Avengers: Infinity War – a staff review

Avengers VS ThanosGreetings library land,

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to an advanced screening of Avengers: Infinity War. The follow up to Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, this movie is directed by the Russo brothers (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War) this movie is the culmination of everything Marvel have done with their Cinematic Universe to this point.

Please note, I shall try and avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Based on Thanos Quest, The Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity graphic novels, the movie picks up where the mid credit sequence from Thor: Ragnarok ended and sets you off on an incredible journey, culminating in one of the largest cinematic battles since Lord of The Rings!

All of the cast are great, but the standout has to be Thanos, portrayed by Josh Brolin. One of my big concerns going into this moview was Thanos’ portrayal. In the comics, it often seems that there are two versions of The Mad Titan: highly intelligent, calculating and capable of character growth (as written by his creator Jim Starlin and to a lesser extent Dan Abnett and Keith Giffen) or a meglomaniacle destroyer and conqueror (most other writers and the Avengers Assemble cartoon). Thankfully, Brolin plays Thanos closer to his creators writing than others. You can almost, almost understand where Thanos is coming from and the justifacation of his actions (as horrific as they are). In many ways, this is Thanos’ movie and he owns the screen.

The interplay between the vast cast is really good, particulary Tony Stark, Doctor Strange and Star Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are many touching moments, particularly in the final act.Infinity Wars Insta pic

If I have a complaint, it is that Adam Warlock, a character who (in the comics) is intimatly linked to the Infinity Stones was not introduced in time to play a roll in this film. In the original Infinity Gauntlet story, Warlock was an essential part of the plot, rallying not only Earth’s heroes, but the various cosmic abstracts (such as Eternity, Chaos, Order and Galactus) against Thanos.

A solid 9/10 and don’t forget to stay until the very end of the credits!

Did you know…what to do with your Christmas leftovers?

If you are anything like me, you will no doubt have over-catered for Christmas. I actually believe that if you haven’t over catered, you are not catering properly! But after everyone has eaten their fill, what do you do with all those leftovers?

Here is one idea:

Christmas Leftover Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped of thyme leaves
  • 200g of leftover turkey (shredded)
  • 200g of leftover ham (diced)
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan (or any cheese you may have)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cream cheese (optional)
  • Olive oil

Method

Heat the stock.

Chop up the leak, onion and garlic.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the leak, onion, garlic and thyme.

Once the leak and onion starts to turn transparent, add the white wine and bring to the boil before adding the rice and meat.

Reduce the heat and begin to ladle in the stock, stirring continuously. Cook for about 20 minutes, continuing to add stock as it is absorbed. It is important to keep the dish ‘wet’.

Once the rice is soft and the butter and cheese and stir through.

Serve immediately with some crusty bread.

Delicious!

Anirban’s work experience at Tea Tree Gully Library

 

Anirban recently completed a two-week work experience placement at Tea Tree Gully Library. Here is his account of his time:

I am a people person. I enjoy talking with patrons and I enjoy dealing with a diverse range of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. I enjoy giving direct support to senior management, colleagues and co-workers in a way that really makes a noticeable difference. I enjoy challenges, responsibilities, methodical as well as precise approach.

My placement at Tea Tree Gully Library has provided me with an excellent opportunity to develop professional networks with colleagues and library staff members. Over the past two weeks, staff have become familiar with my professional ability, punctuality, reliability, team skills and work ethics. I believe these connections will provide strong references in the future when the time comes to gain meaningful and sustainable employment in the library industry.

Working at the Library has given me a chance to observe how other employees operate and behave in various circumstances. For instance, verbal and non-verbal communication, writing clear business correspondence, observing office etiquette and behaviour patterns, answering telephone calls, dealing with difficult and aggressive patrons and resolving conflicts.

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This placement has been an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge I have learned at TAFE in a professional environment. Applying skills practically has helped me to identify my biggest strengths and areas I can improve in the future. My workplace supervisors have given me the necessary training and induction during my placement. Customer service attendants and other specialist library staff have helped me to complete my work placement through various on-the-job training.

