novels, as the genre used to be called, still center on disenfranchised adolescents who could be direct descendants of Holden Caulfield. Now, though, says Stephen Roxburgh, president and publisher of Front Street Books, "the heat has been turned up." Front Street helped bring so-called bleak books to early teens in 1997 when it published one book set in a juvenile-detention facility (Adam Rapp's The Buffalo Tree) and another in which a 13-year-old sleeps with her mother's boss (Brock Cole's The Facts Speak for Themselves). They were followed by Melvin Burgess's even more graphic Smack, a British novel imported by Henry Holt, which details a middle-class 15-year-old's descent into the world of heroin addiction and prostitution.

These books and others that feature stark themes, complex plot lines and ambiguous resolutions are edging out the happy endings and conventional morals of the old-style teen "problem" novels, which would obsess over something like a divorce, or an accidental pregnancy, for 120 pages. "The formula has been broken," says Eliza Dresang, author of Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age.

Now in its fourth printing, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has developed a cult following since it was released in February. "It reminded me of me and my friends, totally and completely," a teen reader reported on an AOL message board. Said another: "I don't read books by choice too often, but I really loved this one."

Book merchants and publishers love it too. Amazon.com has designated a special area for teens online; chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble have begun to do the same in their stores (hint: look for teen racks near the coffee bar). To make the books more attractive to young people, publishers are printing them in larger sizes and illustrating their covers with bold colors and stylish graphics. They're also promoting the books on TV shows and in magazines that are popular with youngsters, as well as on websites.

Teen fiction may, in fact, be the first literary genre born of the Internet. Its fast-paced narratives draw upon the target demographic's kinship with MTV, which has a joint venture with Pocket Books, and with the Internet and kids' ease in processing information in unconventional formats. Smack is told by multiple narrators. Monster, the latest novel by veteran children's book author Walter Dean Myers, is recounted in the form of a screenplay. Louis Sachar's Holes, last year's Newbery and National Book Award winner about a boy erroneously sent to a juvenile detention center, shuttles between past and present.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is presented as a collection of letters the narrator has written to an unspecified recipient. Nearing the end of his freshman year, Charlie realizes what he likes about a certain book, and his description serves to explain the appeal of his own narrative: "It wasn't like you had to really search for the philosophy. It was pretty straightforward, I thought, and the great part is that I took what the author wrote about and put it in terms of my own life."

Teen books may not be able to compete with the visuals of The Matrix, but they do provide a few hours of what teens may need most: time to think. And there's nothing bleak about that.

Posted by Emily at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

Can we have class outside?

On a day this nice in college we would have all begged to have class outside. Walking from work downtown to class, the sign on the Rep said it was 82 degrees out. Little kids were running around in the fountains. I sat down on a bench to read and fell asleep for a bit in the wonderful sunshine. This is March? Makes it hard to get much work done...
IMGP1043.jpg

Posted by Emily at 07:08 PM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2005

Lord Jeff Musical

This made me laugh -- its a flash animation of our beloved college song: The Lord Jeff Musical. (I found it because the craftster blog showed an amherst address on the post and I was curious...) Its pretty cool that Amherst is giving students a place to blog -- I remember when Jamie, Parker, me and just a handful of others were the starting to make web pages at school (and even teaching JeffMUG workshops on HTML) Ok, now I'm feeling kind of old.

Posted by Emily at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Girl Scout Cookies!

Yay! My cute little neighbors delivered my girl scout cookies tonight! MMM.... Caramel deLites (dinner!) and Thin Mints (which will go right into the freezer for a later treat).

Posted by Emily at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

YA31: Blankets

blanketsCoverSmall.jpgBlankets
Craig Thompson
Top Shelf Productions, Marietaa, GA: 2003
592 pages

Its hard to describe this book, so I'd recommend looking at a few of the sample pages here. Even then, it doesn't capture how captivating the story is. Its a memoir of the author, growing up in snowy Wisconsin in a fundamentalist Christian family, sharing a bed with his little brother, escaping into dreams and drawings, going off to church camp, falling in love, wondering about religion, trying to fit in, growing up, all the regular YA Lit themes. The art is wonderful and you get so swept up in it you almost forget the format entirely and its almost like you're dreaming it.

