April 30, 2009

Coolest Dream Ever

This is the story of a dream in which Archie and I go on an adventure. It's highly exciting, and by the time it ended, it was characters more than Archie and me, but whatever.
...
The basic premise is that the entire human population is living in a virtual-reality video game, but non of them know it.
In the beginning, Archie and I get paired up for a homework assignment. His family had been living in the apartment complex (think something like this with mine for a while, but we barely knew each other. Our assignment is to find something in our attic and determine its historical value. We both live in these weird sort of box apartments that sit on tracks and more around to different arrangements, so neither of us has an attic, and we must resort to the basement of our apartment building, a dark, rather eerie cement-walled room.
In it, we find two blue, hexagonal platforms attached by a metallic ribbon. we can't life them at first, but he has a couple of strength pills/power ups. However, he isn't used to the enhanced state they cause, and accidentally flings on of the hexagons up. The lower one, however, stays stuck tightly to the ground, and the second one comes to an abrupt half above it, and it stands, suspended in mid air, its only connection to the ground the flimsy ribbon. The space between the hexagons is filled by a strange, warm, welcoming blue light.
We eventually work up the guts to enter it. I go first, and wake up suspended in liquid, stuck full of tubes and wires. I instinctually struggle, trying to get out, and everything immediately retreats. We had worked out from the terminal that this was an old-fashioned video game, but that still didn't explain why I was standing naked in the middle of an empty fish-tank. I fervently hoped that I hadn't accidentally stumbled across an "adult" game.
I leave the room, reach the street, and yell loudly, looking for Archie. We eventually find each other, and after some searching, use temporary terminals on the street to get home. When we get back home, we start getting warnings: food low, approaching lack of power, use terminal to replenish. We start returning every day to scavenge for food, devouring the faded, expired packaged goods in the dusty supermarkets. We decide to hide our discovery and do our project on some old photos instead, not wanting to have to bring the terminal into school and lose game time and weaken the avatars. We eat in the game, constantly, exploring the faded wonders of Manhattan. We stop eating at home, in our apartment, and our institutionalized.
I'll post the rest tomorrow. I have to get back to my homework.

April 29, 2009

Aye

There is a science database I often encounter that is called IEEE (pronouned ah-eeeeeeeee). No where on the site does it say what on earth IEEE stands for, and what its developers were thinking to choose such an unfortunate name. So, I wikipediad it. IEEE is the Institutions of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. I would assume that this is an organization that merges "electronics engineers," the people who do stuff with wires, and "electrical engineers," the robots, made out of wires, that help them.

April 28, 2009

Hello

Mario's hair no longer resembles bo burnham's, because Mario cut his, and, in my personal opinion, it now looks rather unfortunate.

I also wanted to post a link to the most awkward article ever.

April 27, 2009

Awkward Turtle

My embarrassing moment of the day:

I'm sitting in Spanish, and we're about to go over the homework, so, as always, I have to go get my textbook (the scoliosis-not-having-to-carry-it thing has advantages). While standing up, I attempted to step over my backpack, but tripped on it and did about five one-legged hop thingies to stay upright. No one laughed, but I sit in the front row- I'm sure somebody noticed. So, I got the book, and, when walking back to my chair, went the long way around my desk, in order to avoid the backpack, while concentrating on not tripping. I had almost reached the desk when Archie looked at me and said, "me presta un boligrapho?" or something to that effect. "Uh-eh-er-wha?" I responded, since I realized that I had no idea what he had just said. He repeated the question, I said, "uh, sure, si...yeah? um, here." I sat at my desk and tried to avoid looking at him the rest of class. It's rather annoying that he blocks the window.

I had a thing for Archie for a couple of months during freshman year. It faded, but I still have a slight tendency to spontaneously turn bright red when talking to him, because I remember how I always turn bright red when talking to him, and I get embarrassed about that, and then I blush again. It's a vicious cycle, really.

April 26, 2009

Heroes

So far today, I've done my homework and watched the first four episodes of Heroes, season one. That netflix online movie viewer thingy is wayyy cool.

April 25, 2009

A Little More Fun

On a more lighthearted note,


I just though that was rather funny. Also, on the beginning of "Love is..." which my friend posted on facebook, which is how I found "New Math" I think he looks a little like Mario. Do you agree?

