28 February 2007

The Cybils: 2006 winners

One of the things I missed while I was sick was the announcement of the winners for the 2006 Cybils (the Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards). They were:

Fiction Picture Books:
Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt

Non-Fiction Picture Books:
An Egg Is Quiet, by Dianna Aston; illustrated by Sylvia Long

Middle Grade Fiction:
A Drowned Maiden's Hair, by Laura Amy Schlitz

Young Adult Fiction:
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Fantasy and Science Fiction:
Ptolemy's Gate, by Jonathan Stroud

Graphic Novels (12 and under):
Amelia Rules, vol 3: Superheroes, by Jimmy Gownley

Graphic Novels (13 and up):
American Born Chinese, by Gene Yang

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow, by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes

Non-Fiction (Middle Grade and YA):
Freedom Walkers, by Russell Freedman

Haven't read any of these yet, but I'll be looking for some of them (and some of the other nominees). Actually, I was kind of disappointed that Beka Cooper: Terrier, by Tamora Pierce, didn't win the Fantasy and SF award - that's one book that I'm definitely going to be buying. (You can read the beginning of it here.)


This blog has been kind of dead the last few weeks - mainly 'cos I've been feeling that way myself. Last Friday was the first day in a week and a half that I didn't get home from work wanting nothing more than to collapse in bed. (I had four days off during that period, and except for taking my daughter to school, getting something to eat, and performing other necessary evolutions I stayed in bed the whole day.)

Don't even remember the last time I was this sick - has to have been back when I was a kid sometime. Actually, my wife says I had it easy while I was in the Navy; I was around the same group of people all the time, and we immunized ourselves to each other's germs fairly quickly. Now that I'm working in the store, though, I'm around a lot more people, picking up strange bugs all the time. And since I'm spending a lot more time at home, I'm also more susceptible to what the kids bring home from school, and the wife brings home from where she works.

So now I've come down with another cold already....

Coming up: Seasickness, noses, snake eaters, tourists, more on bunks, and familygrams and e-mail.

09 February 2007

A fib

Leonardo Fibonacci and his famous number sequence have come up a couple of times in the books I've been reading lately, so I thought I'd try writing a fib (a poem in which the number of syllables in each line follow the Fibonacci sequence) of my own....

this is
the silli-
est thing I've ever
seen. Don't you think so, too, Bubba?

02 February 2007

What kind of reader are you?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Dedicated Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

The Cybils

The winners of the Cybils will be announced on 14 February.


When I went through Basic Electricity and Electronics, at Great Lakes, I learned about resistors. These little widgets come in many values (as measured in ohms), and they're colour-coded so people can tell them apart - little stripes of different colours (each colour representing a different number) are painted near one end of the resistor, and one who knows the code can read these stripes to know what sort of resistor it is. To learn the code, we were taught the sentence "Bad Boys Rob Our Young Girls Behind Victory Garden Walls;" the initial letters of the words are the initial letters of the colours, and the values are, in order, one through zero.*

From Great Lakes I went out to San Diego for A school (in those days all radiomen, sub or skimmer, attended the same A school). My brother had served 20+ years as an IC, retiring five and a half years before I enlisted, and he was still living in San Diego at that time, so I spent as much time as possible at his house. One day I mentioned the above sentence to him; he laughed, and said that in his day it was "Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly."

Such sayings as these are known as mnemonic devices, things to aid one's memory. There are lots of them around; I think it was in eighth-grade music class that I learned "Every Good Boy Does Fine" and "FACE" - the notes which fall, respectively, on the lines and on the spaces of the treble clef.

Need to know the proper order for various taxonomic groupings? "King Philip Came Over For Good Soup" (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species).

How about the order for geological time periods? "Camels Often Sit Down Carefully. Perhaps Their Joints Creak? Proper Early Oiling Might Prevent Premature Rusting" (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent - and if you want to split the Carboniferous period into the Mississipian and the Pennsylvanian, substitute "Mighty Precariously" for "Carefully").

Or you can memorise the following little poem:

Sir, I send a rhyme excelling
In sacred truth and rigid spelling.
Numerical sprites elucidate
For me the lexicon's dull weight.

As long as you spell it correctly, you can count the letters in each word and come up with 3.14159265358979323846 (sound familiar?).

I love these things, and history has always been my favourite subject, so it was with great joy that I discovered the following:

Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee,
Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three;
One, two, three Neds; Richard Two;
Harry four, five, six - then who?
Edward four, five; Dick the bad,
Harrys twain and Ned the lad;
Mary, Bessie, James the vain;
Charlie, Charlie, James again.
William and Mary, Anna gloria;
Four Georges, William and Victoria.
Edward the Seventh next, and then
George the Fifth in nineteen ten.
Edward the Eighth soon abdicated,
And so a George was reinstated.
Bessie again, to end the list,
And that's the lot - not one's been missed.

And in case you haven't figured it out by now, that's a list - in order, of course - of the reigning kings and queens of England/Great Britain/the United Kingdom, from William I to Elizabeth II.

* See here if you really want to know the whole thing.
** Well, actually both Maud and Jane have been missed, but....

01 February 2007

Book list - Jan 07

Mirror Dance - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Falling Free - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople - history, by Jonathan Phillips
Memory - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Komarr - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Marching through Georgia - AH, by S M Stirling
Sorcery and Cecelia - fantasy, by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
A Civil Campaign - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Diplomatic Immunity - SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Then There Were Five - children's, by Elizabeth Enright
A Princess of Mars - SF, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Spiderweb for Two - children's, by Elizabeth Enright
The Serpent and the Moon - history, by HRH Princess Michael of Kent
Bachelors Anonymous - humour, by P G Wodehouse
Adding a Dimension - science essays, by Isaac Asimov
From Earth to Heaven - science essays, by Isaac Asimov
The Tragedy of the Moon - science essays, by Isaac Asimov

Yep - sure can tell my computer's been down all month. Over twice as many books on this month's list as the monthly average for last year....

Seven of these were rereads: Stirling, Burroughs, the two Enrights and the three Asimovs. All the rest were new to me. And sadly, I've run out of Miles Vorkosigan books to read (though I hear she's working on a new one).