Monday, May 28, 2012



The ticking clock should be an incentive to make one do work, but so often it isn't. Procrastination is the deadly evil that I never happened to fight before, considering that my anxiety was always there to remind me what might happen if I did. Yet as the year is coming to a close, I just can't make myself care as much. This apathy is causing me to put things off like I never have before. I'm doing it right now, as a matter of fact. It makes sense to think that the extra day in the weekend might give me a boost, but that's not the case. I still have to study for the Spanish test I was supposed to take Friday (when I got my braces off), and I have to work on Science homework.

Right now, I'm actually creating more things to do to put those assignments off. I don't know why I'm  doing that but....  for some reason I am. I just can't find it in me to go and do those assignments, even though I know I'll have to do them later. Because of that, I'm turning to this blog as well as the story that I should work on editing. While they are more appealing, neither of them will end up getting the job done. Despite my rational part, my other side is begging me not to do it. Unfortunately for me, the other side seems to be winning.

This internal dialogue in my head has made me start thinking about the nature of procrastination and what it can do to a person (or even a project). 

Procrastination is simply a delay. While that part is obvious with rational thought, it isn't for so many people. Procrastination is a coping mechanism. It is how many deal with school, work, their lives and the strife that comes with it. People can procrastinate in so many different ways, but each way is as destructive as the last. Procrastination is addictive, though, simply because it is the easier option. Instead of developing a work ethic, procrastination simply provides 

Often, people procrastinate out of laziness or fear. They don't feel like doing one project or dealing with one problem that scares the hell out of them. So they don't. I've done this with so many different things, just like I'm doing now. When  I've been afraid, it's been so easy for me to push off thinking about the thing that gives me fear and promise to think about it tomorrow. Scarlett O'Hara is even guilty of this offense. Yet despite whatever she may have claimed, things do not get better the longer they are put off. While tomorrow is another day, it is also another day where that thing builds up. Where they end up getting worse.  

At the very least, I don't have that much time to procrastinate with this. This isn't some life-or-death thing, either. The most profound consequence will be a missed homework assignment and a bad test grade. Those are still things to reckon with, though. I should do them and if I do, it will still feel worse to deal with a time crunch tonight rather than just do it now.

For anyone reading this who is also procrastinating, let this be the kick in the ass that actually forces you to do something. Until then, I'm going to have to motivate myself. Why wait to change my homework prospects when I can do it now? All I need to do is get the rational part of me in gear and actually do something. 
procrastination header Overcoming Procrastination During Tax Season


Saturday, May 26, 2012


Some people can weave their ways into social situations so easily. They can turn and talk to someone and that's it. Unfortunately, I've never been that kind of person. I have to think about every little move I make, and sometimes that's still wrong. However, this didn't seem to be the case this time. I've just come home from a Memorial Day party and things actually turned out well. I've talked to all sorts of people, and I'm proud about that.

In theory, socialization is simple. Steps required: 1) Go up to person. Anyone. 2) Say "hi". 3) Say something. Maybe about the current situation. 4) Wait to respond and say something intelligent back. Of course, it isn't so simple for everyone. There are so many different factors to think about. Which person should I go up to? What if they don't have anything in common with me or worse yet, what if they don't even like me/ think I'm stupid? What if I say "hi" in a way that sounds a little too desperate, too soft or something? What if I start talking about something completely stupid? All of this is enough to leave me terrified, at the corner of a crowd at a party. Sometimes, it's such a struggle to find it in me to go up someone, especially if they are already surrounded by groups of people.

Usually, it's hard. Usually, I'm just terrible at it and I feel so terrible when I'm in front of so many other people. I feel like I'm just screwing up and I should just get out of it already. Yet I know I'm wrong and being paranoid. Then other moments come. Moments when I'm almost seamless, when I feel like I actually belong. I had one of these moments tonight and it was odd. Tonight, I looked like I was outgoing and loud. Social opportunities just fell into my lap and I barely had to work at them at all. It was incredible and stunning. So why am I thinking about this now?

I'm just wondering why every other time has to be this hard if this time was so easy. What makes this so difficult? Why can't I have the same outlook any other social occasion as I did then? I can't help but wonder, and it's driving me crazy.

Of course, the answer is obvious. Tonight, I talked to adults and then two sisters about American Girl dolls and Harry Potter. No one my age was involved in any of this. In fact, most of these seamless encounters happen to involve those who are not my age. The only exception to this was my time in a sleepaway arts camp I happened to be in.