Him

I think I saw Him at the beach today.
Funny, isn't it, that I still think of Him with capital letters. That stupid douchebag who has barely even spoken to me since eighth grade still manages to send me into full on panic mode. I've blocked out most memories of him, but I still remember my eighth grade gym teacher forcing me to help him with his rock climbing harness, and him using his usual awful innuendos that seemed to never cease, and me mostly just wanting to cry, and that dumb bitch (I don't use that insult lightly) saying, "if you show him your tits, he'll go away."
It probably wasn't him anyways. He probably wouldn't have been at the house of another guy from our grade. He probably wouldn't be doing some strange provocative salsa dance to the music blaring from the house. He probably wasn't looking at me with that sick gaze that makes me afraid. I didn't have my glasses on, after all, so it probably wasn't him, but I still wanted to run away crying.
I almost wish that he had actually tried something at one point, simply because then I'd have a good reason for hating him, instead of this irrational fear and hatred.
Sorry for the anger, Vicky, my wonderful reader, but I really just wanted to send out a "fuck you" to Mike.

April 24, 2009

Today

Regarding Pertinax: the New Wave of Erectile Dysfunction drugs- I'll develop the science, Vicky can do the marketing (lots of old men in bathtubs) and we'll make millions, I'm sure.

In other news, today was the last day of the softball unit in gym, and I finally scored a run. This was primarily because Peter, who was in front of me, hit a home run, requiring me to jog around the bases. It was quite annoying, because I didn't really want to run that far, but I suppose I'll have to get over it.

We spent our entire U.S. History class discussing the school's future budget cuts. Due to the economic recession, there are apparently going to be some big changes around the school. None of my classes are going, so I'm not overly upset, but once they start pulling from the art department, I'm going to get pissed.

I'm going to leave you with one of my favorites from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. This is a competition for crafting the greatest badly-written literary sentence.
When he concentrated, his thick black eyebrows furrowed, looking not unlike a pair of Hypercompe scribonia caterpillars on a collision course over the bridge of his nose, but unlike them, his eyebrows would never evolve into giant leopard moths, and would find better places to hover after nightfall than around her 40-watt backporch light.
-Jane Auerbach

April 23, 2009

The Fall of Rome

I don't feel like posting anything interesting today. Instead, I will leave you with an essay on the fall of Rome. In italics and parentheses are my current responses to this essay.

The fall of Rome was a slow and steady decline. (Hook? what hook?) Its size was too great and its leaders too corrupt to control the wide spanning empire. Eventually, it was split further, into for sections, worsening the situation, and finally it broke apart into uneven chunks, each one claiming the Roman name as its own. The primary reason for the fall of Rome was political because of the inefficient dictatorial government and the difficulty communicating and governing across such a vast area. These difficulties are a reason that the tetrarchy was developed, which weakened Roman government further and cemented the empire’s decline. (This part is bold because it is my thesis. It is *special*)

The Roman dictatorial system was highly inefficient and corrupt. It placed supreme power into the hands of often incompetent individuals. For instance (I'm pretty sure that "for instance" is one of those clich├ęd phrases I'm not really supposed to use), Nero became emperor as a teenager. He was unprepared to deal with the great amount of power pushed onto his shoulders. He thought like a teenager, and “was carried away by a craze for popularity” (Suetonius 53), working for the poor in an attempt to make them like him. Rather than concentrating on the empire, he killed family members that might take his power. Instead of helping his city, he set it on fire so that he could earn money rebuilding it. He also ignored his empire and went to Greece to compete in the games. (I probably should have utilized parallel structure there) By handing Nero the empire, Rome made its situation worse (Although, seriously, if anyone wants a teenage emperor now, I could probably fit the job into my schedule). In the Roman government, the emperor was more powerful than a king. There were no checks placed on his power, and he chose his own successor. Nero lived hundreds of years before Rome fell, and did not directly lead to its fall, but he is an example of the Roman systems flaws.

