Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Eve For the Proxemic Sensitive

New Years Eve has always posed a problem for me. I'd like to go out with people and celebrate. I'd like to cheer and yell when the clock strikes midnight as if it were the first time that had ever happened. I'd like to randomly grab the person next to me and kiss them like a sailor back from war. But here's the thing: I don't like peop... crowds. I don't like crowds. Don't like them with a passion.

Most of that has to do with the fact that I don't want you touching me. (That's a generalized "you," not you personally. That being said, the same applies to you too.) Personal space, as described by experts, is a radius of four feet to a foot and a half. Personal space, as described by me, is at least three times that size if not as far away as the horizon line. Personal space, as described by the drunken masses at the Blank Club's New Years Eve party last year? 1.5 centimeters. Not cool.

To avoid a repeat of last year's almost crippling panic attack, I'll be staying home come December 31st. This may solve the personal boundary issue, but it creates a whole new problem: what countdown program do you watch?

Somehow I always end up watching "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest." This show bothers me on a number of levels. First, the word "rockin'" is placed awkwardly in that phrase. Secondly, they use the word "rockin'" which I hear in my head as "rrrrrrhhakun" and that's annoying on top of being not proper English. Thirdly, Ryan Seacrest's perfect teeth and dead-eyed smile scare me. I fear he is trying to eat my soul. And he has perpetual George Michael stubble to boot.

On NBC you can watch Carson Daly try to out host an 80-year-old stroke victim on his Dick Clark knockoff show. And you'll watch him fail at that. You may not know this, but Daly use to be a local radio DJ in San Jose. Then MTV took him to New York to subject him to years of full-gale pre-teen screaming on Total Request Live (if you are unaware of what TRL was, that is all the better for your life). Should you put those shows in some sort of chronological time-lapse sequence, you can actually watch his spirit drain from him. True story. He currently appears to be a humanistic robot mired in the uncanny valley. Let this be a cautionary tale to those who do not believe the destructive force of teenage enthusiasm or MTV's diabolical nature.

Speaking of MTV's ultimate intention to reduce humanity to nothing but inarticulate potty mouths (or at least document the descent), you can countdown the new year with the cast from Jersey Shore. Wow. Just... wow. I'm not going to comment any further on that.

On second thought, seeing as all those choices are equally depressing, I may just try my luck with the personal space encroaching hug monsters at a party. Panic attacks don't seem so bad in comparison.
posted by jw

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enjoy a Break from Job Hunting

Come back again in January and take advantage of these free hands on computer classes to jumpstart your job search:

Job Hunting Help
Thursday, January 13, 2011, in the Technology Center from 10:15-11:45
Learn about the best online resources for helping you find a new career or get back to work. Get help with reformatting your resume for different applications.

Learning to Use Linked In
Thursday, January 20, 2011, in the Technology Center from 10:15-11:45
Taught by a guest teacher from Linked In, you will learn about this professional networking site designed to help you connect for jobs and career success.

Try these books or others found in the 650.14 nonfiction section on the 2nd floor.

posted by mb

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!*

Definition of Family from

No matter what holiday you celebrate, November and December tend to be a popular time for families to get together. While the definition above from suggests that "family" is related by blood or currently live together in the same house, "family" can also mean any close relationship between people. Do you have any holiday traditions with those closest to you?

Here are some suggestions for how to spend time with your loved ones this season:

- Go ice skating at Downtown Ice in San Jose. The rink is open until January 17, 2011, and the hours vary, so check the website for more information.

- Grab some funny props like old hats and fake mustaches and have set up a family photobooth in your house! Hang up a sheet or set up in front of a blank wall, and make some funny faces. Post your pictures on line for the rest of the family and your friends to see.

Grandmas with Mustaches

- Try some new baking recipes. Even little kids can get in on the action of making and decorating sugar cookies for the holidays. Try some of our cookbooks for inspiration.

- Make your own wrapping paper out of recycled materials, such as newspaper or tissue paper. Use an ink pad with washable ink to put your hand prints or other stamps all over the paper.

- Sing traditional holiday songs together. Here are some Christmas music CDs. Here are some Hanukkah CDs. Holiday music not for you? We also have an extensive collection of non-holiday music CDs. Come in and browse our collection located on the first floor.

- Snuggle up and watch some family holiday movies. These ones happen to be about Christmas. OR, if holiday movies aren't for you, then browse our collection of other movies that are good for the whole family. The best place to look is in our Juvenile DVD section on the first floor.

- Do a holiday card swap where everyone has to make his or her own card to give to another family member.

- Have a "White Elephant" gift swap where all gifts must be under $2.

