February 28, 2010

Continuing Work on Research Paper Compression

I continue this essay:

...a way to provide gifted kids with their needed levels of difficulty. Every now and again we'll get students who exhaust the honors and A.P. curriculum in a given subject (typically math or science) but, for the most part, students get a sufficiently engaging education. The problem with this is that, in every subject but math, they're stuck waiting until ninth grade to get it....


This isn't coming out right. I don't know if it's writers block or what, but I just can't produce anything worth reading. I'm not sure if what I wrote before is worth reading. I'm not at all certain that anyone would care enough to read the piece in the first place, and, even if they did, whether my writing would be interesting. I don't know how to make it interesting. I don't know how to take this awful, painfully dry piece of crap and turn it into something a bit more fun.

But maybe I'm not looking for fun.

Or maybe I am. I have no clue. I'm confused, and tired, and I have another application to finish tonight, and I can't do the math homework, try as I might, and I'm going to fail my test on Tuesday.

I'm resisting the urge to write FML here.


February 27, 2010

Me? Obsessed? Nah...

I finally turned on my phone last night to find the following:

From a texter who I still don't know who is, on Feb. 23rd: I know you don't text but ski cross is on now. i thought you should know.

From Mario, on Thursday night: I sent you an email. Did you get it?, referencing, of course, his Moody's related email.

And from another number I didn't know, but figured was Nia: Did the bus come yet?

I, in turn, sent out three text messages. To the ski crosser, I wrote "I don't know who this is from but im very sad that i didn't get this until now"

To the probable Nia I wrote: I don't know who this is but you should know that I rarely have my phone on me.

To Mario I wrote: As you now know I did get said email its just that i go to sleep at ten so you cant expect a prompt response after that. Also if u didnt see no class tomorrow.

For anyone who's interested, although I smiled way too much while typing it, I didn't agonize over my response at all. Both of them, despite the late hour (almost 11!) responded promptly.

From Nia, two minutes later: it's Nia lol

From Mario, three minutes later: I will take note of both.

Julie told me the next day that she was the ski-crosser.

The "I will take note of both" made me squee, so I immediately called Kathrya to tell her about it, because that's just the sort of person I am. It particularly helped as I was rather grumpy that class had been canceled due to snow. After all, I love SHP, and I enjoy the train rides a good bit more than I should, and I didn't see why a little snow should stop me.

I may have possibly gone to Starbucks today with the sole goal of appeasing my grumpiness over not seeing a certain somebody. However, I hadn't had a latte in two weeks, and I needed to get out of the house to study for the ACTs, as I just can't really focus when I'm in my room and my computer is about ten feet away.

I went to Barnes and Nobles to buy the ACT book first. I may have possibly checked the Barnes and Nobles Starbucks three times to make extra certain he wasn't there.

I think we all know who he is.

I turned the wrong way on Rt. 1 when leaving B&N, and took the most circuitous route ever, but did eventually arrive. I debated texting Vicky to tell her I was in Starbucks studying ACTs, cause it seemed like something she would be doing already. Lo and behold, I saw a telltale glimpse of glowingly orange hair (it actually wasn't glowing orange, it was more of a copper-y orange-red, but I just like the way glowingly orange sounds) and had a nice chat about ACTs with Vicky while her mother nodded along. Once my latte arrived, I spilled some coffee on my prep book while trying to remove the cap, and I'm fairly certain they both laughed, and Vicky made fun of my two packets of sugar.

I still contend that the presence of actual coffee in the drink makes it require more sugar. And I still don't get how a Starbuck's addict doesn't drink coffee.

I settled down at a little table in the sunlight and pulled out Beloved, by Toni Morrison, which I'm reading for A.P. English. I'm glad I wasn't at home alone in my room while reading it, because it was disturbing. Ghosts, rape, bestiality, and slavery in one chapter was a little bit more than I could handle. The bit about abusing calves still makes my insides squirm. I was about midway through the chapter when Vicky and her mother left, Vicky taking a moment to point out the fact that despite my brand new ACT book, I was not actually studying for the ACTs.

"It's for English!" I retorted as she walked out the door.

A bit after I finished the chapter one of the big comfy armchairs freed up, so I moved over there and dug into the ACT book. It was a lot of "this is worth this many points, that is worth that many points, this section tests your understanding of grammar, what is the capital of Swahili?"

I'm kidding on the last one.

I may have possibly looked up every time the door opened. Well, I definitely didn't, as I didn't notice Mario and brother (who is another always angry looking person, in case you (Ginny) were wondering) until they were in line.

Mario gave me "the nod." I nodded back. I have no clue what his brother did because, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't looking. Mario accepted one of those awful sandwiches with a patty of scrambled eggs in them and whatever sort of coffee he's drinking these days. His brother did the same and went to sit down, and Mario walked over towards me.

"So this is what you do when you aren't in class," he said.

"Oh, I hadn't had coffee in two weeks, and I just felt like..." I trailed off, and he nodded. I think it's the sort of sentiment a caffeine addict can understand. "Oh, and we actually did have class, apparently. Like, it was canceled, but it still happened, for the people who showed up, you know?"

He frowned. "I doubt they'll penalize us for not showing up, then."

"I suppose, but I still would've liked to have gone. I enjoy it," I shrugged.

"Me too. I think I like the routine of it."

"It's nice to get out."

This time he shrugged. We kept talking for a while. About the Challenge, about ACTs verses SATs, about SAT subject tests, about Moody's. Unlike Dino, he gave absolutely no indication that he thought our team was bad. He seemed confident, and excited, and felt like it would be more fun than the Green Super Student Challenge, or whatever it was called. We'd stop and pause every so often, and he'd sometimes start to step away, but I wouldn't look down and away the way I always do when I got nervous from talking- I mean I did sometimes, but, to be perfectly honest, he's a hell of a lot more riveting than my ACT book- and he'd just say something else and we'd keep going. By the time he left- I feel like it was about ten minutes, but it may have been far less or a bit more- I had a feeling that his sandwich was cold.

Good riddance. Anything involving bacon inside of bread is, in my opinion, better off not ingested.

February 25, 2010

My Research Paper in 500-600 Words

As requested by Brian, for the school newspaper.

Gifted education and why it's important in five hundred words. This should be interesting.

I'm not certain that I get an introduction, so I'll start with that:

I chose to write my junior year research program on gifted education. I wanted to do how to teach gifted kids- this turned out to be very complicated. I focused instead on what gifted programs are and why they're important.

Every child is unique; gifted kids just seem exceptionally so. They'll read Jane Eyre or The Origin of Species under their desks in elementary school, or absorb higher-level mathematics textbooks and learn computer programming before starting high school. They'll spot an interesting rock and spend the next three months reading geology textbooks with a flashlight after their parents have gone to bed.

A standard school curriculum, such as the middle school classes we all took together, is not enough to sate this curiosity. We've all been bored in class at one point or another- imagine if this boredom was every day. I interviewed former gifted kids (I suppose you'd call them gifted teens at this point) about how they cope with boring classes. Each offered a list of activities, including staring at the clock in such a way that six hands seem to appear, playing snake on calculators, filling notebooks with doodles, and-this is the one that shocked me, the classic physical activity-phobic nerd-discreetly exercising by contracting various muscles or doing calf raises, to the point that this particular student would experience muscle soreness the next day.

