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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Managing Emotions

Just Smile! (2010)

If I feel depressed, I will sing.
If I feel sad, I will laugh.
If I feel ill, I will double my labor.
If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead.
If I feel inferior, I will wear new garments.

If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice.
If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come.
If I feel incompetent I will remember past success.
If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals.
Today I will be master of my emotions.

emoticon pillows!

If I become overconfident, I will recall my failures.
If I overindulge, I will think of past hungers.
If I feel complacency, I will remember my competition.
If I enjoy moments of greatness, I will remember
moments of shame
If I feel all-powerful, I will try to stop the wind.

If I attain great wealth I will remember one unfed mouth.
If I become overly proud I will remember a moment of weakness.
If I feel my skill is unmatched I will look at the stars.
Today I will be master of my emotions.

Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Half for Me and Half for Others

I recently read Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman in the World. I had originally checked it out from the library for my husband who works in sales. The book is completely different than what I had expected. Its story is set two thousand years ago and features a salesman who became powerful and wealthy by following the secrets contained in ancient scrolls that he alone read. I was surprised to learn that the salesman was directed to give away half his profits every year and that this practice drove his success rather than impoverishing him.

I came across the same idea in the next book I read, The Power of Half by Kevin and Hannah Salwen. This book published in 2010 tells the story of an American family who decide to sell their home and donate half of the profits to help others. This dramatic idea was triggered when the family's teenage daughter, Hannah, observed the juxtaposition of a homeless man with a man driving past him in a Mercedes. She mused aloud that if the rich man drove a less expensive car then he would be able to use the extra money to help the homeless man.

The book follows the family's decision making process as they consider how they can do more to help the less fortunate. Even before their luxury home is sold, they move into a significantly smaller home. They spend weekends discussing the world's problems and researching organizations that are working to make a difference. One chapter takes a hard look at the large amounts of money that have already been donated to developing nations and where well intentioned efforts have gone wrong.

Just as with Mandino's book, I was surprised by this book by the Salwens. I had thought the main story of the book would be the house's sale and the family's donation. Instead it's about the transformation of the Salwen's family dynamics and the maturing of their teenage children into thoughtful, caring young adults. The sacrificial sale of their home is a footnote to the story rather than it's main theme.

pricingiStock_000003753487XSmallWhen I started this library reading challenge, I could not have imagined the inspirational stories I would encounter this year. Certainly before reading about the concept of giving half in these books, I would have outright dismissed the idea as ridiculous. But now I see it differently, especially because of the Salwen's example. Not that I'm implementing it myself or recommending that anyone else do so. I'm just reevaluating my own needs and the concept of what is enough.

What do YOU think of the idea of keeping half for yourself and giving half to others less fortunate? Crazy or thought provoking?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confirmed - Luke and Margie will run the Amazing Race again.

Today CBS announced the cast of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business. Happily, Margie and Luke Adams will be back on our television screens beginning Sunday night, February 20.

An interview with the pair on the CBS website features their thoughts on what they enjoyed most on the previous race and why they wanted to compete again.

You can read more about them on the NTID-RID website. My thanks go out to Jonathan who sent me this link.

So who will they be competing against?

Cast photo by Monty Brinton, CBS
  • Cord and Jet McCoy, cowboys.
  • Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala, goths
  • Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton and Herbert “Flight Time” Lang, Harlem globetrotters
  • Kisha and Jen Hoffman, sisters
  • Jaime Edmondson and Cara Rosenthal, former cheerleaders
  • Amanda Blackledge and Kris Klicka, engaged
  • Justin Kanew and Zev Glassenberg, buddies
  • Mel and Mike White, father and son
  • Gary and Mallory Erwin, father and daughter
  • Ron and Christina Hsu, father and daughter.

Go, Luke and Margie, go!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Baking with a Pie Bird

Have you ever used a pie bird to bake a pie? Pie birds are ceramic and used to vent steam from pies to prevent juices from bubbling over the pie dish and spilling in the oven.

There's a debate over which came first the pie birds or the nursery rhyme about four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie as they're obviously connected.