For instance, a WHS representative Stephen Radlett gave me the necessary training for manual handling. The Digital Hub coordinator, Julian Smith, explained vividly how to use various electronic devices for placing a hold, searching the library catalogue and how to use social media platforms for collaboration, communication and effective engagement with peers, colleagues and patrons. Overall, the preparation was insightful and equally comprehensive.

My placement has allowed me to work in different areas in the Library to see what environment suits me most. For example, dealing with children, computers and systems, collections, adult programs and community history. It is practically impossible to know where I will best fit without trying a variety of responsibilities. Moreover, the library has a wide range of patrons and staff from different cultures, ethnicities and educational backgrounds. That has made the internship even more vibrant, stimulating and insightful.

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Placements usually award me with some kind of compensation such as course credit or a professional recommendation. With the Tea Tree Gully Library, I have greatly admired their support, constant cooperation and desire for professional growth in their employees. I was privileged to be able to take advantage of in-house training and flexible scheduling to complete my Certificate IV in Library and Information Services.

The entire purpose of a placement is to gain new skills and apply them to real tasks. For example, during the placement I have learnt the different uses and functionalities of the SirsiDynix Library Management system, how to display an educational event and project management techniques. A placement is like a crash course of working in the real world. I am learning from hands-on experience instead of a classroom-based lesson. Whether it learning big things or little things, I have been learning constantly. In the real world of employment, learning never stops, so it has been great to start adding to my skill set while undertaking my placement as a trainee library assistant.

It is difficult to find a placement in the library industry under the current economic and political climate, especially in South Australia. Placements are all about gaining experience, making professional connections and learning new skills. They involve a lot of work, learning, observation, and involvement.  Whether it is the work I am doing or the people that surround me, there are so many different things to love about my placements.

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The successful completion of a college certificate does not necessarily provide direct entry into a career. I think of placements as career experiments to accomplish long-term educational and career objectives. I have enjoyed my placement and wish to work in the Library industry upon graduation.

Doing something I love and thoroughly enjoy is vitally important because it resembles what I want to do in the future. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I got my approval letter to complete a placement at the Tea Tree Gully Library. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

A placement may often be perceived as an audition for a full-time job either with the same organisation or with a different organisation. My advice for future work experience students is to apply yourself to a placement as if it is a permanent engagement, or if it might turn into one. Libraries are always looking for dedicated, passionate, dynamic, and creative individuals. It is worth remembering that hard work always pays off!

Library Goober makes TV show!

Former Tea Tree Gully Library staff member, Ben Crisp, has had a series he wrote turned into a webseries on ABC iview.

The series, called Goober, is a short form comedy documenting the life of Harry, an Uber driver on the autism spectrum. “Harry loves his life, he loves his job, and he loves his gooberpassengers: so much, that he wants every one of them to be his next best friend. Goober is a light-hearted comedy series about a man who sees the best in every situation, despite what everyone else sees. It demonstrates that first impressions don’t always tell the whole story: Harry seems unusual due to the way his autism shapes his interactions, but, more often than not, his candor and naivety expose the hypocrisy of the “everyday” people around him.”

We caught up with Ben to ask him about Goober and to keep in contact in case he turns into a full-fledged success who might be worth mooching off of in the future.

TTG Library:   Congratulations on Goober. The Library is incredibly proud to have one of our own produce such a great show.

Ben:    Thank you so much!

TTG Library: Firstly is it pronounced Goober or Gūber?

Ben: Actually it’s spelt Goober but it’s pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove. No, Harry the Uber-driver is definitely a “goober”: a loveable goofball who means well, but tends to get it wrong more than right.

TTG Library: Why isn’t it spelled Gūber then?

Ben: We considered it briefly, but thought that people might see the name and think it was a foreign-language show. Or misread it and think it was about the Gruber brothers, Hans and Simon Peter—you know, the bad guys from Die Hard 1 and 3. Actually that would be a pretty cool show too now that I think about it.