This boredom is more than just boring. It keeps students from learning new material. It also keeps them from learning good study habits, how to learn effectively, and how to face and defeat an academic challenge. Some students interviewed spoke of severe difficulty keeping up at all when they finally found a challenging class. Others looked at me blankly when asked how they dealt with a difficult course; they apparently hadn't found one yet. Challenge, however, is an important part of learning, and gifted students need to experience that challenge in order to have any intellectual growth.

There are many conflicting views about how best to provide that intellectual stimulation. The method most familiar to Paperclip students is likely the Workshop program at the town's elementary and middle schools. This is what is known as a pullout program. Kids miss class to attend it, and it meets once a week, a tiny percentage of time when compared to the hours spent staring a walls. That's the biggest issue with these programs- they simply aren't enough.

Another form of gifted education, and one that provides something much closer to enough, is so omnipresent at Paperclip that most students don't give it a second thought. However, academic classes separated by ability are...

I'll finish this later. I'm tired, and at this point, I really don't care.

February 24, 2010

Something that Weirded Me Out Today

... was changing into my PJs while Eccentrius and Jeff were disseminating Paperclip High trivia on a video from High School Jeopardy's homepage. I realize that Eccetrius and Jeff could not actually see into my room through the Youtube video, but I still have this feeling that I accidentally let them see my underwear.

Speaking of which, the photos up there are ridiculous. Julie, you are easily the most amazing looking person I've seen up there. You make getting swabbed with makeup pads look glamourous rather than awkward. Also, the degree of intensity is such that I'm actually surprised that lasers didn't spontaneously shoot our of Team Paperclip's eyes.

And now, another mindbender:

Is an English sentence a house?

It's not. Because, obviously, a house is a tangible thingamahoozy, and a sentence is a grammatical concept. But, because that is a very short paper, we're going to take the metaphorical route.

Houses and sentences are driven by context. People do not just have homes, they live in villages, in beloved towns, and we often grow our own roots. We love the earth, and our homes would not be the same if transplanted to the other end of the earth. In Esperanza Rising, one of my all time favorite books when I was younger, a father and daughter bond over the love of their farmland. Their farmhouse would be useless if it stood in the arctic, or even in the coniferous forests of northern New England. Similarly, the previous sentence would make little sense if it were in the midst of a scientific paper or a Japanese novel. Location matters.

Then is the foundation. Concrete blocks in a big dirt hole, or a single capital letter. These are the beginnings. Then is the structure. Walls, pipes, and everything else between floor and roof. This is the part that requires the most effort. Today, it entails a seemingly endless stream of framers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians and excavators and engineers and masons and welders and many more. Note the mindboggling polysyntedon. A good while ago, in the 1800s, Thoreau completed just as many tasks in the construction of his own humble abode. He devoted a full page to the steps of his efforts. Sentences, too, have a lot of junk floating about their interiors. Subject and predicate can be expanded and warped to a multitude of grammatical organizations, just as houses have limitless modifications.

Then is punctuation, your period or your roof. There are question marks, simple roofs sloping in sharp angles before rounding into gutters at the edges. There are exclamation points, angled and steep in every way, bringing a sharp end to a sentence or a clean edge to a contemporary house. There are periods, rounded domes bringing a softer, more aesthetically simple closing to a sentence, a home, or, in the case of the period at the end of this sentence, an essay.

February 23, 2010

I am Acutely Exhausted

So I'm doing the lazy thing and making you read my old schoolwork.

Mindbender #15
The Pleasure of learning and knowing, though not the keenest, is yet the least perishable of all pleasures. A. E. Hausman

Knowledge, while not the most desired pleasure, is the one that lasts the longest, staying with one until the ravages of Alzheimer's and age have fully destroyed it. Love, on the other hand, is as perishable as the one loved, who is as turn as perishable as the delicious food they once ate.

I mean, seriously, romantic relationships are rarely enduring. Spouses can die, and relationships can crumble, and we all end up mopey and depressing, eating Ben and Jerry's and watching horrible romantic comedies. For instance, A Time Traveler's wife is about a woman who, after the death of her husband, spends most of her life waiting for him. How utterly depressing.

Food is even quicker to rot. We all crave a little something yummy, but we don't have chocolate cornucopias. Be it the Halloween candy that eventually runs out or the fresh kiwis that go bad before they're eaten, food just doesn't last forever, and cake never sticks around as long as we expect it to. Here is a poem I found online about how quickly chocolate cakes is gone. It wasn't a very good poem, so I won't bother to link to it. There is a finite amount of cake, unlike good poems, of which there is surely an infinite quantity.

Knowledge, however, sticks. I remember a speech made by the minister of my church at Walden pond. He remembered the works of Thoreau. Thoreau remembered the world and nature when he wrote Walden. The knowledge gained stuck with the minister and it stuck with me. Food is eaten and love dies, but knowledge endures.

February 22, 2010

A Continued History of Particle Physics

Our atmosphere is constantly bombarded by high energy particles, also known as ions. These cosmic ray showers include muons, which are heavy, not-very-stable electrons.

Neutrinos were discovered because Beta-decay violates energy conservation. For instance, a neutron decays into a proton and an electron, but the products don't have enough mass, and their energy isn't enough greater to compensate. Momentum, as well, is not conserved by this reaction. Pauli hypothesized that there is a particle that we aren't seeing. This particle is electrically neutral (so undiscovered) and very light, with few interactions with other stuff. Fermi decided to call it the neutrino. In the 1950s, the search for the neutrino began.

Lots of fancy stuff happened, and it was found that there are neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, even though the particles are neutral. Reactions with neutrinos were measured outside of a nuclear reactor, because these produce copious quantities of beta-decay. Even with this increased decay, there were still only 2-3 reactions observed in a given two hour period. This low rate was in part because anti-neutrinos were not reacting as predicted.

To explain this, a new law had to be created, as Feynman declared that if you aren't seeing it, it's not happening. This new law was lepton conservation, and lepton numbers are negative for electrons, muons, and neutrinos, but neutral for everything else. Anti-electrons, anti-muons, and anti-neutrinos have opposite lepton numbers. No, I don't know why this is, but it does explain that the anti-neutrino reaction didn't occur because lepton number wasn't conserved.

Then, the strange conservation principle was added. Strange particles, including kaons, were found in the late 1940s. These particles were strange because their production is mediated quickly by the strong force, but their decay occurs slowly and is mediated by the weak force. These mesons were found by scientists at the leading accelerators of the time, at Columbia, Berkeley, and the USSR. Then baryons, heavier particles, were found later as accelerators grew. Protons are the only known stable baryons. The discovery of baryons led in turn to the baryon number, a value that prevents proton decay. Meson number, however, does absolutely nothing. Strangeness explained the strange particle behavior.

