Sunday, April 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time: The Stranger

Pinocchio turns out to have been the seven year old that found baby Emma, having come through the wardrobe portal just moments before her.  (Doh I did think Baelfire was too old.) It turns out that Gepetto forced the Blue Fairy to lie about how many could travel through.  The number was in fact two.  He insisted Pinocchio be one of them.

I liked having my question answered about August and his returning to wooden form, it was indeed triggered by Emma deciding to stay in Storybrooke for Henry.  August's description of his land where everything is pleasure...Tsk.

I thought that Baelfire was going to be in the cafe as a sort of last resort bit of convincing for Emma, but no. All August succeeded in doing was to make Emma feel desperate to get away from the burden of saving everyone.

I do think the older boy at the orphanage with the wad of cash was Baelfire (like I'm letting him slip away so easily).  All that money from making deals no doubt, just like his dear old dad.

Interesting Emma could not see August's wooden leg.  It must be because she truly doesn't believe. 

I thought the telling of Pinoccio's story was sweet.  It is just too hard that Geptetto should be asked to let anything happen to his boy.  I understand the deal he made. 

It was far too much to ask of a small child to go through a portal to a foreign land alone, and to bear the burden of watching over a baby and making sure she meets her fate.  Still, when he left poor innocent baby Emma there alone with those cruel people I'm going noooooo.

Nothing but sadness has been brought by the curse, even for Regina who is not loved anywhere by anyone.  I wonder if she is regretting having done it at all.  Interesting ploy trying to gather David to herself.  Maybe Charming is waking up to himself.  He backed right on out of there, didn't he.

I am vindicated, August did change the story and Henry did notice!  Aha.

My husband and I are agreed that August/Pinocchio has achieved redemption because Gepetto told him he tried to make things right and that is all that could be asked.  And he's going to work for his dad for free just to be near him again.  Now that is nice.

And Emma decides to take things into her own hands and drives off with Henry.  That will be a fine mess.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grimm: Leave it to Beavers

In a curiously charming episode, Nick investigates a mob style killing at a bridge construction site.  An Eisbiber has uncharacteristically said no to paying off troll-like Wesen Salvadore Burrell, a city inspector.  He ends up encased in cement.

The killing is witnessed by another Eisbiber, Arnold, who is more typical of the beaver-like race.  He's scared, he runs, he hides in a friends basement.

When Nick and Hank trace down the 911 call Arnold made, they find his trailer fill of whirligigs and a photo that includes Wesen refrigerator repairman Bud.  I just love this little guy as the series goes on, and I really feared for him in this episode.  He has this hero worship of Nick and is so eager to do what he can to help him and he showers him with homemade gifts.

Bud works to try to get his fellow Eisbibers to help Nick and to vote to force Arnold to come forward to testify against Sal, the troll-like Hasslich.

Sal doesn't like being thwarted so he calls in Reapers to kill Nick.  The Reapers aren't such easy tools however, and they turn on Sal and demand to know all he knows about Nick and his whereabouts.

Lucky for Nick, he and Monroe have been practising with some of the weapons in Aunt Marie's trailer.  Nick has a small crossbow with two bolts stuffed with powders to tranquilize then take down the quarry.  He also has a large studded bat.  Their practice session in the woods is so cute.  It starts off with Nick being pounced on by Monroe who comes bounding out of the foliage reminding me of nothing so much as Winnie the Pooh's Tigger.

When the reapers track down Nick, a fight ensues. I wondered how Nick was going to keep his Grimm weapons handy.  They wouldn't exactly fit under his shirt! He just carries them in a gym bag in his car.  Nick does some rather amazing dodging of Reaper blades and one of the Reaper's slices off his fellow Reaper's head.  Oops!   Nick hits the second Reaper in the neck with his crossbow.

Nick calls Monroe to come help dispose of the bodies.  My goodness there is a lot of sweeping of bodies under the rug going on these days.  Nick has definitely crossed the line into Cop/Grimm territory, merging the two smoothly. 