PW writes, "Thompson manages to explore adolescent social yearnings, the power of young love and the complexities of sexual attraction with a rare combination of sincerity, pictorial lyricism and taste. His exceptional b&w drawings balance representational precision with a bold and wonderfully expressive line for pages of ingenious, inventively composed and poignant imagery." School Library Journal explains, "Thompson himself is the protagonist, and this is his tale of growing up, falling in love (and realizing the physical and moral complications that can imply), discovering the texture and limits of his faith, and arriving at a point from which he can look back at those experiences. The snowy Midwest, peopled by overweight parents, hairy youths, and lovingly depicted younger siblings-including a respectfully and realistically treated minor character with Down syndrome-is energetically realized in Thompson's expressive lines and inking." A Booklist starred review agrees: "Eschewing the usual alt-comics cynicism, Thompson's evocation of high-school romance manages to be both romanticized and clear-eyed. His visual mastery shows in fluid line work, assured compositions, and powerful use of solid black areas and negative space. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, this is a genuine graphic novel, with a universal appeal that suits it for any collection." Time calls it "Part teen romance novel, part coming-of-age novel, part faith-in-crisis novel and all comix, "Blankets" is a great American novel."

Posted by Emily at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Phone banking

Phone banking tonight (in downtown SJ) if anyone wants to come along.

Posted by Emily at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/8

4 hours J. Not too busy (especially since family storytime was cancelled because of the local election) so there was lots of time to work on weeding.

Some of the questions:

The Lovely Bones
4th grade boy books
scooby doo videos
poverty and health insurance
sailor moon videos
Benjamin Franklin
2nd grade math
Stanley, Flat Again
the languages of Trinidad
Magic Treehouse books
Asterix comics
Katie Kazoo series paperbacks
CD with "The Mitten Song" on it
Lemony Snicket x3
Cam Jansen, Juni B. Jones
Mission San Antonio
On the Beach
cocker spaniels
Kiss the Bride
Nancy Drew on tape
Rosa Parks biography
kids books in Spanish
Irving Berlin
science fair projects

Posted by Emily at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Craft Corner Deathmatch

Mom IMed me about this one when she saw it in the Times this morning. I'm definitely going to be tivo-ing it (hopefully it will be better than that last craft challenge show.)

Craft Corner Deathmatch

Do you dare to decoupage? Is pain part of your palette? Are you aesthetically aggressive? Then maybe, just maybe, you're tough enough to handle Craft Corner Deathmatch, every Wednesday night at 10 on the Style Network. It's Martha Stewart Living meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome when amateur crafters compete against each other, against the clock--and against the imposing Craft Lady of Steel. Armed with nothing more than hot-glue guns and a few basic materials, the contestants must swiftly assemble projects that are judged on beauty, creativity and utility. Host Jason Jones is the devious ringmaster, throwing twists into each challenge and riling up the bloodthirsty studio audience.

deathmatch.jpg

Can't you just see BobbiLynn vs. Emy? :)

Posted by Emily at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

Kickoff Reminder

A reminder that tonight's our official campaign kickoff. Come, eat, learn more about the campaign, bring your address books and write some letters, sign up to help out!

Tuesday, March 8th 6-9 p.m

The Campbell Campaign is holding it's official kickoff and volunteer orientation at
Stone Griffin Art Gallery in Downtown Campbell
416 E Campbell Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008

Everyone is invited! (I unfortunately have to work tonight, but I hope some of you will stop by and support them!)

Posted by Emily at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)

International Women's Day

Karen reminded me with an email this morning that today is International Women's Day, and sent along this nice write-up:

Happy International Women's Day! Celebrate yourselves and the women in your lives.

(Excerpted from the UN Web site)

International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

The year 2005 is critical for energizing efforts to put gender equality at the top of the international peace and development agenda. In recognition of this pivotal year, the theme for International Women's Day 8 March 2005 is Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future. The theme recognizes the close relationship between gender equality, security and development and stresses reducing poverty, protecting human rights and investing in sustainable development as keys to empowering women. The theme emphasizes that pursuing the goal of gender equality is integral to building a more secure and sustainable future.