Another problem with was that people were loyal to the emperor rather than Rome itself. For instance, Augustus attained the loyalty of the troops by have them swear allegiance to him. This worked well during his rule by providing highly loyal armies, but after his death, the soldiers were no longer sworn. Some were loyal to their generals, some followed the emperor, and others fought for Rome. This lowered the unity of the army. These armies would not fight as one, and would be more difficult to control and order, hurting Rome’s military abilities, essential for its survival. The general people also followed the emperor. “When the report of the murder of the Emperor Pertinax spread among the people, consternation and grief seized all minds, and men ran about beside themselves.” (Herodian of Syria) (Incorrect MLA formating! THE PERIOD GOES AFTER THE CITATION!!!! THIS IS A CARDINAL SIN!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!) The Praetorian Guard pushed Pertinax into power (I quite honestly have not idea who this Pertinax guy is). When he became emperor, he lowered the guards' bonuses. Furious, the guard killed him. This further demonstrates the corruption of the Roman government, but also shows how the people felt. They cared for the emperor, but they also feared the bloodshed of succession. People loved the emperor, but when the emperor died, their faith in the government would go with it. This contributed to the fall of Rome because when the people didn’t trust the government, they rebelled (HDYK?, oh innocent freshmeat me?).

The Roman Empire stretched across all of Europe, parts of the Middle East, and the Mediterranean coast of Africa. This entire area was controlled by a single man in Italy. Rome, an ancient civilization, had few means of communication (NO CELLPHONESSS!?!?!?!?! ZOMGGG!!!!). Messages could take weeks to get from Africa to Gaul, and moving armies took even longer. Marcus Aurelius spent most of his reign in the northern frontier, fighting Germanic tribes and attempting to expand into the Hungarian Plain. In 175, Avidius Cassius tried to take over the empire. “Leaving the northern wars, [Marcus Aurelius] traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region.” (Herbert W. Benario) This further demonstrates that the distance was too great for the military and governmental figures to handle.

Also, the emperor couldn’t even control distant provinces himself. Egypt was “governed by prudent persons sent there in succession. The governor thus sent out has the rank of king.” (Egypt under the Roman Empire) The emperor had to send someone else to govern his land. Most successful Romans would not want to travel all the way to a far off area in order to govern. The people that ended up there would be the worst governors, the ones that weren’t good enough to have a more desirable area. This lack of control of distant regions left them susceptible to attack. (This is way more than three body paragraphs. What on earth was I thinking?)

In an attempt to improve control of the great Rome, Diocletian (Is this guy related to Dionysus? Cause if he isn't, I have no idea who he is) established the tetrarchy (tetrahedron!). This divided the roughly fifty provinces into one hundred, and created 4 emperors rather than just one, each of which chose his own successor. This caused more problems than it solved. The emperors fought with each other to achieve greater control. Eventually, they separated. The easternmost emperor broke off and formed the Byzantine Empire, which prospered for the next thousand years. Western Rome however, contained three emperors to start with, and violent disagreements were rampant. Only a few decades after Diocletian split the empire, Constantious (Spell-check says that this should be contentious. How very ironic/coincidental), one of the western rulers, died unexpectedly. His son, Constantine, tried to take control of the entire western empire, but was fought by Licinius. The empire was at first split between them, but they fought over that, and eventually Constantious took control. The empire, however, was soon divided again. Many other struggles ensued, and the empire was eventually split into many small competing kingdoms.

(This paragraph was literally tacked randomly onto the end, hanging out in a page of it's very own. Oh, my poor, woeful, little picture conclusion) By 600 A.D., Rome was done with its steady decline. Its name lived, but the great empire and its revolutionary political system. This flawed system worked against Rome, leading to corrupt dictators and, due to an immense size that the system couldn’t handle, an equally corrupt tetrarchy. The primary reason for Rome’s fall was therefore political.

April 22, 2009

Imagine a scientist...

The past few days, I've been, to say the least, rather busy. This evening however, I decided to take a few minutes to catch up on the blogosphere. I was reading this post on Female Science Professor, and I saw a comment that said:
However, I do remember going in to do a simple physics experiment with my Mom's 1st graders many years ago, back when I was in grad school. My Mom had them draw pictures of scientists before I came in. Lots of white coats and weird hair, and all men. They had a hard time believing that I was a scientist when she introduced me.

