Saturday, July 27, 2013

#25 - Knowledge you hope you never have to use

It had been a long time - embarrassingly long - since the last time I took CPR.  As someone who works in a public place with people of all ages and health conditions, I was feeling like perhaps I should brush up on emergency skills when I wrote my first set of DayZero goals.  And, three years went by without having a good opportunity to participate in a first aid/CPR refresher course.  This year, I decided that I just needed to make the opportunity.  So, when the city scheduled its annual refresher course, I made the decision to close the library and send ALL of us to attend this year.

The first aid portion held no surprises.  Although, the photos of brown recluse spider bites were sobering.  I'm not fond of spiders to begin with, so I'd never really looked at what those bites can do.  The instructions for the use of an AED (automatic external defibrillator) seem to really be as simple as turn the power on and do what the machine tells you.  The library I work for acquired one of these devices within the past year, so it was new to me.

CPR, however, has had some changes in recommended technique since the last time I took the course.  First, dispensing with most of the preliminary exam (taking the pulse, etc) and going straight to CPR if the person does not respond to you ... this was a surprise though I can see that seconds count and a pulse is sometimes hard to find.  The second change was that now chest compressions are done before breaths, and the ratio is 30 (fast) compressions to 2 breaths.  I remember the ratio as being 15 to 2 before.  However, the most interesting change was when the instructor said that it would be acceptable to ONLY do the chest compressions without stopping for breaths.

Definitely some valuable information reviewed in a few hours time ... but of a type that I hope I will never need to use.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#74 - Fire / Ice - Direwolves / Dragons - Lannister / Stark

The Song of Fire and Ice books by George R. R. Martin

4,705 pages later (plus one very intense weekend of video-watching), I finally know what all of the buzz is about.  The miniseries of these books is one of the most popular shows in my library and THE one that people ask me if I've watched wanting to get my opinion.  I had been putting off the visual rendition until I read the books though.  Now I can discuss...

If you know epic fantasy novels or even historical fiction of certain eras, you will recognize many of the plots and themes in this series.  The biggest variation from standard epic fantasy is that characters who the reader early on identifies as "major" can suddenly die - no last minute rescues, no reappearance after they've fallen off a cliff fighting some bad guy - totally and irrevocably dead.  In some ways, I liked not being able to count on the "good guy" winning through; however, I will also admit that I became frustrated with the introduction of new plot lines that I didn't really care about started because of the cessation of another character's line (because that character was, yes, dead) that I was rooting for. 

Another item of patron comment has been the amount of sex in the story.  Hmmm... I will admit that the first season (all I've watched yet) does have much nudity that doesn't really seem relevant.  The books do a better job - there are some pretty graphic sexual descriptions (especially for those only used to the fantasy genre - romance readers will not be shocked at all), but all are consistent with the characters involved and what's happening in their lives.

The third area I heard and read comments about is the depiction of women in the series.  To this I say HUZZAH!  As a female reader of fantasy, it gets hard to read one adult novel after another with only a token female character or none onstage - only lingering in the background as an inspiration for the male heroes (Arwen, I'm looking at you!).  In juvenile fantasy literature, the balance of genders is much more equal.  I would much rather read an accurate range of women in the world the author has built (from queens to whores) than not have any at all.  Yes, the women in this series do not get a fair shake when you consider today's morals, but the novels are not set in a contemporary world.  And, many of the female characters actually have many more options available to them than historical women of our world have.  Brienne of Tarth may be mocked by the men, but she isn't burned at the stake like Joan of Arc.  Plus, Arya Stark is definitely my favorite character in the entire series.

So, that's my take on the Game of Thrones / Song of Fire and Ice.

On a different subject,  I also completed another goal today (which I will blog about in my next post) which led to an idea for the completion of a third goal ...  the next part of this post is a contest (for goal #99).  If you are the first person identify what the item in the photo below is used for and post that use in the comments, I will send you an item that I have made as a prize.  The prize will depend on how far I need to ship it.  I will give you a hint on the item ... I used it in completing one of my goals.
In front of the basket is ?????

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

#37 - Family History in Snapshots

Do you ever have those days where you have a whole list of things to do and somewhere along the way you find yourself totally absorbed in a project that wasn't on the list wondering what happened to the original plan?  Today was one of those types of days for me.  I started off thinking that I would spend a good portion of my day off working on writing mystery clues (a DayZero goal) for the party that my siblings and I are planning for my Mom's 80th birthday party later this summer.  It was a great plan - a visit to the park with a friend and her boys in the morning (accomplished before it got too hot), another friend stopping by for drinks and conversation tonight (the mead is chilling in the frig), a few chores and the clues in between ... but then I remembered that I had promised to send some photos to my sister for something she's working on for the same party.  No problem!  How long could that take?

Well, some of it didn't take long at all - choosing photos from my own collection.  But then I thought of my DayZero goal to transfer some of my parent's old slides to digital files.  And, I had the two earliest reels of photos at my house just waiting (for, ahem, the past 3 years) for me to transfer them to files using a nifty device that I purchased 3 years ago when I brought the slides home.  I hadn't even opened the shipping box for it until this afternoon. Yikes!  I knew that those reels contained the photos from my parents' wedding and that Janet was looking for things like that.  So, I was only going to do a few ... just the wedding ones.  Yep, my love of old photos took over, and I scanned all 200 that I have at my house.  Which completed this goal ... even though there are probably another thousand or so still at the farm to scan.

I've tried to get these slides into digital form before - with a jury-rigged set-up that consisted of taking photos of the slides when they were projected onto a screen.  It wasn't the most successful endeavor - particularly with those photos that were dark - which is why I decided to try again.  I really want all of my siblings (and nieces and nephews that are interested) to have access to all of our family photos.  I don't think of myself as a visual learner sort of a person, but those snapshots bring back a cascade of great memories.  I don't want anyone in the family cut off from them.

To show you the difference in my first attempt and today's project, here's an example of first try/second try shot.  (A photo of me doing needlework on a family camping trip at age 6).  And, I hope this inspires some of you to pull out some family albums of your own to reminisce ...
projected on a screen

using the proper scanning device