Then I went to the bathroom. When I got back, we had embarked on the eightfold way, which is like Mendeleev's table, where you can use it to predict elements, but is much more Buddhist-y. Or, in my words, "if you do a lot of crazy mathematical shit, you end up with cool geometric patterns." The fact that particles were categorizable like this indicated an internal structure, in the same way that the periodic table implied protons, neutrons, and electrons. These substructures are called quarks. They come in different flavors and colors, but only sometimes taste good. They also have partial charges, but they can't exist in isolation, so don't defy quantization.

Baryons have three quarks. Antibaryons have 3 anti-quarks. Mesons have a quark and an anti-quark. All particles have colors that add up to white. My favorite quark is an anti-red strange quark. A particle and its antiparticle can chill out for a short period time without mutual annihilation, and their interactions are probabilistic in nature. Another particle was found, called the J/Psi particle, because no one could agree what to call it.

The End.

February 21, 2010

Slangy Research Paper Outline, formatted properly

as ordered by Cammie

-Gifted children
------IQ points
------quick learners
------need more than can be offered by the typical classroom
-The used to have programs
------but now they don't
-----------NCLB is a bitch. And it's not my bitch.
------It's helping slower learners
-----------and this means teachers and schools have less time/funds for the gifted
----------------they're not getting attention
-Everyone thinks they don't need it!
------They'll make it anyways! They have it made! Everything is sunny in smart kid land!!!!
-----------it's unpopular! Teachers hate them! OH NOES!!!
-But seriously, dude, they totally need it.
------school sucks for geeks
-----------remember those nerdy high school guys on TV, like Brian in the Breakfast Club, who never got a date?
------yeah, it's like that, very nightmarish, to quote a study
------Can't be too smart. And nerdy is evern worse. Pop culture says we can't have one without the other. It's a stigma!!!11! WOO!
-Consider also, the need for intellectual stimulation
------Kids learn best in a middlingly challenging environment
-----------Boredom, like too much challenge, is an issue
----------------Yeah, gifted kids- totes bored
---------------------They already know the material
---------------------This makes them suffer (McClure)
------They don't want to try
-----------That mother with the kid who's acting out
-----------Prevents them from learning how to learn/work
----------------Big paragraph quote about stumbling
-Chronic underachievement sucks balls
-----------Conflicting numbers (all the hell over the place)
-----------------But, clearly, there are gifted children dropping out
----------------------And this is an issue
---------------------------Want to "attain extreme levels of capability"
-Why should you want this? They'll save the world!
------They're your doctors
------They help us compete with China
-----------Down with China
----------------Our principal's faculty meetings (no, I won't actually mention them)
-For the betterment of the nation, gifted children should not be made to languish
------Easier said than done.
-----------Fears of damaging other children
-----------Years of accepted educational dogma
----------------All at stake. A stake through the heart. Of a VAMPIRE!
---------------------Equity verses excellence
--------------------------Who wins
-------------------------------Can we have fairness while pursuing excellence?
------------------------------------Maybe if it's eggcellent?
-----------------------------------------Snack break!
-Equality debate --> leading view is that students stay in the classroom
------"integrated learning"
-----------language win
----------------but, yeah, doesn't really end up happening

February 20, 2010

Reconvening into the Wee Hours Cont.

Gretchen: Very random, but Vaccination had/still has nice hands, but I don't care anymore. Very nice wrist flexibility. I mean, I'm kind of jealous. More or less.

Tea: I'm not going to say what that wrist flexibility could be used for. I'm not. I'm really not.

Gretchen: EWWW.

Tea: What?

Gretchen: I was talking about VIOLIN.

Tea: Did you get it at all? Because I'd like to hear what you got out of it.

Kathrya: HAha. I found it amusing, but didn't actually get it, which is sad, since I generally do.

Gretchen: I understood the implication.

Tea: See, I would explain, but I think Gretchen would be angry. I suppose she could always just not read the explanation. It's not even much of one. It's a bit of a stretch, but less of a stretch than "you broke it" in my opinion.

Kathrya: Well, you broke it is pretty clear. But I want the explanation. Sorry Gretchen.

Tea: Yeah, but that's not really sexual in nature. This one isn't really either. I'm just thinking.

Gretchen: Ok, I don't get "I broke it."

Tea: I'll just explain both. I broke it is because there are weird sexual accidents in which guys break their dicks and have to go to the emergency room and it's really awkward.

Gretchen: EEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Oh, that was in an episode of gray's anatomy.

Tea: The other one is if a guy is trying to get a girl off using it hands, it helps to have a little bit of mobility. Just sayin.


Tea: Kathrya, did you catch that?

Gretchen: I did not need to know that. Gah. Urgle. TEA. NO.

Tea: I was explaining for Kathrya.

Kathrya: I don't know. It wasn't as good. And I got it broke. That one is simple.

Tea: I broke it is totally not an innuendo. I don't care if you laugh at it all the time, and the wrist thing was mostly to bother Gretchen.

Gretchen: I actually leaned away from the screen. HEY!! Not cool.

Tea: Sorry. Well, not really.

Gretchen: It's okay, I guess. Only cause you're Tea.

February 19, 2010

The Reconvening of the Three Continues into the Wee Hours

Kathrya: Blog the Dino thing, I wanna see. Tomorrow, though.

Tea: Oh, okay. I don't have it though.

Gretchen: Why don't you have it.

Tea: It's on facebook. I don't have his gmail. Actually, he doesn't use gmail. He uses yahoo. Ew. Yahoo. What the fuck is he thinking.

Gretchen: Haha, google vs. yahoo, how cliche. Google always wins.

Tea: I was trying to explain to Mario that he should just route his emails through gmail because yahoo is crap, and Mario was trying to explain the same thing to Helga while I was explaining it to him, so he didn't really know what he was talking about, but he still wanted to sound like he knew what he was talking about. Oh, Mario.

Kathrya: Failure.

Tea: You arrogant bastard.

Gretchen: That you still like.

Tea: Why can't you have uglier hands. Sigh.

Gretchen: And arms remember.

Tea: He was wearing long sleeves.

Kathrya: hands??? really?

Tea: yes. Why the ???

Gretchen: it's kind of random.

Tea: it's a perfectly reasonable thing to like! I like his other parts as well. It's just, I see more of his hands, and he's always fiddling with things, like, turning a pencil over and over in his hand, or rubbing his thumb along the edge of his notebook repeatedly.

Gretchen: Vaccination has nice hands...

Kathrya: I can't say I've spent extensive time looking at Tybalt's hands.

Tea: Tybalts hands are alright, I guess. I dunno, not my type. I like Mario's hands better.

February 18, 2010

We Reconvene and A Somewhat Later Time

Gretchen: So...what's this I hear about Tybalt's eyebrows???

Tea: Do you want to hear the end of Kathrya and I talking? Because we just changed subjects again.

Gretchen: yes please.

Tea: If mine ever get to the point of bugging you, let me know. I always forget to fix them. Gretchen is back, by the way. Also, anyways, before Gretchen gets here,

Kathrya: mmhm

Tea: Mario alternates between "what am I thinking" and "I want to bone him," in the girl sense, because girls can't bone, obviously.

