Fun at Foster's blog
For some people, it’s not enough to just read manga (or graphic novels for that matter). They want to draw manga as well. Now, if you’re like me that might be a bit of a challenge. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler and my circles have always been more like ovals, but I was willing to give it a try. So, I decided to find myself a book on drawing manga, to see if someone as artistically challenged as myself could actually do it.
The book I chose was Manga for the Beginner by Christopher Hart. I know there are quite a few books like these out there in the world, so you’ll have lots to choose from. Now, to make this review fair, I actually attempted to draw at least one of the pictures in the book. I figure if I’m going to write a review about drawing manga, I should put my money where my mouth is. For someone not inclined to draw, I thought I did pretty good. I followed the basic guidelines for drawing a face and, using the picture as a reference, it began to take shape.
Now, to be honest, it sometimes felt like the book jumped ahead a few steps, going from drawing a basic body shape to having a completed character in costume, but then I’ve noticed that most books on drawing manga do that. Still, some of the basic steps were included, and it was enough to make me comfortable with the drawing I was making. Now, I won’t be bringing out any new manga anytime soon, but I can at least say that I tried it, and that might just be enough for me.
Now, for those who have stayed ‘til the end…
The reason I’m focusing on drawing manga is that Foster Library will be having a minicon of sorts on October 26 and it will include an art contest. So, if you like to draw and are brave enough to try, you can pick up an application (with contest rules) at the library. Deadline is October 22.
Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess
Ventura is host to a myriad number of butterflies. Most of us are familiar with the Monarch butterfly, but did you know that there are dozens of different butterflies that call Ventura County home? Foster library has many Butterfly Books to help you identify our winged neighbors.
Resident Photographer Aleta Rodriguez
Photo Credit: Andrew Bollerman
Ventura Unified School District - Middle Schools
Battle of the Books is a fun, voluntary reading incentive program for students. Students read from a list of 20 preselected books and attend Friday book talks in the library at lunch. Raffle prizes are given, sometimes popcorn, and book related movies are shown. Students may bring their lunch and share in the fun with fellow students and teachers. Students must read and take the AR tests on at least 7 books from the list and attend book talks.
In March, qualifying students from the 4 middle schools and Sunset will come together to participate in the Final Battle. Students will be placed on teams where they will have an opportunity to test their knowledge of the books they have read. The competition is similar in style of the TV series Family Feud. There will be a raffle for prizes, and everyone receives a t-shirt, lunch, goodie bag, and participation ribbon. Winning team members also receive a medal, gift certificates, and their names will be engraved on a perpetual trophy.
Join the fun at your school. Contact your teacher or librarian for more information: Mrs. Carr at Anacapa; Mrs. Deal at Balboa; Mrs. Hofflund at Cabrill; Mrs. Johnson at DATA; Petra Somar at Sunset.
Look for our display of the books on the list.
Battle of the Books 2013-14
Abbott, Tony Firegirl
Dahl, Roald Boy: Tales of Childhood
Draper, Sharon Out of My Mind
DuPrau, Jeanne City of Ember
Farmer, Nancy House of the Scorpion
Hesse, Karen Out of the Dust
Jimenez, Francisco Breaking Through
Kadohata, Cynthia Kira-Kira
Kessler, Liz Tail of Emily Windsnap
Mihaley, James You Can't Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please
Mikaelsen, Ben Touching Spirit Bear
Nixon, Joan Lowry Other Side of Dark
O’Dell, Scott Black Star, Bright Dawn
Park, Linda Sue Project Mulberry
Paver, Michelle Wolf Brother
Peck, Richard The Teacher’s Funeral
Riordan, Rick The Lightning Thief
Rylant, Cynthia Missing May
Schmidt, Gary Wednesday Wars
Yolen, Jane Devil’s Arithmetic
In May of 1987, I visited family back east. We decided to take a quick trip to New York City. We took the Staten Island ferry back to New Jersey and I was able to take some pictures of the World Trade Center from the ferry. At that time I had no way of knowing that it would be the last time I would ever see the twin towers.
On this anniversary of 9/11 I offer these images in memoriam to those who lost their lives that day and to the memory of a skyline that has changed forever. Foster Library has many books about 9/11 if you are interested in finding out more about the heroes and events of that day.
Resident Photographer – Aleta A. Rodriguez
For those looking for something fun and different to do for the Halloween season, you need look no further than our beloved E. P. Foster Library. On October 26, Foster Library will have its first ever FosterCon Mini Comic Festival. While not quite on the grand scale of the San Diego Comic Con or the Central Coast Comic Con (which was recently held right here in Ventura), our event will still be fun and have something for all ages.
Starting when the doors open at 10:00 and lasting through the evening, our FosterCon will have airbrush tattoos, candy sushi, and coloring for the kids, both art and costume contests, local comic stores selling many wonderful things, local comic artists, a photo booth, and a graphic novel book display. On Sunday, there will be Wii gaming for the teens and a showing of The Avengers, open to all ages. But the part I’m most excited about is our very special guest speaker for Saturday evening. It is none other than Sergio Aragones. Now, if you don’t know who he is, then you must never have read Mad magazine or Groo the Wanderer. He is truly a kind man who has graciously agreed to be our big speaker for this event. He even supplied artwork for event flyer. I’m so excited! I hope you will be too.
For those wanting to participate in the art and/or costume contest, applications will be available at the library, online, and at local comic book shops within the next week. Deadlines and rules will be included for both.
So, if you want to have fun and can’t wait for Halloween, stop by the E. P. Foster Library on October 26. I’ll see you there. Bring your cape.
Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess
For transparency’s sake I’ll get to this issue right out front, I have prematurely partaken in the consumption of the pickled orange cauliflower, I was to wait till September 8th, but as Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing I cannot resist is temptation,” I couldn’t, and it was delicious. Crunchy, spicy, garlicky and picklely all combined, just wonderful! Pickling is a must for all serious “David’s dish” devotees.
I guess I have been on a bit of a tear for making fermented food stuffs, so the next logical step would have to be cheese making. I just want cheese to be another fermented food that I can endlessly talk about in front of my co-workers and either have them admit to making it or be encouraged to make some cheese, I know for admitting this a couple of gold stars will be taken away, but it’s the truth.
The cheese making was almost stopped in its tracks for I left the recipe book at work. What would I do? I couldn’t wing it, I needed a source in the form of a book, right? Then, I remembered my Achilles heel that I could turn into strength, the library databases! I’ve heard it said countless times the library databases are our friend’s and by Jove, if this friendship leads to cheese making I’m all for it!
After getting to the E.P Foster Library webpage a few clicks on the computer and staring me in the face was Zinio digital magazines, it’s a program that offers tons of free magazines, including the March 16th Food Network magazine, the cheese issue! The magazine displays beautifully on my tiny iPod. On page 68 of the digital magazine there’s a great recipe for fresh ricotta, a simple well illustrated no fuss no muss recipe. The recipe calls for milk, heavy cream, kosher salt, fresh lemon juice and distilled white vinegar. A little boiling, some draining, and little thinking about the nursery rhythm “Little Miss Muffet” and you are done. You are now officially a cheese maker! Please explore our information rich databases, you won’t be sorry!
Check out the book at Foster Library, or put a hold on it - we will send it to you!
Two of my favorite fish stories are Melville’s MOBY DICK and Hemmingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. Call me Ishmael, but there is a romantic essence to the dangers of sea faring. And these two authors knew how to spin a good yarn that included hubris and folly. Hemmingway won the Pulitzer for his work in 1953, while Moby Dick is considered one of the finest pieces of American Literature, sometimes given to the moniker, “The Great American Novel”.
Both Ahab and the old man are, in a sense, monomaniacs. They are both so single minded in the pursuit of their objects that they become oblivious to every thing else. It creates pride, which leads to each of the character’s own downfall. Both of them die before ever obtaining what they truly seek. And neither one ever perceives the inherent folly of his own actions.
The Sea is a great equalizer for American writers, because the United States is situated along three shores, the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts. Alaska has the most shoreline; and Hawaii is surrounded by the Pacific. The vastness of it creates a canvas upon which a writer can paint many portraits of human travail. And it serves to facilitate the metaphor of how small we are in comparison to nature-that it cannot be tamed… and yet, we can become extinct. This is the overwhelming theme in these two stories. I will begin with Melville here, and then review Hemmingway later.
MOBY DICK By Herman Melville.
“Call me Ishmael”, is one of the great opening lines of any novel, and sets the tone for 1st person narration. This is the account by a new hire of the great whaling vessel, The Pequod and the man who was its captain, the elusive Ahab. The story is rife with Biblical reference, particularly about the wages of sin and the elusiveness of redemption.
Ahab walks the deck alone at night to the sound of his peg leg pounding along the gang boards. It is a reminder to those below who have sailed with him many times, about how he came to lose his leg. The Great White Whale, Moby Dick, a giant albino Sperm whale remains the single occupancy of his consciousness. For it was this whale which caused him to wear a peg. And it is this whale that drives him on each voyage of killing and retrieving whales as a business. So much so, that he hammers a gold doubloon to the main mast and offers it to any scalawag who spots the Great White Whale on each voyage.
The vestigial plot is of the train wreck variety, even though Ahab does not appear before chapter 28 of 135 chapters. There is no conflict moving toward a crisis in Moby Dick, because the crisis is long past, the battle for the soul lost in a summary flashback by the delirium that followed the castrating bite that took off Ahab’s leg. The one emotion that is returned to him is vengeance. Ahab is now shaped in an unalterable mould. The die is cast. All that’s left is the denouement with all the characters-save the narrator, Ishmael -dragged inexorably toward destruction.
Melville reads the captain as a demagogue, blinded by his own profane quest. Ahab manipulates his crew, squandering his investor’s money and his crew’s lives to satisfy his immoral agenda-piloting his ship toward a doomed conflict with a murderous, uncontrollable, unstoppable monster.
The whiteness of the whale is “the pallor of the dead” and the “shroud in which we wrap them”. But it is also the most meaningful symbol of spiritual things. Even Que Qui, the tattooed harpooner from the South Pacific who befriends Ishmael, sees in the rolling of some whale bones, the prophecy of their deaths. He becomes immobilized in a spiritual trance knowing the ultimate fate of the ship.
Eventually, the Pequod rendezvous with the Great White Whale and Ahab takes his vengeance upon it, after the whale broadsides the ship leaving it to sink. He leaps upon the creature with a harpoon and gets caught up in the rope, dragged under by the whale, but not before inflicting it with the harpoon. When he appears on the surface again, his body is tangled in the web of rope, with only a free arm loose. It waves with the motion of the monster, as if beckoning the crew to follow their captain in finishing the job he no longer can. But the ship sinks beneath the waves, leaving only Ishmael as a survivor to tell the story.
To keep the whale oil burning in a rich man’s lap required the delicate maneuvering of a crew whose demographic diversity predicted America’s future. Caucasians, Indians, African Americans, various islanders are all, as Melville would write, “ federated along one keel”. A misdirected melting pot, it sails on under a man divided and seared by the conflagration raging inside him. Its as if Melville is beckoning us to believe that we are a nation, a species, full of diversity and also of greed and pride, Hubris, ever poised on self-destruction. It could be read as a cautionary tale whose ending he saw as unavoidable extinction.
-Resident Philosopher Doug Taylor