Monday, October 31, 2011

Tutoring in the Teen Zone

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Book Review: Eragon

Eragon by Christopher Panini
Check it out

What’s it about? A Boy who finds a blue stone that happens to be a dragon egg. He becomes a dragon rider.
Why I picked it up: I thought it looked good.
What I thought of it: I liked it and I did not wanna stop reading.
I would suggest it for: Someone who likes to read a lot.

Reviewed by: Zoya S. Grade: 7

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: The Hobbit

Find it at the Lawrence Public Libary Here
Title *
The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien
What's it about? *
It's about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a normal hobbit from Bag End, in the Shire, who goes on a quest with thirteen dwarves- Thorin, Fili & Kili, Ori, Nori, & Dori, Oin & Gloin, Dwalin & Balin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur- and a wizard named Gandalf, which takes him through the woods of Mirkwood, the Misty Mountains, through lands of men, Elves, Goblins, and Trolls.
What I thought of it: *
I love this book! It is so engaging! I've read it twice, and enjoyed it thoroughly both times! J. R. R. Tolkien it such a very good writer! After reading this, I went on to read 'The Lord of the Rings'. I liked that a lot, too! I think I prefer 'The Hobbit' though. Bilbo is realistic, as are all of the characters, and you find yourself growing rather fond of him. My favorite characters are Bilbo, Gandalf, Balin, Thorin, and Beorn.
Why I picked it up:
I got to see a play of 'The Hobbit' through TEACH (which is a homeschool group).
Star Rating:
5 Stars: It was awesome! Everyone should read this book!
I would suggest this for:
Anyone! Especially fantasy lovers who are glad to find a clean book!
Name * Katie P.
Grade *

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Monday Movie -- Poltergeist

Poltergeist. This movie scared thousands, possibly created a generation of people that fear clowns, and might just be the ultimate ghost story told via film. Let us know what you think when you join us for the last movie in our scare fest. As always, snacks provided!

Life is very pleasant for a California family until a host of other-worldly forces invades their peaceful suburban home. Their house is turned into a supernatural sideshow, and if the family doesn't clear out, they will be swept off into nightmarish chaos.
What: Poltergeist
Where: The Teen Zone
When: October 31, 4:00pm-6:00pm

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Holes

Title: Holes
Louis Sachar
Check it out here!

What's it about? A boy named Stanly Yelnats who it seems is always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why I picked it up?
I had just watched the movie so I decided to read the book

What I thought of it?
It was witty sense of humor but at the same time is very serious. I would call it a mystery where all the characters figure out that all their stories are really one big one.

I would suggest it for?
Ages 8 and up


Reviewed by: Estrella F., Grade 8

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: A Little Wanting Song

Title: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Check it out here!

What's it about: It’s about two teenage girls who during one summer, start forming a friendship while trying to determine their futures.

Why I picked it up: It looked like a delightful read.

What I thought of it: It was like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. The book was a fantastic read and I wished that it would never end.

Reviewed by Anna B. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Basics of Brawl - Mentality - Playing to Win

When in a tournament or competitive setting, there is only one value that a player should hold important: winning. To clarify, as long as a player operates entirely within the rules of the game being played, he is free to choose whatever options best advance him towards the goal of winning. Ideally, a player will do whatever it takes to win, nothing more and nothing less.

Many times, a player will let a purely subjective code of conduct come between themselves and the goal of winning. I'll list a few examples that I'm sure you've heard before while playing:

"What you're doing is cheap! It should be banned!"- There are very few tactics in any game that are so overwhelmingly powerful that they ensure the user victory without any fear of losing. At the same time, if your opponent is using a tactic that is powerful enough to repeatedly defeat you despite your best efforts to win, logic would dictate that you should use the same tactic in return. In the case that a hypothetical unbeatable tactic exists, in a playing to win environment, player's will eventually gravitate towards only using this tactic. At the point that something absolutely and completely unbeatable becomes the central tactic of play, then a ban is warranted.

"Stop Spamming!"- If your opponent is using the same tactic over and over against you, it is probably for two reasons: First, he might not know any other tactics. Second, the tactic is working. If you know that a specific tactic is coming repeatedly, you can then safely revolve your strategy around specifically countering the spammed tactic. If you find yourself as the spammer of a tactic, you need only ask yourself, "Is that tactic working?" If it is, you should continue to use it, showing no regard for an opponent's protests. If they really need it, you can remind them that you beat them simply using the same tactic and it isn't your fault that they weren't able to adapt their strategy.