This reminded me of an assignment we had in sixth grade. For the assignment, we had to draw a scientist (it was my first homework assignment in middle school). If I remember correctly, and it could be I'm not, I drew a woman in a lab coat with long brown hair, standing on a tile floor next to a table with some beakers on it. Now that I look back at it, I was probably projecting my own interests in science by creating a persona that resembled myself, buy it's interesting that I immediately thought of a woman scientist. I wonder if my ability to picture myself as a scientist stems from this lack of inherent bias, or if my interest in science is what allowed me to see it as a gender neutral profession.

April 21, 2009

Graduation

Well, Vicky kindly asked that I post something, and she likes it when my posts relate to her, so here's the reflection on what graduation will be like that I wrote for U.S. History.

When I graduate from high-school, my parents, sisters, and grandparents will be watching. The moment will be bittersweet; I'll be sad about leaving my friends family, and the comfortable, predictable home I've had, but happy to be gaining independence.
I'll be sweating probably, roasting from the heat, but I'll still hug all my friends and swap awkward goodbyes with the many people I won't actually miss. It's odd to think that the only times I return will be to see my younger sisters complete this same ritual.
I'll listen to the valedictorian, and Dodig (who will probably give the same speech about staples being amazing at everything that I've already heard three times), and whomever else is supposed to speak, but I won't really pay attention. Instead, I'll be playing back my high school years in my head, agonizing over any regrets I may have accumulated. Then I'll look ahead again and wonder where the people around my will be by our 20th reunion. Will we still follow the same social hierarchy after that many years? And will it be any different at college.
When the graduation is over, my parents will take pictures, and my father and grandmother will cry, and my mother will laugh, and my sisters will make fun of how I look and tell me to go hug whatever guy they decided to watch during the ceremony, and I'll smile anyways, knowing that I'm finally done.

April 19, 2009

Conversation Avoidance

As you may or may not be aware, I don't always want to talk. With my friends, I'm perfectly conversational, but with people I don't know, I tend to be more reserved. This weekend, I have finally found a perfect method for tactfully avoiding having to talk to people. Although this method may only be effective on nerdy guys, I've found that they make up a very large percentage of the people I don't want to talk to.

I've tried other methods before. Last weekend, I went on a community service overnight with a few other kids from my church. After dinner, we were told to go sit in booths (like those tables with benches you eat dinner at) to listen to a speaker. I slid in next to Liza, facing in the direction of the speaker. At that point, a freshman from a different chruch's group who I had thought was a perfectly normal boy came over. "Do you mind if I sit here?" he asked.

"Not at all," I responded, polite as always. He sat down, the speaker began talking. It was then that Craig (I don't actually remember his name. If it actually is Craig, I'm very sorry) decided to act. He shifted closer to me. I leaned towards Liza. He scooted a bit more towards me, so his hip bumped mine. I deliberately moved into Liza, squishing her against the wall. I then had to stay completely still for the rest of the speech to avoid giving the scooter more of a wrong impression than I already had.

This method was ineffective because my leg fell asleep and because Liza made fun of my repeatedly afterwards. So, in an effort to avoid future awkward encounters, I developed a fool-proof avoidance method.

This weekend, I tucked my math team practice packets into may bag. Whenever I didn't feel like talking, I would begin doing the packets. When someone I didn't want to talk to came over, I would find a problem that I couldn't do and give it to them. This worked well the first time, when my lab partner, Rube, spent 20 minutes trying to solve a problem that he still couldn't figure out.

So, when I was on the train home, Sean, who I don't really know, intercepted me while I was waiting in line for the bathroom (alone, because mario drove in with his dad again), waited while I used the bathroom, walked to the platform- still talking- then asked me, about ten minutes in, what my name was. When we got on the train, I pulled out a book, but the chatter continued. So, I pulled out the math packets. Sean proceeded to solve Rube's unsolvable circle-hyperbola tangency (apparently it requires calculus), then stare over my shoulder and correct my math for the rest of the trip.

So much for actually getting my homework done.

April 18, 2009

Haiku

When I'm home alone,
There is no one there with me
To open bottles.

