Archive for December, 2007

…Or Left

I love disagreeing with my English class just for the sake of disagreeing (and irritating them). It is so much fun.

 Prompt: Do you think it is hypocritical that Whitman, a man who so clearly valued every human life, was a supporter of military action to abolish slavery?

Of course every single person in my class responding on the discussion board said a defiant ‘no’ and rambled a bit about the evils of slavery. Me being the little devils advocate I am, wrote the following:

 To support a draft coercing men into fighting for a cause they do not believe in, is to support an abridgement of man’s right to dissent. To place the rights of an entire nation of slaves above the right of one man to chose his own fate is to play a game of numbers. If sacrificing the right of one man for the rights of thousands is acceptable, is it acceptable to sacrifice the right of one for hundreds? One man’s rights for another’s? How many people do you have to save to sacrifice one unwilling man?

If you do not support the draft in your own union, how can you support the destruction of innocents in the confederacy? Is the life of one killed innocent worth less than the lives of a hundred thousand slaves? How about one slave? Where can you draw a line of when it becomes acceptable to sacrifice one right for another?

The answer is simple. You cannot draw a line, dividing sacrificable and invaluable while at the same time supposedly valuing every human life equally.

I thought it was a nice bit of argument. I kind of even convinced myself, given I had no opinion on the issue previously. Now thats cool.

Now because its… holiday spirit? *cough* and because I accidently got tagged and because I just feel like it k? you get this.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I am a beast at wrapping gifts. Mostly its because I tend to be an uber perfectionist and make sure that every side is exactly equal and the bows and ribbon match the paper and that there aren’t too many gifts of the same color under the tree at the same time… you get the picture.

2. Tree–Real or Artificial? I wish wish wish real, but unfortunately my family insists on going with artificial every year because we are all slightly allergic to real ones. Frankly, I could stand a few sniffles for the sake of having a wonderful real tree.

3. When do you put Christmas tree up? Generally the weekend after the weekend after Thanksgiving, unless we don’t go to Pittsburgh for turkey day like always. It was so sad: this year I had to put up and decorate the tree all by myself because every one else in the family was either “too busy” or “didn’t feel like it”. Thank goodness for Licorice (dog). I really appreciated her input.

4. When do you take the tree down? Whenever we get around to it, but usually not until after New Years at least. I always feel sad when we take it down so I tend to procrastinate.

5. Like egg nog? Never tried it

6. Do you have a nativity scene? But of course. As a lovely Christian family we are obligated to. Really, I couldn’t care less because I am a crappy religious person, but I like the tradition. And because when I was little, setting it up reminded me of playing doll house. With really special characters.

7. Favorite gift received as a child? I’m going to have to go with that uber cool science kit I got one year. I made a radio! It was like omg, I am so amazing at science. Except not really, I just like making my own motion sensor buzzers. *geek forever and always*

8. Hardest person to buy for? Everyone is hard to buy for, for the most part. I’m a terrible gift idea thinker-upper and as a bonus I’m kind of cheap. Oops. Ah well.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Licorice. Yay chew toys!

10. Worst Christmas gift? The one year I was in my punk-rocker/almost-goth-but-not phase, I got a gift certificate to abercrombie and fitch, and I was like *major eye-roll*. Whee slutty tanktops.

11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? Mail of course! e-cards are only for random little events to quickly brighten someone’s day, not for serious letter writing. Plus how would we complete our wall of Christmas cards?

12. Favorite Christmas movie? I’m really not one for the cheesy sappy “It’s a Wonderful Life” type things, so I’m going to have to go with Frosty. The bunny was my favorite ever!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Technically this year I started in February. But that was an accident because it was supposed to be a birthday present for someone. But I lost it. Then last weekend I found it inside of a mitten… So then I decided it was a Christmas present! But for reals, I started last weekend

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nopes. And no amusing anecdotes here either.

15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Chocolate Truffles. And Christmas cookies. The other stuff I can get any old time of the year.