I feel that there is so much at stake when I talk to someone. It affects how I'm viewed by everyone else and my chances at socializing with people in the future.

Socialization has been at the root of so many of my problems. It is the very core of my insecurities, the very root of my deepest fears (both of being alone and of not being good enough). Last year, it was the root of my unhappiness. My mother asked me why I was so unhappy when I was smart, kind, had a good life and was not totally unable to socialize. At the time, I didn't know how to answer her. Now, I realize. Many times (fifth and eighth grade mostly but a few other moments in between there too), I have been a social pariah. I felt like I was constantly rejected and that no one wanted to be around me. Eventually, I started to think there had to be a reason for all of this and I tried to think about what that reason as. This, in turn, made me think of each and every one of my flaws. Because I wanted friends so badly, I wanted to remove these flaws and I tried to do this by beating up on myself and becoming a perfectionist.  

Whenever I talk to someone, I feel like my insecurities are in full view and that each of them are arrows for the other person to use. I feel, sometimes, that I have to work so hard to get them to like me. After all, I'm the one who cares and worries about it. Often, it never really hits me that they worry too or even that they might already like me. I have been branded with the curse of needing to bare myself to other people, to be close to someone, for not being alone. Sometimes, I wish I was okay with being by myself and not being around people.

My life would probably be a lot easier if I stopped being a spaz about the whole situation. I know that part of it is my anxiety disorder, yes, but a large part of it is the effect of previous trauma. The problem is that I really don't know how to do this. Every time I try, I see someone's sneer or snicker, some bully's word. I am thrust backwards by a force I cannot see.

Socialization is a deeply human thing. We're social creatures. Without social interaction, we wilt. Teenagers, impelled by the natural urge to break apart from our parents, look towards our peers. In this cutthroat world, we need social alliances to help us through. As much as I and so many shy people try to become hermits, it won't work.

If I can talk to people like I did tonight, I can do it in other situations too. While I only have two weeks of school left now, I still have camp over the summer and I have next year. I'll just have to work on getting past this.

It comes down to baby steps. Of slowly walking over to someone and saying "hi". By forcing myself to do this, I might be able to make it through. Who knows?

The four steps above will lead me through. All I need to breathe and talk. Maybe laugh a little, too.

Friday, May 25, 2012


They are the metal railroad tracks criss-crossing each other in our mouths along with a variety of other contraptions deemed necessary. Only in the West would parents attach these on children’s teeth to keep them straight. These contraptions, otherwise known as braces, have been a driving part of modern culture. Today, braces are a rite of passage for kids. Alas, braces have not been introduced in my family recently. My mother had braces put on her in the ‘70s at the tender age of eight and got them off at age eighteen. My mother had three other siblings, all of whom also received braces except for one. My dad and his brothers probably needed them too, but didn’t have the money for them. To say that extremely bad teeth run in our family is an understatement.

My overbite was so terrible that I literally had to consciously pull my lip over my teeth just to close my mouth. My dentist told me that I was part of the elite one percent of people who did not need braces for cosmetic reasons but for health ones (my two front teeth were no longer baby teeth at this time. He was genuinely afraid that they might fall out if I were to fall somehow). Because my teeth were so much worse than those of the average child’s, I had to wear them so much longer than average. 

When I first had braces glued on to my teeth, I was told that it would be over before I knew it. That everything would end up working out and that I would even have them off before my peers. I got my braces put on the summer before fourth grade, four braces on my four front teeth before a full set in the fifth grade (I did have a time period in between then, though). Since this time, I have discovered that this was a complete lie. I watched people who got braces after me take them off before me; my dentist disappointed me again and again and again by giving me a time when I would get my braces off that never fit. Now it’s been five years, though, and I finally have got these suckers off my teeth. I have them off and now it’s done and over with. Still, I can’t help but find myself reflecting on that time in my life.

My braces have traveled with me all across the globe, and have followed me through all kinds of situations. In fact, there was one point where my mother literally could not remember me without braces. To everyone I knew, they seemed like a constant, like another feature on my face. I’ve survived all of the phases that orthodontia has brought me- aching teeth, headaches caused by those aching teeth, swollen gums, mouth sores and sharp-edged wires and brackets, expanders (on both my top and bottom jaw for three months that needed to be tightened with a key daily), blue things put on the top of two teeth to correct my bite (that felt like I was chewing on metal), annoying rubber bands that snapped at random moments and the general ugly mass of metal in my mouth that could be seen in my life.

