Blogs

Laser-Cut Holiday Decorations @ Foster

On Tuesday, December 2, there will be a demonstration of the Ventura County Library's laser cutter and engraver at E.P. Foster Library!

At this event we will use the laser to cut out holiday ornaments so that you all can see what this technology is capable of. Come prepared with any questions you may have about materials or projects you have in mind.

It all starts at 5 p.m. in the Topping Room. Come see what's going on with the Ventura County Library's makerspace!

Prueter Library- Beginning Ukulele Classes

 

Learn to play ukulele in a day! 

Saturday December 13, 1pm

Adults and kids (7 and older) are welcome.  
Bring your ukulele and music stand if you have one. A limited number of ukuleles will be available.

Children under 10 must be accompanied by a
participating adult. 

Give Yourself the Gift of Music

Don't deprive yourself this holiday season.

  • Download songs from Hozier, Beyonce and Meghan Trainor.
  • Stream your favorite classical, hip hop or country artists.
  • Watch music videos of Adele, Britney Spears or Chris Brown.

It's all available from Freegal in our eLibrary.

3 hours of streaming each day and 5 downloads each week.

It's all yours with your library card 24/7

 

Skip the Commercials This Holiday Season

Are you a fan of American Horror Story?

 Do you love Sherlock or Elemental?

 Watch the film that inspired the series!

Try indieflix for great

independent films,

festival films and classics.

Free with your library card 24/7

   

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Nature?

 

Join Karen Zedlick, Ph.D

Saturday December 13 

for an exploration of biotechnological advances

from a Catholic perspective.

Ojai Library 

3pm

 

TAG's Teen Gift Drive 2014

Are you looking for a way to give more this holiday season? Consider contributing to our TAG group's Teen Gift Drive!

Gift donations received by December 19, 2014, will be distributed to teens from low-income homes, foster homes, or who are facing other hardships, such as homelessness.

Donations can be dropped off at the Avenue, E.P. Foster, and Saticoy branches. For more information, contact the library at (805) 648-2716 or (805) 647-5736 and ask for Jane Middleton or Star Soto.

Lost and Found

Have you ever lost something unique or otherwise hard to find? You may want to consider 3D printing a replacement!

Recently one of the supports for E.P. Foster Library's display case went missing, so we searched online for a design that would allow us to print a new one. The gray support seen in this photo comes from Thingiverse.com user WilliamAAdams, and was printed using the Ventura County Library's own 3D printer!

Whether you are borrowing an existing design or have one of your own, you will soon be able to make use of the library's 3D printer yourself! Stay tuned for more info on policies and procedures as we work out the details of this exciting new program.

Over the River and through the Woods, SoCal Style

This week many of us are preparing to celebrate a uniquely American holiday: Thanksgiving. Many of us will stay home and make the traditional turkey with stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Others have adapted alternative menus to suit their own dietary preferences, and may not serve turkey or stuffing.
For all those who celebrate the holiday at home, there are probably just as many who travel to celebrate with their families. The day before Thanksgiving has become one of the busiest travel days of the year, and there are those of us who travel on Thanksgiving Day itself—although our mode of transportation is very different from that of our forefathers. In Southern California, we often don’t even have cold weather at this time of year. We would need to travel to higher elevations to encounter conditions that would allow a horse-drawn sleigh.
While we generally try to focus on the positive aspects of the holiday, it can be easy to get drawn into the chaotic Black Friday madness. At times like that, it might be helpful to remind ourselves about those less fortunate than us and to show kindness to others as part of our celebration. Contribute to your local food bank, donate to a charity, or give time to a cause close to your heart. Give something of yourself and you may find that you have a great deal more for which to be grateful.

Foster Library has books about Thanksgiving and generosity that you may find interesting and informative, as well as holiday cookbooks to help you plan the perfect meal.

 

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez (roast turkey photo provided by Amber Rodriguez)

Genuine Talent

In his prime period, circa The Sixth Sense (1999) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), young Haley Joel Osment seemed something like the Meryl Streep of child actors—that is, possessed of the ability to inhabit a role with an intensity and realism that was almost uncanny.