- Instead of one giant meal at one person's house, consider a "progressive dinner," where you might have appetizers at one person's house, then switch to a different house for the main course, and then another person's house for dessert. Bonus points if you can walk between courses.

No matter what you do, have a safe and happy holiday season! The library will be closed from December 24-26 and again from December 31 - January 2.

Posted by ws. *Quote in title by Albert Einstein.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

That's Knot Impressive

Spend enough time in San Francisco and you'll see a lot of bizarre attire. You almost feel bad for these creative costumers. They are trying very, very hard to be kooky or shocking, but there are just so many people already doing the kooky/shocking thing they can't break through the noise.

For example: thousands of drunken and grungy-looking Santas descend on Civic Center Plaza to celebrate "Santarchy" and passerbys yawn. Naked people running marathon races in 45 degree weather don't scandalize the viewer, but they do make them feel sympathetically cold. And seeing someone in a leather vest and no shirt is a helpful reminder that you are on Folsom Street should you be lost.

Yet I found myself shocked (shocked!) at seeing the way someone was dressed Monday. He was wearing a bow-tie. I. KNOW! Weird, right? And it wasn't even being worn with ironic intention. This person was a full on disciple of the Orville Redenbacher school of style. Moreover, he was one of two people wearing them.

I think it should be made perfectly clear that (most) people who wear bow-ties are not old fuddy-duddies who would use the term "fuddy-duddy" in a real-life conversation. They are rebels. Don't shake your head, it's true. Bow-ties went out of fashion a long, long time ago. Here is the short list of people who still think they are cool: James Bond and ridiculously wealthy people who like to be known as "ridiculously wealthy people." That's it. If you are not an international super spy or brushing your teeth with gold paste, you are wearing a bow-tie to make a statement.

And that statement is... to be honest, I don't know. Perhaps it's a tip off to your crazy knot skills. Or maybe antiquarian leanings. Barbershop quartet fan? Collector of public ridicule? Whatever the case is, the bow-tie aficionado is the lone wolf of the neckwear fashion world. And for that, they are twice as kooky and shocking as the kooky/shocking folks wish they themselves were.
posted by jw

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tea for Two, and Two for Tea*

Boston Tea Party
Did you know that the 237th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party is coming up on December 16th? That's right. On December 16, 1773, a group of protestors tossed three shiploads of tea into Boston Harbor in Massachusetts. They were upset that the East India Company required them to receive unwanted taxed shipments of tea from Britain.

Learn more about this important event in US history:

The Boston Tea Party by Cynthia Klingel

The Boston Tea Party by Trudi Trueit

The Boston Tea Party by Ida Walker
The Boston Tea Party by Ida Walker

The Great Separation: The Story of the Boston Tea Party and the Beginning of the American Revolution by Donald Chidsey [found in the Adult section]

The Story of the Boston Tea Party by Mary Phelan

Stop by the Youth Services Desk with any Boston Tea Party questions!

Posted by ws. *Title references the song "Tea for Two" from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Put on Your Dancing Shoes!

Dancing Animals
We're having a special dance party for kids 0-5 years old and their parents or caregivers. Join us as a local DJ spins fun songs like Love Shack by the B-52's, Van Halen's Jump, and some Bollywood tunes that are sure to get you moving.

Wednesday, December 8
10:30 - 11:30 am
Redwood Room

And if you can't make it to the dance party, you can always try having your own at home by checking out some of our music CDs:

Dancin' Tunes
Children's Folk Dances

Dance Party Fun

Dancin' Tunes

Mickey's Dance PartyLa Di Da La Di Di Dance With Me

Mickey's Dance Party

Mouse House: Disney's Dance Mixes

Feel free to ask at the Youth Services Desk if you have any questions about the program or if you want help finding more kid-friendly dance music.

Posted by ws

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Book Gift Suggestions

No need to buy books when you have a great public library but if you want to give someone a holiday gift, try these.

New novels by Anna Quindlen and Jonathan Franzen.

Every Last One is a story of a woman, her family, and her community in New England. Quindlen develops the relationships of friends and family members moving them along as the children grow with activities and holidays. Tragedy strikes and a new life needs to be built. Quindlen is masterful at character development and domestic fiction.

Freedom is also domestic fiction. This one follows the arc of two people who become a couple and raise a family with a strong moral compass that goes awry. Franzen mocks middle class society's privileged attitudes with satire. Read it all to find out where their childhoods and mistakes brought them.

Both books end with hope.

