Monday, January 02, 2017

New Year's Vote: 2017

To ring in the new year, we asked our staff to vote on our favorite funny commercials leading up to 2017.  (Note: click the linked name to open the YouTube video for each commercial.)

Here are our nominees:

Nolan Cheese: Mouse
Heinz: Stampede
Snickers: Marilyn
Temptation: Keep them busy
Geico: Raccoons
Superbowl: Invisible Mindy
Allstate: Mayhem Jogger
Doritos: Time Machine
Blockbuster: Click the Mouse
3rd place:
2nd place:


Thanks for your participation, staff! Here's to a good new year, 2017.
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Interesting Year-long Resolutions and Projects for 2017

One of the enduring traditions of the holiday season is making New Year's Resolutions. To give you some ideas for resolutions or neat projects, we've compiled a list of some interesting examples found online.

Temperature Blankets

First 10 days of a temperature blanket. (Source)

These blankets are an interesting way of remembering the temperature through the year by pairing certain colors of yarn with a number, then crocheting or knitting exactly one row daily using the highest daily temperature's color. There are no other rules, and the colors you choose are up to you.

For reference, here are the colors used for different temperatures by some weather modeling programs.

Here is a link to show you how to create a color chart for your temperature blanket.

Take a photo every day for a year

This challenge is extremely straightforward. Whether it's a picture of yourself, your house, your pet or a daily snapshot of the sky, choose one subject to take a picture of for 365 days. At the end of the year you will be able to look back over the year and see a variety of moods or skies and compare January 2017 to next December 31st.
*If you're into technology, these can potentially make awesome YouTube videos.

Daily Acts of Kindness Challenge

Whether it's something as simple as leaving change in the vending machine or as extreme as purchasing someone's groceries, perhaps attempting daily acts of kindness is a good resolution to try. Here's one link to help if you are not sure where to start:

52 Weeks of Books

Head on over to the Collinsville Public Library if you need a hand with this resolution! The goal of this challenge is to read at least one book per week. Some people choose to read the bestsellers from the year they were born in fiction and nonfiction - which you can find listed here on Wikipedia:

365 Days of Crock Pot, Slow Cooker, and Frozen Meals Cooking

If you're one of more than 60% of American Adults, it's possible that all of the adults in your family have busy work schedules and little time to make meals at the end of the work day - or your time to eat dinner might be 11:30 p.m! If so, perhaps you might try this challenge: cooking dinner using a crock pot or slow cooker (or slow-cook oven recipe) for a whole year - including weekends. (Imagine how much you can get done if only one weekend a month was devoted to preparing meals for many work days if chicken or fresh vegetables are discounted extremely well on one visit?) There are several methods for this if you are interested!

First, for those who do not have a crock pot suitable for their needs, freezing meals and setting an oven timer works well if you cannot adjust the heat in the recipe and keep the food cooking long enough, hot enough, or start it at the right time. Most electric ovens have timer settings to delay your oven from turning on until a certain time (or at the end of a timer). This works especially well with thick frozen foods as they will keep just fine for a few hours in the oven before it heats up, and it works well with your favorite recipes that only take an hour or two to cook.

Secondly, there are slow cookers. These are: pots that sit on a heating element - but have no heating elements on the sides. (They're actually a little different from crock pots.) The heat in slow cookers generally cycles, and only comes from the bottom, so these are slower to heat food and great for soups. (Not all slow cookers are recommended for large cuts of meat, so check the settings before you roast a chicken in one of these devices!)

Finally, there is the beloved crock pot. These are much better at heating large cuts of meat and thick foods than slow cookers tend to be. Check your crock pot before you cook - certain models older than 5 years may have only two or three settings that must be changed manually to lower or increase heat as foods cook. For someone with a 6+ hour work day, consider a programmable crock pot to ensure nothing burns and that the temperatures can change through the day to accommodate trickier recipes.

Here are a few links for "long day dinners" and frozen meals:

52 Weeks for a Cleaner House

Here's a great list of house cleaning tasks broken down into weekly suggestions to tame a wild house in a year. (Bonus: If you get to a week where you've already got that suggestion finished - or if you don't have a chimney to clean or kids living at home - you get a week off!) 
*This is so simple, even a messy college student like myself will be trying it!
**Need cleaning inspiration? Search "Organized Rooms" or "Cleaning Inspiration" on Pinterest.