For a lot more information on the day and its history, go here: http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2005/>http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2005/

It's the google feature today as well:
intl_women.gif

Posted by Emily at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2005

YA30: Buddha Boy

A quick placeholder blog entry for this next YA book (before I rush off to grab a bite to eat with Julia before phone banking)

Buddha Boy: a novel
Kathe Koja
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 128 pages, paperback 117
Speak (Penguin), 2003

Grade 7-10

Posted by Emily at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

Mom's Tea

Mom sent some nice photos from her tea. There's one up on Westport Now as well.

teatable.jpgteapartytable.jpgtea-momandbetty.jpgjoanneann.jpg

Posted by Emily at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

Phone Banking Tonight

I'll be phone banking for the library campaign tonight -- let me know if you want to come along.

Posted by Emily at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

Summer Classes

Today's the day we have to put in our requests for summer classes (I'm trying to get cataloging) Its always hard to think to the next semester when I'm feeling behind in the current one. The form goes live at 7, and already the site is really slow so tons of people are probably sitting there waiting for it.

Posted by Emily at 07:01 AM | Comments (131)

March 06, 2005

SF with Dad & Jane

Dad's in town for a meeting, so he and Jane came down a day early and Shachar and I drove up to meet them in SF for a couple of hours. After having coffee out an outdoor cafe in Union Square, we went and checked out the new(ish) main SF library (which I still hadn't been to!)

sfpl.jpg
dinosaur.jpg

Then we had drinks at The Top of the Mark and a very nice Italian dinner.

topofthemark.jpg

Posted by Emily at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

March 05, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/6

5 1/4 hours (oops) on the A desk

Some of the questions:
Kelly Blue Books
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Out of Africa soundtrack
books like Grisham (but she doesn't like Turow or Martini)
check on people's holds
The Unknown Profofiev
large type books
Rule of Four
World maps
Candide
images of Croatia
back issues of the NY Times
The Color Purple
paperclips
help finding a book in the hold room
consumer report information on waterheaters
dictionary
printer jam
Thirteenth Fllor
reach something from the top shelf for someone
cdroms
Saturday Night Fever video
scissors, tape, stapler, whiteout
fast food advertising and kids
Greece travel
Argentina history
Priest graphic novel #6
history of the Redwood Grove in Los Altos
roadrunners
aviation (to settle a bet about Lindberg and Admr Byrd
A Real Moment
foreign films
Dragon Ball Z #18
Foyle's War
Mickey Rooney movie about Edison (Young Tom Edison)
magazine back issues
nonfiction films about relationships
ethylene
Dan Flavin
iRobot
StarWars paperback series
etc.

plus a great surprise visit from Emy & Ray! Yay!

Posted by Emily at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Rats!

No, I AM supposed to be working today. So now I'm here, late and feeling very guilty.

Posted by Emily at 12:46 PM | Comments (2)

Teen Web Sites, Part A

Ok, working on my assigment to check out teen web sites and write about them...
bolt.jpg
Bolt.com

I saw an eMarketer report about "The Young and The Connected" (posted 1/18/05) which cited a survey by Bolt, a youth-oriented online content site. The study found that "Seventy percent of online Gen Y's (15-22 year olds) accessed the internet with a broadband connection in Q4, an 11% increase over Q3, according to Bolt Media's Quarterly Tracking Study."

From the press release, "Gen Y Feels the Need for Speed: Broadband penetration increases to 70% among Gen Y" (pdf):

For today's young people, half of whom spend more than 15 hours online each week, faster connections and load times dramatically enhance the user experience. "Kids who are online aren't just surfing the Web. They're blogging, uploading photos and video, and downloading and sharing music," remarks Kevin Wicks, Bolt's Director Entertainment Content. "Faster connections mean a higher volume and broader range of activity on the web."

As time spent online increases and broadband continues to penetrate the market, teens and young adults have growing opportunities to make their media experiences more participatory. Through blogging, photos, online gaming, online video and other tools, Gen Y is accepting the challenge of creating their
own programming.