In an effort to discourage more Reapers from coming to kill him, Nick sends a nicely wrapped package to Reaper Central with a note:   "Next time send your best."

Friday, April 27, 2012


Man programming is hard.  You spend alot of time coming up with what you think are good ideas and sometimes you get a boatload of people and sometimes you get nobody. 

Programming for adults is especially hard because they have so many choices and have the mobility to go elsewhere for their entertainment.  Unlike the wee folk who are dragged in bodily.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Word Class

We teach Computer basics and Microsoft Office basic programs at the library in order to help the people who visit us use these programs more effectively.

Although a basic class outline is provided by a staff member from somewhere in the system we can always make up our own PowerPoints and exercises as long as we hit all the markers for what the class should cover.  I am always re-inventing myself anywho so when I do a class I tweak my presentation like a fiend.

Microsoft Word, especially the 2010 version is a really versatile program.  I spend time talking about the Ribbon and the Tabs and the Groups pointing out the main features.  But!  I don't like lecturing and I want to keep my class engaged and actually working with the program.  Also, if they are busy typing they are not gooning me and making me nervous.

For my last class, quite at the last minute, I thought up a small series of exercises that I felt used the unique features of Word.  It went really well and next time I teach Word I will have something more elaborate written out.  Here's what I did:

We're having a big party.  We'll start with a party committee.  We create a Word Table with columns for Food/Decorations/Entertainment/Setup/Takedown and four rows for our helpers.  Highlight the column headings.   Highlight the names of the people who have confirmed they will help.  Click to see example!

I am in my my snuggly home writing so I don't have Word 2010, alas.  Use your imagination to think that we have this nice vast array of templates in Word instead of 2003's download everything, install Active X blah blah blah...

Instead of the bozo invite illustrated here we have a nice invitation that allows us to show how the templates do all your formatting for you and you just replace text.  We will have been GOOD DOGS and will have shown them the Resume templates and wizards before we have our fun "tell a story" exercise :)

Also in Word 2010 there is a big category of templates for Lists. List makers unite!  There is a subcategory for lists for the home, which I used, and several options for grocery lists.  Since we are in 2003 la la land here at DOA Central, we have this downloadable example:

The point of all this is, I really want people to see that Word is more than just a blank page on your screen.  It's basic function is that it is a mock up of a piece of paper.  You can do so much with this paper though, things that are actually useful to you in everyday life.  Next time I teach Word I will have a really cool scenario.  

Or...what about one where the person is applying for a we help them with a small cover letter using Word's helpful, oh my G, it looks like you're writing a letter helper.  We do a brief resume template.  We use the list feature to give them a workspace for their job history components so they can write adaptable to the situation resumes and their job history is all nicely laid out.  Also they can use that list feature to track where they have already applied and when...yup.  You can see, I hope, how useful it is to show the basic elements of the program, but you need to also get them to use it in class so it makes more sense.

Just thinking out loud...D.O.A.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

D.O.A.'s YA Heroines

A recent article in the Atlantic spurred on by the popularity of the Hunger Games and Katniss the spectacular no doubt, is part of a new YA for Grownups feature at the Atlantic.

The article “The Greatest Girl Characters of Young Adult Literature” lists mostly books and heroines from children’s books. As soon as I read the list, I started thinking about the many great teen girls I’ve read about and loved over the years. How could they leave these out?

Meg from A Wrinkle in Time is an all time favorite. She is someone I identified with as soon as I read her story in sixth grade. Far from home, faced with a remarkable evil that had already taken her father and which was slowly turning her beloved brother to its will, Meg digs deep and uses her heart and mind to fight and win them back.

Thirteen year old Dicey Tillerman from the Homecoming and other novels by Cynthia Voight is deserted in a store parking lot by her mother, left with her three younger siblings and nowhere to call home. Shocked but determined to take care of them somehow, she begins a cross country trek.

Legendary eleven year old Lilah the Lost from Jonathan Maberry's Dust and Decay survives among the zombie hordes for years before she joins Benny Imura on his journey. Tough, she is determined to survive at all costs and she has much to offer.

