Monday, March 30, 2015

Chance's Corner: Disney Vacation Part 2

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) is a reflection of a Hollywood that was and never has been. The palm-lined streets, vintage cars, and Art Deco architecture set against the iconic backdrop of the Grauman's Chinese Theater all reflect the Golden Age of Hollywood.

It's the smallest park at the Walt Disney World Resort, but it still packs a serious punch with Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster that shoots off from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which drops you down 13 stories to your certain doom (to Rod Serling's delight)!

 
Not your thing? Don't worry, there's much lighter fare such as The Great Movie Ride that puts you in the middle of your favorite classic movie scenes and plenty of shows such as a Broadway-caliber production of Beauty and the Beast, a zany 4-D Muppets show, and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular!
 
If you eat at just one place at The Walt Disney World Resort, it needs to be the 50's Prime Time Café. The setting takes you all the way back to the days when The Donna Reed Show was a hit... the 50's (obviously)! The best part, though, is that your servers turn out to be your long lost family members. This year we had Cousin John and he was an absolute delight. Hilarious! And be warned, there are a few rules you better follow in Momma's Kitchen. Kids set the table! Don't put your elbows on the table! Eat all your vegetables!  No Sass! If you break those rules, you'll end up getting into some pretty funny trouble.


The 50's Prime Time Café.
 

For promotional purposes, the carriage from the new Cinderella movie was on display.

Grauman's Chinese Theater

 
 
Disney's Animal Kingdom
 
The Animal Kingdom got off to a bumpy start in 1998. Animal's rights groups were calling foul, animals were dying, and Florida was literally on fire. I actually remember the thick smoke rolling across the highway from the nearby wildfire. But a lot has changed since then, and the Animal Kingdom has shaken off it's "expensive zoo" image (Natazu!) and is still growing and developing into something better.
 

The Tree of Life has several different animals carved into the side of it.
 
What's the highlight of the park? Expedition Everest. It's the newest fake mountain range in the Florida swampland and it's a real doozy. You ride a train up into the mountains, ignoring the local legend of an angry yeti, and find yourself facing a track ripped to shreds. What can you do? Oh, just find yourself rollicking at high speeds backwards. Yes, backwards! In the process you find out that the legend of the yeti is more than just some story.
 



















Well, that's just barely scratching the surface of my vacation, and even though it's always sad to leave the place where dreams come true,  I know that Mickey Mouse will always keep his promise.
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tom's Two Cents: A Year of Cinderella

At my advanced age, I've managed to see three versions of the fairy-tale "Cinderella" in the last six months.  First, at the Metropolitan Opera, streamed live to Dallas and Texarkana, Rossini's early 19th century version, "Cenerentola," then Sondheim's musical film "Into the Woods," and now the Disney/Kenneth Branaugh full-length film, starring Lily James, Cate Blanchette, Helena Bonham-Carter, and a host of others in an enchanting, visually glorious re-telling of the famous tale.



This version begins with a kind of prologue to where the tale usually begins.  Rather than confronting Cinderella in rags by the kitchen fireplace, the audience learns the back story of her birth and childhood, a sublime upbringing from infancy in the arms and safety of a doting mother and father.  Of course harsh reality intrudes when Cinderella's mother dies, her father re-marries a greedy, selfish and social climbing widow with two goofy daughters, and subsequently dies abroad, leaving Cinderella at the mercy of her adopted family.

In this version her only true friends are the birds and beasts of the farmyard and the woods, including some adorable mice who live in the house, eat crumbs and cheese and keep Cinderella company.  (Yes these are Disney computerized mice, who just may be the best actors in the show, along with a white duck, who rivals TV's Aflac!).  But when Cinderella saves a stag in the woods and meets a dreamy Prince, her life is changed forever.