According to BIGresearch, this is a bit above the simultaneous use of TV and the Internet among the general population. The Bolt study also suggests that Internet use is also leading to a decline in TV watching, and that 55% of respondents in say they are watching less TV now than one year ago.

Bolt surveys the online behavior of teens across many categories including Movies, TV, Beverage, Wireless, Spending, and Online Behavior.

So I went to check out Bolt, a "magazine style site which features chat, message boards, and news." According to the site, "Bolt is the #1 youth hangout on the Web, bringing together 4.5 million young people each month to exchange ideas about everything from final exams to the war in Iraq. Bolt is the basement, park, college dorm, sidewalk cafe or the 7-11 parking lot -- it's a place where young people come to meet others and talk about everything. Authenticity is at the core of all that we do." Founded in 1996, the site claims 4.5 million unique monthly visitors and 9.2 million registered users so far. They receive about 100,000 new visitors monthly. The ages range mostly from 13-25 and are split equally between male and female users. The average time spent on the site is about 3 hours/month.

Right now, Saturday at 11, there are 20,979 people on now (and it seems to grow every time I look back up from this entry to check). 1091+ new members have joined Bolt so far today. The main menu categories across the top nav bar are Movies & TV, Sex & Dating, Gaming, Musing, Speak Up ("News, issues, activism, debate, volunteer get involved"), Style, Sports, Quizzes, AIM Icons, Quotes, Surfing, Game Revolution, Ido, Ooopsexxx, and Horoscopes (my horoscope today is: "You're the most popular person in town right now. Be your naturally wonderful self and you just can't miss.") On the second level of the home page, there's a big banner ad for "getFamous: Win a $25,000 Contract to Produce Your Own Wireless Phone Series!" from verizon wireless. There's also a Connect menu with Photos, Tagbooks, Faceoffs, Journals, Popular Stuff, Meet People, Boards, Clubs, Badges, Free Stuff and Zap Chat. There's a Member of the Day and a question (today's is "What makes you cry?") Today's feature stories include an interview with American Idol castoff Celena Raw, "Innocent vs. Experienced", a debate over whether girls get special treatment in paintball, a poll on whether Eminem's 15 minutes of fame are waay up, and a chance to vote on your favorite oscar moments (sponsored by Kotex) You can sign in and also search for members (guys or girls, ages 15-16, 17-18, 19-20, 21-23, 24+)

I was of course drawn to the Speak Up section. The current topics there are breathalyzer tests in schools, Ann Coulter, kids in orlando leaping between 80-foot high public parking garages and parents of the teens who are suing the city of orlando (the owner of the garages) for not protecting against this with fencing, an ebate about PETA, abstinence vs. birth control, Could You Be President, and more.

So then I noticed that Betty was logged in to IM so I asked for some advice on teen sites to write about. Here's the one's she suggested: thefacebook.com ("thefacebook is like addictive... all college kids are on it"), ebaumsworld.com and albinoblacksheep ("its like ebaumsworld... it like has funny movies and quotes and stuff") So I'll have to take a look at each of them and write them up later.

Anyone have some others to suggest?

Posted by Emily at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

YA29: Memoirs of a Bookbat

I thought I was scheduled to work today, but it looks like I'm not, so I'm going to try to take advantage of some extra found hours and catch up on my homework so I can meet up with Dad & Jane in SF tomorrow.

First off, another great YA book to add to the pile:

bookbat.jpgMemoirs of a Bookbat
Kathryn Lasky
Harcourt Brace & Company, San Diego: 1994
215 pages

I had enjoyed Kathryn Lasky's Star Split, but until I looked back on my blog entry just now I had forgotten that the author was a friend of Lisa's!

The official summary is that "Fourteen-year-old Harper, an avid reader, looks back on her life and realizes that her parents' public promotion of censorship has grown into a quest for control over her choices and decisions." She has to hide her books from her born-again fundamentalist parents, who move around the country crusading against unfit books in schools. It fits wonderfully in my "Books and reading - Fiction" subject heading goal and sprinkles in the children's books that help Harper get through her life (Brer Rabbit, Tom Sawyer, Narnia, Judy Blume, etc.)

