Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday May 26, 2013 Finding Motivation at Your Library

 “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” - Lao Tzu

The motivation to do something could be anywhere. You might find it in something you read, the colourful socks someone knitted for you, a beautiful sunrise over the Sleeping Giant, or having a conversation with a friend. Browsing the shelves at your Thunder Bay Public Library could also be a source of inspiration. For example, embrace your creative side with books from our crafts section such as Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. Try your hand at knitting with patterns from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd or Hat Heads by Trond Anfinnsen. Become an artist and paint a masterpiece with help from the Complete Painting and Drawing Handbook and many other painting manuals available at TBPL.

Find the motivation to start your home renovations with the Home Improvement Reference Center database. Go to our Web site, log in to My Giant Search with your library card and PIN number and find information on everything from remodeling your bathroom to landscaping your garden. Browse through the rest of the databases and you may be motivated to learn another language using Powerspeak Languages, finish those car repairs using Chilton Auto Repair, or pick a database at random and learn something new.

How many times have you felt motivated after watching a specific television show? For example, Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s expert advice in her show Til Debt Do Us Part might have you thinking more about your finances. You will find the same financial advice in her books Debt-free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and Your Life and Money Rules: Rule Your Money or Your Money Will Rule You.

Do you regularly watch The Doctors or Dr. Oz? You will find plenty of information at your library to get you motivated to start improving your well being. You will find ideas on how to improve nutrition and eating habits with one of these popular cookbooks: The Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook by Tosca Reno, Wheat Belly Cookbook by William Davis, M.D. and Undiet: Eat your Way to Vibrant Healthy by Meghan Telpner. Browse through our DVD collection and get active with fitness videos such as Shrink Belly Fat, Pilates Express and Cross Training for Fitness. Take time and relax with music from our CD collection such as Escape: Music for the Senses, read a book such as Inferno (the new release from Dan Brown). Audio books are also a great way to sit back and relax, check out 8 Keys to Stress Management by Elizabeth Scott.

Come check out these titles and more at the Thunder Bay Public Library.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sunday May 19, 2013 YAC (Youth Advisory Council) Book Reviews

This week, our column features content by members of the TBPL Youth Advisory Council. Read on for local teens’ thoughts on some literary classics, and visit the TBPL teen blog or Justin’s Comics Corner on the Teen Zone website for more reviews written by local youth!

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne: Verne’s telling is full of suspense with small events leading towards the challenge of following a journey that could be impossible. The narrator, Axel, is full of doubt when his uncle professor Otto Lidenbrock finds an old book with a cryptogram message left by an Icelandic scientist. The note states that this scientist had taken a journey to the center of the Earth and gave simple directions on how others can reach the center as well. The professor sees this as an opportunity for fame and decides that he, along with his nephew and an Icelandic guide, will follow this journey. Verne gave great descriptions throughout the novel. Although there were many terms of different rocks and prehistoric species, there’s no need to know more than what Verne describes. The narrator Axel, who would rather stay at home with his young love, allows himself to be dragged around because of his uncle’s temper. But Axel is shown to have some humour during the adventure.Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a good, short read that anyone can enjoy and will most likely love. – Review by Shayla Hickerson

This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald: While The Great Gatsby is on everyone’s mind due to the Baz Luhrmann version, we should take time to remember Fitzgerald’s other great books, such as This Side of Paradise. The book follows the rich dreamer Amory Blaine as he goes through life and love in the 1920’s. Amory and his mother travel the world together attending parties and socializing. Eventually, he decides he wants to attend school and starts to find out about girls and love. Amory begins ‘courting’ a young, rich girl in his class, but ultimately his lack of real life love experience renders this experience a dud. As his school experience progresses, Amory becomes a typical All-American football playing boarding school boy. But still, Amory wants more so he plans to attend Princeton and make it in the big leagues. It is at Princeton that the story begins to get real. Amory’s story mirrors that of a kid with big dreams who loses what he really wanted and who he wanted to be along the way. This novel isn’t a love or a coming of age story, in my opinion, but it is realism and it makes me think about the way society looks at love and romance and makes me question things, which I feel is always a good thing while reading. I would recommend This Side of Paradise to readers who enjoyed The Great Gatsby, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or the movie 500 Days of Summer. – Review by Karol Sekhon

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday May 12, 2013 Finding Natural Partnerships @ Your Library