"I like using this character/attack because it's cool" - In terms of winning and losing, the game doesn't know what "cool" means. Certain inputs and orders are better than others in situations. Certain characters are much better suited for competitive play than others. Winning and Losing is objective and can be measured, but what is "cool" is entirely subjective and means little to nothing in the context of a video game.

"I am bad at this game, so why should I try?" - The beauty of a video game is that, unlike most other games such as sports where athletic conditioning matters nearly as much as in game decisions, at the moment you pick up the controller, you and your opponent are on an even level for a playing field. What determines who wins or loses from that point onward is simply the one who could make the better decisions and execute those decisions. If you want to win, learn to make better decisions while playing. If you learn to make the perfect decisions and execute them at a perfect level, nothing should prevent you from being the best.

"The game is bad/random/uncompetitive" - Having run many tournaments using competitive rulesets, I can safely say many people play Brawl on a competitive level, so it isn't the worst game in the world to play. Many people think it's a great game. If you truly don't like it, you would be better of playing one of the many other available (and possibly better for you) games in the library.

*It should be noted that many of these ideas strongly reflect a book by an author named Sirlin titled Playing to Win. For further reading on the competitive mindset, I recommend it.

** It should also be noted that these ideals are only for playing competitive games. In the real world, there are values that are often times more important that the central value of winning seen in a game. Remember that when you aren't playing, the game is only a game. But also remember that when you are playing, the games is meant to be won.

Keep Chasing It,
Philip Fukuto

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Review: Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamins

Artist: Breaking Benjamins
Album: Dear Agony

Reviewed by: Lauren B., Grade 7

What kind of music : Alternative Rock
Sounds like: 3 Days Grace, Linkin Park, Within Temptation
Why I picked it up: I thought I recognized the band.
What I thought of it: I loved it! Something you can actually rock out to in a room by yourself. Intense, real, and truthful. All the right elements to describe teen angst or just you.

What was your favorite song and why?:I liked "Anthem of the Angels." I liked the lyrics but I also liked how they sung it.

Rating: 5 stars

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Monday Movie -- Cloverfield

Monster mash NYC style! Join us for popcorn and lemonade as we watch Cloverfield, the fourth film in our scary movie fest.

Rob is getting ready to leave New York in order to take an executive job at a company in Japan. At his goodbye party in a crowded loft, Rob's brother Jason hands a camcorder to best friend Hud, who proceeds to tape the party over old footage of Rob's ex-girlfriend, Beth. Beth shows up at the party with a new beau when the unexpected happens: New York is suddenly under attack from a Godzilla-like monster who stomps through midtown, destroying everything and everybody in sight. Rob and his friends take to the streets, but instead of running away with the other evacuees, they head toward the center of destruction so that Rob can rescue an injured Beth.
What: Cloverfield
Where: The Teen Zone
When: October 24th, 4:00pm-6:00pm

Posted by Karen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teens' Top Ten books of 2011

Teens across the country have vote! The top 3 books are...

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Simon & Schuster)

The rest of the top 10 list for 2011...

 I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin)
Matched by Ally Condie (Penguin)
Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Company)
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (HarperCollins)
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Penguin)
Click on any of the titles to learn more about each book and see if we currently have it available. If the book you want is checked out, please put a hold on it so you can get it asap!

    Movie Review: The King's Speech

    The King's Speech--Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter
    Check it out here

    What's it about:
    A Duke who has a stammer. His father dies and his brother steps down from the throne. With help the new king gets over his stammer.

    Why I picked it up: My brother took me to see it.

    What I thought of it: It was really inspiring! It is based on a true story.

    I would suggest this for: Anyone and everyone.

    Reviewed by: Riley K., Grade 10

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Basics of Brawl - Choosing Your Character

    When you get to the character select screen, you have the option of choosing from 37 available characters. However, Brawl is a game of multiple variables and often times unpredictable tactics. That being the case, despite the game designers best intentions for a well balanced games, all characters are not created equal.

    However, with limited knowledge of the game, generally people appeal to how much they like to play a character rather than objectively evaluating the tools the character possesses in order to win. An organization known as the "Brawl Back Room", which is compromised of highly reputable members of the competitive Super Smash Bros Brawl community, puts out a Tier List where they attempt to objectively rank the characters based on how good they are for competitive play.