I recently baked an apple pie using a pie bird. Here's a video I created to show you how I did it.


Friends in Spite of Differences

Have you ever seen two people who looked really odd together? Perhaps it was due to an age difference or a cultural difference, perhaps it was because of a difference in ability whether mental or physical. But after you watched the pair for a bit you noticed how happy and in sync they were together. How the friendship or relationship worked for them despite their disparity.

The second book I read for the Support your Local Library Challenge tells of such a friendship in the animal world. It's the true story of Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley. Tarra was the first resident of an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. As additional elephants came, they paired off with a buddy. All of them except for Tarra. She never found a best friend. Then she met Bella one of the many dogs on the property. Normally the dogs and elephants keep their distance from each other. But these two bonded. They spent all their time together. If the other elephants wanted to socialize with Tarra, they had to accept her friendship with Bella and include him.

One day Bella is injured and unable to move. Tarra stands guard nearby until a sanctuary worker finds the injured dog and takes her to receive medical help. When Bella does not return after two days, Tarra goes to find her. Meanwhile, Bella is convalescing upstairs in an elephant barn with a large picture window. When she sees Tarra outside, she is happy. Tarra makes a commotion until the workers carry Bella down to see her. Tarra returns every day for a visit until Bella has healed and can return with her to the sanctuary grounds.

Here's a video of Tarra & Bella. [For my deaf readers: there are no captions to this video because there is no human dialog. There are animal sounds and soothing background music has been added.]

If you enjoyed this video, you can see additional ones on the Elephant Sanctuary's YouTube channel. You can learn more about the sanctuary at their website.

Regarding the Support Your Local Library Challenge, please remember that any book checked out from a library counts. Even children's books.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've started the Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge with a terrific inspirational book, Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words by Kevin Hall. This title was highly recommended to me by Karen who writes A Deaf Mom Shares Her World blog.

I was very intrigued by the two concepts in the title- discovering your purpose and the power of words - and how the two might be connected. Here's a quote from the book that explains the author's purpose:

I'm on a quest to uncover the secrets of words and what they meant originally when they first surfaced...It's like peeling an onion. By breaking down words layer by layer by uncovering their pure meaning, you tap into a force that will help you find your purpose and better lead your life.

Although many words are explained within the book, Hall focuses on the following eleven: Genshai, Pathfinder, Namaste, Passion, Sapere Vedere, Humility, Inspire, Empathy, Coach, Ollin, and Integrity. If some of them are unfamiliar, you will have to read the book to find out what they are. I'm not telling!

Author Kevin Hall shares many wonderful personal stories to illustrate his points. One of my favorite parts of the book was his retelling of afternoon study sessions with the Master of Words, Arthur Watkins. Arthur teaches him not only by lecture but also by example. He's a man in his nineties, yet he continues to learn a new vocabulary word every day.

Two lessons I learned from the book are that encourage means to add to someone's heart and the word fear can be thought of as an acronym for false emotions appearing real.

I highly recommend this book for anyone in need of inspiration and motivation. You can read the first chapter for free online at this link.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Spend a Cold Afternoon in January

I spent Saturday afternoon watching dog sled
demonstrations! Earlier in the week all our snow had
disappeared. But fortunately it snowed yesterday and a bit
more overnight giving us a light layer of snow on the ground.

This is Kiowa, a 7 month old husky.
She was the star attraction in the warmup tent.

This husky chilled out while Kiowa handled
the meet and greet duties.

Husky toys were on sale in the warmup tent for those
who wanted to take a husky home with them! Sample
dog treats were given out to all pet owners who attended.

Outside again, this husky looked ready to run!

Before the dog sled runs began, there was a talk.

This photo shows a typical sled a team will
pull. The musher stands behind it where he
can operate the foot brake when needed
and shout directions to the dogs.

This view shows the dog's harness.

Here's a short captioned video I made of two of the dog sled teams in action.

I enjoyed my dog day afternoon. Bye, bye!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Interview with Gordon Hempton

Since November, I've been in contact with Gordon Hempton, author of One Square Inch of Silence. Over the course of several emails, we discussed various topics related to hearing, listening skills, and hearing loss. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what he had to tell me.