Of course, they were a large part of my life. Braces influenced so many different things to the way I ate and brushed my teeth to the way I saw myself. They even helped me learn how to suck things up and to tolerate pain.

And now they’re not here.  These things that have been a part of me so long have been ripped off of me. I never thought this day would come but all of the sudden it just has. I’m lost, almost.

It feels like a gaping hole, a missing limb almost, but in a good way. My teeth feel so much smoother, so much more comfortable. In addition to that, my teeth were much whiter and nicer-looking than I thought they would be so I guess my ardent brushing has actually paid off.  

It felt like they were ripping my teeth out as each bracket was torn off. When the dentist came with the drill to clean off all the glue, it chilled and tickled my teeth all the way to the very nerve so much that it was a painfully all-encompassing sensation. I wanted to bite my lip to keep from crying out, but I couldn’t. They kept asking if I was okay and I said I was because I wanted it off so badly. The glue had to come off in a few stages and I had to rinse my mouth. When I was able to lick my teeth to confirm the odd feeling and look in the mirror, I knew I loved my new state of tooth.

In addition to all of that, I had to get fitted for my retainer. I had to bite down on gray paste that felt like gummy clay but tasted like melted plastic. I don’t know how bad the retainer will be because I have to still get it fitted but… I guess it can’t be as bad. My orthodontist told me it will be “a walk in the park” as long as I wear it regularly.

The appointment was in the morning, but my parents let me stay home from school in celebration. In that time home, I got to go out to eat and even got a large milkshake from the milkshake shop that my dad promised me for ages (my parents only let me get the smaller one whenever we go most of the time).

So here I am now. I’m here now with bare teeth and a skip in my step. I’ve survived the braces battle and I’ve come out with no scars. At the very least, I don’t have an overbite now.

(The earliest picture of me when I JUST got my braces on is not on the computer. It's not a pretty sight, though. )


Saturday, May 19, 2012


The stereotype of a teenage girl is one of a melodramatic, vain, insecure rebel who is obsessed with how she looks and how popular she is. For many, much of this does apply. Part of this applies to me at time, too. While teenage girls such as myself are seen as the most insecure segment of the population, much of the time this isn't the case. Low self-esteem and insecurities are things that don't discriminate, that affect those of all age groups. It's something that I'm working on too.

The truth is sometimes low self-esteem follows people through life. It controls everything that they do and it holds them back from things they would have otherwise done. May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month, I learned, though I don't know what I'm supposed to do in that regard. I don't know what I'm supposed to think sometimes.

Self-esteem is how one views oneself. If one views oneself in a better light, then they are more likely to demand respect and to be assertive. I just saw a post on one girl's Facebook page that said something to this effect: "Im feelin horny. I'll give u a blow job 4 $5 but if ur hot, itll be free." Now really? It's one thing to be assertive and proud of your own sexuality and quite another to degrade yourself like this on a public platform. Does she think that she needs to be that desperate? That guys aren't going to respect her otherwise?

In my logical brain, I can see it. Neither my personality or my features are particularly ugly. In terms of my features, I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm not jaw-droppingly gorgeous but I'm not appallingly ugly, either. I have many features that many dish out a lot of cash for, including hair that naturally turns blonde in the summer, a tiny nose and Angelina-Jolie-like lips. My rational brain even tells me that my weight and my looks really don't matter very much, anyway, but they still aren't all that bad. In terms of my personality, I am intelligent, determined, sweet, polite, sensitive and perceptive; I can appreciate a good joke and I can focus and be serious. Perhaps I can be stubborn and a bit of a doormat sometimes, but everyone has flaws. In terms of my worth, I'm probably an eight or a nine and I think that I'm the type of good, kind soul that's hard to find for most people. Yet why do I feel so incompetent? Why do I feel like no one wants to be around me? The less rational part of my brain tells me that I am ugly, fat, stupid and socially inept. My anxiety disorder, while much better than it was a few months ago, make me paranoid about every aspect of my life and exacerbate this. I worry constantly that my grades aren't good enough and that people see me as a very desperate and weak person that they can take advantage of. While my self-esteem is improving, I am still not perfect.