After Secondhand Lions (2003), however, he was mostly seen (or heard) in a variety of TV series and voice-overs for animated films and video games. But following the Spielberg epic, A.I., he also had an unusual and highly dramatic role in a little-known WWII drama, Edges of the Lord (2001).

Edges of the Lord: Willem DaFoe & Children

Edges was shot in Poland and co-starred Willem Dafoe (as a Catholic priest) and a mostly European cast. It apparently never received an American distribution until it was released on DVD around 2003.

Osment plays a 12-year-old Polish-Jewish boy who is sent to the country to elude the Nazis by living with a Roman Catholic family. At first he experiences the expected tension as an outsider among the other village children, but he is eventually accepted. Much of the film explores the impact of the war (and religious influences) from the perspective of this varied group of youngsters.

This unusual take on WWII is further enhanced by the contrast between the beautiful country setting and the horrific intrusion of German soldiers, with nightmarish scenes of concentration camp trains passing by the village at night.

Strangely enough, in perusing various reviews and comments on the Internet Movie Database I found that European critics mostly dismissed the film while American viewers, many fans of Osment, loved it. Personally, I found it an extremely powerful work with amazing performances from Osment and an ensemble of other young actors.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Jude Law, Haley Joel Osment, and Teddy in Rouge City

I was also mainly interested in Edges because of Osment, whom I found amazing in Artificial Intelligence, the only Steven Spielberg film which I find truly fascinating. In it Osment plays a prototype robot child who is accepted and then rejected by a human married couple. The film, which was originally a Stanley Kubrick project, is also a variation on the story of Pinocchio (with a robotic teddy bear filling in for Jiminy Cricket) as the abandoned David (Osment) goes on his quest to become a “real boy.”

Though I also find it problematic on several levels, A.I. has some of the most fantastic (and fantastically disturbing) imagery I’ve ever experienced in a contemporary film. Unforgettable, state-of-the-art CGI effects include a journey to Rouge City, the film’s perverse Pleasure Island, and a climax in an inundated New York City.

Haley at his most intense: A.I.

But still, what one comes away with from A.I. is the remarkable performance of Osment, quite an accomplishment given the glitz, dazzle, and (melo)drama of much of the film.

A more mature Haley Joel has just made of comeback of sorts in the comedy Sex Ed (2014). Though it seems a somewhat-desperate attempt to move into “regular guy” mode from his previous hyper-intense roles, this unique actor already has several incredible films under his belt, and I wish him the best.

Haley Joel Osment today: Sex Ed

His major films (including Edges of the Lord) are available on DVD through the Ventura County Library. A.I. is in a special edition two-disc set with lots of extra features.

 

Ross Care

David's Dish: Homemade Tortillas

I’ve been wanting to make tortillas for quite some time. After dining at a friend’s house and tasting their homemade tortillas, I knew I would prepare tortillas in my own kitchen in the near future.

By chance I stumbled upon a children’s book, Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up, by Mollie Katzen. Luckily enough it contained a recipe for tortillas, so tortillas would be made. Mollie Katzen has authored some amazing cookbooks; she has been a favorite of mine for years.

Flour, water, and salt was all the recipe called for. "What, no manteca?" I was quite puzzled about the simplicity of the recipe, but Mollie had never steered me wrong in the past. 

The directions were accompanied by lovely illustrations that would be quite appealing for even the youngest chefs—with adult supervision, of course. In no time I was dropping the tortillas into the frying pan, watching them bubble, and sliding them onto my tortilla towel.

I added cheese to one in the pan, let it melt, and slid it onto a plate. With a dab of salsa and some green chili, it became a delicious snack, not unlike what Señor Coyote tasted in The Runaway Tortilla, by Eric A. Kimmel. Make tortillas, not war; give a children’s book a try; and don’t trust a coyote.

 

***** David’s Dish

 

Check out the book at Foster Library, or put it on hold—we will send it to you. If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking!

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