Kristin Kashore's novel Graceling features Katsa who has been trained as a hardened assassin from a young age. Her gift or Grace of being able to kill people with her bare hands makes her a tool of her uncle. Secretly, she forms a council which acts in service of others in order to maintain her humanity.

Tally Youngblood from Scott Westerfeld's Uglies is like every other teen who is approaching her sixteenth birthday: eager to have the surgical transformation that will make her beautiful and perfect. A meeting with rebellious Shea changes her mind and her future. She is an absolute product of her carefully formed society who chooses a possibly savage existence over an easy but controlled life.

Enola Holmes is Sherlock's young sister. Abandoned by her mother and determined not to be put away in some school for girls, she uses disguise and brilliantly logical planning to elude her famous brothers and strikes out on her own. Nancy Springer's Enola is beloved by many for her ability to sleuth while remaining warm and vulnerable and a step ahead of everyone. The Case of the Missing Marquess is first.

Avi’s Charlotte Doyle is a wealthy young girl on a sea voyage that disintegrates into mutiny and murder. She becomes one of the crew, is charged with murder and becomes captain of the ship during the perilous voyage from England to Rhode Island. In the end, she can choose her old life or her new one. The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle leap from the page in one astonishing turn after another.

Fever Crumb lives in war ravaged London in the distant future. She belongs to the Society of Engineers, a cold logical scientific people. Revolutionary events sweep her from her comfortable existence and reveal that she may be a member of an ancient hated race.

Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons follows Salamanca Tree Hiddle on a journey across country with her grandparents. Sal hopes to be in Idaho in time for her mother’s birthday. Along the way, she tells them the story of another girl who is much like herself. Despite loss and a deep sense of guilt, they make the journey together. Sal’s imagination and determination to make things right somehow are heartbreaking and wonderful at once.

I read Meredith Ann Pierce's story of Aeriel and her Darkangel when I was young and thought it was so romantic. A young girl goes up against a beautiful cold vampyre with thirteen wives in order to save her beloved mistress. She tries to save them and herself by going on a series of magnificent quests. Through three novels she does what is required of her, keeping her love and her world safe. Her selfish vampyre never quite deserves her.

Sarah Byrnes is one of the bravest girls in literature, appearing catatonic to escape from her violent father. She feels she has to withdraw, and trusts no one, not even her long time friend Eric. Eric draws in others to help her escape the last drop into madness as her father tries to kill her at last. Chris Crutcher shows the price and peace of standing up for yourself and others in Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes.

Sabriel is the daughter of an Abhorsen. Abhorsen's work to keep the dead from re-entering the world of the living. When he is killed, he sends her his tools so that she may learn the craft and go across death to save him. Although she is born to be an Abhorsen, the dangerous process of learning by crossing into the world of the dead is almost too much.

Lyra Belacqua in the Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass does no less than save souls as she adventures across snowy wastes to deliver an instrument that she thinks will help her uncle. I loved her ability to make friends in any situation and to think quickly when presented with danger. Betrayed by those who should love her best, she remains loyal throughout.

In Tomorrow When the War Began, Ellie Linton goes camping with her friends. When she returns home, her town Australian town has been invaded and she and her friends need to scavenge food and eventually wage a guerilla war on the invaders.

Life As We Knew It ends for Miranda and her family when a meteor knocks the moon out of its orbit and closer to earth. Tidal waves, volcanoes that permanently blacken the skies and earthquakes that ruin what remains make it nearly impossible to survive. Somehow Miranda and her family keep going and find a way to be closer to each other than ever. Susan Beth Pfeffer wrote two other novels set in this near future as well.

In Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small Keladry of Mindelan works to become the first female knight. She endures the rigors of training and the harassment of some very sociopathic fellow knights in training. She not only survives, she becomes known as The Protector of the Small as she fights the battles of other students who are taunted. Small, tough, big hearted.

