Archive for December, 2011

Monsters in the Movies

Monsters in the Movies, by John Landis

If you are a fan of monster movies, this is the book for you. Director (and long-time monster movie fan) John Landis has written this new, 319-page coffee table book on one of his favorite subjects-Monsters in the Movies. Profusely illustrated  throughout (and this isn’t a book for kids due to some of the photos from more modern horror films), the book is divided into categories such as Vampires, Werewolves, Mad Scientists—even Monstrous Machines  (mostly robots, androids and cars!) There are also interviews with folks who work in the genre such as special effects artist Ray Harryhausen, makeup/prosthetic artist/monster maker Rick Baker, and director John Carpenter: it’s interesting how each of them defines “monster.”  Of course books like these reflect the tastes of their authors, so don’t expect to see every monster film listed—but there are quite a few, including silent films, golden age films and animated films, as well as newer ones. (Dorling Kindersley, 2011: $40.00)

Shelved in the 791.43675 area (adult non-fiction) at Fremont Main and Albany libraries.

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Hope you had a warm and very merry Christmas! 

Even library is closed today, please remember you can still use the virtual library 24/7 to read/listen to an ebooks, visit various databases to do you research, or renew your checked out items….. etc. 

Don’t let the less open hours discourges your experience with library services.  Try a few clicks for yourself and you will know: in terms of using the digital Alameda County Library, sky is the limit.

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Here in the Bay Area we are a diverse society.  We have many beliefs,  customs, and  special days.  Alameda County Libraries do a wonderful job of celebrating these days throughout the year, and it is fun to learn about others’ traditions.  The library also has many books  and dvds that teach us about the customs of other cultures. I hope we all will take advantage of these resources.  The more we know about others, the more we learn to understand and  appreciate them.

Today, I would like to write about one of my traditions. I grew up with Santa Claus , and can remember the excitement and anticipation the night before Christmas.  At home we always had a Christmas tree, and presents. I remember leaving cookies and milk for Santa.  I also remember reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’, and then going to bed and trying to hear Santa’s sleigh before I fell asleep.  I hope that you and your family enjoy this poem as much as I have over the years.

A Visit from St Nicholas.

by Clement C. Moore.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

‘Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!’

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound,

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

and laying his finger aside of his nose,

and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.

 Clement Clarke Moore wrote the Christmas poem twas the night before Christmas for his children in 1822. Professor Moore’s Christmas poem or Christmas story twas the night before Christmas is a classic American Christmas story. Clement Clarke Moore, a professor of Greek and Oriental Literature at the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York City, wrote “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” for his son Robert in 1822. Robert liked to ride his pony, Lightening, in the woods and one day, he and his pony took a spill. Since his pony had broken 2 legs, they shot it. Robert loved his pony so much, so he did not try to get well, and each day he called pitifully for Lightening. His father had been working on a dictionary before the accident and thought if only he could write a Christmas story that would interest his son. He had written many books for college students, but never a children’s book. He finished writing “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas eve. As he started to read, a few lines at a time, Robert responded with a tiny smile and by the time he was through reading the Christmas poem, he said, “Read it again.” Again his father read the story of a visit from St. Nicholas. This time when Moore finished reading the holiday poem, Robert asked if their tree was up. When his father said it was, Robert asked to see it. Moore’s holiday poem is now a classic American Christmas story.

Professor Moore was a private person and was embarrassed by the popularity of his Christmas poem or Christmas story twas the night before Christmas. Moore finally acknowledged writing the Christmas poem or Christmas story twas the night before Christmas in 1837. The sentinel published the Christmas story twas the night before Christmas poem a decade later.

In 1863 the cartoonist Thomas Nast created images of the Christmas story (twas the night before Christmas poem). We associate these Christmas story images (twas the night before Christmas poem) even today.

Mr. Moore spoke modestly of his Christmas story (twas the night before Christmas poem) but the Christmas story (twas the night before Christmas poem) is a special present to us all.

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We  need  light.  We  need it to  read and  see .  We  need it for  our health.  We  also  use lights  to  create magic for the holidays –  Fourth of  July , Halloween , Diwali ,  Hanukkah,  Christmas, Kwanza….  There are a bunch of books about creating the right light in you home. Here is a video that shows how magic light can be:

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Holidays at the Library

When looking for ways to entertain your children during their school break don’t forget about the Library in your neighborhood. We offer fun arts and crafts, performances and special events. Check at your branch or go online to www.aclibrary.org and check out the calendar of events at one or all branches and plan some fun activities as a family.

There are fun events like family game nights, teen gaming, holiday movies and much much more. We will be open our regular hours most days. The closed days at the Libraries during this winter break will be December 25th and 26th, and then again on January 1st and 2nd.  We hope to see you at the Library.  Happy Holidays to all and a safe and prosperous New Year.





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Because of its name alone, I’ve always wanted to visit Treasure Island just outside San Francisco but it’s been one of those things, taken for granted because the place is right there and I’ve really had no compelling reason to make the trip.  And then, one evening earlier this month, on our way home after dinner in San Francisco, my husband took a turn off the Bay Bridge, and there we were.   “Treasure Island“, of course, is Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of pirates and buried gold.  On this Treasure Island, I saw Bliss Dance, the 40-ft dancing female sculpture by Marco Cochrane, first viewed at Burning Man 2010.  Bliss Dance is a light show at night.

My husband had lived on Treasure Island before we were married; now he wanted me to see the view.  I think that was just an excuse for him to stop by the water and to take his place beside others who, like him, wanted to take advantage of the fog-free evening.  Here’s one shot he took (without a tripod, he said proudly) of a wonderland by night, San Francisco and the Bay Bridge.   May your holiday season be just as light-filled and enchanting.

SF Bay Bridge

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As you go about shopping and thinking of gifts to give to your loved ones and friends, please don’t forget those who are less fortunate than you, especially those who are hungry.

You can drop off your food at any of the County libraries: Fremont, Newark, Union City, Irvington, Centerville, Niles, San Lorenzo, Castor Valley, Dublin, and Albany.

You can give food 3 ways:

  • In Library food donations until January 31st – by dropping off the food into food barrels in our libraries
  • Virtual food drive – the link on our website to the Alameda County Community Food Bank for e-donations until January 31st. This is a first time the Alameda County Library System is offering a Virtual Food Drive
  • Food for Fines until December 31st

 If you have any questions as to how this works, please consult our Question and Answer Guide. Food 4 Fines Q & A

Happy Holidays!

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