Monday, December 10, 2012

Nothing much to share... but everyday is a universe

My new mantra is:

Every day is a universe.

Every time I find myself wishing that time would go by faster, or I had something more interesting to do/look at, I say this to myself... and the world seems to focus and I see more details--everything is really, actually nicer. It feels like a mantra is supposed to feel: as if it changes something inside of me.

When I was in high school, my American Lit class studied Thoreau and Emerson. I don't remember who said that anything could look good in the right light, but I think it was one of them and I think it's true. One of them also said he felt like a giant transparent eyeball... Trancendentalism was way cool.

So, jumbled thoughts for Monday. At least I'm blogging again!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post Diigo Bookmarks and annotations! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Post Diigo Bookmarks and annotations! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Post Diigo Bookmarks and annotations! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cake pops: attempt #1

I am determined to make really cool and cute cake pops. So far, I am not succeeding...In this batch, I tried mixing cake and frosting to create the little Angry Birds. I used candy corn for the beaks and chocolate for the eyes. I used food coloring and chocolate powder for the one that was supposed to be the black bomb bird. However, I really felt that they turned out too sweet. But here's the attempt for the record. I think this project could be a great teen/tween program. Teens could be challenged to create all kinds of characters or shapes. The mix can be prepared ahead of time and it's not expensive to work with.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feather and water

White pigeon feather, water droplets and a cool app on my cell phone helped make this picture. The app is called PicsArt and is pretty easy to use. You take a picture, apply filters and other effects and the result is pretty nice. Check out the site to see pictures created by other people.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I voted! A tradition I learned from my mom

When I was a little girl, I remember going with my mom and watching her vote. The place we voted at was inside the city motor pool or fire station--I'm not sure which because I only remember a few things distinctly. It was a large building that had booths with fabric curtains set up inside. Outside the building, people shouted, held signs and gave out slips of paper that encouraged us to vote for a particular candidate. The booths were large and the election helpers would give my mom a card that she put into the machine. I remember the metal on metal sound the curtain made when you closed it. It surrounded you. The voting was very private.

I went to early voting this year. Apparently, El Paso, TX had the lowest early voter turn-out in a decade! I can believe it. It seemed empty where I went to vote, though the lighting was cheerful and everyone was glad to see me to use the touch-screens of democracy.

I vote because I want my children to vote. I vote because I want politicians to know I exist and that I'm watching. I know that as individuals, our voices are often limited or seem limited. But if everyone showed that they were paying attention, by casting a vote... one way or another... "they" will know and take notice in the government.

I miss my mother. I hope that carrying on in her footsteps in small ways, ways that I can remember her and cherish those memories, too, that she lives on. I always think of her when I vote.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Augmented Reality Shelf Reader: A dream come true

Yesterday, while doing some research about mobile technologies, I stumbled across this video. It describes an augmented reality (AR) technology that is being developed in Oxford, Ohio. As a person who has always disliked shelf reading (though I do like to shelve), I am in love with this. Automatically, the device shows you if a book is out of place! Check out the coolness below:

This technology app is being developed by Matt Hodges and Dr. Bo Brinkman who demonstrates the technology.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Two weeks ago in Chopped (I mean My) Kitchen...

I like to pretend I'm on the TV show Chopped when I cook. There are 2 reasons for that. One, I have a need to try new things and two, I love to be gameful. Acting like I'm on a show where I can only what's provided (plus the pantry) makes things fun. I look through the kitchen, grab ingredients that need to be cooked and see what I can make. Two weeks ago, I made something that my son has decided is his second-favorite meal. It's a vegetarian potato pancake with green onions, zucchini and garlic.

As I remember, I used:

5 potatoes, shredded
2 zucchini, shredded
2 bunches of green onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, shredded
2 eggs
Some flour
Some pepper
Some salt

I mixed it together and deep fried it (but since it's vegetarian, it's still healthy, right?)

It tasted a lot like those onion pancakes you can get at some Chinese restaurants. Not bad.

Here's a pic:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post Diigo Bookmarks and annotations! (weekly)

Saved links and annotations from Diigo from the past week. This week I've been thinking a lot about Social Media, Teen Hangout Spaces like YOUmedia and Copyright.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Exploratorium's is a very interesting web project by the Exploratorium museum, which is located in San Francisco. Founded by Frank Oppenheimer (yes, he was on the Manhattan project), the museum has an emphasis on "hands-on" science. contains podcasts, webcasts, videos and slides--all about cool science. The site looks slick, is easy to use and fun to learn from. There's even a webcast where Thomas Dolby performs "She Blinded Me with Science" live. Awesome!!!!