Just that afternoon at the library storytime, Nancy had read a beautiful poem about a baby bat being born. It described bats' "sharp ears, their sharp teeth, their quick sharp faces." It told how they soared and looped through the night, how they listened by sending out what the poet called "shinging needlepoints of sound." Bats lived by hearing. I realized, standing in front of Nettie right then, that when I read I am like a bat soaring and swooping through the night, skimming across the treetops to find my way through the densest forest in the darkest night. I listen to the shining needlepoints of sound in every book I read. I am no bookworm. I am the bookbat. (31-32)
PW explains, "In this very smart (and somewhat acerbic) book, Newbery honoree Lasky ( Double Trouble Squared ; The Night Journey ) combines fictional characters with real-life authors and religious groups (such as Operation Rescue) to create a credible and entertaining story of an emerging independent thinker." School Library Journal was less impressed, calling it "a problematic story with a cast of disappointing, one-dimensional characters and a plot that misses the mark." Booklist agress, writing: "Thinly disguised as a novel, this is an essay about the danger of the religious Right. Characterization is minimal: the fundamentalists are all caricatures of fools and villains. The free-thinking teenage narrator looks back at her life with her weird, religious parents and sees that reading books has made her wise and humane and broad-minded; even as a young child, she learned from Brer Rabbit to be cunning and to hide the books her parents crusaded against." Kirkus hit closer to how I felt about the book, writing: "Lasky's obvious sympathies are sure to strike a responsive chord among the like-minded; her many specific references to children's literature enrich Harper's accessible first-person narrative. " Ages 12-up, Grade 6-9

It would be great in a display of censorship/intellectual freedom/Bill of Rights/decision making/family & duty related books. From Hinton to Hamlet also puts it in the categories of "The Wise Old Woman or Man. This figure protects or assists the character in facing challenges." -- Harper's grandmother and various authors serve in this role -- and "The Hero. The main character leaves his or her community to go on an adventure, performing deeds that being honor to the community. The journey of the hero." The book, Using Literature to Help Trouble Teenagers Cope with Identity Issues includes the chapter "Identity through Self-Awareness: Kathryn Lasky's Memoirs of a Bookbat." I can imagine, however, that the book would not be popular among certain groups.

Posted by Emily at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Shader

Tonight I'm off to KTEH to learn how to be the shader. According to the web site, this is what the position entails:

Video Shader The Video Shader sits at a Camera Control Unit (CCU) console, located behind the Production Control room. The "shader" prepares each of the three studio cameras, before the Director needs that camera on-line, by adjusting the peak-video level and black level controls. The level of preparation is moderate.

Tonight on KTEH is Mystery!

mrsbradley.jpgEmmy and Tony Award-winning actress Diana Rigg does a quick change from Mystery! host to heroine as she plays crime-solving psychologist Adela Bradley in The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, based on the delightful whodunits by author Gladys Mitchell. Set in the 1920s, Bradley and her chauffeur, George Moody (Neil Dudgeon), go wherever their Rolls Royce carries them to investigate murders that people are too embarrassed to report to the police.

Tonight's episodes are:

The Rising of the Moon
A slasher slaying at the circus gets pinned on Castries the knife thrower (Francis Magee). But then Archie the clown (Ken Collie) is implicated. Mrs. Bradley (Diana Rigg) probes the murderous resentment within the troupe and in the town where the circus has arrived.

Laurels Are Poison
The Ghost of the Soldier haunts the estate of Mrs. Bradley's (Diana Rigg) old friend Lady Isabel Marchmont (Phyllida Law); first the cook and then the gardener are poisoned. Mrs. Bradley probes the paternity of Isabel's grandchild, which may hold a clue to the killings. Meanwhile, George (Neil Dudgeon) quizzes the man who may know the details of his brother's death in the war.

Update: The phone volunteers were from the Mystery Writers of America group, and only two brought teenage daughters so I didn't get to make any observations for class. It was fun to be in the control room but I think I miss being out where all the people are. Sunday I'll be on camera again though.

