Sunday, October 28, 2007

Video Game Tournament Results

We just wrapped up another VGT, this one for 9th-12th grades. Turnout was a little lower than usual, probably due to the timing. (No one told me when I set the date that this was Guitar Hero III day!) But, hey, a lighter turnout means the tournament can be double elimination. In the end, Max H won bragging rights and his choice of items from the EBGames freebie pile. Josh H (who apparently came back from the dead, tournament-wise) pulled in second place. The next HS VGT will be after the holidays. Watch this space for details. In the meantime, though, we'll have a Guitar Hero and a DDR tournament here at the Fredricksen Library in December. See the program schedule on the right for dates and times.

Despite the camera battery going dead early on, I managed to get a few decent pics. Here they are:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - The Long Night of Leo and Bree

I just finished Ellen Wittlinger's The Long Night of Leo and Bree. It's a quick read, only about 110 pages, but there's a lot packed in there. The basic storyline is that Leo's sister was brutally murdered by a boyfriend 4 years earlier. After her death, his father withdrew and eventually just took off, and his mother basically just lost it. On the anniversary of her death, Leo is laying a heavy guilt trip on himself for not stopping his sister from seeing the guy the night she was murdered. He decides that it shouldn't have been his sister who was killed. It should have been someone "who deserved it" and he is going to find someone like that and kill her in his sister's place. In a classic, "wrong place at the wrong time" scenario, he randomly kidnaps Bree and holds her hostage while he decides what to do. As the night goes on, both Leo and Bree start to see things in both themselves and each other. This would be a good one for an older reluctant reader because it is short, but has plenty of action and suspense, and a more mature subject than most shorter books. The subject matter is handled well, all things considered, getting the point across without being unnecessarily graphic. For the right audience, it's a pretty good read. Enjoy!

Guitar Hero Tournament Pics

A great big "Thank You!!" goes out to Wes' dad for getting some pics from Sunday's Guitar Hero tournament to me. For those of you who have been waiting for them, here they are. And congratulations again to Devon and Danielle, our first and second place winners.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guitar Hero Tournament Results

We had another great Guitar Hero tournament this past Sunday. 22 people participated in the tournament, with several more on hand in the cheering section. Ultimately, Devon H was the big winner with Danielle D pulling in second. Ordinarily I try to remain neutral on these things, but when a girl made it to the final round in Guitar Hero, I admit I was pulling for her. I wish I had photos to post, but someone had taken the library camera. Wes' dad took some photos and said he'd e-mail some to me, but I haven't seen them yet. If he comes through, I'll post 'em here when I get 'em.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Video Game Tournament Update

Sunday's video game tournament, this one for middle schoolers, was another success. 26 kids entered the tournament, with an additional handful on hand to watch, and cheer. Bragging rights go to Dillon F. this time, with Alex and Curt coming in just behind. As usual pics are below. See the program list to the right for the next tournaments.

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - How the Hangman Lost His Heart

I often wished that my family tree was a bit more colorful. My relatives are nice folks, but basically boring. As a teenager, I had a backpacking buddy whose great-grandfather was a trapeze artist in the Viennese circus. I always kind of envied her. I was thinking about her as I was reading K.M. Grant's How the Hangman Lost His Heart. If you are offended by gallows humor, I'd suggest you steer clear of this one. If, on the other hand, you are, like me, a big fan of Far Side style humor, you'll love this one. It was inspired by the author's actual family history. An ancestor of hers had the distinction of being the last person in Britain to be executed by being hung, drawn and quartered. Unfortunately, his head was stolen. It was eventually returned to the family, but for many years, they could not get permission to open his tomb to put his head back with his body, so it was passed around in a hatbox, until after WWII. The book begins at Uncle Frank's execution. After the execution, his head is mounted on a pike on Temple Bar. His niece, Alice, decides that she is going to get Uncle Frank's head back, no matter what it takes, and ends up getting help from the executioner, of all people. I really enjoyed this one. The rest of the book follows Alice and Dan, the executioner, as they try to stay clear of the authorities while they get, lose, regain, relose, etc., the head. It's a nice light read, with a plenty of twisted humor, that gives you a different take on an historic period. Check it out!

Friday, October 05, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Stardust

Ok, for the first time in quite a while, I ventured out of the Teen realm for my reading material and picked up Neil Gaiman's Stardust. The reason for this venturing was that I was considering doing a book vs. movie discussion on this one for next summer's Teen Summer Reading Program. I'm probably going to hear from irate Gaiman fans, but I just couldn't really get into this one. In fact, it was the first book in quite a while that I seriously considered bailing out on under the philosophy - "Why waste time on a bad book when there are so many good ones." After about 2 weeks , when I was only half way through (and it's a fairly short book), I tried to figure out why it was taking me so darn long. After a little thought I decided that basically, I really didn't care about any of the characters. Stardust is considered somewhat of a classic in some circles, but I found the story to be not terribly original, and all of the characters to be the kind of whiny people that I don't want to be around in real life either. I may still show the movie next summer. I haven't seen it yet, so I'm not sure. The book has one stupid passage that makes it inappropriate for middle-schoolers, therefore ruining it as a book discussion book. What's really annoying about that, is that the passage really wasn't necessary. Yes, you need to know Tristran's parentage to understand some other things, but you don't need all of the intimate details. Sorry Gaiman fans, but I can't recommend this one. On to another Teen book.

Monday, October 01, 2007

High School VGT - Great Start to the School Year!

What better way to start off the school year than with a video game tournament! If you missed yesterday's, it was another great one. Competition was stiff and the spectators were incredibly loud! 23 teens entered the tournament, with 5 or so more spectating and playing either board games or Nerf ping pong. The 3 guys left standing at the end - Josh, Darrin, and Ben (who claims to, and I quote, "really suck at this game") - walked away with bragging rights and a video game inspired print, and everyone got a gaming magazines and demos. Thanks, as always, to the guys from EBGames (especially Brandon), and to the Friends of the Fredricksen, who provide refreshments. If you missed it, some pics are below. See the events list to the right for dates for upcoming tournaments.

New Westerfeld, Hale, and Grant

A trio of, what looks to be really good, books just hit my desk. They include the latest from Scott Westerfeld, Shannon Hale, and K.M. Grant. for more details see New YA Books: New Westerfeld, Grant, and Hale .