For nonfiction fans, try these:

A favorite nonfiction writer of mine, Bill Bryson, has come up with another fascinating book. Like his earlier A Short History of Nearly Everything, he combines various spheres of knowledge to create a story that is hard to stop reading. An American living in Norfolk, England, Bryson ambles through his home, a rectory built in 1851, revealing the origins of dressers, plumbing, bricks, second floors, cookbooks, utensils and many more developments of domestic life we take for granted. Western European and American home life are juxtaposed.

I also learned a lot from Stuff: compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things by Randy O. Frost. Probably not the best topic as holiday gift giving explodes, it examines the psychology of people who collect and cannot let go of stuff. We all have belongings that have sentimental meaning for us but what about the extremes of having so much stuff you can't find important items or you endanger your safety or health because of it? The authors use case studies and provide readable psychological explanations and solutions.

Hot (broke) messes: how to have your latte and drink it too is written by a journalist so it reads very well. She volunteers her own indebtedness and embarassment at going to her parents for a handout as a high-wage-earning adult who has spent it all. The book has helpful websites and her own experience with a financial manager who helps her pull herself out of debt.

posted by mb

Friday, November 26, 2010

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month!

It's the day after Thanksgiving -- aka "Black Friday" -- where bargain hunters and shoppers wake up bright and early to brave the crowds, hunt for a good deal, and kick off the holiday shopping season. Before tackling the person in line in front of you because they are getting the very last one of this year's popular toy, follow these guidelines to be safe and smart this holiday season:
  • Keep the child’s age in mind when buying a gift. Use the ages on the box as a guide.
  • Avoid gifts with sharp edges.
  • If possible, examine gifts for loose parts and durability before giving them. If parts can come off easily, they could be a choking hazard for young kids.
  • Be sure that gifts for the youngest children have large enough pieces to prevent choking.
  • Give 0- to 2-year-olds books made of cardboard so that they can’t rip out, chew on, and swallow thinner paper pages.
  • Be sure that all gifts with art supplies (crayons, paint, chalk, etc.) are non-toxic.
  • Avoid giving gifts with parts that fly off, such as slingshots, Nerf guns, etc.
  • If giving sporting goods, also give protective gear. For example, give a new bike with a helmet, too!
  • Before giving a gift, check toy recalls online at
  • Teach kids how to use the toys they receive and observe playtime.

Would you like more information about safe toys and gifts? Ask a Youth Services Librarian!

“On the Path to Good Health” is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Posted by ws

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebrating by Fasting Would be a Lot Easier

A friend of mine is planning on hunting a wild turkey for his Thanksgiving celebration this year. Previous to this point, the only wild turkey he hunted was found in a liquor store. Yet despite the fact that he has more of a chance catching a cold than a bird, the idea of Thanksgiving compels him to become more engaged with his food. It seems to compel a lot of people. Compel them to care more about the food they are eating I mean, not shoot animals.

Thanksgiving is probably the most food centric of our holidays. It is also the one where "store bought convenience" is frowned upon. Or at least it was in my family. You work for a Thanksgiving meal. As a kid, I'd wake up at 8 AM to the smell of a turkey in the oven and the sound knives tapping on cutting boards. My parents' eyes were bloodshot and they looked anything but cheerful to have been up since five dealing with raw poultry (which isn't pleasant even at the best of times let alone before coffee), but the process of making the food was an important ritual that could not be ignored. No matter how much you didn't want to do it.

You didn't bring a tub of instant mashed potatoes to Thanksgiving dinner. You'd peel, boil, and mash them yourself. The green bean casserole tastes the same year in, year out because it was someone's grandmother's recipe and it was not to be tinkered with. Yes, you could bring a can of cranberry sauce, but no one was going to eat that nasty stuff anyways, so it was irrelevant where it came from. As you can tell, the above fare, while traditional, is not all that inventive or, well, flavorful. That's what salt and pepper are for.

The turkey was the one place where tradition was thrown to the wind. Every year someone would do something different to try to make it better or more interesting. Roasted, smoked, deep fried, and bacon wrapped, we tried everything. Oddly enough, the deep fried turkey was probably the most successful. It was also the most dangerous if you weren't paying attention to water displacement or basic safety precautions.

So with all that in mind, I'm off to go out into the wild and bag my own 20 pounder tonight. But being a vegetarian, that just requires finding a really big pumpkin to turn into stew... and luckily my neighbor's been growing one I've had my eye on for a while. I suppose that makes me less of a hunter and more of a poacher.
posted by jw

Friday, November 19, 2010

Accio Newest Harry Potter Movie!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book and movie

Calling all muggle Harry Potter fans! Today's the day when Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows arrives in theatres. If you don't already know, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the title of the 7th and final book of the series. While it's not the longest in the series, there is so much action that Warner Bros. Entertainment decided to divide the movie version into two parts. This way, the movie will not have to leave out potentially important scenes with the hope that it can remain as faithful as possible to the book. Here's hoping it will be!