Harry Crewe leaves home to fight beside her brother Richard in Robyn McKinley’s The Blue Sword. She has gifts and fights well, entering a competition that shows her skills to all. With her Blue Sword Gonturan she enters battle in a high pass. Barely surviving she calls upon help from her heroine Aerin and her love Corlath. The sword activates its ancient magic and brings down ruin upon the invaders. Great fight scenes, I think this was the first time I read a book where a girl could be a sword wielding heroine.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Henry I Am Your Father...

After last night I am convinced Baelfire is Henry's father

Also, I think Baelfire is the seven year old who found baby Emma.  I think he kept returning to the place where he entered this world in hopes that his father would appear, but voila, there was a baby instead.  I'm certain he watched over her as best as he could over the years.  We shall see how much he has been working behind the scenes.  Has he been a force for good as he was in faerie, or has this world corrupted him?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Once Upon a Time: The Return

They really fooled me!  I apparently have a giant soft spot for Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold because I really wanted him to be reunited with his boy.  Instead, he was tricked by August into revealing the location of his Dark One Knife and August tried to use it to control Mr. Gold.  Major bummer. But only on behalf of Mr. Gold.

There has been something a bit off about August, a bit slimy, and I have had a hard time liking him even though he seemed to be helping Emma.  Ah, well.

Another opportunity for Robert Carlyle to do some really wonderful acting.

Still, Baelfire must have ended up in this world, right?  So who is he? Have we met him or will we?  Because he came here before the curse as Emma did, he would be immune to having to stay in Storybrooke.  I'm wondering if Baelfire is who August was talking to on the phone, saying we have to move our plan up, we're running out of time.  It would explain why August knows so much.

The next theory that has been floated out there then is that August is Pinocchio, and perhaps the tremors we're seeing in his legs are him turning back to wood in this non-magical world.  He would be highly motivated to have Emma break the curse if it would save him by sending him back to fairy tale land.

The Blue Fairy is head of the convent, right?  Now we know why Gold hates fairies.  As I was watching I was recalling Rumplestiltskin killing Cinderella's Fairy Godmother...why kill her?  She must have done something as well.  Silly fairies.

So "The Return" was not the return of Baelfire, but Kathryn's return.  She was in an accident, drugged, kept in a dark basement.  She was most gracious to everyone.  Hopefully nothing more bad will happen to her.

I feel for Sidney, still as in love with the Queen as ever.  What a terrible fate he has suffered for his true love.

David in Storybrooke was as noxious and clueless as ever.  Could they make him any less appealing?

Luckily Snow/Mary Margaret gets stronger by the episode.

Only three more episodes to the finale.  Lots of possible twists.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grimm: Cat and Mouse

In this weeks's episode, a wesen freedom fighter is on the run from several determined assassins.  He ends up in Portland, just ahead of a particularly tough pursuer who manages to wound him before he escapes to Rosalee's shop. 

He is looking for Rosalee's dead brother who was known to help fleeing wesen get to safety.  This is a bit of a nicer background for Freddy who seemed to be largely a dealer in illegal wesen substances from previous episodes, particularly Island of Dreams.

Nick and Hank investigate the bus station shooting, getting helpful information about the fugitive Ian Harmon from the bus driver.  He also has Ian's picture to offer.

The deadly assassin is Edgar Waltz a member of an organization of Enforcers called the Verrat.  Edgar joins many recent members of the creature community in threatening Captain Renard.  He wants Renards cooperation, he wants Renard's pet Grimm.   He tells Renard "If you seek peace, prepare for war".

This made me wonder if Renard is not off in this corner of the world so that he can lead a peaceful and honorable existence.  Remember when he was affected by the coins?  He may have dreamed of rapturous crowds shouting his name, but when awake what he most wanted to do was go more forcefully after the criminals of the city and make it safe.

Ian Harmon, saved from his wounds by Rosalee and Monroe carefully digging out the bullet, asks again for help getting out of town.  Monroe insists that Nick be brought in to help with the situation, and Rosalee vouches for him as well.