    The following is Tier List v6 for Brawl. The characters are ranked from best to worst:

    S: Meta Knight

    Top Tier-
    A: Diddy Kong, Snake, Falco
    B: Marth, Wario, Ice Climbers, Olimar, Pikachu

    High Tier-
    C: Lucario, King Dedede, Zero Suit Samus, Mr. Game & Watch, Toon Link

    Middle Tier-
    D: Fox, Wolf, Peach
    E: Donkey Kong, Kirby, R.O.B., Pit, Sonic
    F: Ike, Luigi, Sheik, Ness, Yoshi, Pokémon Trainer

    Low Tier-
    G: Lucas, Mario, Bowser, Samus, Captain Falcon
    H: Link, Jigglypuff, Zelda, Ganondorf

    Keep in mind that this list is supposed to indicate the highest level of play. This shouldn't discourage you from playing the lower tiered characters, but choosing one acknowledges that you are essentially playing from a disadvantage from the beginning.

    It should also be noted that characters have different strengths and weaknesses and player ability does matter. Players have success with nearly every character on the list, but the further down the list you go, the more difficult competing becomes at high levels of play.

    At the end of the day, the choice of your character is yours to make. Just remember to choose wisely.

    Keep Chasing It,

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Book Review: Satisfaction Guaranteed!

    Title: Satisfaction Guaranteed!
    Author: Ryo Saenagi
    Available at the Lawrence Public Library!

    What it's about: It's about this guy who lost his parents in a fire and later he helps other people in need.

    Why I picked it up: I love Anime and detective stuff/mysteries,

    What I thought of it: I thought the book was really great because it gave a good story and cover.

    I would suggest this for: People who love Anime/mystery/problems!!

    Reviewed by: Melissa S.., Grade 8
    Submit your own book review!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Monday Movie -- Signs

    Crop circles, aliens, and Mel Gibson! Spooky! Join us for popcorn and lemonade as we watch M. Knight Shyamalan's Signs.

    Graham Hess (Gibson) is a pastor/farmer in Bucks County, PA who becomes a media sensation when strange 500-foot crop circles begin appearing in his fields. Graham finds himself on a personal journey to unfold the truth of these crop circles. Are they mere coincidences or a message?

    What: Signs
    Where: The Teen Zone
    When: October, 17th, 4:00pm-6:00pm

    Posted by Karen

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament

    Can your skills take the prize?

    Battle to find out at our SSBB Tournament

    Saturday, October 15
    3 - 4:30pm
    (in the Auditorium)

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    New fall books by authors you love...

    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (coming end of September)
    The author of The Chaos Walking trilogy (The Knife of Never Letting Go) brings us thirteen-year-old Conor who awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window.

    The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (coming end of October)
    The author of the Shiver trilogy brings us Puck, the first female competitor in the Scorpio Races, an often deadly race of man-eating water horses.

    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (coming end of September)
    The author of realistic romance Anna and the French Kiss brings us outrageous fashion designer Lola who dreads the return of the twins next door, except maybe she doesn't.

    The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
    (coming end of November)
    The authors of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things bring us two teens from 1996 who find their Facebook profiles fifteen years in the future.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Basics of Brawl: Inputting moves - Beginner

    So you've decided to learn how to play Brawl for whatever reason. It could be that you want to be able to play with your friends. You might dream of being the next best player in the world. Everyone has to start somewhere, and unfortunately at this point, you've picked up the controller for the first time and realize that you have no idea how to even start playing!

    Fear not newcomer, Brawl is designed to be an easy game to immediately pick up and play in comparison to other 2-D fighting games. It even includes a basic tutorial as its opening cinematic sequence:

    Just a reminder to you readers that the Tournament is this Saturday at 3pm in the Library Auditorium. I hope to see you all there!

    Keep Chasing it,

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Book Review: The Daily Coyte

    Title: The Daily Coyte
    Author: Shreve Stockton
    Available at the Lawrence Public Library!

    What it's about: It was about a young adult (the author in her 20's) who leaves her busy life and randomly moves to Wyoming. There, she meets new people and creatures and her life is changed.

    Why I picked it up: A family friend suggested it.

    What I thought of it: It was so unique and ifferent. I am crazy for it. Such a great story that teaches us about slowing down to and love.

    I would suggest this for: Animal lovers, anyone wanting something a bit different to read.