Have you already read the Harry Potter series, including book 7? If not, it's not too late to start. Have you already watched the previous 6 movies? If not, it's definitely best to read or watch all 6 before watching the 7th so that you know what's going on. And if you're good to go, grab your Gryffindor scarves and wands and head straight to the theatre! (Or wait for the DVD or Blu-Ray.)

scarf and wand

If you can't get enough of Harry Potter and have already read all of the books, we'd like to suggest some read-alike series that may also grab your attention:

Midnight for Charlie Bone
Charlie Bone (Midnight for Charlie Bone and others) by Jenny Nimmo

Children of the Lamp (The Akhenaten Adventure and others) by Philip Kerr

Inkheart (Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath) by Cornelia Funke

Pendragon (The Merchant of Death and others) by D.J. MacHale

The AlchemystSecrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (The Alchemyst and others) by Michael Dylan Scott

Septimus Heap (Magyk and others) by Angie Sage

The Spiderwick Chronicles (The Field Guide and others)  by Tony DiTerlizzi

Ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding more books like Harry Potter.

Posted by ws

Monday, November 15, 2010

Santa Clara Historic Home Tour 2010

Sign up now for the 2010 Santa Clara Historic Home Tour. Friday, December 3rd from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 4th from noon to 5 p.m.
The Tour will feature five historic homes. Shown on the left is the walkway of the Adobe Lodge, one of the oldest structures (1822) on the Santa Clara University campus. Learn more about it on the tour. It will also be the location for restrooms, refreshments and an opportunity drawing which will benefit the Santa Clara Arts & Historical Consortium.

Four private residences will also be on the tour: The H. L. Warburton House (shown on the right), an 1889 Stripped Queen Anne Victorian; the Ravizza-Changras House, a 1927 California Bungalow; the Oldham House, a late nineteenth century Queen Anne Cottage built for William R. Oldham, the son of a 49er; and Dr. Paul's House, an 1892 late Victorian Eastlake.
Advance purchase ticket prices are $25.00 General Admission, $20.00 Seniors (60+) and Children (6-12). Read about options for purchasing tickets which are already on sale at the Santa Clara Historic Home Tour website or call the Harris Lass House (408) 249-7905. Tickets can also be purchased at City Lights Espresso, 1171 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara at Jackson Street across from the Post Office now through December 3rd at 6 p.m.
posted by mb

Did Libraries Save You?

"I am of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved," Barbara Kingsolver author of The Lacuna, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, The Bean Trees and more.

Authors for Libraries reminds us of the value of librarians and libraries. Visit the site to hear from more authors and get inspired about the power of libraries to improve the economy by helping turn peoples' lives around, start new businesses, help people improve educational skills and find their future.
Karin Slaughter, author of Broken, says that keeping libraries open and strong is a national security issue. Reading creates a better society. It is vital to a nation's sovereignty.
Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void, says, "It is no exaggeration to say that I could not do what I do without public libraries. I am a long-time abuser of interlibrary loan, which I think of as nothing less than a miracle. The internet is a tease: 'Yes, that old obscure book is out there! But nowhere you can get your hands on it!" Public libraries deliver. I love them strongly."
posted by mb

Friday, November 12, 2010

Keep Your Skin Safe

Apply Sunscreen
Visit our new health display in Youth Services in honor of the American Academy of Dermatology's National Healthy Skin Month and learn more about how to take good care of your skin.

Here are some tips:
  • Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser each morning and night. If you wear make-up, be sure to remove it before sleeping.
  • Visit a dermatologist (skin doctor) once a year for a whole-body mole check.
  • Learn your ABCDs when looking at your freckles and moles:
    1. Asymmetry — when one half of a mole looks different from the other
    2. Border irregularity — if the edge of the mole has an odd shape
    3. Color — if the whole mole is not the same color everywhere
    4. Diameter — be cautious if the diameter is greater than 6 mm
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and protein will help keep your skin fresh and healthy.
  • If you have acne, do not pick, pop, or squeeze blemishes. This can cause a permanent scar!
Would you like more information about taking care of your skin? Ask a Youth Services Librarian!

“On the Path to Good Health” is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Posted by ws

Monday, November 8, 2010

Estate Planning and Writing Your Own Will Program

Local Estate Planning Attorney Eric Norris returns to present another informative seminar on estate planning and how to write your own will. Learn about the current state of the estate tax law, how to avoid probate, the advantages of living trusts, the importance of an Advance Health Care Directive, and more.

Eric can help you write your own simple will on the spot!

To reserve space at this free estate planning program, stop by the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.