I don't think I'm alone in that. There are many, many good people in my life who can be insecure socially and even about themselves. I don't really understand that. Yet again, when I confide to my mother about my own insecurities, she doesn't understand them, either. She has often stated concern over my obsession with my weight and wonders if I will develop an eating disorder (I do believe the time has passed for that risk, considering I'm feeling much happier and in control than I have at certain times in my life).

Low self-esteem seems to be an epidemic in this country. Some have blamed it on the media, although I think that's definitely simplifying things way too much. Yes, the media sets societal standards of beauty much of the time but that's only because people go along with it. Many of the girls like the one I mentioned above are products of bullying (as in my case), terrible divorce stories, and abuse/neglect. While many girls (and guys too) absorb it and take it silently, many lash out by being intentionally cruel to others that often reaches the point of bullying. The causes of this epidemic are multi-faceted, but does it really matter? Our environments play a role as well as the things we are told. It may be impossible to control what I believe, but I can work on changing things. I can make it better.

Right now, I'm in the process of modifying my appearance. I wear makeup now and I'm in the process of losing weight (I've lost nine pounds so far and my original goal was to lose ten). I think the solution is more complicated than that, though. In order to have high self-esteem, I think I really have to learn who to hang out with and what kinds of things I tell myself. I also have to learn how to stop things from getting to me. I've started by complimenting myself in the mirror more often and relishing a bit more in my accomplishments. I've also learned to just flip people off when they put me down and get on with my day (in my experience, they're only feeling jealous and threatened anyway. This is especially true when I happen to do things that reveal my intelligence). I've also forced myself to take risks and be more daring so that I can at least be proud of that. I think it also helps that I'm getting to a point where I'm honestly sick of dealing with all this, so sick that I'm willing to just forget about it.

I want to get to the point where I can kiss my image in the mirror. Where I feel proud of myself and feel like I really can do anything. I want to get to the point where people don't scare me and I can look them in the eye and feel like their equal. Most of all, I want everyone to feel the same way so that no one has to feel like this.

Recently, I just watched a video that drove this all to home and made me look at myself. Maybe it will be the kick in the ass I've needed.

Low self-esteem is a tragedy, and worst of all, it is completely preventable. No one should have to feel as if they are anything less than good. We should all live in the place where sky's the limit and we are all beautiful in our imperfections.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I continue to face the writer's dilemma. That usual routine. Here it goes again. The usual routine of the writer. Send it in, get it back with that big red "r", send it in again, get that big red "r" back. Sure, it might be a nice red "r" that tells me I have potential or whatever but it is still a big red "r" nonetheless. All I can do is just sigh and shrug it off before getting right back on the bandwagon. So what the horse bucked me off? I still have to ride.

I got another lovely slip in the mail. I got my other slip last week, but I had other things to write about here. At least this was handwritten as opposed to just another form letter. At least, I got a letter as opposed to just more silence coming my way on the pieces I send in.

Of course, rejection isn't always limited to writing. At this time of year, many people are still getting over their college rejections in their school. Sometimes it comes in the form of that guy who tells you that he doesn't like you back, sometimes it comes in that group of girls who makes it obvious you don't fit in and sometimes it comes in the form of a special school course you just didn't get into. In summary, this all boils down to one general theme. One general message. It's the one that says, "You're not good enough." This isn't always with malicious intent, but the message still stands. You might not good enough for whatever reason but still, not good enough. Sometimes, I hold that message closer to heart than I should and I can get a little sensitive from time to time about those kind of things.

As a writer, a thick skin has to be developed. I'll give credit to myself in that regard. At the sight of a rejection letter, I usually feel indifference. It was different before, those first few times I sent stuff in. I remember the first time I sent my poetry out in seventh grade. I was so sure that I was going to get in because it was such a small little magazine. Surely that meant I had to get in, right? I couldn't be that bad. Wrong. The magazine explicitly said they didn't respond to pieces they rejected, so I put the pieces together and got the drift. Needless to say, I was more than a little disappointed. As the situation repeated itself over and over again (often with a tangible rejection, however), I adjusted.  Now, I might sigh a little bit and scan it for something worthwhile to my writing (which occasionally is there. Form letters, I'm sad to say, don't offer that).