Kathrya: I love you. Cheat on Tybalt with me?

Tea: Oh, totally, I've already kissed two girls, I can handle another one.

Kathrya: hahaha, sorry, distracted by the luge boy who died.

Gretchen: Wait, I'm not sure I get it...your dream?

Tea: What dream? Oh, no Kathrya is Dream, cause that's what the nickname on the account is.

Gretchen: ohhh. Kathrya has kissed girls before?!?

Tea: No, that's me.

Gretchen: YOU HAVE?

Tea: Yeah. How did you not know this?

Gretchen: Well, I obviously did not know this.

Tea: Oh, well, uh, ninth grade, in a tent, in Amy's backyard, big slumber party.

Gretchen: ok...

Tea: well, Caroline wanted to know what it was like to kiss a girl, and I wanted to know what it was like to kiss anybody, and Karen didn't want to be left out.

Gretchen: wow.

Tea: it was just little kisses, not, like, making out or anything.

Kathrya: oh, no I know what you're talking about, don't worry.

Tea: I was still clarifying, though. But, yeah. Gretchen, how the hell did you not know that?

Gretchen: maybe I've blocked it out.

Kathrya: Probably. So innocent.

Gretchen: But it does ring a bell.

Tea: Yeah. It wasn't like, hugely memorable, although Caroline did end up feeling me up a few months later. It was kind of awkward.

Gretchen: ewwwww. I didn't need to know that.

Tea: Haha, sorry, just clearing the air and all that.

Gretchen: it's okay.

Tea: Now I don't have to worry about telling you later.

Kathrya: haha, that would be awkward.

Gretchen: Although when would that ever come up again. Oh, hey Tea, I was wondering, have you kissed a girl before?

Tea: Well, if we ever talked about kissing or something. I dunno. It's weird. Like, I don't know whether to count it as a first kiss. Because, you know it wasn't, really, but it was, technically.

Gretchen: ok, sure.

Tea: Is Kathrya even here?

Gretchen: Kathryaaaaaaaaa

Kathrya: I am, I was just trying to find pics.

Tea: Of my and Caroline. They're hottttttt.

Kathrya: Tea, you're always hot.

Tea: I know. It's the perfectly sculpted eyebrows.

Kathrya: Agreed. It totally is.

Tea: Mom wants to take me to get them waxed, actually.

Kathrya: I pluck mine. I've been meaning to do so for a few weeks. I suppose I should for tomorrow.

Tea: Kat. You're blonde. It doesn't matter. Also, Tybalt's are way worse. He's not going to care. He's going to spend the whole time going "omg, date, what am I supposed to do, it's Kathrya, ahhh" etc.

February 17, 2010

Gretchen and Tea add Kathrya to the Conversation cont.

Tea: "odd really like Kad"

Gretchen: Good boy. He can spell. Sort of.

Kathrya: Not at all, he fails at spelling, he will fail the English part of the SATs

Gretchen: He took the ACT.

Tea: oddked kar to prom?

Gretchen: What are you responding with?

Tea: "girlfriend" he said. I said "Kathrya and Gretchen are making fun of your spelling." Now he's mad at me for showing you our conversation.

Kathrya: Oh, lordy.

Tea: How many details am I allowed to share. Probably none right?

Kathrya: Pretty much.

Tea: I told him that he can get it from Tybalt, and it's a girlfriend, and if he says anything else, I'm telling him that I'm going to talk about my period until he shuts up.

Kathrya: YES.

Tea: Genie wants to know how many Apolo Ohnos Tybalt could lift. Also, have you seen She's the Man? Because that is the BEST MOVIE EVER and there's a scene where Olivia goes into the gym, and Duke is weight lifting, and she's like "how many of me could you lift?" and he's like uh, uh, tries to count on his fingers and then slams his head into the machine. I LOVE THAT MOVIE.

February 16, 2010

Gretchen and Tea add Kathrya to the Conversation

Gretchen: OMG, OMG, OMG.


Kathrya: hahahaaa

Gretchen: aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Kathrya: good god you two hahaa. It's not that big of a deal :)

Gretchen: YES IT IS!!!!!!!!!!

Kathrya: hahaa. It's just a first datee relax.

Gretchen: did he ask you out? What movie are you seeing? Are you excited? omg.


Kathrya: nah, we're watching movies at his plate, which was kind of the general plan, as Tea can say.

Gretchen: oh


Gretchen: haha

Kathrya: Plate? What?

Gretchen: place*

Tea: You said plate. Got it. Wait. What were the precise circumstances?

Gretchen: Yes, do tell.

Kathrya: Okay, okay anyways we were going to watch movies, and then Ali texted me asking what chocolate I liked and then Tybalt texted me telling me he bought it, and then she told me he was going to ask me out tomorrow and we had a conversation which I think all got relayed to Tybalt, because eventually he just cut out the middle man, so no one said it straight out but now it's like a date. Does this make sense?

Tea: Dino is yelling at me for not telling him why I'm leaving, by the way.

Gretchen: haha.

Tea: Anyways, YAY KATHRYA!

Gretchen: Congrates :)

Kathrya: haha thanks.

Gretchen: that's so cute!! ahhhhh. This is more exciting than the Olympics.


Kathrya: hahaa

Tea: Gretchen and I have been going OMG for like EVER

Kathrya: really gus??

Tea: yes!

Gretchen: YES

Kathrya: hahaa. Well, I'm glad I can entertain you guys.

Tea: I'm going to need a big report afterwards. And also, Dino is still yelling at me.

Gretchen: Haha.

Kathrya: tell him to go away.

Gretchen: second. By thew way, do you (Kathrya) mind if we bug Tybalt when he signs onto fb.

Kathrya: uhmmmm yes. Feel free to do so after tomorrow though.

Tea: Okay.

Gretchen: ok

Kathrya: I feel like it's not official enough. I don't know, I'm fairly confused, cause he didn't say it straight out, but it like, is, so whatever.

Gretchen: When it's on facebook, it's official.

Tea: Don't put it on facebook, that's awkward.

Gretchen: I guess...not that I would know.

Kathrya: Well, it's just one date. We'll see. I sound like Avon.

Tea: Dino is now threatening to remove friendship. I wasn't aware we were friends.

Gretchen: Just tell him you're going to help your sister with something, or just tell him you have to go. The end.

Tea: But we're getting into a really good fight. It's fun? and BACK TO KATHRYA. AAAAHHH OMG OMG OMG OMG cough.


Kathrya: I'll take it this means you approve?


Kathrya: hahaaa

Gretchen: Kath, you have no idea, Tea and I have been FREAKING OUT.

Kathrya: it's okay I was freaking out earlier. It went from OMGGGGGGGGG YAY to OHNOESWAH to COMMITTMENT PHOBE TIME to YAY. :)

Gretchen: Stay at Yay :)

Kathrya: I plan to.

Tea: Be married to someone else on fb, and then don't worry about it, because if it's not on fb...

Kathrya: hahaaaaa if it's not on fb then I have privacy.

Gretchen: Kathrya, will you marry me?


Gretchen: WHAT!?!?