Monday, November 15, 2010
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Central Park Library Cedar Room

posted by mb for jb

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's Greg Up To Now?

diary of a wimpy kid cover
Wimp WS
It's November! Do you know what that means? The wait is almost over. The 5th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney is almost available! It's going to be released on Tuesday, November 9th. We already have an entry for it in our catalog, so be sure to put your copy on hold and find out what Greg Heffley's up to now.

What is it about these books? Do kids love them because of their informal, journal-like quality? Do they like the cartoons? Whatever draws kids' attention, the books are a hit.

If the books are already checked out, try some of these books that are similar:

dork diaries
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (and sequel) by Rachel Russell

How to Grow Up and Rule the World: Vordak the Incomprehensible by Scott Seegert

Let's Pretend this Never Happened (and other books in the Dear Dumb Diary series) by Jim Benton

Max Quigley: Technically Not a Bully by James Roy

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius (and others) by Frank Asch (available through Link+)

Sweet Farts by Raymond Bean

And, just for fun: You can make yourself into a Wimpy Kid character! Try it out. Wimp Yourself. (Ahem, the one you see above is supposed to be Youth Services Librarian WS!)

As always, ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding more books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Posted by ws.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now that 2010 is Decided, Expect 2012 Campaign Ads to Begin Next Month

For those who voted, waking up the day after an election can feel like Christmas morning. The rolled up newspaper/darkened TV screen/booting up computer can bring forth the same queasy feelings of future happiness or crushing disappointment that a stack of wrapped presents could trigger in a child. It's a feeling of uneasy potential. A blissful state of ignorance in which everything is possible and maybe, just maybe, you got everything you asked for.

But of course you didn't. No one does. As soon as you see the results, you have to contend with feeling both good and bad (and probably a fair amount of indifferent). That's the terrible beauty of democracy... no one's ever really that happy. So, if for some reason you haven't seen the news yet, enjoy that momentary euphoria of mystery because below are the results of some of the larger elections that took place yesterday.

- Elected youngest Californian governor in 1974, Jerry Brown defeated Meg Whitman to get the title of oldest Californian governor in 2010. In related news, Gavin Newsom got the Lieutenant Governor position meaning that a hair care shop in Sacramento will now reap the benefits of his pomade addiction (seriously, even in high winds, I've never seen it disheveled).

- Barbara Boxer was reelected over Carly Fiorina for the U.S. Senate. Had the election tipped the other way, she could have fallen back on her career as a novelist.

- Disappointing marijuana advocates and national news channels dying to refer to all Californians as being high, it looks like it's still just for medicinal purposes.

- With the defeat of Proposition of 23, California reaffirms that we are a bunch of treehuggers. Though, with the defeat of Propostion 21, voters decided they don't care about hugging the trees in state parks so much. Not if it requires $18 extra dollars on their car registration at least.

- With the approval of Proposition 25, California has told the state congress that when it comes to passing a budget, just a good old fashioned majority will do the trick. No need to try to be overachievers and make it "super."

- Locally, it looks like you'll still see some familiar faces around city hall.

- Nationwide a "bunch of people I don't know were elected for a bunch of states I've never been to and probably never will." Most years this is the general reaction to the elections in other states. But this time around it does matter. Congress is now divided. If you've been annoyed by the Congressional bickering over the pass two years (or if you like that sort of thing), keep in mind that happened when one party was in power. Now the Democrats have the Senate and the Republicans/Tea Party have control of the House of Representatives. Hi-jinx ensue. Meanwhile, cable news channels are preparing to shout/talk themselves hoarse until they literally can only point fingers at one another for the next two years in response to this development.
posted by jw

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have a Spooktacularly Safe Halloween*

It's the end of October, and you already know what that means....Halloween! And you know what Halloween often means to kids across the country....Trick-or-Treating!

There are so many great and fun things about Halloween: costumes, haunted houses, all sorts of candy, parties, etc. It's also a time of year to remember that safety comes first.

Here are some tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (modified a little by me) about how to have a safe and happy Halloween:

1. Safety comes first. While your costume might be awesome without accessorizing with extra glow-in-the-dark tape or glow sticks, add some on so that people in passing cars can see you.

2. Look both ways before crossing the street. Be sure to hold hands with younger kids so that they cross the street safely, too.

3. Trick-or-Treat in groups and be sure that everyone knows where you are so that you stick together.

4. You have a cool mask, right? Be sure you can see clearly when wearing the mask. This will help prevent you from tripping!

5. Oh, and your really long superhero/witch/wizard cloak or cape? Consider getting it shortened because you don't want to trip on that either.

