Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yarn bombing in Berkeley, S.F. and beyond

Attaching scallop tag to barred window at Berkeley Public Library
A particularly easy but pretty “tag” is a length of crochet scallops. The pattern is by Stephanie Lau from Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti.

Jan. 8, 2012: 

During a New Year’s trip in the Bay Area I attached two more scallop tags: one to a barred window at the Berkeley Public Library and one to a railing cable at the “Book Bay” at Fort Mason operated by Friends of the San Francisco Library.

Feb. 26, 2012:

On our vacation in Ashland, I installed scallop tags at some area libraries (Redding Library, Shasta Public Libraries and the Ashland and Phoenix branches of Jackson County Library Services) but now that I’m more proficient in creating message tags, I would like to focus on those.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Makerblog: New life for Kliban’s Cat on a Swing

T-shirt refashioning: Kliban’s Cat on a Swing
I took some time off from work last week and my husband Jonathan and I spent a few days in Ashland, Ore. While primarily a relaxing trip, I did have the purposeful objective of salvaging my favorite shirt: yellow, with Kliban’s Cat on a Swing.

The shirt’s fabric had become thin with wear and was beginning to show snags.

Another shirt, striped in shades of green, faced the same dilemma of being too worn for further use.

I planned to salvage both of the shirts in a layered design: Cat on a Swing framed by the stripes. To complete the project, I needed the right base garment to attach them to.

That’s where Goodwill Industries of Southern Oregon came in.

With clothes hung by colors, I feel right at home in Goodwill Industries’ stores. Its store in Medford, Ore. seemed a good place for me to look for a T-shirt suitable for attaching the Kliban design.

Sure enough, I found a golden-green tie-dyed shirt for $3.

With the layered cat design, shades-of-green stripes and green eyelet lace arranged in a frame, the finished garment is wonderfully unique. Goodwill Industries totally has to be my T-shirt refashioning HQ.

Green publications should promote public transit

Screen capture: Voting break-down from Mother Earth News poll results

An email from Utne Reader this week invited me to take a “green vehicle” survey that was hosted by Mother Earth News. The first few questions had to be left blank because they involved the answerer’s primary vehicle and “public transit” wasn’t an option.

Via Twitter, I asked why “public transit” wasn’t listed as a choice for primary vehicle.

The administrator of @MotherEarthNews indicated the purpose of the survey was to gather driving data but that my message would be passed along.

The survey asked how interested I would be in various types of articles about green vehicles. None of the proposed subjects involved public transportation.

Public transportation made a dismal showing among polling options on the Mother Earth News website in response to “What’s your main means of going places?” Any option that didn’t involve personal auto use gained only minute percentages.

The breakdown in a screen capture I took at roughly noon on Tuesday was car: 43.21 percent (105 votes), truck: 23.87 percent (58 votes), SUV or crossover: 16.46 percent (40 votes) and van: 8.23 percent (20 votes). Among those options that didn’t involve the use of a personal vehicle, the vote spread was bike: 2.06 percent (five votes), feet: 2.88 percent (seven votes) and public transportation: 3.29 percent (eight votes). A total of 243 votes had been cast.

In response to my observation that auto dependence dominates in the Mother Earth News poll, its Twitter account administrator indicated, “I guess this shows that green cars are a good way to get people involved, some areas have terrible/no public transit.

This point may be true, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that “green” personal-use vehicles are the only way to go. I think that if we’re serious about our society’s sustainability, we need to invest in public transit infrastructure. “Green” publications such as Mother Earth News should take the lead in ensuring this is so.

Any carbon footprint that a person’s auto travel makes will be dramatically reduced if he or she shares a commute with many other people.

According to an executive summary for the first half of the fiscal year, 2011/12 for Lake Transit Authority, Lake Transit recorded more than 200,000 passenger boardings from July to December. “This is a 29 percent increase over the same period in 2010/11.”

Individual route productivity included Route 4A along Soda Bay Road with an increase of 72.8 percent, Route 2, which travels over Cobb between Kit’s Corner and Middletown had a 44.6 percent and the Route 8 loop around Lakeport increased ridership by 42 percent.

The Routes 3, 4 and 7 “intercity backbone” between Calistoga in Napa County through Middletown, Clearlake, Kelseyville, Lakeport and Upper Lake to Ukiah in Mendocino County added nearly 15,000 passengers for a 45-percent increase in use.

So as a commuter who daily rides the bus, that puts me in good company.

I ride the bus because it makes my commute affordable. I pay $40 per month for a rider’s pass that gives me unlimited use of in-county routes. Two days before payday, I don’t have to worry about whether I can put gas in the tank.

With gas prices what they are, I couldn’t afford to live and work at nearly opposite ends of Lake County if I had to commute by car. I am blessed with a work schedule that compliments the times when Lake Transit buses operate.

I don’t need a car when I’m at work and I rarely need a car when I’m at home. Much of what I need is within walking distance of my family’s apartment.

Before I travel by auto, I try to determine first if I could make the trip by public transit. That doesn’t mean I never use a car but it does mean I do so consciously.

I really think our society needs to move in a direction where public transit is the norm.