See it here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tweets from the week

Archiving tweets and retweets from the week... I know the Library of Congress is going to archive all the tweets in the world....but I'd like to keep a record of what I'm thinking about and saying, too for myself. Read more about the LoC project here!

And that's the news!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Messages in a bottle

Social media is a like a message in a bottle. It's posted, written, created and then shared out into a sea of networked sites. Some messages get picked up and read, but I wonder how many are just out there bobbing around in the Internet? How many people have sent out a message that no one's read?

Is it useful to write something down that no one might read? Journals and diaries have been used by individuals for years to write about what is going on and how they feel about life and what they see around them. Journals and diaries weren't meant to be read by others, but they are written down by individuals anyway. The usefulness comes for the writer of the diary: it helps solidify ideas, make thoughts concrete and physically malleable.

When diaries are shared, it's an insight into something that is often very personal, but was never meant to be shared.

A message in a bottle is meant to be read. It's written with hopes that someone, somewhere will see it, find it and a connection is made. But the writer doesn't know who, where or when it will be read or if it's ever read.

Our social media messages in a bottle are meant to be shared. Many of them are as personal as a diary, but really, we tweet, blog, share status updates and locations because we want people to find us, know us and connect--even if the connection is asynchronous. We want to be "heard." To read a thought is to keep it alive.

Oh... and happy NaBloPoMo!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween wig: Medusa

I'm revealing the wig that I'll be wearing today! It's a Medusa snake wig. I think there's like 100 little plastic snakes, some ribbon, feathers and some itchy plant stuff from the dollar store glued to the shower cap I used as a base. I hope the rest of the costume turns out as well!

Medusa Wig

For my kids, we made two costumes together. My son and I built a robot costume out of cardboard, duct tape and spray paint. I apparently need to still add wheels to the side of the costume since it's not just a "robot" but a "transformer." Well, that's too easy to do with a glue-gun and who doesn't have a few wheels lying around the house? LOL. Actually, there's a broken toy in the shed I think I'll use for the wheels. My daughter and I worked on a snow leopard costume. Aubrey, my partner, says she's going to go as a cowgirl.  Pictures forthcoming! :)

UPDATE: Pictures! Me at work and the fam getting ready to trick or treat. All costumes hand made! :D

Hope your Halloween was fun!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Post Diigo Bookmarks and annotations! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Slideshare presentation: WorldCat User accounts how-to

I was visiting my Slideshare site to get a link for another presentation I'd added there and I was shocked to see that 148 people had viewed my presentation and I'd just added it last week! I was really excited--148 is a lot of people to me. I feel like a rock star... LOL. :)

This slideshare is a powerpoint (or PDF) that shows anyone how to create a WorldCat account so that they can create bibliographic lists, keep notes, save tags and keep track of their information and reading. WorldCat's online and more social site lets users read reviews from Goodreads and from WorldCat itself. Users can rate books and can also share, export and remix their content in many interesting ways. This presentation is pretty nuts and bolts... it really just scratches the surface of what can be done, but you should be able to make an account with no problems afterwards! Check it out:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kiwi Chomp

For today's post, I'm going to talk about a game I just made. I'm learning how to make games using Construct2. It's free to use and learn from. I like that it's easy to understand and grasp the basics of making a game. Using sprites, the term for a 2D computer graphic that is part of the game, (Mario and mushrooms are sprites--Pacman is a sprite) is really painless. So... I made my first game from scratch. I've been through a a lot of the Construct2 tutorials and I'd especially recommend the Beginner's Guide, the Pacman clone, and moving backgrounds.

For this game, I really wanted to focus on what I'd learned, not go crazy with the graphics... obviously! I drew the kiwi and legs, made some simple animations for the sprites and got going. It took around 3 hours to set up the basics of the game from scanning to adding the sprites, behaviors and game "logic." Then I tweaked it another 3 or 4 hours until everyone in my house was sick of trying out my "new and improved" kiwi game and decided it was "good enough."

So, my "good enough" game is ready. I kind of like the hand-drawn look.

See Kiwi Chomp on my website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Election thoughts -- I was so excited...

Last election, the 2008 race, I was so excited.

I'm going to let you know up front that I'm not terribly political... I believe in having my voice heard and I write my representatives on various levels on my opinion over many different issues that are important to me. I think that's an important part of being an American in a democracy--that our voices are heard. That's why I vote and that's why I tell my reps what I think is important. But I really hate polarization in politics. It's really not too important to me whether someone is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or whatever; I just want them to act responsibly, tell the truth (as much as possible!) and listen to constituents. I do have my own leanings, which I'm sure you could guess at, but that's neither here nor there nor what I really want to write about today.