Real life rejection, unfortunately, is much harder for me to deal with. While I can deal with a flamer on fanfiction, I can't say the same for someone who flames me in real life. Odd stares and snickers will be enough to shut me up for the rest of the period, even if I still want to actively voice my thoughts on the topic at hand. Unfortunately, this seems to happen much more often than I would like and I do take that kind of thing personally. Of course, not all of it is that obvious. Sometimes, it's simply the indifference of someone I wanted to be my friend, someone that I wanted to like me. It all says the same thing, though. Silently, they are telling me that I am weird and not good enough for their respect and admiration. Unlike with them, I can't change the product I dish out. If I try to change it (and oh, how I've tried!), something similar will come out anyway but it will only just be something fake too. Worse than before.

It's hard to ignore these voices, despite how useless I know they are. As the school year comes to an end, at least I wouldn't have to deal with that. I won't have to deal with people who don't want to deal with me and who think I'm weird and everything. My self-confidence can heal for a little bit, even though I'll still have to deal with that same treatment from my sister during the summer. Oh well. While I don't respect those who have rejected me rudely (my sister included),  I still seek their approval anyway. I don't know why, but I do. Somehow that's supposed to validate me and make my flaws magically disappear. It's supposed to tell me that somehow they do think I'm good enough, and that I don't make them cringe to look at.

Two blends of this are getting rejected from programs I want to get into. One was a writing camp and the other a private school. While I am actually thankful for the latter, the writing camp I was quite disappointed about. I wasn't outright rejected to either of these groups, but I was put on a waiting list (which actually worked out for the writing camp after a super long time of hanging out in limbo). That's a bit different, but somehow that's worse. When I get rejected from programs, that's taking away an opportunity for me.

Rejection is a part of life. When I made the decision to share my daily scribbles with the world, I was opening myself up to criticism. While I can't say that I've asked for the rejection I've received from my peers, that's a part of life too. I have two choices in both regards: I can cry about it and shut myself off or I can get off my ass and try again. No matter what the endeavor is, the same applies to every other situation.

Does it hurt? Yes. I know that even past the indifference and the numbness I can put up, it still hurts. I can survive rejection, though, in whatever form it comes it. It might be lurking around the corner waiting to snap its lovely jaws at me, but I have weapons of my own too. Maybe this time around, I won't be afraid to use them. This time, I have strength.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


When a color is thrown and mixed with black, it becomes black. The original color is lost and instead it is simply a part of a group. Alas, when this happens to a person, similar things end up happening there too. This is the mob mentality, groupthink, brainwashing. It can be seen everywhere from small cults to whole religious groups, from a  whole country to a while society. Groupthink becomes a way of thinking and once it is gone, it is gone.

Right now, I cannot get this song out of my head- "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour. It is a song that really speaks to me personally and reflects everything that I believe in. In Social Studies, we're learning about the rise of dictators and one of the groups put it in their PowerPoint. Its message is one that speaks to me deeply. I am an individual above all else; only I define myself. It always seemed odd to me when people are heavily interested in a group. As one who has never been very patriotic nor very religious, I have never understood the need to be a part of a group. 

The one thing that is clear to me is how dangerous groupthink really is. Our reasoning skills are a valuable tool and the only thing we really have. While it is sometimes easier to hand the reigns over to someone else, this usually results in trouble. Often, the leader of this group (because oh so often there is one, with the exception of many religions) has sinister intentions that only reveal themselves later. Oh they know what to do and they know what to say. Most dictators in history took over without a single shot fired. Why is this? Because, especially in a time of crisis, it is easy to be overtaken by fear and confusion and just let someone take over. A lot of time it is just so much easier for people to just not think.

These leaders often prey on the weak, cult leaders. The German people, for instance, were starving, jobless and desperate. The Treaty of Versailles had left the Germans with nothing left. After the war had ended, they plunged into a depression as they tried to pay the debts that they owed. When Hitler came along with the answers, things seemed perfect. And then he gave them jobs. The people in the marches were completely insane. Their eyes are blank but crazed, ready to drink up more poison. They have been possessed with a demon they cannot even see. If the people of Germany read Mein Kamph, if they read up on the man who had suddenly been given power to Germany, maybe things would have turned out differently.

Dictators and cult leaders will often have their subjects rely on group pride and nationalism, but these can exist in other parts too. A few times I've seen this attitude reflected in uber-patriotic people and I've even seen this attitude reflected towards countries that people have identified with (Israel, mostly). In this instance, these countries and groups are above reproach and have absolutely nothing wrong with them. It's not like their doing anything wrong, right? They can't be. It's not like the media helps with this too, especially since this it is often one of the biggest contributors to groupthink in our society.