    Reviewed by: Sophie V., Grade 9
    Submit your own book review!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Monday Movie -- Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride

    Continuing our scary film fest this month, we're showing Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride. Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Emily Watson. Popcorn and lemonade provided!

    Set in a 19th century European village, this animated feature follows the story of Victor who is traveling home with his friend to get married. When they stop to rest, Victor puts his wedding ring on what he thinks is a stick and rehearses his wedding vows. The stick turns out to be a rotted finger belonging to a corpse who returns as a zombie and insists that she is now his lawfully wedded wife.

    What:  Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride
    When: October 10th, 4:00pm-6:00pm
    Where: The Teen Zone

    Posted by Karen

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
    Check it out here

    What's it about: Sirius Black has escaped from prison, the so called known "murderer" is supposedly on the hunt for Harry Potter.

    Why I picked it up: I was reading the book series.

    What I thought of it: I loved how Dumbledore hinted to Hermione to user her time traveling in the end they saved two lives, that was the best part!

    I would suggest this for: Yes, but first read the beginning of the series.

    Reviewed by Nana B., Grade 10

    Want to submit your own book review? Click here!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Book Review -- Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

    The change in the weather to cooler days has made me want to watch and read things that are dark and scary. I stumbled across Anya's Ghost while tidying up the graphic novels last week. The cover hooked me from the start with the illustration of Anya and the ghost tangled in her hair. Also, Neil Gaiman is quoted on the cover, stating that the book is "A Masterpiece." I didn't need any other recommendation after reading that.

    Anya, a Russian immigrant attending high school, hates her family, her best friend, and the way she looks. She has the hots for a guy (who has a girlfriend), but he doesn't even know she exists. She's feeling pretty rotten about herself and loathing everything one morning on the way to school when she falls into a well and meets Emily and her skeleton. Emily helps Anya with school, her image, and even boys. But, what began as a pretty awesome friendship, turns sour pretty quickly and Anya realizes that maybe things weren't quite as bad as she thought before Emily showed up.

    Anya's Ghost was a really fun read with a little mystery and great illustrations. I especially loved the way Emily looks at the end of the story. I'd tell you what I like about it the most, but that would ruin the story. You'll have to see for yourself.

    Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol is located in the Teen Zone's Young Adult Graphic Novel section right behind the librarian's desk.

    -posted by Karen

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Basics of Brawl - How to Improve

    Like anything else in life, learning to play a video game a high level is a skill that requires hardwork, preparation and dedication. However, those traits will often times go wasted if they don't have the proper direction.

    For example, common sense would indicate that the best way to improve your game would be to simply play more often. While this will often help, there will come a point when playing with the same people will no longer help your game.

    In terms of directing progress, we're going to dissect the game into two separate categories of examination: mental/tactical and technical.

    The mental aspects for Brawl include how you approach the game on a philosophical and tactical level. To put it simply, it'll answer the question on what options to choose and why you choose them. The technical level of Brawl examines different techniques, button inputs, and other data that will tell you how to do different options.

    Essentially, you don't have to actually play in order to improve. Playing generally helps the technical of a player first, but they must make a conscious effort to expand on their tactical skills. However, this all means you can improve by simply watching others play and internalizing their tactics or even just simply thinking about previous matches and how they ended up in your victory or defeat.

    Ideally, you'll seek to improve both your mental and technical understanding of the game constantly. In future posts, I'll indicate which category I feel like the topic falls under as a guide, but they are all interrelated.

    Keep Chasing It,
    Philip Fukuto

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Music Review: Fearless by Taylor Swift

    By Taylor Swift

    Check it out here!

    What kind of music: Country
    Sounds like (other artists): Carrie Underwood

    Why I picked it up: I love Taylor Swift's music.

    What I thought of it: It was the best music I've ever heard.

    What was your favorite song and why: Fearless cause it goes along with me, "I'm Fearless."

    Reviewed by: Raegen H., Grade 7

    Submit your own review

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Monday Movie -- Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

    Scary movies are the theme for October's movie lineup. We're kicking things off with Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.

    In this film, 14-year-old Darren unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. He is pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night. In the end, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.

    Did you love the books? Come and see how the movie sizes up. Maybe you've heard of the series, but haven't read them yet. Come and see if the movie sparks your interest.

    What: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
    Where: The Teen Zone
    When: Monday, October 3rd 4:00pm-6:00pm

    Popcorn and lemonade will be provided!

    Posted by Karen