Of course you know the rest of the story, which is told in the most lush and extravagantly beautiful terms ever, especially the magical special effects created to transform the pumpkin, etc. into a golden coach and four.  Its disintegration, along with its horses, driver, and footmen, at the stroke of midnight, displays a brilliant sense of comic and visual timing.  And perhaps the most heartwarming theme reiterated throughout is not the traditional message that "they all lived happily ever after," but the advice proclaimed throughout the story: "Be kind and have courage," and hopefully all will turn out all right!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poet's Perch : Pippa's Song by Robert Browning

Pippa's Song
 
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
 
Robert Browning

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marvelous Monday! : Egg Drop

For this experiment, I set up a glass of water with a pie plate on top.  On top of that I centered the cardboard from a roll of toilet paper directly above the water and balanced a raw egg on top.


 

Now for the fun part!  The object of this exercise is to get the egg into the glass of water, without breaking it, by removing the plate and the cardboard.  This is done by giving the plate, and only the plate, a good whack!

video

We did have a few misses... 



This is an experiment that can definitely be tried at home - just be sure to use non-breakable plates and glasses - and make sure that someone in your house wasn't going to use the eggs to make a cake!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chance's Corner: Disney Vacation Part 1

Some of you may have noticed my absence during the Spring Break. Where was I? Well, only at "The Happiest Place on Earth" AKA Walt Disney World! I've been going to Disney World for many, many, many years and it never grows old because the parks are always evolving and changing with new rides and attractions. I never seem to grow old, either.

I could probably write an entire book about my latest Disney vacation, but I shall try to keep this post as short as possible by covering the highlights of each park. Here we go!

The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is the central park that started the Disney World empire in 1971. It's a place the young and young at heart can experience the bygone era of Main Street USA all the way to the future possibilities of Tomorowland. To some it may seem like a kiddie park, but as Mary Poppins says "pish posh!"

Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.
Big Thunder Mountain
Florida may just be a swamp, but The Magic Kingdom is home to three very famous mountains: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain. All three are very unique and very fun, but Big Thunder Mountain is perhaps my favorite of the three.

Graves at The Haunted Mansion
My other favorite attraction at The Magic Kingdom is The Haunted Mansion. It's a slow-moving tour through a home full of 999 grim-grinning ghosts... but there's room for a thousand. Bwahahahaha! The best part is meeting up with a trio of hitchhiking ghosts that promise to follow you home. You actually see them sitting right next to you! Pretty spooky, huh?

Me attempting to remove The Sword in the Stone.






















EPCOT

The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) was originally envisioned by Walt Disney as a progressive community of the future. Unfortunately, he died before his vision could come to life, so a theme park devoted to technology and the future was built in its place in 1982. EPCOT is by far my favorite park out of all four of them. I guess it's the nerd in me.

Spaceship Earth
My favorite ride there? Well, sure there are some pretty neat thrill rides such as Mission Space and Test Track, but I have a real sweet spot for Spaceship Earth. Known by many as "The Big Ball" or "The Golf Ball", Spaceship Earth is a slow-moving, educational ride that winds all the way up to the top of "The Big Ball". Lifelike animatronics demonstrate how art, communication and technology has developed from the time of the caveman, to the Renaissance, to the printing press, and all the way to the invention of computers and beyond.

The coolest thing about EPCOT is the prominent use of new and developing technology. Castmembers (Disney employees) ride along on Segways, robots water the plants, Roomba-like robots mow the grass, and years before it was actually a thing, I was once able to try out what would become Google Glass.

A castmember "painted" Mickey on the ground with water!
Once you're done with what's known as the Futureworld side of EPCOT, there is a whole other part of the park to tackle called The World Showcase. It could be described as a permanent world's fair. I say that it's the best (and safest) way to travel. You can travel to locals such as Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, The United Kingdom and Canada to experience their culture through the local cuisine and merchandise.

For example, in Japan there is a place that has oysters guaranteed to have a pearl inside of them. You don't know what size pearl you'll get, so you just pick any oyster you want and hope for the best. I chose one of the bigger oysters and when the assistant cut it open a 7 1/4 mm sized pearl popped out. Jackpot! The girl behind me picked an oyster that had two pearls in it!

