Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Spud

Just finished John Van De Ruit's Spud, the story of 13-year-old John Milton (nicknamed Spud) who is attending a boarding school in South Africa in 1990, just as apartheid is ending. It follows Spud through his first year at the school via his journal entries about his dormmates, his girl troubles, his alcoholic, nutso parents, and his starring role in the school musical production of Oliver. I usually enjoy what would traditionally be considered "guy books" - mystery, sci-fi, thriller, adventure, etc. It was billed as hilarious in reviews, but I think you really need to actually be a guy to fully appreciate the humor in this one. Not a favorite, but then I'm the wrong gender, so go figure. Some mature content, but none of it graphic, so I'd say it's ok for older middle schoolers as well as high school students.

United Way Volunteer of the Year Reception

Once again the Fredricksen Teen Advisory Group was nominated for United Way Volunteer of the Year in the group category. Although they didn't win the big one, it was an honor to be nominated, and a nice evening out with some great munchies provided. Check out the pic of those who were able to make it to the reception.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour Tournament Update

We just wrapped up our second Guitar Hero World Tour, 2 on 2 tournament. I must say, the quality of our drummers has definitely improved since our first tournament back in November. Turnout was small, but everyone got to play at least 3 times. That probably let some of our drummers get warmed up, too. Anyway, the final rounds were close, but out winners were Joshua K and Jared M. Great job guys! Coming in a close second, were Andrew C and Brandon S. If you missed it, pics below. (I forgot to take pictures till close to the end. Too busy watching the play, and talking to the reporter from the Patriot News. Look for some of the kids in the Patriot's new Question of the Day feature in about 2 weeks.) Now I'm headed outside to enjoy the fabulous weather!

Friday, April 03, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Adoration of Jenna Fox

I've enjoyed most of the books that I've read recently, but it's been a while since I finished a book, closed it, and just sat there and said, "Wow!" That is, until last night. OK, actually it was a little after midnight, so I guess technically it was this morning. Anyway, I just finished Mary Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Wow! What a great book! It opens with 17-year-old Jenna waking up after having been in a coma for several months. As she adjusts, she notices a lot of things that just aren't quite right. Her mother has moved her across the country. Her dad is still visiting occasionally, but still lives back east. She has no contact with any old friends, and mother is reluctant to let her out of the house. She has been given video of her life to try to jog her memory. As she starts to put the pieces together, she realizes that something is horribly wrong. The book deals with some heavy issues like life after death, the nature of the soul, and what it really means to be human. But it does it without being preachy, and keeps you absolutely riveted to the story. There really isn't anything objectionable for middle-schoolers, but I'd recommend it for high school students and adults, simply because they will get a lot more out of it. Very highly recommended!

Flight Program

Lou Thiebelmont presented a really wonderful program last night. Lou is a retired pilot and FAA instructor. His program started with a really good explanation of how pilot's navigate, the forces on an airplane in flight, and the various instruments and how they work. It was really well done. Explanations were short, so you weren't bored if the science wasn't your thing. But they were really concise and packed with info, so you got a lot out of it, if that was your thing. He then brought up Flight Simulator, and showed us how all of those instruments actually work in different types of planes. I really looked at Flight Simulator in a whole new light, having seen it used by someone who actually knew what he was doing. There were a lot of requests to get Lou back again, so keep your eyes open. Thanks Lou!