Posted by Emily at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

At the mall

So I dragged Emy to the mall -- well, first I dragged her to help Ellen and I hand write thank you notes to people who had contributed to the library campaign. I was hoping to observe teens for class but also desperately needed to bring my poor sick powerbook in for some tlc. We spent a very long time at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store with Patrick, today's resident genius, and it seems like it was all software issues that could be repaired. Apparently the grey screen of death with the multi-language warnings that I had been getting anytime I moved the laptop was a "kernel panic" message, possibly caused by doing video editing which is hard on one's hard drive (note: it is recommended to do store the video files on an external hard drive to avoid this, who knew?) There were also a ton of permission errors (figures, with the unix underbelly) and a bad shell name or something. Hopefully it will now feel a bit better.

We did walk around and try to observe teens, and then had some very yummy fish and chips in the food court. There were lots of teens getting their make up done, walking around in small groups, going in and out of the infinite seeming Abercrombe storefronts, wearing a lot of sweat shirts and flip flops, and generally hanging out. I'm hoping there are some teen volunteers at KTEH tonight so I can talk to them instead, since my observing wasn't as fruitful as I had hoped.


Posted by Emily at 06:46 PM | Comments (2)

Campbell Kickoff, March 8th

Save the Date!
Tuesday, March 8th 6-9 p.m

The Campbell Campaign is holding it's official kickoff and volunteer orientation at
Stone Griffin Art Gallery in Downtown Campbell
416 E Campbell Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008

Everyone is invited!

If you have already committed to working on another local campaign, this is a great opportunity to show our support for fellow library staff and campaign volunteers. It will also be a chance to share experiences working in different communities and find out how things are going with the campaign as a whole.

The volunteer effort is going great but we still need more people in ALL of our communities.

There has been tremendous support in the community but we still need to inform library supporters that Measure A is the only way to keep the library from losing critical funding and Measure B will help us restore some funding that we have lost already.

Posted by Emily at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Surveyed Again

I was surveyed again tonight (that's what I get for years of questionning those tv poll results because no one I ever knew ever was asked). This time it was on issues relating to Measure A from 2000 which levied a half-cent transit sales tax and allowed Santa Clara County voters the opportunity to vote on transportation improvements in the county. (Info from the VTA Site) Of course with the economic downturn, the sales tax hasn't brought in the needed funding to build all the projects people were promised, so they're talking about either raising the tax a little bit more or making some tough decisions about which of the projects to fund or cut. So I was asked all sorts of questions about how I would prioritize the projects, if I would support the increase, whose opinions I would be influenced by if they came out in support of the measure, etc. Its a bit hard to believe that someone really bases political decisions on the results of these polls, but at least I'm being asked, so I shouldn't complain.

It would be pretty cool to extend Bart into San Jose.

Posted by Emily at 09:33 PM | Comments (496)

YA Log #3: RuneScape

Ok, in my continuing efforts to work on my YA homework, I sat down to play RuneScape, which is apparently quite popular with teens in many libraries.

As it describes itself on the web site, "RuneScape is a massive 3d multiplayer adventure, with monsters to kill, quests to complete, and treasure to win."

I immediately got sucked into it and also realized, once again, really how awful I am at these types of games. The orientation module is great, it walks you through doing all sorts of tasks -- cut down a tree to make fire wood, light the fire, use the net to catch some shrimp and throw them on the fire (try not to burn them), etc. You follow a path and meet different guides who reveal a little more of the world's workings to you -- you learn to run, to fight, to bake bread, to cast spells, etc. Then they throw you into the "mainland" and that's when I hit my wall. You can go on quests where people ask you to find things for them, and I found the chef and he asked for flour and eggs and milk but then I spent an awfully long time wandering around trying to find a store with food to sell or a chicken or a cow or something. Eventually I gave up when I realized how much time had passed and remembered how much other stuff I was supposed to be doing.