16. Clear or colored tree lights? White lights. They just look so quaint and pretty! I saw that downtown near my house was completely decked out in white lights- every inch of tree was covered in them. And, I might add, the effect was amazing.

17. Favorite Christmas Song? Ring Christmas Bells. I just think it’s so pretty. And I happen to love the Nutcracker as well, even if its not a “christmas song”

18. Travel during Christmas or Stay home? We travel to Canada pretty much every year but come back shortly afterward.

19. Can you name Santa’s reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. Oh yeah and Rudolph. And if you are evil 6th grade english teacher, Olive.

20. Angel or Star on Tree top? Star. Except my brother accidently broke the star for our tree a few years ago, and we have yet to replace it. So currently nothing.

21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? The little kid in me still loves getting up and seeing what Santa brought, but it usually doesn’t work out that way with the traveling. My parents hate bringing gifts (/telling Santa we’re going to be in canada) so we generally celebrate on an evening a little before. This year we’re going with Saturday evening.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The complainers. Especially the “Christmas is so commercialized” ones. You know what? I don’t care. I love my Christmas. Complete with gift-giving, holiday parties, cookies, silly Christmas commercials, pretty light colored houses, wrapping paper, crazy ornaments, and everything else. It’s amazing.

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whiskers on kittens

catching snowflakes on your tongue

taking walks in the pouring rain

laying in a field watching the clouds go by

wearing warm clothes fresh out of the dryer

reading a good book with a mug of hot chocolate

jumping on a trampoline

spinning around in circles until you are so dizzy you fall over

drawing random doodles

your favorite song coming on the radio when you least expected it

talking until 4 am with your favorite people

people watching in a crowded place

baking cupcakes

telling stupid jokes

drawing on white boards

climbing trees

dancing like a complete idiot

jumping into gigantic leaf piles

standing on a hot air vent on a really cold day

watching perfect lightening storms

singing really old songs at the top of your lungs

high speed conversations that consist mostly of gibberish

bubble wrap

having exact change

getting new socks

bonfires at the beach

anything to add?

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In her shoes

I think that there is something to be a said for a class the can randomly burst into song with actual musical type timing and togetherness. And that something to be said is: it’s amazing. Yay physics! and Yay Mulan! Too bad I don’t like French that much. Probably because I have no idea whats going on. The other day in class I sat and stared out the window counting the number of cars that drove by. In case you were wondering, there were 66 and they drove by at an average rate of 3.2 cars per minute. It was also interesting to note that they generally traveled in clumps. At first I thought that this might be because of traffic lights, but later I became unsure of this hypothesis when I realized how far away the nearest stop light was and the fact that they traveled in groups in both directions at the same time. Does that make sense? Probably not. But thats what I sit there thinking in French. Right now I should probably be working on my french homework thats due later. But I have no idea what it means. Whatevers.

So my English teacher didn’t totally take out all her rage on me for my sarcastic and cynical poem about our transcending experience. My final poem went as follows:

So here we are

In Nature

Transcending.

Or as I like to say:

We, a bunch of scrawny, pseudo-intellectual

and fully book-smart high-schoolers

Are attempting to discern meaning

By standing on the wrong side of a wired fence

Surrounding a shallow collection of water

drained off neighboring land

(loosely termed a pond)

Which is of course adorned with a metallic fountain

engineered to create these regular ripples

Giving the illusion of running water

in attempt to overcome the drone of passing traffics

Inhaling the stench of brewing coffee and fries

I feel so at peace with nature

Or something like that…

I think my butt’s getting wet.

She actually read it aloud with the other good poems today in class, *and* I got an awesome on my paper. Sweetness. I think she felt lenient towards me at the moment because she found a new least favorite student. FYI: If you are late to class by 8 seconds and the teacher calls you on it, don’t say thats not fair. Furthermore, when asked for a “better response to being tardy” then thats not fair, do not proclaim to the teacher that “your mom’s tardy”. Unless of course you want the coveted position of least favorite student.

What is Thoreau’s tone towards beans?