Nick, fooled by Edgar into thinking Ian is the killer, pulls his gun on Ian and has to be talked down by his friends.  Ian gives him some interesting information.  There is a war coming. There are seven royal houses which rule the world and they are in upheaval because of the Resistance and Grimms are involved with them in ways they should not be.  The Verrat is trying to wipe out the resistance, particularly its leader Ian.

Nick was very impatient and didn't want to hear a "history lesson" from Ian.  Yet, in an earlier part of the episode Nick sat in Aunt Marie's trailer making his first entries in a Grimm notebook.  He was recounting his tale of the Klaustreich (nasty cat creature) and his wife the Seltenvogel (bird creature with a golden egg growing in her throat).  He had a drawing of the Klaustreich and was penning a description of the cat man.  He wanted to call him an ass, but settled for "treacherous", laughing, no no I can't say that.  The point being, he is really embracing his Grimmness and I would think he would want to know everything he can learn.


Nick was also shown watching a film on that curious hand cranked projector of some simple wesen creatures being shot down by the assassin creatures from the Verrat. 

I suppose Nick was just torn between his duty as a policeman and his loyalties to his friends and allies Monroe and Rosalee.  In the end, he helps Ian leave town, telling him never to return (as if that could stop the upcoming creature war).  He tells Monroe to dispose of Edgar's body (shot by Ian in some pretty cold blood).

Good episode, I'm enjoying the mythology they are finally adding into the episodes.  I wish they had spread it out more over the course of the season but I'll take it.  Four more episodes.

I would like these things to occur:

I want to know what type of creature Renard is and I want Nick to know him for what he is.

Juliette can be revealed to be some interesting creature as well, or maybe some rare and wonderful Creature Doctor.  Why not, not much of a stretch from veterinarian to wesen meister.  Or maybe she can just play veterinarian to the wesen.

I would like Adalind to approach Hank and try to create a real relationship with him .  Perhaps aid the Grimm side with some of her knowledge, but secretly via Hank. Suitably complex.

Would like Nick to grow in his "powers" just a bit more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Erin Hart's next book has title change from Serpent's Egg to The Book of Killowen

In Erin Hart's latest newsletter she reveals a title change for her next book in the Nora Gavin series set in the bog country of Ireland.  The tentatively titled Serpent's Egg is now the Book of Killowen.  We don't know much about the book except that this time a ninth century manuscript is released from the depths of the bogs. 

She is taking sign ups now for her annual September Ireland tours of the areas that her novels are set in.  She is an archaeologist at heart so expect an immersive experience in the music and ruins and mysteries of this ancient land.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

D.O.A.'s Annual Reminder: Keep a Gardening Notebook

You really need to keep a gardening notebook if you garden on any scale.  You will want to know what the varieties are in your garden for yourself or the visitor who says "Ohhh what is that?"

In my early gardening days I used to do a "tour" for myself of my garden and I would name the plants to myself...the Latin Names!

I no longer know my plants so well after several moves (with many of my plants coming along with me each time).

If you keep a really nice garden notebook, you will always have your information at hand.

You can use any notebook, but in recent years I've come to like some of the notebooks meant for children who are learning to write that have a nice box every page or so for an illustration.  In that box, you can draw your garden maps, attach seed packets, plant labels or photos from your garden.  It is almost as if these little charmers are made for just this purpose!

Mead has a series of these notebooks which you can find at Target stores.  Mine is "Redispace Transitional Storybook Paper"  Here is an example of the brand (though not the one with space for drawings):

Here's what you want to be sure to include in a useful notebook:

A diary of your garden.  What is blooming, what is thriving and what is not.  At the beginning of a season I like to write what I want to accomplish or grow that season, which nurseries I hope to visit, any changes to gardens I want to make.   At the end of the season I like to note which plants really did well and which underperformed or tragically died.

Seed packets, plant markers, lists of what you bought from local nurseries or mail ordered.  That beautiful Texas Sage I had last year, where in the heck did I get that?