Kathrya: with your shirt.

Tea: HA. HA. HA.

Kathrya: SO TRUE





Gretchen: ?


Gretchen hey, does facebook let you marry more than one person?

Tea: polygamy.

Kathrya: No, it doesn't, stupid. I wish it did. But anyway, I just took my relationship status of facebook. I think that just solves a lot of problems.

Tea: I agree. Also, Dino is still yelling at me.

Gretchen: ABOUT WHAT??


Gretchen: AMC? beach coverups?

Tea: I told him I was leaving, and he said why, I said can't tell, he says TELL ME, I say no, etc., for like ten minutes.

Gretchen: I'll tell him you're talking to me, and I'm hogging you.

Tea: NO. Then he'll think it's about you and Tybalt. Sorry.

Gretchen: Then suffer. WHAT!?!?! Did you mention Tybalt?!?!??!?!

Kathrya: what??

Tea: he says it's that KATHRYA HAS A CRUSH ON TYBALT. He came up with it by himself.

Gretchen: OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tea: What the hell am I supposed to say.


Tea: I don't fucking know.

Gretchen: DON'T SWEAR. just log out...

Tea: Then he'll think it's true.

Kathrya: just tell him it's none of his business and log out.

Gretchen: woah, I said log out first. Credit it to me.

Kathrya: Also, why do I feel like EVERYONE knew he liked me before I did.

Gretchen: :P

Tea: Oh, shit. I swore at him. Now he says Tybalt likes Kathrya.

Gretchen: Well, he's not wrong.

Kathrya: This is true.

Gretchen: Kathrya is very likable.

Tea: He blatantly just told me that Tybalt likes Kathrya, by the way, so he's clearly a crappy confidant, and I should have told him this sooner, because then you would have found out sooner.

Kathrya: Well, it's cuter this way. I like the Valentine's Day theme.

Gretchen: What's he saying now.


Gretchen: HAHAHA.


Gretchen: Presuming he understood that much spanish.

Tea: We've devolved into all caps. I should probably just log out, but I'm enjoying myself way too much.

Kathrya: This is amusing. I vote stay put and keep us updated.

Tea: I think he's giving up. I need to give him something though. He's starting to stop responding.

Kathrya: Something what?

Tea: Am I allowed to end with him finding out or not? Because otherwise this is just cruel.

Gretchen: Well, he basically got it.

Tea: I just dropped a massive hint and he stopped responding.

Gretchen: My dad is playing dramatic classical music in his room and I can hear is and it totally fits!!!!!!!!

Kathrya: I like dramatic classical music.

Gretchen: It's Beethoven's fifth symphony. duh duh duh DUH.

February 15, 2010

Chat with Gretchen

Gretchen: hello

Tea: hey. so. OMG.

Gretchen: I KNOW OMG!!!!!!!!!!

Tea: AAAH. also, packing.

Gretchen: oohhh, have fun in mexico!!

Tea: thanks. I'm trying to make Kathrya log into gchat also. OMG, OMG.

Gretchen: haha



Tea: still Kathrya and Tybalt.



Gretchen: !!!!!!!!!! I AGREE. I yell in my head when it's caps

Tea: me too.

Gretchen: haha, do you think Tybalt thinks that Kathrya told us? Do you think he's avoiding

Tea: omg. Dino is talking to me on fb right now.

Gretchen: about?

Tea: he just said question.

Gretchen: umm

Tea: I'm resisting the all caps urge.

Gretchen: with Dino?


Gretchen: haha. ME TOO. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Gretchen:GAH. WHAT IS GOING ON!?!?!?! What's Dino saying now? have fun in mexico?

Tea: he's asking if I'm going to The Challenge/taking the AMC

Gretchen: ohh. So I take it guys don't talk about going on dates? or at least Tybalt doesn't tell

Tea: I don't know. Maybe not yet.

Gretchen: Are you going to The Challenge?

Tea: no, I'm taking the AMC.

Gretchen: is it the same day?

Tea: yeah :(

Gretchen: ohh. Is he going?

Tea: I'm working on Kathrya, she's almost in gchat!

Gretchen:? How is she almost in gchat??

Tea: I'm working on her. "I don't know which buttons to push!?"

Gretchen: haha. Does she have gmail? When she figures it out, make a group chat. Please.

Tea: Also, I'm like this close to telling Dino to go bug Tybalt.

Gretchen: HAHA

Tea: thisclose

Gretchen: are they good friends?

Tea: I dunno

Gretchen: like would they talk about that kind of stuff?

Tea: I'm not sure if Tybalt is one of Dino's friends that doesn't like Dino.

Gretchen: haha

Tea: it's kind of sad really

Gretchen: is Dino still talking about The Challenge? what's sad?

Tea: no, now he's not talking. We're on the AMC.

Gretchen: okay, but what was sad?

Tea: That Dino's friends don't like him.

Gretchen: aww. Are you sure Tybalt doesn't like him.

Tea: Gretchen

Gretchen: Yes?

Tea: Add this email to the chat.

Gretchen: I can only invite current friends.

Tea: add it then!

Gretchen: I'm doing it.

Tea: GO

Gretchen: is that Kathrya's email.

Tea: it's my other email. Kathrya is on it right now. go go goooo

Gretchen: hold on

Tea: also, I just told Dino I have too many beach coverups, and he goes "I have the same

Gretchen: what beach coverups? What are they? I sent Kathrya an invite to chat. Tell her to
accept, then when she shows up in the contact list, I can make it a group chat.

Tea: They are dresses.

February 14, 2010

Libros Para México

I'm working on lining up seven posts for the next week, so you won't have to miss me while I'm gone. This "planned posts" thing is really ingenious.

For now, I'm lining up books for break. I'm bringing twelve. Dad says I'm insane, but I think it's important to make certain I have enough with me.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith: a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that involves zombies. The first sentence in this book is "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." This is vastly superior to the opening of the original, which reads, "it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Impossible, by Nancy Werlin: This book has the all-time most beautiful cover I've ever seen. It's got a girl, I think she looks Asian but her face is covered so I don't know, in a blood red dress, standing in a marsh, with these huge, gorgeous mountains in the background. The cover quote is by Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked and is awesome. It's based on the song Scarborough Fair, which I love, so it should be good.

A Fine Passion, by Stephanie Laurens: The Baron has come home to intrigue, duplicity and peril . . . and the only woman in all of England who sets free his hidden passions, reads the caption on the inside front cover.

I Thee Wed, by Amanda Quick: Another romance novel. It's heroes are Edison and Emma, and I think that's so adorable I just had to read it.

The Forgotten Legion, by Ben Kane: Ben Kane is a solid name. This one is Ancient Rome, from the perspective of the scum rather than the leaders. If it's any good, I'll probably loan it to Gretchen, as it seems like her sort of thing.

The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale: Princesses, princes, animals, and magic. Exactly the sort of books I was devouring in middle school. I couldn't resist the urge to get just one more.

Remember When, by Judith McNaught: another romance novel, but this time set in the modern era, but with all of the same silly ideas about marriage. It also has an extremely unscandelous cover, so can be easily hidden.

