#mnlib13 conference evaluation

At October’s Minnesota Library Association Conference (#mnlib13), my presentation was titled Things in a Flash: 40 in 60 iPad Apps and Tips. The presentation consisted of 20 iPad tips, a lot of them being different changes in iOS 7, and 20 different apps.

I showed the majority of the apps in the presentation, but I made a PowerPoint just in case the wifi went down and as a handout to the attendees. You can view the presentation here.

I don’t often hear back from conferences when I do presentations, and I usually do a few presentations a year. I’m a pretty confident speaker because right after my presentations I always have people telling me how great they were and how much they learned. I’m not trying to praise myself or be overly confident, but I know one of my strong suits is giving presentations and talking to groups of people.

Today, I was happy to receive evaluations from my presentation and they were so great. Every person but one said the session was Excellent, with the one deserter saying it was Good. I’ll take majority Excellent and one Good any day!

The evaluations didn’t have names or anything identifying on them, so I have to share.

Not everyone replied to every question on the evaluation, but the replies I got were great.

What part of the session was the MOST interesting and/or most worthwhile? Why?

Whole thing! Great! Learned a ton!
all of it.
Now to use the different features related to IOS7.
Now to use the different features related to IOS7.
Wow – very interesting & fun.
new apps
iPad goddess. LeAnn is very knowledgeable & great at sharing the info. HIgh energy & task oriented, focused.
– all the apps  – excellent presentation
iPad tips – education!
Awesome!!
Apps – 2nd part. I’m a new iPad user and need help.
Great! All interesting, lots of fun!
Everything!
Everything!
Everything was great! LeAnn is a spirited and knowledgeable presenter!
Learned a few new tips about using my iPad & some new apps!
All
I enjoyed learning about different apps I was not aware of, specifically the smarboard app, and vine. It was helpful to have examples of how apps could be useful.

 

How could the presenter have increased the value of the session?

She did a great job! Very engaging.
She did a great job! Very engaging.
Not sure – she was great!
Fabulous! No improvement needed.
She was great!
She really fun presenter – would love to have heard even more [smiley face].
Not presenters fault: would have liked a different room set up. Bigger screen. Presenter sometimes talked a bit too fast but she had a lot to get through!
More Time
She did a good job in the time allowed covering the information.

 

What suggestions would you make for future programs on this subject?

Keep having program on newest technology.
More like this [smiley face]!
More time.
Advanced apps for experienced iPad users.
Do this one again next year! There are thousands of cool & new apps coming out all the time….
Bigger screen.

 

It’s nice to hear good feedback, especially on days when you’re just stuck in the office, staring at a computer screen.

Can’t wait for next year’s conference!

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Christmas & games

Christmas is pretty much games and presents in my family.

We celebrated the weekend before most people did and I took all Granny’s money when we played 6-5-4. The fact that she’s 89 didn’t sway me. As Granny says, “There are no feelings in dice.” But it’s not like we bet a lot. It’s 5 cents per round because, as Granny also says, “I’m not rich, ya know.” (She says “ya know” as a true Minnesotan, too. If you want to hear a thick Minnesota accent, you need to come play games with my ya-ubetcha Granny.)

If you’re not familiar with 6-5-4, I Googled it to find it’s apparently called Ship, Captain, and Crew. We’ve never called it that in my life, but here’s a good breakdown in Wikipedia, though we don’t play it as a drinking game.

We also don’t play Up and Down the River (Wikipedia is calling this one Oh Hell) as a drinking game either. Apparently we like to play dice and card games but leave out the fun part.

While I was insuring Granny wouldn’t become rich, my sisters and brother-in-laws were playing the game Loaded Questions where everyone answers a question and one person has to figure out who said what. It’s sort of like Cards Against Humanity, but you come up with the answers instead of picking them from a select group. One of the questions was: “If you could be friends with any television character, who would it be?” I screamed out Lorelai Gilmore from “Gilmore Girls” and then quickly changed my answer to Alcide the werewolf from “True Blood.” For obvious reasons.

And the haul I got for Christmas consisted of games and stuff for cooking. I didn’t get one book, but they usually don’t know what books to get me unless I let them know. I gave my niece and nephew books and I also got my niece this awesome poster and I told her she better know where it’s from.

okay okay posterShe knew instantly.

“Women just haven’t done that much”

This cringe-worthy video has been making the rounds on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook:

The video starts off by highlighting some great things that happened to women in the media this year, but the majority shows the not-so-great things. Can we all just forget Seth MacFarlane, please?

It should be pointed out that this is just highlighting the media, so it’s mostly movies, commercials, and the news, and there are very annoying sound bites from men on Fox News saying things like “Women just haven’t done that much” and that a woman should “Know your role and shut your mouth.”

The whole video is sound bites, so I don’t have the whole frame of reference for what caused these bursts of ignorance, but the bites do make me grind my teeth.

But it also makes me want to point out the awesome things that women did do this year, media or not.

Women dominated country music. Fabulous newcomers like Kacey Musgraves and Brandy Clark joined veterans like Miranda Lambert and her Pistol Annie’s to create some of the best country music of the year. Far better than the crap the leading men of country put out. Do I really need to bring up the chew tobacco chew tobacco chew tobacco spit song? I pretend that the Pistol Annie’s aren’t featured on that song. If you don’t believe me, watch this video showing that many of the popular male country songs were pretty much the same this year.

I can’t speak about country music without mentioning the show “Nashville,” a ratings juggernaut for ABC featuring women in the lead roles. At times it amounts to just barely a step above soap operas, but Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are fabulous and some of the songs that come out of the show also bring shame to the men of country music.