6. With a trusted adult, take a close look at your trick-or-treat loot before taking a bite. Be sure that none of the wrappers are open -- this way you know they're safe to eat.

7. Be sure you are supervised by an adult when carving out your Jack-o-Lantern masterpiece. And use a flashlight instead of a candle to light up your pumpkin.

8. If you expect to receive trick-or-treaters, be sure your house and all paths leading to your front door are clear and well-lit.

Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more safety tips or ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding other resources.

Posted by ws. Jack-o-Lantern [source].*I had to use "spooktacular" somehow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surviving Bipolar and Depression Made S.I.M.P.L.E.

Join Santa Clara authors David and Diane Mariant for a first-hand account of bipolar disorder. Hear one family's personal story about the challenges of living with this devastating illness. They will provide practical advice for controlling bipolar disorder and will offer strategies for helping avoid depression, mania, and mixed bipolar states.

David Mariant has been living successfully with bipolar disorder for 11 years; he and Diane also have a child with this illness. They are the authors of Surviving Bipolar's Fatal Grip available at this library.

In the Cedar Room from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sign up for this free program at the 2nd floor Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb for jb

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beep, Beep, Beep! Fire Prevention

Sparky, the kids' mascot from NFPA
This year's annual Fire Prevention Week was from October 3-9.  Each year, Fire Prevention Week is sponsored by National Fire Prevention Association, whose mission is to "reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education." Fire safety is so important that some areas of the country extend the week through the whole month of October!

This year's theme was "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," and consumer education focused on the importance of smoke alarms.

Here's what you can do at home to help prevent fire and be safe in case there is one:

1. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms every time you change the clocks one hour forward or backward (every 6 months).

2. Check the smoke alarm once per month to make sure you can hear it beep and that the batteries are working.

3. Sit with your family and create an escape route and a safe place to meet away from your house in case the smoke alarm beeps and there's a real fire. Practice, practice, practice!

4. Avoid leaving burning candles unattended, turn off your clothes dryer before leaving the house or going to sleep, and use a flashlight instead of a candle in your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern.

5. Be careful when cooking, especially around a stove with an open flame. Be sure that fabric, utencils, and children stay at least 3 feet away from the stove.

These and other helpful tips are available on National Fire Prevention Assocation's website. Visit for more information about Fire Prevention Week.

As always, ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding books and more information about fire safety!

Posted by ws

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Join this free, 2-hour workshop where small business owners and prospective small business entrepreneurs will learn how the programs of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help them start, manage, and grow their companies. Experts from SBA and its resource partners will provide practical information on SBA's three main program areas:
  • management training and counseling

  • access to financing

  • access to federal government contracting opportunities
Program benefits, elgibility requirements, and application procedures also will be covered.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, or simply want to expand your existing business, this SBA workshop is for you!

Stop by the Reference Desk or call (408)615-2900 to reserve a place at this free workshop.

posted by mb for jb

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Liberal Interpretation of the Word "Teamwork"

On the news this morning at 5 AM, the camera turned onto a person waiting outside AT&T Park (is that what they are calling it these days?... It's so hard to keep up with the ever changing corporate sponsorships). Dressed head to toe in black and orange (fitting colors considering the season), he proceeded to scream "GIIIAAAAANNNTTTSSSS!!!!!!" into the camera while first pointing to his hat (which said "Giants"), then to his shirt (which said "Giants"), then back to his hat. And just when you think he's going to point at his shirt again, he puts on a large (some might say "giant") foam finger (which says "Giants") and points to the ballpark wall (which has a sign that says "Giants"). I'm not entirely sure, but I think he might have been excited about seeing the Phillies.

Oh sports fans, I adore you and your clinically insane enthusiasm. I love the fact that you have tickets for a 4:30 PM game, but show up at 5AM knowing that you'd be useless in the office since you are way too excited to do anything except proclaim your love for the team (also, the dress code doesn't allow face paint or fake beards). I love the fact that you will spend hundreds of dollars on tickets and another hundred on really ugly merchandise. And I love the fact that you have this delusion that you are on the team and speak of their accomplishments as if they were your own. This is best manifested in the way sports fans speak in a collective "we" when talking about wins ("We dug deep tonight and really played our hearts out."). Interestingly enough, the proper pronoun of "they" is used whenever the team loses ("Those bums! They played like garbage tonight!")

I know this sounds like I'm being some nebbish elitist who scorns sports. Not so. When I was a kid, I played a ton of them. Enough to know that playing sports is hard work. Really hard. Professional athletes train for years to get to the point where they can play so that it looks effortless. Do you know how far a pitcher's mound is from home plate? Or how fast 92 MPH is? Do you know how frightening it is to have a line drive flying directly at your head? These are not simple things that they do. That's why we admire them. Sure, their salaries might be on the ridiculous side (looking in your direction Yankees), but let's just ignore that.