[we all think it would be a great show too, you could call it Now I Have a Gruber! – start writing]

TTG Library: In a lot of ways Gūber would have been funnier, do you now regret not spelling it that way?

Ben: We choose to listen to our fans, not our diacritics.

TTG Library: You are one of the Library’s favourite sons, how has the transition from library to screen writer been?

Ben: Libraries are hallowed ground for all writers, cathedrals built for stories, so working in a library was a special privilege. Particularly one with so many wonderful people on the team! And now I’m still just as lucky to be working with another amazing team of enthusiastic and dedicated people. Screenwriting is very different work, but hopefully serves the same essential purpose as library work: to deliver stories into people’s lives.

TTG Library: The series is both very funny and has a lot of heart and is often very poignant, where have you drawn inspiration from?

Ben: Lots of places! The initial spark came from the idea that it has become more and more common for people to have short, sometimes awkward, sometimes poignant interactions with strangers that only last the length of a trip in an Uber or a taxi. So we dreamt up a character who is a bit socially awkward, but works as a driver because he loves talking to people and trying to help them—even though he’s not always that good at it.

TTG Library: You manage to tell amazingly complete narratives in very short periods of time, was that difficult?

Ben: Part of the challenge with digital formats like ABC iview is engaging the audience in a short space of time. Some of it comes from the format: Harry gets life-coaching from his Dad over the phone, picks up his passengers and gets himself into mischief, then fumbles his way through a talk with Wendy, his crush who works at the drive-thru. I’m lucky to have a very talented and diligent team of collaborators in directors Brendon Skinner and Simon Williams, and producer Kirsty Stark—between us we whittle the story down to just what it needs to be. But we’ve only scratched the surface: there is plenty more to Harry’s story that we are just dying to share with everyone—enough to fill a whole television series!

TTG Library: Is it too late to change the spelling to Gūber?

Ben: Sure, why not? Remember how they renamed The Mighty Ducks as Champions? That wasn’t confusing at all.

TTG Library: Obviously the mentoring you received at the TTG Library, primarily from David and Holly, was instrumental to your success, how vital was it?: a) Incredibly vital b) More vital than can be expressed in English c) 100% vital d) All of the above.

Ben: Definitely D.

[Right answer]

TTG Library: What was the experience of seeing your written words turned into images on the screen like?

Ben: Amazing! We were so lucky to have such a fantastic cast. Our lead actor, Brendan Williams, is really what brings Harry and the show to life. He captures the loveable, dorky charm of the character with this textbook comic expressiveness that cracks me up. Ashton Malcolm as Wendy, the equally-gooberish drive-thru attendant, is just perfect. The whole cast is terrific: every episode has beautiful performances by the supporting cast who play the passengers, from a fretting bridal party to a grumpy grandmother, a nervous schoolboy, to a pair of loudmouth rappers. It’s awesome.

TTG Library: Shane “Kenny” Jacobson plays the voice of Harry’s Dad, did he suggest changing the spelling to Gūber?

Ben: If he did, we certainly would have listened to him! Shane is a legend, in comedy and drama, and he really knows his stuff. He understood the character straight away and had some great suggestions when he recorded the lines in the studio with Brendan. It’s a tough ask for an actor to deliver that emotion when he’s just a voice on a phone, but Shane knocked it out of the park. He captures it perfectly: Harry’s Dad is a regular bloke who loves and supports his son more than anything in the world. TTG Library: Thanks.

Ben: Thank you! Congratulations again Ben!

Catch Goober on ABC iview or through http://au.gooberseries.com/ We want to see more so if you love it too let ABC know.

 

Anstey’s Diary – Operation Echidnanaut – Entry VI

Pow, pow, pow! Take that!

Pow, pow, pow! Take that!

So…according to New Scientist it turns out ELVES is actually a reference to Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency and not actual pointy-eared creatures…that’s a little disappointing…

Anyway, here we are, the final week before launch. I’ve spent more time in the simulator and even got the chance to get behind the stick of an F18 simulator at the end of last week which was great fun. I managed to shoot down eight enemy planes…unfortunately, landing is still a problem…

I also got to have a look at my launch vehicle!