Thoreau’s tone towards beans is sarcastic because he is annoyed at the asker of this question for assuming that the reason for his extended stay on the farm in Massachusetts is because of his love of beans. -Beans, they will save the world!-

Teacher comment: “Not exactly”

*sigh* At least people get entertainment out of my extreme lack of a clue. Too bad I can’t just get away with being mildly funny for credit in all my other classes.

Part of our homework now is to find vocab words that we don’t know and define them so we can later teach them to the class. I started going through the stories like we were originally supposed to, but I had an extremely difficult time finding words that I don’t actually no. Enter: freerice.com Yayz. My new vocab words are just so much fun. Although I’m sure this entire entry is quite soporific.

Did I mention that I finally ended up reading Twilight? I figured I might as well read it before continuing to make fun of it, and there was a chance that since so many people liked it, I could find at least some entertainment value. Review? Completely cheezy and sappy and melodramatic and cliche and a dozen other words to that effect. I can, however, see the appeal to a large amount of the teenage girl population. Bella (the main girl character) is ordinary and universal. Any girl can see herself in Bella’s shoes. She’s smart, marginally attractive, clumsy, and in every way imaginable, a normal teenage girl. There is no great tragic flaw that sets her on some pedestal away from the accessability of a normal person. She isn’t a orphan, she isn’t a genius, she isn’t the most georgeous thing alive, she isn’t born ‘special’ in any way. She is every girl. And yet, at the same time, she is every girl’s dream. She finds true love in a guy that absolutely adores her in every way. Her life goes from the epitome of ordinary, to amazing and dramatic beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, and it all happens by chance. She happens to move to a brand new town and meet this amazingly georgeous and perfect guy (with the minor exception of being a vampire). It’s the classic tale of ordinary to extraordinary, yet its accessible to the average every day girl. And now as a result girls read this book, hoping, wishing, that this could all happen to them.

Every girl can be Bella. Bella can be every girl.

Me? I prefer having a boyfriend that doesn’t want to eat me. But maybe its really fun? I’ve never tried. Other than that basic element of appeal, I can’t see anything particularly special. The writing is mediocre at best, and the drama is drawn out and incredibly not suspenseful. A majority of the book is spent describing Bella’s thoughts which are repetitive, unoriginal, and not thought-provoking.

One instance in the book that irritated me beyond all others. (yes even beyond the moments where he sits outside her window watching her sleep. sketchy much?) Bella’s unwavering acceptance of the fact that Edward is a vampire. The sequence of events leading up to her realization are as follows:

  1. She notices that the guy is a bit weird
  2. The guy saves her life through unconventional means
  3. Some other guy tells a spooky story about how the Cullens (Edward’s family) are all vampires
  4. She googles vampires
  5. Her online research does not support the other guy’s story
  6. She begins her unwavering belief of Edward’s vampirism

Whaaaat? Seriously? Vampires are mythical creatures. You’re just going to start believing just like that? Really? Wow. I have lost all respect for you as a person(/character).

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ahahah

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And it all comes flooding in

So my basement flooded. Which is all just fine and spiffy on its own, but there was a computer down there. The only computer, in fact, that I have access to outside of school. So as a result, I have even less time (as if it were possible?) to be on the computer. In essence, my dear reader(s? =P ), be glad that I am taking my precious time in computer programming to write this where I would normally be wasting time doodling in photoshop (!) or, god forbid, actually doing my assigned work.

We went outside to “transcend” by the “pond” today in “english”. (The quotes around english are totally unnecessary, I just thought they would be fun.) I believe the point of the exercise was for us to learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and to learn how Thoreau felt while living on Walden Pond… or was it Emerson? Oh well, I’ll fail that test. To bad I didn’t actually learn the guys name before pretending to emulate him. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have treated the whole activity so cynically. While the rest of my class wrote about how pretty the pond was I wrote:

So here we are standing (now sitting) in “nature” transcending. Or, as I like to say: we, a bunch of scrawny pseud-intellectual and fully book-smart high-schools are sitting on the wrong side of wired fence surrounding a shallow collection of water drained off the adjoining land, which is of course adorned by a engineered spouting fountain designed to the give the illusion of running water nearly overcoming the general hum of traffic in the near by streets. Or something like that… I think my butt’s getting wet.