Hi Gordon,
I wanted to write and tell you I am enjoying reading your book One Square Inch of Silence. I plan to write about your book on my blog once I've finished reading it. I think my readers would really enjoy your beautiful descriptions of nature sounds. Would you be willing to answer a few questions by email that I could include as part of my article?

Yes, I would be glad to answer any questions that you might have for your blog.

In the book you discuss your own experience of a hearing loss, which fortunately proved to be temporary rather than permanent. Why did you have a negative reaction when a doctor suggested a hearing aid for your hearing loss?

As you already know hearing aids are designed for human speech with some of the more sophisticated ones including settings for music and other purposes. But I do not know of a single hearing aid or cochlear implant processor that does a decent job of nature interpretation—although they could if the manufacturers felt there was an interest.

Do you teach people how to listen to nature?

I used to teach wilderness listening skills in classes up to 21. Now I only offer one-on-one tutorials, everything from just listening with the naked ear to using my professional sound recording equipment to produce a unique CD.

Please tell me more about your listening tutorials.

My listening tutorials are simple—basically I have made a career out of listening and so I work one-on-one with individuals to achieve what goals they might have in mind—or to put it more accurately, address those goals and then move on to goals that were previously unrecognized. Nearly everyone that I have worked with wants to become a better nature listener and while there are definitely some techniques for enhancing skill level, what most people don’t take into consideration is that WE ALL HEAR DIFFERENTLY with or without a hearing loss. The key to becoming a better listener is not to hear what someone else hears but instead to recognize that you hear differently and learn to use this difference to explore the world.

I take people of all ages and hearing abilities into nature to use my recording equipment. The equipment helps focus the auditory attention and also remove many of our bad listening habits—for some odd reason when someone listens through a microphone they listen to everything. We explore ocean beach, listen to beach logs, walk through ancient forests… as we do a deeper inner nature emerges—and this begins deep listening—a soul changing experience.

In brief my tutorials do little more than encourage you to trust your instincts and gain confidence in using your hearing to its fullest. One woman commented after one of my workshops that she had taken the workshop in order to hear many of the sounds that she had missed since her hearing loss, but she confessed that even with her hearing loss she is hearing more than when she had normal hearing.

How can the deaf and hard of hearing community play a role in your cause? I ask because I found reading your book - the recounting of America's hearing loss- to remind myself of my own hearing loss. How can you motivate those of us who perhaps cannot hear these nature sounds to play a part in protecting them for those who can?

I would like to answer all of those related questions by describing my experiences with my fiancĂ©e, Rebecca, who was born completely deaf in her right ear and impaired in her left ear. Today she has a cochlear implant in her right and a hearing aid in her left (but even with it she tests with profound hearing loss and is eligible to go bilateral with implants). I know we are an odd couple—I make my livelihood by listening and recording nature’s most eloquent and subtle voices and she has no idea what the hell I am talking about. She has never heard a bird that sounds anything other than a chirp—all birds are the same annoyance. All water sounds are the same, too. In strong contrast I have shaped my life to hear nature’s music more clearly, providing a series of epiphanies for me.

Yet, the poetry of nature sound is written in visual patterns. And while Rebecca did not know anything about nature listening she knew a lot about people listening—she taught me that you do not need to hear to be a good listener. This is obvious to me now but totally new to me before I met her. So we are trading knowledge and now embarking on a project called, Lip Reading Nature. Simply put: the same technique used to understand the spoken word (and the CONTEXT that allows a true understanding), can be applied to the wonderful expressions of nature—thereby allowing one sense (vision) to compensate for the lack of information provided by another sense (hearing). It is entirely possible for example to look at a photograph and know what it would sound like if you were there in person with normal hearing.

Enough said, the point of all this is that our national parks may look visually pristine but in fact are full of auditory trash due to overhead air traffic. As a result of noise pollution in our parks and also in and around our homes and work places, even the hearing world is profoundly listening impaired. It is especially important that both worlds, the hearing and none-hearing, listen to the Earth, because the Earth is speaking and telling us great things. When you think of people that you love, and discover that they might needs something, you simply do it if you can, you don’t get out the cost/benefit spreadsheet and see if it is worth it. We need to fall back in love with Earth and our courtship grounds are our national parks and wilderness areas.