I always get a giggle when the family splits up and we have to call each other. It's usually like:

"Hey! Where are you?"

"I'm in Germany, where are you?"

"Italy. We're moving on, though. Meet us in Morocco in five minutes for a blue raspberry slushee."

Only at Disney!
A "Moroccan" blue raspberry slushee.

Grass growing on a roof in Norway.
Pearls from oysters in Japan.



Well, I tried not to gush too much, but it happened anyway. So, there will have to be a Part 2! Look forward to a trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom.
                                                       

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Julie's Journal : R2-D2

Over Spring Break, Chance went to Disney World.  I'm sure he's going to write a blog post about his trip and his many adventures soon!
 
He brought back souvenirs for us, and in addition to a Goofy pen and a notepad with the Mickey Mouse head on it, he brought me a metal model of R2-D2. 

The problem is that it comes in pieces - lots of pieces - to put together.
 

The kit specifies ages 14+ because of sharp edges and teenie-tiny pieces!
 

 
 

The sheets were very hard to photograph because they are so reflective.  You can see a reflection of my ipad as I tried to photograph them if you look closely.


The instructions are crazy, too!

 
It's hard to see in this picture, but they are on a legal sized sheet of paper and are VERY detailed.  I have only finished step 4 of 33!
 
This is what I have so far....
 
 
 
This is what he's supposed to look like when he's finished...
 

 
You'll have to come in and see if I manage to complete him!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kid's Tablets!

As part of the grant we received from the Edge Initiative, we have replaced our two kid's computers with ipads! You may remember that the computers we had for the kids were constantly out of order, leading to frustration for both the kids and us.

 
 We have loaded all sorts of kid friendly apps onto the ipads!

 
Lilly Ann has been testing all the apps the last few days!  She gave us lots of good suggestions about which ones to get. 
 

Bring your kids down to play!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Marvelous Mondays! : Flaming Teabag Rockets

Doesn't the title of this experiment just sound intriguing?  When I told my husband I was going to conduct this experiment IN the library he asked me if I had the fire department here.  Lisa, Chance, and Debbie all thought I was crazy, too.  However, the experiment was conducted and 8 flaming teabag rockets were launched and the library is still here.  We didn't burn down the library or even come close!
 
video

To create your own flaming rocket, you need a small teabag.  I used the teabags from an herbal tea.  The family sized ones do not work.  Empty the tea bag of tea and unfold it into a long cylinder.  Set the cylinder upright on a metal surface and light both sides of the teabag.  After that just sit back and watch it burn.  It will take off right before the flames reach the bottom of the bag.  Although, I conducted the experiment in the library, I would recommend trying this outside.  Our ceilings here are high enough that our teabag didn't hit the ceiling, but in a standard house, I don't think that would be the case. 

 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today is the 111th birthday of beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss!



Franklin County Library is the proud owner of 31 of his 46 children's books. In honor of his birthday, we have Dr. Seuss themed bookmarks available.




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Regarding Winter Weather...

We are open today! 

I'm sure that many of you noticed that we were closed yesterday due to the icy roads.  There is a possibility that we will be closed tomorrow as well, since the forecast currently shows that we will receive up to 3 inches of snow tomorrow morning. 



Generally, if the school is closed, then we will be as well.  We don't want anybody getting hurt trying to come to the library!  Just give us a call before you come.  Stay safe!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Best Picture Winners

 
Preparing for a cold, wet and yucky weekend? Why not take advantage of the Oscar Season and catch an Academy Award winning film for Best Picture? Not sure what made the cut for Best Picture? No worries! Our movie guru, Chance, made a special Best Picture sticker that resembles the symbol above for your convenience.
 
The Best Picture winners we have are:
 
2013 - 12 Years a Slave
 
2012 - Argo
 
2003 - Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
 
1997 - Titanic
 
1989 - Driving Miss Daisy
 
1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
 
1972 - The Godfather
 
1965 - The Sound of Music
 
1961 - West Side Story
 
1950 - All About Eve
 
1943 - Casablanca
 
1939 - Gone With the Wind
 
 
 
We can't wait to find out which film will be joining their ranks!