A Summer Affair, by Susan Wiggs: These protagonists are Isabel and Blue. Again with the wierd names. It's about a doctor and a fugitive. Should be horrifically exciting.

Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson: A fun book about teenagers from the woman who wrote 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Should be a good read.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemison: This one is coming out February 25th. I got a pre-publishing copy from the school library, and it looks to be an exciting bit of fantasy. Weirdly, I got through the first chapter and thought to myself "this girl feels black," and proceeded to read the next chapter with that as my mental picture. Turns out the author is African American, so she probably imagined the hero as such. I'm still not sure how I got that out of it, though.

Harry Potter y la cámara secreta, de J. K. Rowling: Opino que sea apropriada si leería una novela en español cuando estoy en México.

City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare: the second book of a series that is very, very good. However, the fact that the main character is named Clary by an author called Clare is a little bit weird.

February 13, 2010

Local Favorites

According to Netflix, in my town.

The Ramen Girl- unfortunately has nothing to do with alien ramen a la Orson Scott Card. Instead, Brittany Murphy goes to Japan. Looks weird.

SNL: The Best of Will Ferrell: I cannot believe there are that many people in this town who actually like him. I find that he grates on my nerves overmuch.

Free Willy: fortunately has nothing to do with male flashers. A heartwarming tale about a boy who graffitis an orca's tank.

Best in Show: I've actually seen this one, and it is actually fairly funny. I do not object.

Muppets in Space: while Cammie and Julie would no doubt approve, I am still somewhat shocked that the Muppets are this popular.

National Lampoon's Animal House: wait- National is lampooning a book that lampoons a government? Or does animal house mean something I'm not getting?

Thomas and Friends: Songs from the Station: People round here seem to really like putting their kids in front of a DVD.

Amadeus: did my chorus teacher force this on the entire population?

On the Waterfront: winner of eight oscars about a has-been boxer. Sounds... critically acclaimed.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua: no comment.


The Salton Sea: druggies work for cops. cool.

Flying Down to Rio: the cover art looks like LSD.

Man On Wire: for some reason, tightrope walking doesn't excite me the way it should.

Bolt: about a crazy computer animated dawg. Wait- dog.

Holiday in the Sun: This is a MARY KATE AND ASHLEY MOVIE. People still watch those?

February 11, 2010

SAT Scores

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

I dreamt that I went online to get them, then woke up before I could see them.

This was at 5:40.

I tried to go back to sleep.

I had a sneezing attack

I couldn't go back to sleep.

I got up, blew my nose, and tried to call the snow line.

The phone was disconnected because we are avoiding the superintendent's early morning calls.

I go on the computer to check snow days.

I type "snow de" into google before remembering the SAT, and then replace it with "college confidential" because I'm tired, followed by SAT scores.

The page loads. I click SAT scores.

Critical Reading: 800
Mathematics: 740
Writing: 770 (multiple choice 750, essay 10)

I stare at in shock, trying to decide if it's higher than a 2200, since the total isn't posted. I realize that the average is above a 750, so it must be.

I get out my TI-89 to add the thee numbers. 2310. I start squealing and waving my arms about.

I restrain myself from running upstairs and showing my parents and climb back into bed.

I get back out of bed and check facebook. No one is online. I resist the urge to brag. I hear a noise and go upstairs, thinking my parents might be up.

I return downstairs without waking them.

I discover that we have a two-hour snow delay.

I check on line again to look for my score report, with the questions I got wrong on it.

I start beating myself up for getting those one or two math problems wrong. After all, ninety-seventh percentile isn't really that good.

Decide that it's really, really stupid to get mad over that, and hope that at least one of the Vaseline brothers didn't get an CR 800, since I'm certain they both aced math.

Write blog post.

Attempt to go back to sleep.

February 8, 2010

Explicit Conversations (PENIS!)

Gretchen, you may prefer not to read these.

I was sitting at a table in the library with Tybalt, Kathrya, Boris, and Bryant during my free today. Eccentrius came over, sat on the table, and began talking to Martin. I was listening a little to Tybalt and Kathrya, and Bryant was doing homework. Eccentrius leaned over to Boris and said, "hey, do you know Martin?

"Yeah, why?" responded Boris.

"Have you seen him?"

"I said I know him."

"No. Have you seen him."

Boris simply looked at him.

"Martin" said Eccentrius, in something between a stage whisper and his normal voice,
"has a big penis."


"His dick is huge! Seriously."

"Why would you say something like that?"

"Because it's true!"

"Right, like you would know."

"Oh. I know."

"What, do you look at him in the locker room or something?"

"You don't?"

"Of course not!"

"Why not?"

"It's weird!"

At that point, I started cracking up and leaned over into Kathrya, interrupting her conversation with Tybalt. She joined my hysterical laughter for a moment before asking what was so funny.

"I'll tell you later," I wheezed.

A bit later, after Eccentrius had, much to Boris's relief, left, Kathrya said something about Mario and his man-crush on Irving and added that Tybalt had some support for that, leading him to launch into a story from his weekend:

So, on Saturday, we were all hanging out working on the challenge stuff, and Mario was on facebook, and, right before he x-ed out, Irving came over and wrote in his status is considering cock? but Mario didn't notice and closed the window anyways. Then the rest of us were cracking up, and he was like "What? What? What's funny?" and someone told him to check his facebook. He opened it up and, completely straight-faced, he read the message. He didn't react at all- he just clicked on it and replaced it with is sucking Irvings fat brown dick and closed the window. We were staring at him and said "Mario, you know people can see that, right?" and he was like, eh, whatever, they won't think it's me. Then, about ten minutes later, Irving gets a text from Melissa telling him he ought to look at Mario's status.

End of story.

February 7, 2010

A Fairly Unproductive Day

I did very little today. Having a free period has already begun to endow me with an increased propensity for procrastination. It's rather unfortunate, really.

I've also been web surfing. First I was sucked into TVTropes, which I found through XKCD, and then I ended up reading another long Harry Potter fan fiction that is actually turning out to be really good, and I'd quite like to finish that up this evening, so I'm not going to write particularly much.

Interesting, how now that I finished with the Hemingway my sentences have gotten almost intolerably verbose.

February 6, 2010

Particle Physics is Basically Awesome (historical overview)

Yes, another Columbia SHP related post. I seem to have a lot of those.

I've got particle physics this semester, and it's going to be good. My teacher (I could call him a professor, but the teachers are grad students, so it seems a bit weird) is British and drawls his words just enough that's it's very easy to consign him to the background and zone out but, when I actually listen, he's really very interesting.

As proof of it's interestingness, I actually took notes. He started the class with three particle physics related websites we should check out, but they also have other physics related stuff, and I think Julie would find them interesting. The sites are Interactions.org, CERN Courier, and Symmetry. The second site is reportedly the most "substantive," whatever that is meant to mean.

During the class itself, we took a somewhat circuitous route through the development of particle physics. I always like learning science like that, because it makes you see the thought process of how and why the science works, rather than just what it is.