According to the front page of the site, there are currently 43,141 people playing right now (8:15pm pacific). There are also countless fan sites, discussion boards, and online communities of the game players (eventually I did find some helpful hints to the Cook's Assistant Quest for the next time I venture back into the world.) There are even RuneScape Meetup Groups

Here's a small screenshot - not sure if you can see her but my character is there with the pigtails. (She's LibGrrl05 if you want to add her to your friends list)
runescape1.jpg

The Covington Branch of the Kenton County Public Library (KY) even has "Runescape Night for Teens." They advertise it: "Calling all Runescape players! This night is just for you! Two hours of non-stop Runescape! Space is limited, so sign-up in advance!" (Thursday, 6:30-8:30pm)

An article in VOYA about the Phoenix Public Library (AZ) mentions RuneScape as well as one of the activities going on in their teen area: "Still others just want to unwind and play RuneScape® on the Internet with their friends." Wells Branch in Texas has "Runescape Night:  After closing, every computer will be dedicated to youth ages 12-18 for Runescape.  Reserve a machine now for $3. $5 at the door (if available)" which is part of their Children's Programming. And a quick search shows that many libraries around the country link to the game on their links pages.

I think I'll add a RuneScape night to my YA programming plan that I'm supposed to be working on for class. We could tie it in with some great fantasy adventure stories. I think a summer reading program where you had to undertake quests similar to those found in the game (learning new skills, reading new kinds of books, earning higher levels) would be great fun.

I'm hoping that there are teen phone volunteers at the KTEH pledge drive this weekend so I can discretely observe them :)

Posted by Emily at 08:16 PM | Comments (5)

Girl Power! Laurie Long

So there's a rather strange exhibit at the Art Museum currently featuring Bay Area artist Laurie Long (feb. 5, 2005 to jun. 5, 2005) When I first saw it advertised I immediately thought of making BobbiLynn go, since she's the ultimate Nancy Drew fan, but we never managed to coordinate going over her Spring Break. Luckily Julia remembered that I wanted to see it and, since she's much better at following through to actually doing instead of just coming up with the ideas (a weakness of mine), she made sure we actually met up and saw it today. Here's the description:

Girl Power! Laurie Long presents the work of Bay Area artist Laurie Long, whose enchanting art fuses together elements of humor, gender identity, and pop culture. Long's work investigates serious issues—regarding the construction of female identity, and the implications of female performance within societal codes—in a lighthearted and easily accessible manner. While her work has been displayed both nationally and internationally in major venues, never before have her series been assembled in a complete survey exhibition. This exhibition will feature work from a number of series including, Becoming Nancy Drew in which she physically transformed herself into the famous girl sleuth from children’s literature and placed herself in photographic tableaux based on engravings from the books; Dating Surveillance Project, where Long wore a coat rigged with a concealed miniature video camera and microphone to record her dates; and The Secret History of Goddess Sites, which documents places in Europe where female deities were worshipped.

It was also fun to stop by Inside Out: Selections from the Permanent Collection (nov. 20, 2004 to jul. 9, 2006) where we could visit the furniture-eating couch we all love so much.

They were setting up for Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design (mar. 6, 2005 to jul. 10, 2005) which looks like it will be quite interesting as well.

Posted by Emily at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

YA27 & 28: Buried Onions and Whirligig

buriedonions.jpgBuried Onions
by Gary Soto
Harper Collins, 1997
149 pages

Nineteen year old Eddie lives in Fresno, has dropped out of school where he was supposed to be studying air conditioners, and just wants to escape from his world of gangs and violence and keep a job, put food on the table and lead a normal life. Try as he might to stay out of the trouble around him, breaking free seems impossibly hard.

Joni's Booktalk

Booklist explains, "The 'buried onions,' which Eddie imagines as the underground source for the world's tears, pervade the tone and plot, but the unvarnished depiction of depressed and depressing barrio life is as important as the positive images of Latinos Soto has created in his other works." PW writes, "This bleak, claustrophobic novel perfectly captures the cyclical despair of its [19-year-old, Hispanic protagonist]." School Library Journal writes that "Soto's descriptions are poetic, and he creates deep feelings of heat and despair. A powerful and thought-provoking read."

Ages 12+, Grade 9+



whirligig.gif
Whirligig
by Paul Fleischman
Dell Laurel-Left, New York: 1998

This one's probably going on the list of my favorites of the semester.