Emergency responders and news reporters need to travel by car to respond near-instantly to happenings and society should license them to do so. They serve vital roles of public safety and information. But the majority of people do not likewise need to instantly be out and about.

We already buy in to the notion that driving is a privilege and not a right by requiring motorists to be licensed and vehicles registered with the DMV.

It wouldn’t take much more to instigate a system where auto use is based upon the purpose it serves for the benefit of society.

Massive investment in public transit to get people where they need to go when they need to get there is a logical first step toward reducing dependence on personal vehicle use. All the better if public transportation is powered through “green” technology.

Online and print publications such as Mother Earth News are in a position to help shape public opinion about the worthiness of such a venture.

I hope they use this position wisely.

Published Feb. 21, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

‘Om’ applique on repurposed T-shirt

Continued evolution of Project #11, “Pin-Up,” from Generation T, 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay (Workman Publishing, 2006): To the original strips of open-work trim at its shoulders and sleeves, I’ve added a hand-made Om applique patch to the front of the shirt. Lace has also been added to the sleeves. The project as published featured safety pins holding the shirt together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

School officials influence bullying

The situation described by Lower Lake educator Nancy Harby in her recent letter to the editor is familiar to me. I observed institutional sanctioning of bullying during my years in school.

The situations I remember are not necessarily identical to those described by Harby. I don’t remember if my school had spirit week themes that denigrated our team’s rivals. Rather, I remember routine, everyday practices that contributed toward a school culture in which differences were shunned and the shunning was considered acceptable.

An elementary school teacher who, observing that my classmates did not want to take my hands when instructed to form a circle, gave me a pair of combs for the other children to hold instead, gave tacit encouragement and acceptance to my classmates ostracizing and alienating me.

The continual practice in physical education was to have the popular children choose sides for teams. When I was chosen last — each and every single time — it was in front of everyone.

I had advocates and supporters among members of the teaching staff; one of my teachers told the class that I would be at the top of a pyramid of students if it was based on reading ability.

My memories of spirit week activities are that they placed emphasis upon our colors, our mascot, our team. Spirit week and game-night pep rallies emphasized us-against-them, whether name-calling was involved or not — and the school’s most popular students were again given power over students who were potentially weaker and more vulnerable than they.

A recurring feature of game-night rallies involved students selected to perform challenges.

Rally attendance was mandatory and I was always fearful about whether I’d be humiliated in some way in front of the entire school. I hated pep rallies and if schools today were to consider abolishing the practices, I for one would be in support.

At the very least, I hope schools reconsider giving the most popular students so much power over other students in the school.

Teachers and school administrators need to accept the reality that their attitudes make a difference. Any mission statement that promotes tolerance and acceptance will be undermined by sanctioned school activities that promote ridiculing other teams.

What a person does always carries more influence than what he or she merely says. To say one thing and do another is hypocrisy.

Any programs that promote acceptance and understanding among students, such as Challenge Day, need to be accompanied by zero-tolerance policies that are consistently and rigorously enforced, with the victims of bullying spared the burden of having to initiate complaints.

A few days after reading Harby’s letter I was volunteering at the Middletown Library and saw three DVDs in the collection that address school bullying. The school administrators that Harby talks about in her letter would do well to view these DVDs and consider what kind of school culture their actions are contributing to.

A search of the library catalog and its audio and video resources shows many more resources available on the subject of bullying. Access the catalog at your nearest library or online at

Published Feb. 14, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Sunday, February 12, 2012

YA book blog: Generation T

Cover art: Generation T
Cover art: Generation T

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay (New York: Workman Publishing, 2006) contains step-by-step instructions for refashioning T-shirts into a variety of fashionable garments and household furnishings: tank tops, mini-skirts, cushions, pillows, tote bags and more: even a wedding dress for the collection’s grand finale.

Sidebar layouts present a pictorial history of T-shirts in film and T-shirts as as worn by celebrities.

This book is shelved with adult non-fiction at my library. Teens who enjoy crafting and do-it-yourself will enjoy this book, which developed out of the author’s T-shirt refashioning parties.

I think teens will enjoy the opportunity to personalize and express individual style with a garment that is so much a part of our society. The majority of styles are for girls or women but there are a few for boys or men. Several styles require little-to-no sewing to suit a variety of skill levels.

Originally submitted to a class discussion board for Cuesta College LIBT 118: Connecting Adolescents with Literature and Libraries.

YA book blog: Marcelo in the Real World

Cover art: Marcelo in the Real World
Cover art: Marcelo in the Real World

In Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009), 17-year-old Marcelo’s father challenges him to work in his law firm’s mail room for the summer. During his time at the legal firm, Marcelo becomes embroiled in a corporate malfeasance case for which the firm represents the defendant.

Marcelo must come to terms with finding himself and his father on opposite sides of a moral issue. Marcelo also has to navigate complex social and personal relationships with the people he meets at the firm.

This novel’s protagonist and I share the circumstance in common of being on the autism spectrum. The author came to my attention when I read about a panel discussion in which the author took part during the ALA annual convention: library services to patrons with autism.

