Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Discordia

Just finished Dena Salmon's Discordia: The Eleventh Dimension. Young Lance suddenly finds himself in another world. Is he somehow in the on-line game, Discordia, that he spends most of his spare (and not-so-spare) time playing? If he's not in the game itself, is it a world modeled after the game? Or that the game is modeled after? Is he hallucinating? Why is his online gaming friend there with him? And most importantly, how do they get back from wherever they are? I found the book a little disjoint in the beginning, but a few chapters in, it started to flow better and drew me in more. Not bad, but I liked Conor Kostick's Epic better as a book for and about gamers and gaming. There's some gory, but not really graphic violence, but otherwise nothing objectionable for middle schoolers.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spa Day - Girls Day In

Didn't know how this was going to fly when it was first suggested, but as it turns out, we'll definitely be doing this one again! I cut off registration when we hit 40, and most of those folks showed up. We had herbal teas and flavored sparkling water. We had brewer's yeast and yogurt facials, and the good old cucumber slices on the eyes. We had a rosemary steam treatment. And of course, hair and nails. Too bad my yoga instructor didn't show. After nearly 2 hours, we had to chase the last of the girls out so we could get cleaned up, a definite indicator of success! Everyone had a blast. Look for this one again over the winter. If you missed it, pics below.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brawl Tournament Update

Wow! Great turnout for our first video game tournament of he school year! We had 39 in the tournament, and more who just came for the side games and ambience. Congrats to our winners - Jeremiah H was our big winner with Ben pulling out 2nd place. A big thank you to my ace clean-up crew as well. I'd still be down there packing up systems without them. Thanks also to Alex B for helping to keep that first round running relatively smoothly.
If you missed it, pics below..

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dance Program Pics

We just wrapped up an encore of this summer's dance program. A big thank you to Debbie from Always Time for Dancing in Lemoyne for pinch-hitting at the last minute for Mandy and doing a fabulous job! Everyone had a lot of fun. And what a difference over the course of just an hour! If you missed it, pics below.

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath

Recently finished Steven Goldman's Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About the Grapes of Wrath. I really enjoyed this one! The main character is high school junior, Mitchell Wells. Mitchell is sort of a nerd - good GPA, clean discipline record, only one real friend, David, a total of one, sort-of-date back in 7th grade, and a popular younger sister. Right at the beginning, David tells Mitchell (at lunch, very matter-of-factly) that he's gay. Mitchell doesn't think things should really change between them, and doesn't want them to, but he can't figure out what he should be saying or doing around David. This is woven throughout the book. Several side story lines are also thrown in. Mitchell and David make a somewhat inappropriate Claymation video in a graphic arts class, and when he can't quite choke down the assigned English class book, The Grapes of Wrath, Mitchell decides to submit it instead of the required paper, drawing some really loose, wild connections to the book. When the English teacher leaves in the middle of the next class, and is then gone on leave, Mitchell thinks that perhaps his film got him administrative trouble. While all of this is going on, there is also behind the scenes setting up of prom dates through intermediaries, and Mitchell suddenly finds himself with not one, but two, girls trying to get him to take them. The characters are believable, likable and funny. When Mitchell finally goes before the headmaster to decide his fate regarding the film, I laughed out loud. Yes, there's a bit of mature subject matter, but it's handled remarkably well. Not appropriate for younger middle school kids, but fine for high schoolers and probably older middle schoolers. If you've ever felt out of place in school you'll relate. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Triskellion

Finished Will Peterson's Triskellion a while ago. 14-year-old twins Adam and Rachel's mother, who is going through a tough divorce, sends them off to a tiny English village to spend the summer with their grandmother. From the moment they arrive, things just keep getting weirder and weirder, starting with the village appearing initially, to be completely deserted. Everyone they meet seems to be holding back something, including their grandmother. They meet another mysterious young boy who seems to appear and disappear at will, and can communicate with them telepathically. As they pick up bits of information, it appears that the entire village is keeping secrets that are hundreds of years old, and that the villagers will go to any length to protect. Once the story gets rolling, the suspense is kept up nicely. I'll warn you that the ending leaves some questions unanswered, but of course, there's a sequel (The Burning - it's on the shelf). Nothing inappropriate for middle-schoolers. I liked this one.