In Cat's Cradle, Vonneget wrote, "If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons that person may be a member of your karass." Brent Bishop had read that book in English class and the term popped into his mind when sitting down to a game of Go at a shared campsite with a cyclist traveling from British Columbia. Your friends and family aren't part of your karass, he muses. You can't choose its members, and might never know who was in it or what its purpose was. Brent realizes that he is connected to the girl whose life he ended when driving drunk. And he realizes that everything one does -- good bad and indifferent -- sends a wave rolling out of sight, touching other lives, bringing some people together, tearing others apart. The girl's mother has asked him to travel to the four corners of the country and build whirligigs of a girl that looks like her so that people all over the country can receive joy from her even though she's gone. This is a novel connections and consequences, alternating between Brent's story and those of characters whose own lives are set in motion by his wind toys, long after he's passed through.

Joni's Booktalk

• A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
• A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
• A Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice
• A Publishers Weekly Best Book

Posted by Emily at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Refgrunt, 3/1

Busy night on the J desk, here's some of the questions:

ethiopian wolf (endangered species are in this week apparently)
Hector's Dolphins
Falling Up
A Pizza the Size of Heaven
giant squid
women in sports
magic school bus butterfly video
Inu Yasha
planets
Cardcaptor Sakura #2
recommend something to read (like Redwall), gave him Narnia and some other fantasy stuff
Lemony Snicket #2
Zia on tape
Alice in Wonderland disney film
how are stars different from the planet earth
history of Italy
3rd grade math
Chocolate Fever
atlas of Asia
polar bears
mysteries
5th grade math
picture books about rainbows
St. Patricks Day
the sheet music for Slippery Fish (failed to find it though :( )
educational software for kids with autism or other special needs (didn't do so well on that one either)

Posted by Emily at 09:43 PM | Comments (10)

Summerland

summerland.jpgForgot to write this up the other day when I finished listening to it, but since I should probably bring it back to the library tonight when I go to work, I thought I should do it now.

Summerland
Michael Chabon
500 pages
Miramax; 2002
Ages 9-12

I loved it. It started off slow and for a while I had forgotten why I had checked it out, but once the fantasy side of it came through I couldn't stop listening (10 tapes worth allowed for a lot of listening pleasure and many drives that seemed way too short).

PW writes, "Impressively, the author takes a contemporary smalltown setting and weaves in baseball history, folklore and environmental themes, to both challenge and entertain readers. Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis's Narnia and some of Philip Pullman's creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America's pastime will find much to cheer here. All ages." School Library Journal, which recommends it for grades 5+, writes ". Readers will identify with Ethan and his motley crew with their insecurities, longings, family problems, and their sometimes clumsy ingenuity. Packed with magic, adventure, myth, and America's favorite pastime, this book will enchant its audience." Booklist says, "Committed fantasy buffs are a breed apart, but even they will have to bring their A-games if they expect to digest this ingredient-rich plot. (Certainly, only the most precocious of kids will be able to get around on Chabon's mythic fastball.) Still, there is a good story here, semi-buried beneath the world building; maybe a trimmed-down, three-hour movie will salvage it for the more mundane among us."

Posted by Emily at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Vote for Brian's Manifesto

Vote for Brian's Manifesto on Change Now (and create more work for him to do)

New Rules for Radical Communication
01-March-2005
What is this?
This is a manifesto proposal submitted by a visitor to this site. If you'd be interested on reading the manifesto proposed, cast your vote! And if you've an idea for a great manifesto you'd like to write, click here to submit a proposal.

Author(s): Brian Reich

You can't consider the impact of online social networks on politics without first considering the foundations of social networks more generally. One of the key contributors to this discussion was Saul Alinsky. Alinsky developed strategies and tactics to convert the enormous emotional energy of grassroots groups into effective activism. In one of his most famous works, Rules for Radicals, he stressed that an organizer shouldn't get locked into any one tactic and should utilize new and creative tactics to be most effective in promoting a particular cause. The result was a method and style of pursuing social change that has remained a permanent part of the American political landscape for generations. The Internet and technology have revolutionized politics and community engagement once again. But the Rules for Radicals that Saul Alinsky championed do not translate directly to online community building and engagement activities. So, what are the new rules?

Posted by Emily at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)