The lecture opened with the end of the 1800s, at which point atoms were considered as small as it got. These various atoms were categorized by the properties, and the periodic nature of these categorizations hinted at some form of internal structure.

During the 1890s, radioactivity was intensely studied by Curie, Becquerel, Rutherford, and others. Radioactivity is the emission of particles. The existence of radioactivity implies that atoms must have an internal structure, as they are able to be broken into bits. There are three particles associated with radiation: alpha, beta and gamma. Alpha particles are the equivalent of a helium nucleus and have a charge of +2 and a mass equal to that of four protons. Beta particles (electrons) have a charge of -1 and a mass of 1/1800 protons. Gamma particles (photons) are electrically neutral and don't have mass. These particles were identified using deflection in a magnetic field (electrons, protons) and film sheets (gamma).

At this point in the lecture, Allana and I took a break to pass notes:

Tea: the clock is 1 hr fast
Allana: shh don't tell him. his face is smug.

Then we returned to 1897, when electrons were discovered by analyzing cathode rays responses to magnetic fields. These responses found that the electrons responeded to Loretz's force law, indicating that they were particles. This law can also, by breaking force into mass*acceleration, be used to find the charge/mass ratio of various particles through the measurement of only acceleration. This ratio was obtained by establishing the energy equilibrium of charged droplets of oil when they were suspended over electric fields, a concept which, two days ago, I would not have understood. These charges are always integer multiples of a fundamental charge, the charge on an electron. The mass was then able to be calculated.

The mass of an electron is .511 MeV/c^2, or a really fucking tiny amount, or 500000 electron volts. This unit of measurement is derived from the famous E = mc^2, and, when written in literature, the c^2 is often implied, because typists are lazy.

Then we move onwards to the plum pudding model (!!!), which Julie and Gretchen will remember from chem. This was created by Thomson, and involves raisin studded pudding. The model was tested by Rutherford's graduate students, who spent long, painful hours in dark rooms waiting for their eyes to adjust to dark enough conditions for them to observe the changes in a sheet that fluoresced when hit by particles. When alpha particles were accelerated at a gold sheet, those that didn't hit the nuclei of the various atoms went through with only slight deflections, but those that collided were refracted at angles greater than 90%, demonstrating that the negative charges could not feasibly be scattered within a positive goo, as Thomson had predicted.

This motion is represented by the equation N(theta) is directly proportional to sin (theta/2) to the negative fourth power. How they derived this equation in a time before the TI-89 is entirely beyond my ability to comprehend.

In 1911 the nucleus was discovered, with hydrogen atoms standing as some elementary particle. The we went into photons, and I got a bit lost, since I only vaguely comprehend sinusoidal motion.

in 1914, Bohr did stuff about electrons moving in circular paths.

Centripetal Force= m v^2 / r, as we learned in physics, and it is directly proportional to e^2/r^2 (the coulombic attractive force between the protons in the nucleus and the electrons). What Bohr tried to examine was why the electrons didn't simply spiral in towards the nucleus. He also did some quantization, noting more things that come in discreet chunks/packets, indicating that a particle of a constant mass is involved.

Quantize is my new favorite word.

1927 was antimatter, by P. Dirac. He used to full form of E = mc^2 to show that equations have positive and negative energy solutions, but that, rather than negative energy existing, antimatter had positive energy. In 1932 C. Anderson observed the antimatter equivalent of an electron, the positron. This particle had the same mass as an electron, but opposite quantum numbers such as charge, lepton number, and spin. The positron is notated using an e with a bar over it.

1932 was the discovery of the neutron, as elements were heavier than their protons. Still- what holds them together? Some other force must be involved, and the particles that carry it buts be neutral but massive. This neutral charge made them difficult to detect experimentally, as one can't simply measure deflection in an electric field.

This force was the strong force, which is "strong" in the nucleus but decreases in strength very rapidly over distance. This was predicted to depend on an exchange of particles between the protons and neutrons, and these particles were called mesons, as the mass was between that of protons and electrons.

Then we went into Heisenburg's OTHER uncertainty principle, and light waves, and I got rather lost, and class ended.

It was all jolly good fun.

February 5, 2010

Why I Have Not Posted

I can't decide what to write.

First, I figured I'd recount the math meet. But, other than, we did math and I was awesome and beat both Irving and Bryant, there wasn't much that was particularly exceptional. My prize was a little beat-up quiz game, and is vastly superior to Argon's Chartwell's poster.

I debated sharing the prostitution joke. Namely, that, upon my telling Owen that Dino was paying me twice what I asked for for his poster, Irving's immediate response was "you must have been really good, then." Yes, I have now been a victim of a prostitution joke related to Dino. As I said to Owen and Irving, I'd really have preferred that I didn't here that.

Although, the advice to pour water on Dino's head in order to short-circuit him was sound.

Speaking of which, I don't believe he's paid me back yet. A water bottle may be in order, although I doubt Señora would approve.

Dino's response, when I told him this as we walked up the stairs, was "Do I really sound that much like a robot?"

"Well, kind of, a little bit."


"Well, yeah, you kind of do."

"Wow. I was expecting you to say 'oh, no, Dino, not at all.'"

"This from the guy who is constantly cruel in the name of honesty, Mr. I-tell-it-like-it-is."

"I am not cruel."

"You kind of are."

"Am I really?"

I looked at him.

"Fine. Name one time I've been really, truly mean."

"You called Ali stupid."

"She's was being annoying!"

"She was extremely torn up about it. She's very sensitive."

"Ali? Sensitive?" He was utterly incredulous.

"Yes, sensitive. She was almost in tears later. She's insecure about her intelligence."

"I don't really think she's stupid."

"I know that, but she doesn't."

He shook his head. We walked in silence for a moment.

"Awful couple," he said.

"Sorry, what?"

"Awkward couple."


"Mercle and Charlene."


"They just walked by."

"I didn't notice."

"They're a weird couple."

"Agreed. I can't imagine wanting to date Mercle."

"I can't believe anyone would date Charlene."

"Maybe that's why they're together. Neither of them can get anybody else."


The irony of the two of us, both perpetually single because we've never bothered to try, critiquing people who's only difference is that they actually did, remained unsaid. After all, when one is trying to make oneself feel better about one's lonely state, it is advisable to point out the many flaws of relationships.

This is similar to both Owen's and Dino's prom related attitudes. They both have given the absolute same description I did for why they didn't want to go to counties- I don't like music, it's a lot of drunk people, I can't dance, etc. I know, however, that my issues were actually rooted in "who the hell will I go with" and general insecurity about the same topic, and I have a feeling that Dino and Owen think the same thing.

Caroline actually said to me later that Owen ought to just ask someone, even her, his cousin, because he's nice enough that it's unlikely someone would turn him down. I have a feeling that Dino's luck would not be as good, although one never knows.

Dino's other reason: since he can't drive, the transportation would be awkward, and he doesn't want to humiliate himself by letting his date drive.

I think that he was just making up stuff by that point, but to each his/her own.

The other reason I have not posted is that I haven't ridden a horse at a speed faster than a walk in ages.