Maps that include where you plant bulbs, because you will ruthlessly dig those up every spring if you don't know where they are.  Mark your perennials, because sometimes in the spring we are cocky and think we know what is a weed and what is a plant and oops!

If you wish to make snarky notes about your crow-like neighbor, this will amuse you when you re-read your notebook in the winter or the next spring.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour: William Kent Krueger on the Road with Atria Books

William Kent Krueger, the author of Iron lake and many other novels writes a blog titled "Kent's Rants".  He is such a gentle soul and he rarely rants. 

He is currently on a rather grand bus tour via his publisher Atria Books with three other authors: John Connolly, M. J. Rose and Liza Marklund.  He has been chronicling his adventures on the bus.  You almost wish you were traveling along with the group (except for the unfortunate tp situation). 

Hop aboard!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birds and Blooms Blog of the Week

I'm always looking for new gardening blogs to read.  I like the ones with lots of pictures (though I find the ones which are protectively watermarked annoying--they just seem needlessly intrusive) and I like people sharing tips and just general "here's how I garden" information.  The more conversational the "voice" of the blog, the better.

I really dislike lots of ads in and around a blog.  It makes it feel like an adware/spyware trap!  Also, if something hasn't been updated in say the last three months I won't add it in.  I think I am finding that there is a limit of 166 blogs you can have on your roll though it isn't officially stated.  That sounds like alot, but if you have varied interests like me, you can just zoom right up to that limit.  If you have blogger, when you go to add a blog note it says how many you currently have.  You may need to snip to make room for more, I certainly did.

I follow Birds and Blooms on Facebook and noted they feature "Blogs We Like" on Fridays.  These are all types of blogs and as I find ones I like I add them to my blogroll.  May you find something to like in their list as well!

Look for their Featured Blog on the left sidebar.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mystery of the Disappearing Pages

Author Trish Vickers wrote her novel longhand in a specially prepared notebook.  She was blinded by diabetes several years ago and uses writing to keep her mind active and to share the imagination that has not been hampered by anything in life.

When her son came to visit, she asked him to read the first twenty six pages of her novel for feedback.  He had to tell her that the ink in her pen had apparently run out soon after she began, and her work consisted of many blank pages.

Cleverly, they took the manuscript to their local police station to see if forensic experts could help recover the pages which had the impressions of her words lightly engraved upon them.

Forensics worked on their own time for five months using special lights and recovered the novel's beginnings.

You couldn't write a better story than that, could you?

Here is the story:   Police save words of blind author who wrote 26 pages after pen ran out

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grimm: Love Sick

This episode was a huge relief after last week's truly Grimm episode "The Thing with Feathers" in which a bird-like wesen was tortured/force fed by her nasty cat husband. Ack.

In what is revealed as an effort to get the key Aunt Marie left Nick, Adalind seduces Hank after having primed him with poisonous cookies.  With Hank near death, Adalind demands the key in exchange for Hanks life.

Backed by his new faithful crew of wesen experts Monroe and Rosalee, he works to find an antidote for Hank's maladies.

Also a victim of the cookies, Sergeant Wu, that furniture eating rapscallion, serves as a test for the antidote.  Where did they get that device that they inserted in his nostrils?  There was something vaguely steampunkish about it, and about a smoking pipe used by wesen miscreants in a previous episode.

Although he is clearly a bad boy, I just love Captain Renard.  He never misses a beat and never fliches when threatened.  I'm looking forward to seeing what this Prince of Creatures looks like beneath that cool exterior and hope it is revealed by season's end.

I love the blossoming relationship between Monroe and Rosalee.  Monroe is something of a Renaissance Blutbad and Rosalee compliments him nicely.  Much better than the savage piggie sister from his past in an earlier episode this season.

Nick is showing his detective skills a bit more this episode, as he postulated the third man in the shooting deaths of recently arrived foreigners (Renard's folks trying to bring him into line), and at the end he has tried the key in everything in the trailer but the key also turns out to be a map he inks onto paper...a smarter Nick is a better Nick for the show.