The other night Rebecca wakes up and says, “What is that?” I say, “Traffic noise.” She says, “But I’m deaf!” The world is getting so out of control with noise pollution that it can wake the deaf, literally.

And for those that have some of their hearing it is particularly important that we keep our natural areas free of noise pollution. A passing overhead jet (of which there are thousands each day over natural areas) makes what little access that hearing impaired persons have to listening to nature impossible.

It is time for all of us, hearing or not, to defend our right to quiet from noise pollution which not only damages our health but separates us from each other and the Earth. I urge everyone to speak out on behalf of nature and get the noise pollution out of our parks. Currently there is not a single place in the world off limits to aircraft for non-military and security reasons. The goal of One Square Inch of Silence Foundation is to establish Olympic National Park as our nation’s first quiet place. You can read more about that at

What's happening now with your project on Lip Reading Nature?

We are fundraising for the documentary to be shot. Have the pilot DVD edited and shot, but no funds yet.

Thank you, Gordon. When I wrote you I had no idea you had a close relationship with someone who is deaf. I'm so pleased now that I took the chance on contacting you about your book and writing about it for my blog. Thanks again for your eloquent response. I am so proud to put this on my blog. All the best to you and Rebecca, Sarah

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One Square Inch of Silence: One Reader's Experience

One Square Inch of Silence refers to a spot in Olympic National Park located in the upper northwest corner of the continental United States. Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist, designated this spot as the last quiet place in America and vowed in 2005 to protect it from manmade noise intrusions. The book chronicles his journey, two years later, across the United States on his way to Washington DC to request federal recognition of the spot and to discuss the value of quiet in the lives of Americans.

I first heard about One Square Inch of Silence when it was cited in passing at a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) conference presentation last June. Before I picked it up for myself this winter, I had only a vague notion that it was about how the world had become a noisier place and this was not such a good thing. The book does talk about that but it is so much more. I quickly realized I would need to devote some time to a careful reading of it.

In the beginning, I found myself slowing down to read the book's beautiful descriptive passages and recreate their scenery in my mind. I was enchanted by his descriptions of nature sounds unknown to me and enjoyed "hearing" them through Hempton's ears. I thought that might be all I would gain from the book.

But quite early on in the story, Hempton reveals he had a frightening experience with a sudden onset of a hearing loss. Because his work as a nature sounds recorder depended on his ability to hear, the loss was devastating. Like many of us, he found himself withdrawing from others when communication became difficult. Eventually, he was diagnosed with a middle ear problem. His doctor suggested a hearing aid, but he refused. Fortunately for him his hearing loss proved to be only short term, rather than permanent. Over a period of months, after Hempton made a few changes in his habits, his hearing was fully restored. This part of the book stopped me in my tracks as I pondered what it would be like for me to have normal hearing again.

Much later in the book, Hempton has his hearing tested at a special facility in Indianapolis. He includes his audiogram and his results are excellent. He has fantastic hearing. I felt wistful when I saw that. What must having above normal hearing be like?

Throughout the story, I found myself struck by the insights of various people Hempton interacts with along his cross-country trek. Several people had found healing through spending time alone in the wilderness. I wondered if it would be possible to restore a person's hearing, lost through noise impacts, by spending time in silence. The book doesn't say. I wonder if anyone has ever tried it.

I have to admit that reading this book as someone with a hearing loss was tough for me at times. The story of America’s hearing loss reminded me of my own. Near the very end of the book, Ken Feith of the EPA, says "People simply do not understand the significant adverse health effects of noise. They just don't." Unless they're coping with a hearing loss on a daily basis, I wanted to retort.

Whether or not people in the hearing loss community will want to get behind Hempton's push to save nature sounds that we ourselves may or may not be able to hear, I do not know. But there are several parts of the book I'd like to highlight for you.