Learn a Language in a Year

Here's another that you can head to the library to complete. Our library has Pronunciator (listed under our database links, or click HERE) but some other libraries feature Mango languages. Beyond this, you can request resources from audio books to learning texts for many languages and learn your way. (Pssst! There are some great free apps for learning how to write foreign characters, such as Hirigana, on the apple and google app stores. These work great with touch screen devices!)

Let us know if any of these suggestions make it to your New Year's Resolution list!

Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Friday, December 02, 2016

Winter Bookmark Crafts

In the spirit of the cold weather and celebrating the PERFECT time to curl up with a book under a blanket, here are some winter bookmark crafts you can make using household materials or recycled holiday cards.

1. Recycled holiday card: Birds bookmark

2. Paint chip bookmarks or gift tags
3. Snowman popsicle stick bookmark
Source: Alpha Moms

Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Saturday, November 19, 2016

10 Larger-than-Life Movie Monster Films

Sometimes it’s nice to watch a giant monster stomp on a tiny replica city. In the golden age of monster films, limited special effects led to two kinds of monster films: the superimposed film-on-film flicks where the creatures were enlarged to massive proportions (movies like Them!) or man-in-suit monster movies featuring actors in heavy suits with camera work and miniatures providing the size reference (such as in movies with Godzilla). While these films are far from terrifying by today’s standards, these once-frightening creature features are available through the library system for a night of giant monsters. Grab your popcorn and enjoy!

1. Tarantula (1955)
If you've ever wondered what a radioactive, experimental tarantula can do if it gets loose in a remote desert, perhaps this is the movie for you. Trigger warning: giant icky spider on the loose being pursued by army men in jeeps.

2. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Two times the monsters, two times the destruction. Featuring the man-in-suit gargantuan Godzilla and nimble King Kong, this film is fun and exciting to watch. Tokyo doesn’t stand a chance between the antics of these two mega monsters!

3. Gorgo (1961)
Before there was Jurassic World, there was Gorgo. Set in Britain, a mysterious sea dinosaur creature nicknamed “Gorgo” is taken back to Britain for a circus act. So, what’s more terrifying than a 65-foot tall dinosaur? Its mother.

4. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
This film was one of the first Atomic monster movies. The Beast featured in this movie, a prehistoric dinosaur, is awakened by atomic bomb testing. Unlike most monster movies, this beast is contagious...

5. 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
This film may cause major feels. The monster in this film travels across continents and grows from a tiny hatchling in the care of scientists to a giant creature as it roams in fear around the Earth - harmless for humans until animals and humans attack the creature and force it to fight for survival. This is one monster movie where the monster might not be the villain after all.

6. The Giant Behemoth (1959)
An irradiated Paleosaurus terrorizes ships in the ocean and swims up the Thames. Unlike other monsters, this one is racing against time: the radiation is killing it, and it is desperate to reach its home... which happens to involve taking a shortcut through London.

7. Mothra (1961)
If it can be said that a monster is beautiful, Mothra is definitely worthy of the word. Unlike the stomp-and-smash monster rampages of other films within the genre, this film features a protector-monster, guardians of a primitive island, well meaning but curious scientists, and a greedy man determined to make money off of the discovery of Infant Island.

8. Beginning of the End (1957)
Set in nearby Chicago, an agricultural mishap creates a swarm of giant grasshoppers intent on eating Chicago. There's nothing quite so terrifying as a giant bug with enormous eyes and pincers that decides it likes the taste of humans...

9. The Blob (1958)
It creeps. It oozes. It eats people. It is the monster with no shape and no apparent weaknesses, devouring cars, diners, and terrified nurses with ease. How can it possibly be stopped? Check out this classic flick to see how a couple of teenagers act to save the town and stop THE BLOB.

10. Them! (1954)
If you've seen any scary movies lately, you've probably seen a lone child looking pale and kind of creepy giving vague statements about something they've just witnessed.  Bonus points if the child points off into the distance. Them! is arguably the monster movie that featured the first noteworthy scene with a lone child wandering out of a decimated town and as the only clue to what is killing the good townspeople in the desert at night. If you like suspense, this is a monster movie for you.

By Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk, on November 26, 2016