I feel so at peace with this nature

The crunch of gravel underneath passing cars’ wheels

The glaring presence of neighboring lights

The engineered regular ripples of an metalic fountain

The distant smell of brewing fries and coffee

I feel so at peace with this nature

Don’t you?

I should stop being so cynical and spending so much time laughing at be english class… But its just too fun and it’s such an easy target.

Mmm what else. Time to brag. Feel free to skip this next paragraph. Or next few sentences. Go figure. I would never actually subject someone to this shameless gloating on any other terms. Soooo… I got a 221 on psats! wheee! *gloats* I’m really proud of myself, especially considering I didn’t even break 200 last year. Mucho improvement. </bragging> I hate how people always go around and ask what other people got, and then share it until the point where everyone knows everyone else’s grades whether they wanted to share or not. And most of the time people only ask so that they can compare to themselves. As in gloat and brag and all that jazz. Sure it’s fine when you do well, but otherwise it just isn’t fun. That being said, I’m really surprised at a lot of the grades this year. Juniors that I generally classify as omg smart dropped massively point-wise from last year and sophomores who are taking it the first time are getting amazing scores. This one kid. aah. 237. How is that even possible? jeez. I don’t think I would like to be him though. Whats going to happen next year? With all likelihood his score will go down. And that would just be depressing. Actually come to think of it, the whole system is depressing. Why are we all defining ourselves by one number? One stupid number on one stupid test on one stupid day. It’s just setting ourselves up for failure, anxiety, and depression. Simply terrible.

Apparently it’s possible that tomorrow we will get a petite bit of snow. Maybe 1-2 inches, 4 inches max. And get this. People are “preparing for the storm” and stocking up on food and students are gunning for a snow day. Can I get a loud chorus of MA and Canada based “whaaaat??!”s ? It’s so ridiculous how little people here are used to snow. I will never get over it. Or the fact that some people are convinced we live in the ‘north’. But thats a whole other story. (*cough* Cincinnati is in the South people. stop pretending its sooo much better than Kentucky. It’s not *cough*) But despite my ridicule I can’t help but think… a day off tomorrow wouldn’t be all the terrible…

Mwaha. So I’m learning mellophone right now. C’est tres interessante. I don’t suck nearly as much as I originally though I would, but I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination. I’m finally getting the fingerings down, at least for the middle-ish notes, and let me say as a woodwind: so much easier to learn! There are a grand total of 3 buttons. As opposed to the (finds clarinet and counts)  25ish on a clarinet? Not that you use all the buttons all the time of course, but still. The one big difference is of course how much your embouchure matters. Clarinet… ehh… kinda, but only really to make sure you are in tune. With brass its like.. major important. bah. Oh well. I have all winter and all spring, plus pep band to learn, so it’s not too huge a challenge. And now, forgive me for being my catty self, my goal: I must  be better than my fellow freshman clarinet to mellophone switchees. There. Now since I wrote that out and posted it, I doubly have to make it happen. ha.

Clarinet is also being semi-interesting at this point. This concert season we are beginning to get music that is actually interesting, and- dare I say it? Challenging for the clarinets. I’m excited. I was afraid for a bit that we were going to be playing all ridiculously easy music, but 2 of our newest pieces (including a polar express medley) are very fun. In addition, if we don’t end up switching the piece with top band, we are supposedly getting another challenging one. I believe this is rumored to be Tetris, but I won’t believe it until I see it

I should probably go study for pre-calc now… Considering how much time I’ve wasted writing this during several consecutive classes and the fact that the time has come one again: I have no idea what we’re doing in that class again. I was good for about a week, and then today I got 2 out of maybe 40 homework problems right. As an added bonus, guess which problems we went over today in class. You guessed it! Those two. *sigh* Time to think!

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