February 2, 2010

Book Lists

Here is Crazy's list of books that would, ideally, be taught in a high school. Here are those which I have read, or will read:
-The Odyssey, unfortunately
-selections from The Canterbury Tales are next year
-so is The Scarlet Letter
-selections from Emerson, but at church, not school.
-selections from Thoreau, although I read Walden during the summer.
-Little Woman, but I read that, for myself, in elementary school
-Jane Eyre, a summer book, again.
-A Tale of Two Cities, in sophomore English
-Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and A Midsummer Night's Dream
-The Sun Also Rises, which I'm midway through. Also, Crazy wrote the following: "I like it better than A Farewell to Arms and HUGELY better than that stupid story where he chases around the fish." I agree with her whole-heartedly.
-The Great Gatsby, which I read this fall
-a short story by Woolf

I'm rather appalled that she didn't include Catcher in the Rye, which really ought to be on any list, in my opinion.

I also found a list here of thirty books everyone should read before their 30th birthday:
  1. Sidartha- from what I've heard, I'll pass, although it supposedly helps on SATs.
  2. 1984- I should probably read that one eventually.
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird- I read it in eighth grade, and, to be honest, I think it's a bit overrated.
  4. A Clockwork Orange- would have been better if Otis hadn't spoilt it.
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls- it's Hemingway, and not Old Man and Sea, so maybe I'd like it
  6. War and Peace- sounds long and painful
  7. The Rights of Man- is written by Paine. More or less pain than War and Peace?
  8. The Social Contract- Rousseau. This is not a novel. I will not read it.
  9. One Hundred Years of Solitude- anything that "does not have a plot in the traditional sense" does not seem as if it will be a great deal of fun.
  10. The Origin of Species- well, that might actually be fun.
  11. The Wisdom of the Desert- sounds like something my mom would read before forcing a new supplement on me.
  12. The Tipping Point- Malcolm Gladwell. Can I leave it at Outliers?
  13. The Wind in the Willows- never heard of it. Sounds nice, though
  14. The Art of War- military strategy. blech.
  15. The Lord of the Rings- I've read some. Vastly overrated, again.
  16. David Copperfield- I started it and liked it, but we read it in school next year, so I didn't want to do the whold thing.
  17. Four Quartets- poetry? I'll pass.
  18. Catch-22- this I'd rather like to read.
  19. The Great Gatsby- been there, done that.
  20. The Catcher in the Rye- see #19
  21. Crime and Punishment- sounds foreign and confusing. What fun!
  22. The Prince- Machiavell. Will probably destroy my optimistic worldview
  23. Walden- I read it. Loved it. Highly recommend it.
  24. The Republic- Plato. Not a novel. "Gripping and enduring" makes it sound like bad sex.
  25. Lolita- this I'd like to read.
  26. Getting Things Done- self help. I'd really rather not.
  27. How to Win Friends and Influence People- more self help. And it sounds snooty.
  28. Lord of the Flies- I've always wanted to read that one.
  29. The Grapes of Wrath- I'm sorry, but I really just don't like Steinbeck.
  30. The Master and Margarita- Emily read this, our teacher hadn't heard of it, but it's apparently quite good.
Yay books! Yay reading! Now, back to Hemingway.

February 1, 2010

The Search For the Perfect Pair

Today, in Science Research, I was sitting at a computer between Mario and Julie. Julie was doing science fair stuff. I didn't want to work, so I looked over at Mario's computer. On it was written the following:
Mario: The Boss
Owen: Mr. Reliable
Irving: The Answer
Bryant and Tybalt Vaseline: The Dynamic Duo

I snorted and he looked over at me.

"Sorry for staring over your shoulder, but, The Boss? Really?"

"It's for Mrs. Macdonald. I'm trying to persuade her to keep our team intact for Moody's."

I looked over the list critically. "Do you think Tybalt and Bryant ever get sick of being referred to as one unit?"

He shrugged. "I like the names, though."

"I don't know, 'The Boss' is a bit egoistic."

"Yeah, but look at Irving. The Answer isn't really modest."

"But you're the one writing it."

"I'll send it from a fake email address so she won't know who wrote it."

"I have a feeling she'll be able to guess."

"I wonder if I can use one I already have. I used to have one for Tom Smith, and I still get phone calls about it."

I gave him a confused look.

"Well, you know those free things on the internet? I made a separate email address for them, and I always said my name was Tom Smith."

"You gave them your phone number?" I was shocked.

Wallace, who was on Mario's other side, made a garbled noise that sounded vaguely like a laugh.

"I wanted the free stuff!"

"You're not supposed to give out your phone number!"

"It's not like they knew my name. Besides, I moved across town later, and now it doesn't matter."

I shook my head and returned to reading an article for anthropology. A few minutes later he turned back to me.

"You know, I think you might be right. Dynamic Duo is a bit unfair to Bryant and Tybalt, cause they both really are smart in their own right. I think I'll do Batman and Robin instead."

This after he asked Garrett whether shape-memory polymers could be used to make a bat-cape.

"Which is Batman and which is Robin?"

He rewrote the statement to say

Bryant and Tybalt Vaseline: Batman and Robin (In no particular order)

"It still makes it seem like only one of them is useful. And people are going to assume that Tybalt is Robin, which is kind of unfair."

"True. Anyone know any more even superhero teams?"

"Superman and Superwoman," suggested Wallace.

I started cracking up. Mario searched 'dynamic duos' in google and clicked the wikipedia page. I searched superhero teams and got a list on wikipedia.

"You know, I think Mrs. Macdonald is more likely to have heard of these," I said.

"What do you mean?"

"That page is about the Korean pop group Dynamic Duo."

"Oh. Oops." He went to the same page I was on. "X-men?"

"Mystique is a girl. And there's more than two."

"Fantastic four! I wish there were only four of us, that would have been perfect."

"What about academic duos?"

"Scientists work alone."

"Watson and Crick?"

"These must be real DNA geeks, if you're calling them Watson and Crick," interjected Wallace.

"Who, Tybalt and Bryant? I guess so. They aren't really bio people, though," I said.

"Not Watson and Crick. Newton and [weird German name]? Everyone thinks they worked together, but they actually didn't."

Wallace and I looked confused.

"Maybe not. Hey, Dr. Verona, do you know of any famous pairs? Superheroes, or scientists, or something?"

"Batman and Robin."

"Where they're of equal standing," said Mario.

"No power imbalance," I added.

"What about the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow paper?"

"Alpha-beta-gamma?" I laughed.

"Look it up!" said Dr. V.

Mario searched it, and this wikipedia page showed up.

Dr. V spent about five minutes explaining the various reasons why this paper was cool. I laughed a lot, and Mario may have smiled a bit, but not a heck of a lot. When Dr. Verona left, Mario returned to google and typed something about famous pairs. He got a page with a few more on it. The fourth one down: Kirk and Spock.

I started laughing. "That's perfect! Bryant even looks like Spock."

"I can't believe it took us this long to think of that. Dr. Verona, why didn't you suggest Kirk and Spock."

"They aren't super heroes, they aren't really even a duo."

"Doesn't matter," said Mario. "It's perfect."