But it’s not just “Nashville” that’s bringing us fabulous women on television. Can we talk about Kerry Washington’s “Scandal,” which I haven’t yet watched but want to? Or how awesome Keri Russell is on “The Americans?” Or how about how people couldn’t stop talking about “Orange is the New Black?” Or how funny Julia Louis Dreyfus is on “Veep?” Or the amazing Tatiana Maslany on “Orphan Black,” easily my favorite show of 2013? There are still way more men in leading roles, but these shows are giving them a run for their money.

But it’s not just music and television. My little feminist heart grew three sizes too big when I watched Wendy Davis in her pink sneakers fight for women’s rights in Texas. And Kirsten Gillibrand’s fight to support military rape victims. And the brave Edith Windsor and her DOMA lawsuit. And pretty much any time Elizabeth Warren opened her mouth.

And even though we have a really long way to go in politics, we are lacking far behind other countries in political equality, it was a record year for women in the Senate. Hopefully we will continue to rise in Congress because a study that came out this year found that women were less likely to be corrupt politicians. And don’t forget, it was women who got us out of the government shutdown.

But let’s not overlook the fabulous women around the world who are blowing my mind. I am in awe of Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the face over her fight for women’s education in Pakistan, but who survived and still fights on. I was so excited to hear that two members of Pussy Riot were recently released in Russia. I shake thinking about how brave it was for Saudi Arabian women to protest the restriction on driving. I’m inspired by how gutsy Guatemala’s first female attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, must be to take on organized crime and genocide.

I could go on and on to talk about women in business, women in sports, women in movies, women in education, women all over the damn place. I need way more than one binder to talk about everywhere we show up.

But “women just haven’t done that much.” Riiiight. Tell that to Beyoncé, the queen of iTunes.

Cracked

crackedCracked by Eliza Crewe is an urban paranormal fantasy with a snarky main character who is the reason to read this book. Meda is feisty, self-centered, sarcastic, witty, and hilarious, and she just happens to eat human souls in order to live. She was raised believing she was the only one, a special being who needed to eat souls, but this facade is shattered in a dark opening scene in an asylum.

In the asylum, where Meda eats the soul of a disgusting human being, she is interrupted by demons and saved by a Templar, the humans fighting against the demons. Meda discovers she is half-demon half-human and the rest of the book follows Meda as she struggles to figure out where she belongs.

Meda is why this book was so much fun. She tells the story and I loved her voice. She’s pretty biting in her commentary, making witty observations about the people and situations she gets into that had me laughing out loud. But Meda also kicks some ass, and there is a lot of ass kicking that goes on. This is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure which has Meda choosing sides and taking a stand.

The supporting characters are also pretty great, but make up a peculiar cast. Meda befriends Chi, an alpha male who believes he’s unstoppable, Jo, a disabled, angry-at-the-world girl, and Uri, an utterly delightful ray of sunshine. With this cast, Meda has a lot of ammunition to fuel her snark, but she also has friends for the first time in her life, and this is where we see that Meda is more than the self-centered girl we get at the beginning. This really is a coming-of-age story for this half-demon and it’s a great ride.

This book isn’t a literary, award-winning masterpiece, but it was really fun. There are good characters, bad characters, fight scenes, magic, and some secrets revealed, and I was thoroughly entertained, which is sometimes all you need.

Reviewed at Minnesota Reads.

I also read this book while I curled up with a new blanket my cousin made me and I have to share. I love it!

blanket

Every Day

every dayI loved the hell out of Every Day by David Levithan. The premise is bizarre and completely unique and the questions it raises are provocative and may make you examine what you think about gender and love.

To put the premise simply: Every Day is about A, a genderless, bodiless being who wakes up each day in a stranger’s body. Every chapter is a different day in A’s life and who A is for that day.

But the premise really isn’t simple. I call A a “being,” but I don’t really know what A is. A doesn’t know what A is. A has just always woken up in a different body every morning, encompassing the world of that person for just one day. Sometimes A wakes up as a boy, sometimes a girl, sometimes a transgender individual. A may be a straight white girl, a bisexual black guy, or an Asian lesbian, it really doesn’t matter. The only thing A knows for sure is that the body will always be someone of the same age. 16-year-old A will never wake up inside a 60-year-old.

A struggles with the body of the day and with not wanting to disrupt that person’s life, but when A wakes up in Justin’s body, Justin’s girlfriend changes everything. A is captivated by Rhiannon and needs to see her again, so instead of being respectful of bodies A encompasses, A tries to track down Rhiannon. But when the bodies are different every day, this really can’t work, can it?

This premise charmed me instantly. I don’t know why or how A exists, but I was along for the ride and I loved hearing about each person A became. Many of them were so well developed. I wanted to know more about them, but alas, as the chapter ends, so does A’s time and my time with that person. Except Rhiannon and Nathan, a boy A took over who starts remembering things, questioning A’s existence, and demanding answers. Nathan was probably one of my favorite things about this because he’s a great, impressionable, religious character, quick to judge and go to the extreme. He was a good juxtaposition to the open-minded Rhiannon.

So the plot was great, but the questions this book raises really drew me in. What does gender really matter when it’s the person you’re in love with? Does it matter that the person is a boy? A girl? Someone overweight? Someone really short? And what does it mean to be sexy or sexual?

Or what about morally right and wrong? Is A waking up in these bodies and living these lives morally right? Or is it giving A a better understanding of humanity when viewed from multiple perspectives? But to what end? There really aren’t answers in this book, though you will definitely think about these questions and more as you follow A’s journey, and I loved that.

This is a great book and a quick read, so take some time out of your day to devour this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed at Minnesota Reads.