April 17, 2009

Spa Day

Today, my mother, my sisters (Genovia, 14, and Shelby, 12), and my cousin Lia (who is Shelby's age) are having a spa-day. I decided to join them in the hot-tub. Once My mom got out to go shower, Lia and Shelby instigated a game of truth or dare.
Genovia got a dare and had to yell, "I LOVE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE" as loud as she could. Lia got a dare and yelled "I LOVE LUCAS!" who is apparently a boy in school with her and Shelby. Then, Shelby got a truth and said that she had never kissed a boy. At that point, I was overheated, so I tried to get out of the tub, when Genovia said, "Okay, Tea, truth time! Have you ever kissed a boy?"
I hightailed it out of the tub, saying, "I'm not answering that one" in what I hoped was an aloof manner.
"I knew it," Lia cawed, and I just shrugged. Little did they know I just didn't want to admit to catty Lia that I hadn't kissed any boys.
Genovia responded with, "I knew you'd been secretly making out with Mario on the train!"

Oh, siblings.

April 15, 2009

Racism Today

Yesterday, I went to the DMV and got my learners permit. For the picture, there is no flash, so I was totally unprepared and giving an odd sort of half smile when the camera went off. I hadn't brushed my hair before going, so it was pretty much everywhere, and when I got the permit, picture and all, my skin looked fairly dark, with my lips darker than usual and my brown eyelashes and blue eyes looking anything but. My Mom looks at the little plastic card and says, "that's a horrible picture of you." Gee, thanks ma! She then continued with, "you look middle eastern!"
Note to my mother- "Middle-Eastern" is not a synonym for fugly. Just sayin'

April 13, 2009

Vacation

I don't have school this week, and while the respite has been utterly blissful, I have been somewhat neglecting of this blog. Instead, I've been reading a lot (Speaker for the Dead, Epic, Saga, Sovay, and a couple more that were so horrific I won't mention them here). I've also been practicing guitar a lot. I got this gorgeous slim-body acoustic electric for my birthday, so now I have to learn to play it a little better. So far, I've got my A, D, E, C, and G chords down, and I'm working on F, A minor, D minor, and an E dominant seventh. For piano, I've just begun the final page of Beethoven's Pastorale Sonata, and it is, of course, the hardest part of the piece. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the face that the piece is 25 minutes long when performed at tempo. It takes me FOREVER to practice, but I love it.

April 8, 2009

Passover

What is it about young children and dangerous activities? today, at the seder, my younger cousins' favorite activity was being grabbed on either end and thrown, unceremoniously, onto the couch. We're lucky that none of them ended up with concussions.

April 7, 2009

Me

We did a metacognition exercise during U.S. history today, and I figured I'd share my words.

Visible on the surface: American, clumsy, teenager, thin, tall, female, brunette, white, student, unathletic, bad eyes, tired.

With further examination: Unitarian Universalist, piano-playing, reader, brain, desires to help others, suppresses childhood fears constantly, afraid of disappointing parents, from New England, love my sisters, terrified that people don't actually care, constantly moralizing, arrogant to a fault about my IQ, yet frighteningly insecure about social things, a geek, a nerd, a liberal, looking for a worthy cause to throw my life behind.

April 6, 2009

Teeth Whitening

When I was twelve, I had a root canal on my right front tooth. Ever since then, the tooth has been overly bleached, and the root is gray and dead looking. However, I can't see it myself, and my friends say it isn't particularly noticeable. My mother, on the other hand, can't stand it.
I don't really care, but it'd be expensive to fix, and I figure I might as well do it while my parents are the ones paying, so I let her take me to a cosmetic dentist. They gave me whitening gel that I rarely use (but had an effect, as can be seen in the left pic), and when my teeth eventually reach the prescribed whiteness, I'll have to get a veneer.
I know the problems with appearance could hold me back in the workplace, but is one gray tooth really going to make that much of a difference? Also, I watch America's Next Top Model- Joanie taught me that veneers are extremely painful. I don't really want to get one, but I probably still will.
One thing that really bothered me was that when I went in for a consultation about the one tooth, the dentist started in with other ways that she could improve my smile, like burning off the gum above one of my canines to make my teeth look more even. I feel like the next thing will be collagen injections, then botox, then boob jobs- it's a slippery slope.
I don't want a boob job.