Fact is, singing "Let's Go Giants! (clap. clap. clap clap clap)" is not the same as pulling off a double play. Waiving a towel in the air is not the same as sliding into home headfirst and angling your arm just so that you avoid the catcher's mitt but touch the base. The win doesn't belong to you. You watched it happen and you screamed your guts out, but they did the footwork.

This is not to say that the crowd is not important. It is. It forms a feedback loop which has the potential of affecting how a team performs. Happy crowds reward happy events in the hopes of leading to more happy events resulting in a deliriously happy crowd. This is done through cheering and sloppy hugs where beer is spilled on the other person's back. Unhappy audiences provide negative reinforcement hoping to break the chances of a downward spiral. This is done through unkind statements about the players' mothers and questions regarding their gender (the player's, not the mother's). And that's about as much as the audience does.

So tonight when the Giants win (yeah, that's right... when), give the athletes some credit. They won. You cheered a really good game though, and don't you forget it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Get Artsy this Month

Did you know that October is National Arts and Humanities Month? Every year, Americans for the Arts sponsors this month-long celebration to help people become more aware of "the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives."

How can you get involved? Try these tips:
  1. Attend our storytimes! You and your children will be exposed to popular children's songs and stories. You can learn the words to sing at home, too!
  2. Have a dance party in your house. Play fun kids' dance music and have a contest to see who can dance the longest and make up the most creative moves. Find music here.
  3. Download some of our booklists and work your way through them together.
  4. Pick up your local paper to see what events are happening around town. Many may even be free!
  5. Get a large piece of paper and use it as a tablecloth. Encourage your kids to draw on it before or after dinner.
  6. Does your child have a natural talent -- singing, dancing, acting, painting, writing, etc.? Encourage their talent and if possible, enroll them in classes to foster their interest and skills.
  7. Be a role model. Show your kids how creative you can be, too!
In addition, explore some of Silicon Valley's offerings this fall (with or without kids):

Fall Auction30th Annual Fall Auction Exhibition
Presented by San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Located at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Oct. 1-Oct. 23, 2010
Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 12pm-5pm

This comprehensive exhibition features more than 150 art works by some of the finest artists in the Bay Area.

Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Free Day on the first Wednesday of each month

Visit the Exploratorium in San Francisco for a fun, hands-on science and art experience with the whole family.

Arts Action
Finding Home: A Kaleidoscope of Musical Journeys
Located at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) - Finn Center
230 San Antonio Circle
Mountain View, CA 94040
Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010

Pianist Patricia Cheng explores music of artists in search of national identity; works by Taiwanese composer Hsiao, Smetana, Chopin, Grieg, Dvorak. Part of Sunday Arts Live series. $10 suggested donation.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street (bet. Mission and Howard)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Free Family Day
Sunday, Oct. 17, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Act fast, as SFMOMA is offering one of its quarterly Free Family Days on Sunday. Visit the museum with the entire family to "Enjoy art activities, presentations, and performances for the whole family."

San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Visit the San Jose Museum of Art, tour the permanent collection, and take a look at the "Let's Look at Art: Build It" exhibit that's open until September 18, 2011.

African Film FestivalSilicon Valley 1st Annual African Film Festival
Located at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) - Finn Center
230 San Antonio Circle
Mountain View, CA 94040
Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010

Daily screenings start 11 am. Weekend showcase of 30 films/16 countries reflecting the stories, dreams, hopes of Africa! Dialogue with filmmakers, drumming, dance, more. Purchase tickets online.

Jewish Film FestivalSilicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
Location varies based on film. Check schedule for details.
Saturday, Oct. 9 - Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Read about the movies, and order tickets in advance on-line (or by calling 1-800-838-3006).

As always, ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding books and other resources about the arts and humanities!

Posted by ws

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free Value Line Research Center Computer Class

Join us Wednesday, October 20 from 10:15 - 11:15 for free hands-on instruction in using Value Line Research Center. The class is designed as an introduction to the basics of finding financial information using Value Line Research Center. Sign up in the Technology Center, at the 2nd floor Reference Desk or by calling (408) 615-2900.

The focus of the class will be on stock information for small, mid and large-cap companies. From this beginning you can apply what you have learned to its reports on stocks of emerging growth companies, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, stock and stock index options and convertible securities.

Value Line has quality, detailed information on hundreds of public companies' financials and buy/sell recommendations. Information is updated every three months.