First, the spiritual influence of nature is expressed several times in the book with insights like "In silence I feel God's presence and ultimate control." and "God whispers. Man shouts." These comments resonated with me strongly. Personally I find spending time in nature to be as spiritually renewing as time spent in church. Nature refreshes my spirit and makes me feel alive to my existence as a creature on this planet connected with every other living thing, whether plant or animal. Obviously, sounds are not as much a part of this experience for me as I don't hear crickets and other high pitched calls. Instead, it is the fresh air flooding my lungs and the visual delights of trees, water, and sky and their colors, shapes, patterns, and textures.

Secondly, Hempton discusses how the animals' sense of security is compromised when manmade noise intrudes into their habitat. Background noise interferes with the animals' ability to communicate with each other and attract a mate. For the animals, it's vital to survival to be able to hear a predator's stealthy approach. As someone who is frequently startled by people approaching me unawares in my daily surroundings, I can appreciate the vulnerability of the wild creatures drowned in a sea of noise produced by power tools, trucks, helicopters, etc. over which they have no control. I know that whenever I have visited a large city, I have found myself on hyper alert to the unfamiliar surroundings and proximity of strangers. Hempton explains that our ears evolved to serve us in this capacity. We have no earlids because our ears never sleep. So often, humans are utterly oblivious to the impact their activities have on animal life. This is something Hempton hopes to change through his writing.

Lastly, whether you agree with Hempton's priorities or not, he is a man to be admired. I recently wrote about being the change you want to see in the world and Gordon Hempton is a perfect example of that philosophy in action. Throughout his book a recurring theme is whether one person can make a difference in the world. I believe that one can. In his quest to protect the last quiet place in America, Hempton has gotten two airlines to agree to fly around Olympic National Park and one airline to make a concession towards that goal. He has also persuaded his local senator to sponsor legislation to protect the park's soundscape. He has made a difference.

The book concludes with several helpful guides to quiet in the wild, in the office, and in your home and neighborhood. I would also be remiss as a librarian if I didn't at least mention that the book's narrative includes an interesting description of the Seattle Public Library's acoustics.

You can find out more about One Square Inch of Silence at the organization's website. I'm interested in knowing your thoughts on the subject whether you've read the book or not. Tomorrow I will publish Gordon Hempton's response to my question: How would you motivate those of us who can't hear these nature sounds to play a part in protecting them for those who can? His answer may surprise you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

Library Sign

Today I drove past a public library sign which flashed the following message:
Resolution #1
Get a library card.
Resolution #2
Use it.
That reminded me of an online reading challenge for 2011 I want to share with all of you. I learned about it on another librarian's blog, Book Scorpion's Lair. Called the Support Your Local Library Challenge, it's being hosted by The Book Junkie's Bookshelf. Got all that? Well, never mind. Now onto the rules:

  1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Bloggers: Create a post for the challenge and link your challenge post at The Book Junkie's Bookshelf. Non-Bloggers: Keep track of your books on a list at home. Feel free to leave me a comment here on your progress anytime during the year. At the end of the year, I will write a wrap-up post where you can share your list of books read.
  2. There are four levels to this challenge:

    The Mini – Check out and read 30 library books.

    "Fun" Size – Check out and read 40 library books.

    Jumbo Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

    Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books.

    Aim high. As long as you read 30 by the end of 2011, you are a winner!
  3. Any book counts (including books at all reading levels, audio books, ebooks, and any books you may have read before that you are reading again now). The book just has to be checked out from your local public library. Book purchases at a library do not count.
  4. You don't need to create a reading list in advance. Select books as you wish throughout the year. Even if you do list them now, you can change the list later if you want.
  5. Crossovers from other current reading challenges count towards this one.
  6. The challenge began January 1, 2011 and continues through December 31, 2011.
This is my first time to participate in an online reading challenge. I'll be updating this post throughout the year with my progress. Will you join me?