This can happen on a smaller scale too. Often, religion can do this and often does. When one is trained their whole life to rely on a "feeling", is it no wonder that they feel it? When they are threatened with hell and subjugated into a vile sinner, what else are they to expect? They are told that their lives should be dictated on one book and that they should be tunneled into one cause. In less severe cases, this can simply result into a little fundamentalist. This fundamentalist will become a part of a larger wave of the theocratic movement going on in America that dictates the lives of others. Sometimes, in more severe cases, this kind of thinking can lead to something worse and sometimes a cult. While religion isn't the only thing that makes people fight and not the only thing that causes terrible things, it often causes quite a bit of it.

This all comes down to the symbolic blue pill and red pill from the movie, The Matrix in society. The blue pill offers security, comfort and bliss. Many dictators offered this. Yet the red pill offers truth. It is often an ugly truth but it is a truth nonetheless. When one chooses groupthink, they choose the blue pill. A group, after all, can offer all this with its support. As a society, we must take the hard but right choice of taking the red pill.

At the end of the day, truth is all we have. Reality and reason are all we have. We can't throw that away by being a part of a group that only offers mob mentality. We need to take the red pill.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Mankind is like a can of jelly beans. There are all different colors, kinds, shapes and even tastes. An ideal world would be a mixed bag where all the other jelly beans could end up living in peace. The only problem is one jelly bean has so often got to a bunch of other jelly beans and goodbye those targeted jelly beans. Kind of like a bad apple. So where am I going with this? Diversity is that mixed bag of jelly beans and appreciating diversity is equalizing the playing field for everyone no matter what they seem to look like. Today, we just happened to have a Diversity Day at our school.

I can certainly affirm that it beat out going to gym. Basically, Diversity Day is a day where all these groups meet in the gym and get to talk about themselves. There were all sorts of community groups, religious groups and groups with different ideas. Some of them I definitely didn't agree with and some of the people I ended up talking to for a while.

All of it definitely got me thinking, which is pretty much the point. I actually ended up learning a lot about certain things and everything.

Diversity is what makes the world go round. Diversity in people, ideas. If everyone was the same, the world would be so incredibly boring that it wouldn't even be funny. Under circumstances where everything is made the same, things are oppressive.  This usually is an environment of brainwashing and involves the squashing out of dissent.

Even different races can bring different things to the mix, particularly if there is a cultural element to it too. Ideas and everything like that. Because of the treatment based off of race in society, many minority groups can bring a different perspective with their experience. With more perspective, it's easier to become wiser and more open-minded. When you are open-minded, you have the chance to experience new thinga and meet new people.

Unfortunately, there are so many things in the world that drive people apart. Hatred is one of them as well as intolerance.Yet what mostly drive this is fear and ignorance.  As better as it would be to just love and accept everyone, so many people don't see it that way. Yes, we can disagree. We should be able to disagree pretty strongly. However, it's wrong to make assumptions about people just because of one opinion. It's even more wrong to assume something about somebody just because they happen to look differently than you do or come from a different culture.

It's when people force their ideas on others that things turn out for the worst. Proof of that is Amendment One, which was a ban on gay marriage and civil unions in California. When people want to force their ideas, that's what they get. Not a live-and-let-live but an outright trampling of someone else's rights. And that's not cool. In fact, it makes it that much easier for someone else to trample on yours.

Once you get to know someone or something, it's not as scary. It's the unknown that can scare so many people. It's the uneducated who are often the ones who are left in the dark and who are taken advantage of in the end. Understanding others is the first step to becoming more educated about the world around you and stepping out of your comfort zone.

It's a little difficult to appreciate diversity in my school, which is mainly full of rich, white kids and the occasional Asian kid. Not much of a mixed bag. And yet, I'm trying.

If I can do my part, it seems as if most politicians can do theirs. So often they don't, though, and that's so frustrating. If they did, they might read their own Bible or maybe the Koran and they might not feel the need to promote fear-mongering against certain groups of people to get their way. That same goes for the media too.

Overall, it's amazing what you can see when you open your eyes. There's a whole world out there, not just the world in your mind and thoughts.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Pranks, like everything else, come in all shapes and sizes. They can involve phones, places, people; they can range from funny to serious. Oftentimes, there is a fine line between something annoying and something that can actually hurt people. As the school year draws to a close, seniors feel the need to make a mark upon the school. The two particular pranks that they did are still being talked about on Facebook and one even made the paper Friday; thus, I still find it an entirely relevant subject to talk about.