I wanted to write about how excited I felt last election. I remember driving home and listening to debates on the radio between the candidates and I couldn't believe that in my lifetime, a woman and a black man were serious candidates for a ticket. That meant a lot to me. I'm a mom, and my children are bi-racial. I made sure to talk to them about what was going on. When Hillary Clinton was a serious candidate for the Democratic ticket, I was thrilled. When I found out about Obama, I was also thrilled: he was just like my children who are half black, half white. I thought, what a great time for them to be alive and see that America is truly a place where anyone can succeed--no matter their race or gender. I've always wanted to see a woman as a President, too--and I hope I live to see that also.

One thing I've noticed during Obama's presidency is how proud my daughter is of him. She really does feel he is "just like her." Her remarks are often something like "he has skin like me" or "his parents were like mine." Pretty cool for a little girl to identify with the President. One of my daughter's favorite books is Grace for President by Kelly DiPuchhio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. In the book, Grace discovers to her dismay that there has never been a woman US President and she runs for class president. It really captures the kind of excitement an election can bring.

I'm sorry the excitement is gone from this election. I miss it terribly. Last election, it felt like history was being made and this year it feels like "business as usual."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

BRLA Fall 2012 Convention

Today I attended the Border Regional Library Association (BRLA) Convention at the Rio Grand EPCC campus. BRLA is an organization founded in 1966 for the promotion of library services in the El Paso, Las Cruces, NM and Cd. Juarez area. It was also co-sponsored by REFORMA and TxLA. The conference was short, lasting only until after lunch, but was enjoyable. I saw many people that I have worked with in the past that I hadn't seen for a while and a few newer faces, too.

I attended two workshops, a District 6 meeting of the Texas Library Association (TxLA) and had a great lunch with an inspiring keynote speaker.

My first workshop was about bullying, especially how it related specifically to young people who are LGBT and Latino. This was interesting and presented some information about different resources that I wasn't aware of already. A few things that I learned that I thought were interesting were that bullies and the bullied are both more likely to have problems later in life. It seems obvious that those who are bullied would have problems, but those who are the bullies have problems, too. They're different problems, but no less serious. I was also surprised to find out how many Hispanic families are accepting of LGBT-identified people. There is also a resource for Christians who identify as LGBT that is accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. This is a good resource for anyone who lives in a traditional or religious community.

Here is a list of the resources I learned about today from the first workshop:

  • Trevor Project: Suicide prevention and help for LGBT youth. Includes chat feature for young people who aren't comfortable calling someone on the phone for help. Also has a youth-friendly social media space.
  • It Gets Better: Videos and testimonials from adults reminding young people that things do get better, especially when you are out of high school!
  • Believe Out Loud: Christian web site embracing LGBT people.
For a full list, open this PDF from the presentation.

The next part of the conference for me was the District 6 meeting. El Paso, TX is part of District 6 in TxLA. The President-Elect, Dr. Yvonne Chandler was at the meeting and it was Cheryl Feldman's last meeting as District 6 president. Dr. Chandler talked about upcoming TxLA plans and Cheryl encouraged us all to keep promoting libraries. We voted on various positions, and I'm now an alternate representative! 

My next workshop was about UTEP's special collection's department archive project. UTEP has been restoring and making their many archival images available online. The process that each photo and negative goes through is painstaking and sensitive work. The staff estimate that if each photo from the collection was lined up end to end they would reach the moon and back! The image collections can be found online here.

We were served a great lunch and then listened to the keynote speaker, Luis Herrera, who recently won Librarian of the Year from Library Journal and was appointed to the National Museum and Library
Services Board by President Obama. In his speech, he discussed how libraries should have a digital vision of the future and that librarians need to become experts in using new technologies. He said that libraries provide a needed access to eLearning that some people would not have access to otherwise. Herrera also discussed how libraries and librarians are digital "culture keepers" in our society in the sense that we archive and save information for future generations. He said librarians are "problem solvers" and at the end, he challenged each  of us to share our library "story." Luis Herrera shared his: one of his worst summers was when he and his brothers lost their library books. During this time, there used to be library "police" who would come to your house and try to get the lost books back. He says he lived in terror every time he heard a knock on the door!

Great conference!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Night at the library

Construction sheets and nighttime light at the library.