I think this book is valuable for the resource it provides to people on the autism spectrum. I relate to the protagonists of books like Marcelo in the Real World and Mindblind by Jennifer Roy. They face circumstances in a society that I find similarly perplexing.

At the same time, I believe the issues of morality and interpersonal relationship that Marcelo encounters at the firm will resonate with a broader readership. A teen will not have to be on the autism spectrum to relate to the issues in this book.

Originally submitted to a class discussion board for Cuesta College LIBT 118: Connecting Adolescents with Literature and Libraries

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I work-Tweet bowling updates

My bowling steadily improves each week. I think my current high score is 98. I “tweet” about each night’s bowling with the Record-Bee “Killer Bees,” and recently used Storify to assemble those Tweets into a narrative.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SuperSearch interlibrary loan database is down

Image source: Sonoma County Library
The Sonoma County Library posted a notice last week that the SuperSearch online database connecting North Bay libraries has failed.

Readers still have access to our three-county shared catalog between Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries. However SuperSearch facilitated borrowing of materials among other library systems around the North Bay.

Sonoma County Library indicated it hoped to have a replacement system in place soon but did not have an estimate yet on when it would be available.

Published Feb. 7, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Interlibrary loan information and request form for Lake County Library

Course laid in at

Increased use of Twitter during the course of my day has given me an opportunity to share best practices with other professionals by engaging in “Tweet Chats.” This online medium allows participants from across the country or globe to instantly share and benefit from each other’s expertise.

A person who has an account on is given 140 characters in which to post an answer to the question, “What’s happening?” Each update issued on Twitter is a “Tweet.”

Twitter users self-curate their Tweets by topics by inserting hashtag characters. For example when I talk about libraries, I might use the hashtag #libraries. Anyone who does a search for #libraries will then access mine and any other post with that tag.

Hashtags do not appear to be case-sensitive: at this writing, posts utilizing #dfmchat and #DFMChat are cued in the same search results.

At recurring designated times people use hashtags to follow and communicate via a Tweet Chat. The chat is generally overseen by a moderator who sets guidelines for participants to follow.

Here is an overview of some of the chats I am aware of with times given in Pacific Time:

#ASNEChat takes place from 11 a.m. to noon each Tuesday, moderated by the American Society of News Editors’ @NewsEditors account. This chat recently adopted an alternating-week approach between posting on Twitter and having panelists post comments at using an online interface that is called “CoverItLive.” Today’s segment is slated for

#DFMChat takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays between MediaNews Group journalists. It is moderated each week by Ivan Lajara, @ivanlajara.

 I set (a very useful site) to auto-scroll accumulating posts that use #DFMChat tag. In between my other responsibilities in the Record-Bee newsroom, I can monitor what the participants are saying and contribute something if I like: again by using the designated hashtag that automatically curates my Tweets.

#smchat, a discussion of social media, begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. This chat, founded by Chris Jones, @SourcePOV, is a new discovery: a #DFMChat participant made reference to it last Wednesday and I haven’t actually sat in.

#libchat, moderated by Natalie Binder, @nataliebinder on Twitter, takes place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays while I’m on my way home from work. So while I’m not able to contribute to this dialogue among library students and professionals I can view the search results afterward.

A common format among the chats is that the moderator posts questions at set time intervals: every 10 minutes, say. Each post is prefaced by Q1, Q2, etc. and the participants then reply with the corresponding number: A1 at the beginning of their Tweet. I appreciate the order with which the posts can then be arranged: matching answers to the question that elicited them.

There are many more chats going on; to get an idea of how many, view a curated list and search for chats by subject at Gnosis Media Group:

Published Feb. 7, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cuesta College directed to ‘show cause’ for continued accreditation

Curated in Storify: During a press conference, President Gil Stork announces that Cuesta College has been placed on “show cause” status but that the college remains accredited.

World Book Night: Local giver accepted

Lower Lake resident Art Carson notified the Lake County Record-Bee he’s been accepted as giver of free books for World Book Night on April 23. Would-be givers have until 9 p.m. PST today to sign up. From its website: “Just take 20 free copies of a book to a location in your community, and you just might change someone’s life.”

Originally posted on Facebook

Saturday, February 4, 2012

‘Acts of Faith’ by Eboo Patel in UUCLC Lending Library

Book cover: Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel’s memoir Acts of Faith, a Beacon Press book originally published in 2008, is the UUCLC Lending Library’s Book of the Month for February.

Patel’s book is presently being honored as the 2011-12 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read.

A 2008 speaker at the UUA General Assembly, Patel is founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), an international, nonprofit, youth service leadership organization.

A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A committee of UUA staff selected Acts of Faith.

“Ten years after 9/11, the book describes the vulnerability of youth to violent, fundamentalist influences and makes a case for all of us, particularly youth, to promote pluralism through engagement in interfaith dialogue, education and social justice work.”

For more information about the UUA’s common read, visit

The UUA Bookstore wants to hear how readers used the UUA Common Read in their congregations or on their own. Stories can be emailed to Ben Jackson at

Cynthia Parkhill
UUCLC Lending Library
February 2012