They have been around since the beginning of time. Tricking people and watching them make a fool of themselves? Well, those have always been a devilish delight to many, particularly when the person in question happens to be incredibly gullible. There has even been made an industry out of it (something evident as you walk into certain sections of Five Below) and inventions made out of it. My sister and I (well, mostly my sister) have made it a sport to team up on each other and thing of new things we can do. Many a time she has sprayed silly string on me, put a whoopie cushion where I'm about to sit, called me pretending to be other people, etc. Not to mention all of those times when she has told me something and I believed it. While these are often quite annoying, most of the time they do actually prove to be quite funny in hindsight.

Many adults dismiss pranks as immature and childish, acting as if either of those qualities are a bad thing. I'm sure that many of the adults at my school dismissed the pranks at our school as such. Yet as children, isn't this the time for us to be immature and childish? As a teenager, life is a ticking time bomb because sooner or later reality will dawn on us. Why don't we enjoy things while we can? It might even rid us of our teenage angst a little bit. It's not our fault that so many adults are so grounded, worn by the cruel ways of the world.

Of course, I should mention a little disclaimer. Often, pranks can be taken too far. They can hurt feelings and destroy property or worse, they can cause physical harm. The one that made the newspaper- a food fight- could have turned out much worse than it was. It could have caused fights to ensue, it could have made it impossible for the next lunch period to it, and it could have made things very unsanitary. Not to mention, those poor janitors take enough crap and shouldn't have had to end up cleaning that mess. Those pranks are exceptions.

Yet harmless pranks are downgraded too. Many are so quick to yell when they are covered in silly string, to yell when they happen to receive a prank call and yell when their rooms face a change in decoration. Are these annoying to pick up? Yes. Ultimately, people need to lighten up though. While it would be nice for hte pranksters to clean up their own mess, it's not the end of the world to clean. People need to stop bitching and moaning and have a little bit of fun. Maybe engage in it themselves every once in a while.

The above prank that I mentioned only involved a select group of seniors. The second and more harmless prank was the Official Senior Prank, the lasting effects that seniors leave before they go. This one did not need to be stomped out by the adults but yet it was. On Friday, the seniors arranged a flash mob of dancers performing the Cha-Cha slide on the second floor crossover between second and third period. Since this was posted on Facebook, many adults were aware and they posted guards all over. One friend of mine argued, "What if someone got hit when people started dancing? What if a special ed kid got into the fray?" Honestly, the dancers would know to move out of the way of people coming and they would move aside so the special ed kid can pass by (even though those kids should be looked after by their assigned assistant). My other friend mentioned a school getting sued when a flash mob's movement pushed a girl down a flight of stairs and paralyzed her (although in our school, the next flight of stairs was too far away to do that). I fail to see how this would be a safety hazard, although it might cause crowds that might make people late to classes (oh the horror of that!).

It would be very funny if a group of seniors were to all prank call the school at once. I don't know how they would do that, but it still would be funny if I heard about it. In terms of prank calling, I don't see what the problem is. There's no mess to be cleaned up, no one is hurt and it's funny! What's the worst thing? Wasted time? Please. Obviously, this would become a problem if kids at home frequently did this and ran up the phone bills but otherwise it's quite harmless. Though Caller I.D. can put a damper on things, a real prank call can actually end up being quite fun to put on (especially when it's people you know in real life!).

Obviously, the prank has to be put into context. In my experience though, pranks are usually funny and harmless though sometimes annoying.

Stage a good prank every once in a while on family members and friends and it will do wonders! Warning: You might actually find yourself loosening up and being a kid again.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pottermore Review

Pottermore equals more of Potter. Harry Potter. As a potterhead, I just couldn't miss that opportunity. When my friend told me it had finally opened, I had to end up checking it out. Of course, this was a long time ago when I first checked out Pottermore. Life kept me from writing about it and even kept me away from the site for a little bit. Now that I have finished the first book, I am eagerly waiting until they make a companion e-book for the second.

For those of you who don't know, Pottermore is pretty much an online companion to the books. They have drawn actual replicas of the scenes that are free for you to explore. Meanwhile, the voyager gets their own wand and they also get sorted into their own team. In addition to that, there are also things to collect along the way for house points as well as exclusive content from the author about additional book information.

I've had an excellent experience in Pottermore. I got an acacia wand and I was sorted into Hufflepuff (I know, I know. I was hoping for Ravenclaw but oh well). I was utterly amazed by the artwork and precision that came with the creation of the site. I also collected nine house points just for collecting things along the way.