 
 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chance's Corner: Oscar Season

Deer Season, Duck Season, Rabbit Season... Oscar Season! Yes, it's that time of year again when the Hollywood elite put their heads together and decide who's who in the movie industry for the preceding year. My favorite season!

I always enjoy playing a little guessing game beforehand about who will bring home the Academy Award. Sometimes I'm dead on (like last year) and other years I'm clueless. This year, however, I found a little insight on The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter obtained and posted a conversation with an anonymous female member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about who/what they voted for. It's truly a fascinating look into just what goes through a voters mind as they decide who should win an Academy Award.

Let's take a peek and see how the anonymous member voted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


BEST PICTURE

The Academy member states that, "American Sniper is the winner of the year, whether or not it gets a single statuette... because it shows that a movie can galvanize America and shows that people will go [to the movies] if you put something out that they want to see."

Sounds like a winner, right? Well, she goes on to say that Birdman truly resonates among the "tortured actors" of the Academy and The Imitation Game is "prestige filmmaking" that should gain more recognition.

Her pick for the winner? The Imitation Game.


BEST DIRECTOR

She chooses Richard Linklater, the director of Boyhood, because "what he did -- as a 'thing' -- is extraordinary." She's referring to the astonishing fact that the movie was filmed over a period of 12 years to document the true growth of the lead boy actor.


BEST ACTOR

She chooses Michael Keaton for Birdman because he created a character from "whole cloth" wherein the other actors just did impressions of real people. She also points out that he may never get another chance at getting an Oscar nod.

BEST ACTRESS

She chooses Julianne Moore because she the minute she saw Still Alice she knew the race was over. She states "four other women are going to have to get dressed and go to 5,000 dinners knowing they have no chance."

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

She cites Ethan Hawke giving "a very strong performance" in Boyhood, but J.K. Simmons' performance in Whiplash was "in a different league". She actually finds it ironic that he is in the "supporting" category. I'm guessing she means that he was so powerful that he seemed like a "leading" actor.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

She votes for Patricia Arquette in Boyhood due to her 12 year dedication to the film and for "having no [plastic surgery] done during the 12 years." I find that a little strange qualification, but I'm not in the Academy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Academy member goes on to explain her voting in the other categories such as Costume Design, Film Editing, Cinematography, and the like, but I figure I've covered the highlights of the Oscar evening.

As a funny aside, there were several categories in which she abstained for voting. In the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing Category she states that "she has no idea what's good sound or bad sound.... and I'm not alone among Academy members."

So, do you agree with her choices? Or have you not seen any of them yet? Fear not! We have all the Oscar nominated films (that are currently available on DVD) here at the Franklin County Library. Come check them out so you know who to root for.

Wait, you want to know my guesses for the winners? Well, alright, here's my list.


BEST PICTURE

Birdman or American Sniper

BEST DIRECTOR

Richard Linklater

BEST ACTOR

Michael Keaton

BEST ACTRESS

Julianne Moore (she's swept up all the other awards)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

J.K. Simmons

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Patricia Arquette (another awards sweep)



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's tax time!

Are you getting ready to do your taxes?  Normally the library is able to provide tax forms, but this year, the IRS declined to provide us with the forms they normally do.  They only sent us the 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ forms.  They are really pushing everyone to do their taxes online, but we know  many of our patrons are not comfortable filing online. 

 
Franklin County Library is doing what we can to provide forms and booklets.  We printed off three copies of the tax booklets and are making them available to check out for one week.  We can also print forms from irs.gov if you know what you need. 

Everything I've seen this year recommends that you file as early as possible this year if you are expecting a refund.  Let us help you get the forms you need!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Poet's Perch : A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns


A Red, Red Rose
 
O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O my luve is like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.
 
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
 
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
 
And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile!
 
Robert Burns