Blogs

New Year's Eve in Ventura County

 

 

So many good things are happening throughout Ventura for the New Year's celebration! We bet the beach will be beautiful New Year's Day, too. The Ventura County Star has a listing of New Year's events throughout the county, titled "A city-by-city guide to New Year's Eve events in Ventura County." This article is available, as are many other newspaper titles, through the Ventura County Library's website! Check out the Ventura County eLibrary to see which newspapers you can view online.

From the eLibrary's main page, simply click on "News."

 

 

Then choose one of the listed providers to begin searching. "America's Newspapers" includes full-text articles from the Ventura County Star!

 

 

The Ventura County Star's New Year's Eve guide is also available on their website. What are your plans for the holiday? Do you have any special family traditions for New Year's?

Award-winning Photography at Foster

 

 

Your Resident Photographer is generally more often seen behind the lens rather than in front of it. There are occasional exceptions and Monday, December 16, was one of those. I had participated in the 2013 City of Ventura Photo Contest and was pleased to be awarded first place in the People’s Choice for the Architecture category. My entry was a photograph of E. P. Foster’s front entrance, i.e., the Matrix, entitled “Cathedral of the Mind.” A version of this photo originally appeared in the March 19, 2013, Fun at Foster blog.

 

 

There were a number of wonderful photographs of Ventura by other photographers that were competing for the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice in six categories, so I felt honored to have my effort rewarded. Winners received certificates presented by Mayor Cheryl Heitman before the City Council meeting on December 16. The winning entries are currently on display in the Bridge Gallery at City Hall.

If you would like to participate in the 2014 contest but aren’t sure if you have the skills to create a winning entry, Foster Library has an excellent collection of photography books available that offer inspiration, techniques, and advice.

Resident Photographer Aleta Rodriguez

Ojai Library Presents: Child Development Classes for Pre-schoolers

Theodora Reyes of Dora's Daycare will conduct two classes at the Ojai Library on Thursdays, January 9 through February 6:

        * 10 to 11am -- Play-based Learning

        * 11 to 12pm -- Preparing for School Through Art

Classes will be conducted in both English and Spanish.

No pre-registration is necessary please drop in to any class.

Ojai Library Presents: Fiction Writing Essentials with Doug Taylor

Doug Taylor, author of Bogota by Bus, hosts an interactive workshop focusing on the elements of a successful novel at Ojai Library on Saturday, January 11, from 2 to 4pm.

 

Using his own novel as a template, Doug will cover mapping out a novel in advance, character development, creating good dialogue and the differences between action and descriptive narrative.

 

Computer Help at Foster Library!

Attention!

Foster library is now offering FREE one-on-one sessions to help answer your computer questions! Sessions last between 15-30 minutes and are tailored to your needs. Fill out the form to set up a time with a staff member. You pick the time and the topic and we show up to assist! Call the library for more information at 648-2716.

Two new online resources with international focus!

We now offer free access to two internationally focused online resources available on our eLibrary page.

==> AtoZ World Travel - a travel resource for travelers with information on more than 200 world cities. AtoZ World Travel includes a language translator, maps, recipes and links to hotels, restaurants, weather and more!

 
==> World Crunch - global newspapers translated into English and also available in the original language. Experience diverse perspectives on world affairs from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Holidays in Plasticville

A new holiday tradition appeared in late 1940s post-war America: the traditional cardboard buildings of the nation's earlier train layouts and under-the-holiday-tree displays were gradually replaced by—you guessed it—plastic.

Now Plasticville is called "a small piece of Americana that has become a traditional favorite of collectors world-wide."

What began in 1947 with a simple fence to be used under the tree soon evolved into a collection of small, detailed edifices designed for use with the popular electric trains of the period.

 

Train layout with Lionel train and Plasticville, Harrisburg, PA, circa 1959

 

One key to Plasticville's popularity, aside from its cool retro look, was its "no glue" format and the fact that the various structures were assembled with a "snap-together" construction that also meant they could be taken apart and stored more easily and safely (plus, they were a lot of fun to put together).

In 1952 the Philadelphia-based Bachman Industries patented its "snap" format, and the rest is history. Models ranging from ranch houses to super markets, gas stations, and other 1950s essentials quickly followed. 

Several websites devoted to P-ville collectors and the company's history are available.

I remember that my father's first holiday train layouts used the quaint cardboard buildings that he must have spent many a late night assembling (though I'm sure he also enjoyed that). None of these fragile items have survived, but Plasticville made the trip from Harrisburg, PA, to Ventura and now appears, on a somewhat less grand scale, under a California holiday tree, bringing with it a lot of fond and sometimes poignant memories.

 

Lionel train pile-up in front of the Plasticville service station, Ventura, CA, circa 2008. It's the same train and gas station seen in the previous photo.

 

-RetroRoss

Winter Break at the Oak View Library

Need something to do in the Ojai Valley during Winter Break?
 

Families are welcome to drop in to the Oak View Library to play board games, solve puzzles, and make simple crafts.

See flyer for dates and times.

 

Indieflix - films to help you keep warm!

IndieFlix provides free, independent films for Ventura County Library card holders!  Your first step is to create an Indieflix account -- start at our eLibrary page and click on Indieflix (under Arts, Communication, Culture, Education, Music and the A to Z database list). Use the links to create a new account or login using Facebook. 

The folks at Indieflix are brimming with excitement in anticipation of the holidays, winter's first snow and snuggling by the fire. Indieflix features some hilarious, heartwarming, and hoax-worthy films. For a full list, see their blog.

You can also watch festival films, vote on best picture, or play film trivia. Film Festival in a Box is perfect for any film-buff! 

To keep up with all they offer, why not follow Indieflix through their Twitter or blog?

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

With all of our modern conveniences, like smart phones, the internet, and flat screen TVs, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when none of these things even existed. I can remember growing up with typewriters instead of computers, record players instead of CD players, and rotary phones instead of cell phones, but there was a time even beyond that, when such technology wasn’t even yet a dream.

That is the focus of Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies. It begins in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair, when people believed the future would consist of talking robots, flying cars, and highways leading to great cities of democracy and peace. Seen through the eyes of a father and his young son, it shows the boy’s excitement of a promising future, while showing a father’s trepidation of a future where he may not fit in.

As the book progresses, it marks the scientific progress being made, all the way to the space program and landing on the moon. It also marks the growing reality that the world is not always what was promised, as the world goes from World War II to Vietnam. Father and son are at odds with the world and each other. While the father still clings to old ideas, he seems excited about man’s journey into space. The son, once excited about the future is disappointed with the actual outcome when it doesn’t live up to its potential. They are on divergent paths.

It’s only when they witness the first link-up of an American and Soviet spacecraft, the Apollo-Soyuz, that the boy’s hope is renewed. In the book, he comments on how those spacecraft are like him and his dad, “often arguing, seeing the world in different ways, but sharing a dream…united by bonds deeper and stronger than we knew.” Their opinions about the world may have been vastly different, but in the end their hopes were the same.

Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

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