Since I'm done, I have plenty of other opportunities to explore the site.

There are a variety of different things that I can do now. I can try to find more friends on the site, I can explore the options at the top, I can duel with people or I can make potions. While the last option seemed totally out of the question before, I am now reconsidering it.

It took me months to learn how to make the potion. Considering the fact that the directions on Pottermore are extremely unclear, I was utterly clueless how to do this. I tried to mix things up a bit because I figured that I would find the right thing eventually. Unfortunately, this didn't end up working for me.

Today, I decided to give up and look on YouTube for a tutorial. I found it and watched it exactly for the instructions. It turned out that I wasn't keeping the temperature in range (250 degrees Celsius but how was I supposed to know? Nothing tells you at the side. It turns out you have to keep it in the middle range).

Of course, I had to learn exactly how to keep the temperature in range but then I learned how to do that. I was incredibly thrilled when I discovered how to do this and when it said I succeeded. I then decided to go on to brew potions that could get me points for my team.

As I am writing this, I am waiting for my potion to brew. I tried to make another potion and I got through the first stage but ran out of time during the brewing (this is incredibly irritating considering that I waited almost an hour for this to end up happening). Hopefully, I will work my way through the potions in level of difficulty (assuming that the order places them as such). I might actually turn out to be good at potions after all.

Hopefully, I can earn a little bit of points for my team. Maybe a few tutorials can teach me how to duel better also.

The world of Harry Potter opened me up to a magical world. The world of Pottermore seems to be doing the same.

*By the way, fellow Potterheads can add me if they would like to challenge me to a duel. My username is GoldFirebolt30958.*

Friday, May 4, 2012

Subsitute Teachers

There's nothing like walking into the room and seeing a sub. Automatically, you get the message. No work that day. Substitute teachers are nothing more than overpaid babysitters. Despite the fact that they probably had to have a degree to get there, it doesn't take that much skill to pop in a video and hand out work sheets. Yet as babysitters, they are at the bottom of the totem pole. Forced to oversee a large volume of students at once with little knowledge of the rules, the substitute teacher is left with a big target on their forehead.

I had two substitute teachers today and they both filled the shoes of the teachers that I liked the least. It ended up totally making my day. One of the substitute teachers filled in for my crazy English teacher, and the class literally cheered. It was the funniest thing I ever saw in my life! Life was also easier with my other teacher out of the way too.

Substitute teachers tend to benefit us students. They are more lax on the rules, they are often much nicer and they often don't mean students don't have to do very much work. So why are students so rude to them? Why do students just stomp all over them? It's not like they probably wanted to do that with their lives anyway.

Something about the substitute teachers screams "tread on me". Perhaps it is their very strangeness and the lack of a foundation that they have. Maybe it is the fact that they are not chained down in one spot but so transitory that they are not solid. The fact that they don't know anyone's name helps. Of course, a lot of it has to do with that unsure, wary look in their eye and the way that they so often end up oozing vulnerability that kids can smell.

When subs try to correct students' behavior, they are often not only ignored but they are talked back to. Most subs try to weakly defend themselves but then end up balking at the students in the end. When this happens, the cycle only repeats itself. Sometimes they ask names and sometimes they even get some but this rarely does anything.

In addition to the above factors, I happen to come from a rather wealthy district with a lot of spoiled kids who think they are entitled to whatever they want. Then, of course, there are the attention-starved kids of the workaholic parents. Of course, these kids happen to be in the minority but many of them happen to exist in my math class for example. I'll never forget the speech one of my teachers had with us, about how those who work in lower positions (including janitors and bus drivers and cafeteria ladies here too) are not people that deserve any less respect. That the only reason we had what we had was because of our parents.

In my first class, I happened to have a test administered. Of course, when subs are around, people ignore the usual test rules, often chatting away (and even taking answers from one another). In my first class, the class became louder than ever before but the teacher didn't stop it (he probably sensed the joy and freedom oozing from the pores of most of my classmates). My sub in my second class happened not to get this kind of behavior, which was surprising considering the chattiness of our class and how uptight our teacher there is.

Substitute teachers have been around since school has been around practically, and it didn't take long for their ill treatment to result. Much of the time, people will take any excuse to act like assholes. Of course, no one should treat a substitute teacher poorly just because they can. Still, there's no day like a day with a sub...