I am not a gardener, nor am I likely to ever become one. If there is a living plant left in my care, it’s a safe bet that it will be dead within a week. That being said, I appreciate and enjoy a well-tended garden and particularly one that can produce lots of fresh vegetables throughout the summer (plans are already in place for a week of canning and preserving in the early fall). Despite this inherent disinterest in how to create a garden, the concept of companion planting is one that I have to respect. There is a scientific art behind leveraging the optimal characteristics of one plant to benefit its neighbour. And with the growing trend towards local food production, it makes sense for gardens to be moving towards a model based on effective cultivation of their components.
A quick search of the Thunder Bay Public Library’s online catalog brought three titles to my attention. One I had heard of already is Roses Love Garlic: Companion Planting And Other Secrets of Flowers by Louise Riotte (1998). This book is revered as a standard guide in planning out and producing an enviable garden. This best-selling sequel to Carrots Love Tomatoes (soon to be available at TBPL) lists hundreds of herbs and flowers and explains how to combine them with other plants in the garden to maximize the health and yield of vegetables, berry bushes, and fruit and nut trees.

A more recent interpretation can be found in Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse (2012). This book will lure you in with some truly remarkable photography, an incredible amount of horticultural guidance, useful plant recommendations, and gardening lore. Druse presents plant pairings using diverse species that look great together and bloom at the same time. The book is organized by theme within seasons and topics include color, fragrance, foliage, grasses, edible flowers and much more. An appendix of edible flowers along with a literary glossary explaining the meanings of specific flower names makes this a must-read for gardeners seeking different methods to best showcase their efforts.
The Encyclopedia Of Planting Combinations by Tony Lord (2002) provides a comprehensive directory and cultivation guide with 4,000 cross-referenced combinations for successful planting. This guide is directed at gardeners of any level. Entries include ideal growing conditions for each plant and instructions for pairing based on location, soil type, climate and season. Lord has organized this hefty guide with an introduction to combining plants, followed by major sections devoted to shrubs and small trees, climbers, roses, perennials, bulbs, and annuals. This will be particularly useful for when you have a specific flower in need of pairing.
Once you’ve planned out your garden for the year (or re-organized an existing plan), check out the yard and garden building projects available through the Home Improvement Reference Center database through TBPL. To show off all your ingenious planning and planting, build raised garden beds, a firepit, or a fountain to bring the garden to new heights.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday May 5, 2013 Goose Hunting

When the ice thaws in Northwestern Ontario, the geese come back from their southern homes and return to the lakes and rivers of the north. For hunters, seeing flocks (properly, a gaggle or a skein) of geese means it’s time to don the camouflage. For me, it also means that I have to shape-shift my mind and think like a goose.
The National Audubon Society has a pocket guide to familiar birds of lakes and rivers. It states that “Because of their size and relative tameness, these geese are ideal subjects for making observations on bird behavior....” I don’t totally agree with that statement, otherwise, why would hunters need hunting blinds?(If you’re unfamiliar, a hunting blind is a hiding spot, usually made with branches and camouflage netting that you wait in until the geese (or ducks) are within shooting range). The geese I was hunting were far more wary of human presence than “city geese” and flew away the moment they felt something out of place.  

Where I was hunting was quite far from any town, up an old logging road and down a skidoo trail that went across a long lake to a bend in a river that fed into the lake. It was one of the few places where water wasn’t frozen; but the weather was nice and the wind was coming from the south. I believe it helped the geese migrate, and I actually got tanned!
For harvesting waterfowl, shotguns are generally the preferred tool, and they come in different gauges. The most common are probably 12- and 10-guage shotguns. The 34th Edition of the Gun Trader’s Guide has specifications and prices on thousands of types of guns, including various shotguns. Styles include pump-action, over-under, double-barrel and auto-loaders. What ammunition you use is important as well, as different shotgun shells have different ranges and power. I’m still just learning the differences in all these, and any success I have is currently through trial-and-error. Truthfully, far more geese escape my skills than fall prey to them.

For me, hunting is more than point and shoot. When I’m out there, I feel connected to the land. Even struggling to get a skidoo out of the snow becomes not just a struggle, but an effort to “do without doing,” to steal a Taoist idea. It doesn’t matter that I’m cold, wet, hungry, tired and far from home, I’m simply living “in the moment” and every sense is heightened. To me, the forest is the real world, and our cities are just temporary shelters. Each time I hunt and return to town, I have a far greater appreciation for community and co-operation; because otherwise, virtually none of us would have a chance of survival.
Hunting and being out in the wilderness is also about appreciation of all living things. Watching how animals behave and communicate is a thrill for me. For instance, in the book The Canada Goose by Kit Howard Breen, the author states that “Canada Geese form a lifelong pair bond once they have mated.” By being out on the water, I was able to witness this first hand. The line between human and animal becomes increasingly blurred when scientists say that many animals (especially birds!) are sentient, and when animals like geese show their loyalty, and I dare say “caring compassion” for one another when one is wounded.

I’m not a great hunter, but I do have a great time hunting. Miigwetch!
Chris Waite