Find Value Line Research Center by selecting Electronic Resources from our homepage and choosing Value Line Research Center from the Business Resources category or the alphabetical drop down menu. It is available in the library and remotely. Feel free to stop by and ask about Value Line or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vote for Governor!

November 2, 2010 is the date for voting for the next Governor of California and many other persons and issues. Be sure to register to vote before October 18, 2010, if you aren't already registered. Check to see if you are registered by visiting the Santa Clara County Registrar's website. It has lots of other useful information about the election.

The library has voter registration forms and plenty of free Easy Voter Guides for you to get information on the candidates and issues.
The deadline for voter registration is Monday, October 18. Voting has already begun with mail-in ballots, request one before Tuesday, October 26.
Vote now! Stop at the Registrar of Voters office and vote now Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturdays, October 23 and 31 and Sunday, October 30 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m and Election Day, Tuesday, November 1 from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m.

posted by mb

Friday, October 8, 2010

Say Cheese!

Dog smiles
This month's health display in Youth Services is about National Dental Hygiene Month, which is sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA). While the display poster describes the difference between primary teeth (the first teeth you get) and permanent teeth (the teeth that grow in place of the first teeth you get and lose), we thought we'd also share some tips about how to maintain a healthy smile:
    Kid brushing teeth
  • Brush: Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush for 2 minutes 2 times a day to clean the surfaces of your teeth. Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste in your favorite flavor. Did you know that toothpaste comes in different types of mint, vanilla, and even cinnamon? Brushing regularly can help stop the build-up of plaque on your teeth and can also reduce the likelihood that you will get a cavity or other dental disease like gingivitis. [Visit ADHA's how-to-brush cheat sheet.]
  • Floss: Flossing regularly can be a challenging routine to begin and maintain. However, flossing is important to remove food particles and plaque that can get stuck between your teeth. Floss can go where your toothbrush can't reach. [Visit ADHA's how-to-floss cheat sheet.]
  • Rinse: Don't forget to rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing and flossing. This helps get rid of any particles that may have come loose from brushing and flossing.
  • Limit sugar: You know the saying "An apple a day keeps the dentist away?" Take your cue from this saying and remember to eat your fruit and vegetables. Natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables are healthier than that found in candy, cake, and cookies. And stick to sugarfee gum if possible.
  • Visit your dentist: Dentists recommend that a child's first dental check-up should happen around age 1 or 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts. For more information, download ADHA's flyer.

Would you like more information about teeth and dental health? Ask a Youth Services Librarian!

“On the Path to Good Health” is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Posted by ws. The dog photo is a personal photo of ws's 4-year-old rescued Silky Terrier. The child brushing his teeth was found at this site during a Google image search.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Game of Numbers

The concept behind David Owen's Green Metropolis is simple: the most environmentally sound areas are not the suburbs where people work hard to be "green," but the massive cities where there is no choice but to be. Despite seeming counter intuitive, the reasoning is persuasive. Cities force people to make do with less stuff and less space. Since parking is generally a tragic experience, many will do away with their cars and rely on public transportation, biking, or walking. Apartments are smaller, therefore requiring less energy to live in. So on and so forth.

One way he gets to this conclusion is by using all the stats that show the difference in pollution between cities and suburbs. Let's say Generic City releases X amount of pollution which is considerably higher than the Y amount of pollution that Generic Suburb releases. Normally people would look at that and say, "eww gross, Generic City is disgusting." However, Owen uses pollution per capita to make his point. So if there are a million people in Generic City and 250,000 in Generic Suburb, it turns out that the suburbanities produce more pollution per person than the urbanites. Even if Generic City is an overall toxic place to live, each person is responsible for only a tiny amount of that toxic environment which makes them "greener" than your average home owner with the compost pile and hybrid car packed with reusable grocery bags. Vindication! You hear that hazy brown air, pea soup looking water supply, and cement covered land? City folk are good for the environment. In your face sustainable landscaped homes! Eat that backyard farmers!

On paper this is fine. In reality there is an obvious problem. Small amounts of pollution multiplied by a million people on a small footprint (not the carbon type) often creates an extremely polluted environment. In the end it doesn't matter how little each person contributes to a cesspool... it's still a cesspool.

This is all, of course, a simplification. His argument is far more detailed than what I've written above. But instead of being persuaded, I realized instead the beautifully tricky nature of proving anything with statistics. Statistics are the used car salesmen of science. They might be telling the truth, but the truth they tell is a selective and sidestepping sort of truth. The type of truth that tells you "this thing runs like a beauty" when the tires are flat. I'm not saying that city living isn't greener, his points make sense on that. I'm just saying it's a little hard to get too smug about it when I have to purify my tap water and step over trash on every street.
posted by jw