April 5, 2009

Great Homework Accomplishments

Among the Overachievers of my hometown, Sunday is Homework Day. Friday and Saturday are the brief blissful moments of freedom before the torrent of work. Last night, however, I had three friends sleep over, and we were up until one, and I then spent about six hours tossing and turning. This led to me feeling very tired today. On the upside, exhaustion tends to interfere with my memory. Although I did homework for about three hours this afternoon, I am so tired that I am incapable of remembering the wasted time. All I can remember is watching X-men this evening, which was extremely enjoyable.
In other news, I cut my finger on a bread knife, so am currently incapable of playing the guitar at all, and also can't practice any of my piano songs without modifying the fingerings to be able to play better, which destroys the whole building-muscle-memory purpose of practicing, so I spent a little bit of time composing and used the hours I would have spent at the piano to catch up on America's Next Top Model. My pick for the Next Top Model is Teyona. I loved her hope/change picture from this week.
Speaking of hope and change, Maureen Dowd's column in the Week in Review today was ridiculous. I realize that she loves Obama, but he isn't a superhuman shrink/president/unnaturally perceptive man. He's a human being, and he won't be able to magically see through every layer of European policy. He's the best we've got, but he isn't perfect, and I feel like she just doesn't see that. Unless the column was irony that I'm to tired to understand, which is distinctly possible.
Speaking of tire . . . goodnight!

April 4, 2009

So, I'm in a Science Honors Program, and every Saturday, I go into the city for a 2.5 hour class. For the past two classes, we had been working on creating genomic libraries. Unfortunately, everyone in class did something wrong. My partner, Rube, and I succeeded in growing a full 3 colonies, none of which had genomic material added to reduce transcription of Beta-galactosidase. The rest of the class had fared little better, so the teacher decided that we would play jeopardy instead.
She brought about five types of candy and a box of double-stuffed Oreos (yum!). For jeopardy, the class wasn't allowed to use notes. Both me and my lab partner don't take notes, but we also never shut up during class (because we answer all the questions, not because we talk to each other. What kind of horrible student do you think I am?). We won by about 5000 points, with the lowest score being 0, and the one after that 1200. It was amazing, and I am extremely proud of my smartness.

April 3, 2009

Another example of the sheer inanity of high school students:

The other day, I was walking down the hallway and talking to my friend Nyx. We left the cafeteria and began walking down the crowded ramp that leads to the library. Right as we reached the bottom, a boy whom I had absolutely no idea who was spread his arms, said "heyy!" and tried to hug me. Polite, decorous person that I am, I lifted his arm, ducked underneath, and said, nice as you please, "no, thank you," before continuing my conversation with Nyx. Strange people trying to hug me, while odd, wasn't enough to distract me.
When we got out of ear shot, Nyx turned to me and said, "Who was that?"
"How should I know?"
"Wait, you seriously don't know who that is? You were so polite, I just assumed you knew him."
Polite as I was, I was still rather flustered. I was late to English and, when sneaking into the room, proceeded to knock over the phone twice, before breaking down about having to run away from the mysterious hugger.

All in a day's work.

April 2, 2009

Why did Phil have to go and be nice all of a sudden? I already felt guilty enough for turning him in. Today, I went to go play piano during lunch, and all the practice rooms were full. In one of them, he was sitting and drinking something out of a thermos. People don't typically eat lunch in practice rooms, but maybe he was upset about the whole plagiarism thing? I dunno. So I was walking back out, when he caught up to me and said that he wasn't using the room if I wanted it. I said, "thank you," and it was occupied by the time I got back, but it was so nice of him that I just felt really bad for turning him in.
Also, if anyone can explain to me what a Libertarian Conservative is, I would greatly appreciate it.

April 1, 2009

Two tenth graders in science class today. Nyx says that this was immediately after the boy made a mildly offensive joke that bothered the girl.

Apologize!
No!
Fine. Then you can't see my homework packet.
But I NEED to see the packet. I don't understand my question.
Not my problem. Apologize, or no packet.
If you don't show me the packet, I'll strip.
Still no. Also, bluff.
Fine.
*Boy begins unbuttoning his pants* *Girl laughs*
Dear lord.
*Boy begins pulling pants down, over boxers*

He apparently got them down about a foot before someone else intervened. Oh, high school.