Most of this week however has been spent in quarantine. Apparently astronauts can get sick in space as microgravity appears to weaken the immune system. Standard NASA practice is for Astronauts to undergo a physical exam 10 days before launch to make sure they’re not already infected and then go into quarantine about seven days before launch.

In the pilot seat...a little more exposed than I was expecting!

In the pilot seat…a little more exposed than I was expecting!

It’s very boring, but I have a good selection of books and some of my favourite movies to watch like 2001: A Space Odyssey, episodes of Star Trek and of course the full Star Wars saga! Lord Quokka suggested Alien but I’m not trusting him again after that Apollo 13 fiasco!

I have another medical check today and then a final pre-flight check right before launch.

It’s hard to believe that after all this time, all the planning and training we’re almost ready. I hope to see you all on Saturday for the launch. I’m really excited…and more than a little nervous…

Wish me luck!

Anstey’s Diary – Operation Echidnanaut – Entry V

What was Lord Quokka thinking, recommending a film like Apollo 13?

It was a horror story of everything that could go wrong in a space mission. Yes they got back safe and sound in the end, but oh my lord!

After watching that, I’m wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to go anymore. Fortunately, I have now seen the vehicle and it is a lot less…complicated…than an Apollo capsule.

No, I will be going up using a High Altitude Balloon. This will take me up to anywhere between 25 and 38 kilometres. To put that into perspective, the highest flying commercial aircraft don’t go higher than 15 kilometres, so bare minimum, I will be 10 000m above them, even the USAF’s High Altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft, the Lockheed U2 only flies up to 21 kilometres. In fact, most likely, the only people higher than me will be the three astronauts in the International Space Station.

Posing for the media with some of my friends…and a human…

Posing for the media with some of my friends…and a human…

At that height I will be operating in what is known as ‘Black Space’ and able to see the curvature of the earth and even Transient Luminous Events (AKA Ionospheric Lightning or Blue Jet Phenomena). I’ve even heard that there are ELVES up there!

I’ve also heard that a special song to commemorate my flight has been recorded! I stopped in at the studio after training yesterday to have a listen. It was pretty amazing, I especially liked the line “Greatest of Monotremes“! Take that Platypus…think you’re so great with your swimming and poison sting…

I also did a photo shoot for the press today. Apparently they needed a human as well, but I was able to invite some of my friends to participate. I think the results were pretty good!

Anstey’s Diary – Operation Echidnanaut – Entry IV

Hi everyone,

Exciting times, I got to try on my helmet for the first time today. Not sure about it

Trying on my helmet...it's a bit tight!

Trying on my helmet…it’s a bit tight!

though,there really isn’t any room for my snout.

I also had to start doing some High-G training. Apparently a “G” represents the normal force of gravity a body is subjected to here on earth. During space launches of flying jet fighters, the amount of “G-Force” the body is subjected to can cause something called G-Induced Loss of Consciousness or G-LoC. Obviously, losing consciousness is not something you want to do when at the controls of a spacecraft!

In order to train for this, one spends time in a something called a Centrifuge.These devices spin out around at high speeds in order to help you build up your tolerance for the G-Forces. Normally, they look something like this one here:

NASA Centrifuge

NASA Centrifuge

 

Now, that looked pretty scary, but I figured I could handle it, and the machine looked pretty sturdy and it was built by professionals with decades of experience.

 

Unfortunately this is what I was subjected to:

Get me out of here!!!

Get me out of here!!!

It was possibly one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life! All those extra termites were not a good idea! Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin or Andy Thomas were never suck in a bag and spun around over someone’s head!

I have decided to take my mind of the whole experience by watching that Tom Hank’s movie Lord Quokka suggested Apollo 13. Apparently it’s about one of the moon missions in the 1970s. I won’t be going that far, but I’m sure I will learn a thing or two from it.