My List
1. Aspire by Kevin Hall
2. Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley
3. Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities by Paul G. Stoltz
4. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
5. The Power of Half by Kevin and Hannah Salwen
6. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
7. 13 is the New 18 and Other Things My Children Taught Me While I Was Having a Nervous Breakdown Being Their Mother by Beth J. Harpaz
8. The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha
9. No Limits by Harry C. Cordellos and Janet Wells
10. Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language by Nora Ellen Groce
11. The Shack by William P. Young
12. People of the Eye: Stories from the Deaf World by Rachel McKee
13. People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry by Harlan Lane
14. Deaf Again by Mark Drolsbaugh
15. Anything But Silent by Mark Drolsbaugh
16. Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.
17. The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books edited by Jeff Martin and C. Max Magee
18. An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks
19. Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks
20. His Other Wife by Deborah Bedford
21. The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
22. Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries by Sharon J. Butler
23. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
24. Wormwood by Susan Wittig Albert
25. I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
26. Scones and Bones by Laura Childs
27. Now You See Her by Joy Fielding
28. This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can "Save Us All" by Marilyn Johnson
29. Dog On It by Spencer Quinn
30. Holly Blues by Susan Wittig Albert
31. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
32. One Second After by William R. Forstchen
33. The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale by Susan Maushart
34. The Baby Planner by Josie Brown
35. The Grid by Philip Kerr
36. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
37. The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
38. The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships, and Enhance Self-Esteem by Guy Winch
39. Breaking Up With God: a Love Story by Sarah Sentilles
40. Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty is Not the New Thirty by Tracey Jackson
41. The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives by Frank Moss
42. Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College by Andrew Ferguson
43. Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
44. Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You by Betsy Myers
45. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
46. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Update - 12/30/11

It's December 30th and frankly I've gotten tired of updating this list. I made it past the 50+ mark and have awarded myself a large chocolate bar. Yum! I don't think anyone joined me on this reading quest, so I won't continue on with it next year. Although I will continue to support my public library and write reviews on books relevant to deaf/hard of hearing experience or good books in general.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Two Other Librarians You May Want to Know

Did you know there are other librarian bloggers out there besides moi? Yes, it's true. I'd like to introduce you to two of them whose blogs I particularly enjoy and think you may like too.

The first one is Jim the Librarian. He says that name might just as well be on his birth certificate it fits him so well. He's a librarian at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. He writes on various library topics and does a great job explaining concepts like how librarians support intellectual freedom and why library databases are harder to use than Google. I like how he tells it straight to the students that they will need to do *gasp* actual research in order to produce their best work. He also notes the important perk of free coffee for late night studying at the library.

Best of all are Jim the Librarian's book reviews. He creates video entries using American Sign Language to discuss each story's plot and why he likes that novel. For those of us who are not fluent in ASL, he includes English captions. Watching his videos on full screen mode is helping me improve my ASL receptive skills as the captions are much smaller in this view. But even if you are unfamiliar with ASL, you will not want to miss out on Jim's humor and insight into the books he recommends. I'm adding several of them to my personal reading list. Jim has an impressive vocabulary and entertaining communication style. Could it be an occupational hazard from being surrounded by books all the time?

I've included one of my favorite Jim the Librarian vlog reviews here for your viewing pleasure. It's almost nine minutes long and has one brief technical error near the beginning I want you to simply overlook. My thanks go out to Bill Graham, who told me about Jim the Librarian.

Another library blog I read regularly for fun is called Miss Information. Her most recent post is titled "The library is open. Please go away." Need I say more?

If you really want to know what the library staff is thinking when patrons come into the library on the day after Christmas, when they have creative excuses for why library overdue fines don't apply to them, and when the computers don't work the way they should, you can read Miss Information to learn the truth. But are you sure you want to know? I'm just cautioning you that Miss Information has a snarky sense of humor about the absurdities that comprise the library world. If you've ever put in time behind a public service desk or even walked into a public library once and paid attention to your fellow patrons, you will recognize she's got the inside scoop. She's an anonymous blogger so remember to treat your librarian nicely. You never know, it could be her!

Do you know any other librarian bloggers I should read for fun? If so, be sure and let me know.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ok, Everybody, Let's Lighten Up this Year

This video just cracks me up. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Here's hoping we all can find some silly joy this year to equal the delight of this laughing child!

[Note for my deaf friends: there is no dialog to this video other than the uproarious laughter of the baby interacting with the playful pup.]