March 31, 2010

The Myriad of Uses for a Free Period

I spent the entire period today sitting in the math/science learning center talking to Mario. Well, first I was talking to Mr. Booth, asking him to sign my National Honors Society application. So then we had a brief discussion on that application, and then we started talking math team.

Mario at least had the decency to act a bit surprised that I didn't make states. Then we got another motivational Beat Treeburg! speech from Mr. Booth about wanting to watch them squirm. Honestly, I think competitiveness should be more about being the best than watching the losers squirm, but Mr. Booth has a different opinion, I guess. Eventually, the Learning Center woman shushed the three of us and Mario and I returned to our work. Well, I checked my email, and he did something to the essay he was writing for Economics.

At some point, he turned around to talk to Bryant, who was taking a test on the other side of the room. "What would you say about this?" he asked.

Bryant ignored him, so Mario began commentating. "Oh, he's rubbing the ear, this must be a good problem."

This made Bryant look up. "It's decent. Not really that interesting." He went back to his test.

"Ooh, he's got the chin going now."

"Look at that pen twitch," I added.

"That," said Mario, "is a significant pen twitch."

"Is testing that much better with commentary?"

"I'd say so. Oh, look, he's moving back to the ear."

Bryant grinned but didn't look up.

"He's pretty skilled, to be able to test through that sort of distraction," I said.

"Yeah. Too bad he can't get a prom date."

"He has a prom date."

"No. Really?" He turned back around. "Bryant, you have a prom date?"

"Yeah."

"Who is it?"

"It's Nancy. Stop distracting him," I said.

"Nancy? Seriously? Bryant, you getting Tybalt's sloppy seconds? You double tap her or something?"

This Bryant ignored completely.

"What?" I said.

"Tybalt went with her to Counties, right?"

"Yeah. I'm not sure that's precisely the language I would use, though."

He shrugged, and we both went and worked a bit more.


A later conversation:

"Oh, was it you who told Ms. Seltzia- oh, what was it...."

"The nipple thing?"

"No, she told us that was you."

"Damn, she told you?"

"Yeah. Then she wanted to know where you were that period- period 8- and I actually knew, which was kind of weird."

"Weird?"

"Knowing that many of your classes."

"Well, I haven't got very many, so it's not like it's difficult."

"True."

"You know, I never bothered to learn Scarlett's second semester schedule."

"Are you still...?"

He shrugged. "Well, I mean, I've developed this new theory."

"What's that?"

"I'm trying to figure out how to say it. It's like, the less invested I get, the better the payout. Like, when you try too hard, it doesn't work."

"A bit depressing." Why does that sound like a hint?

"Nah, I mean, once you change your attitude a bit, what really ends up happening is that you're putting in less effort for greater returns."

I shrugged, and we both went back to our respective work, which, by now, had evolved to him crafting a flow chart on Inspiration and saying "bam" every time he changed the shape of an object, and me flipping through xkcd cartoons, looking for good visuals for English.

March 30, 2010

Yellow

The last of the mindbenders...

Yellow is a color. It is a primary color to painters and a secondary color to anyone working with light. It includes shades and tints ranging from buff to goldenrod and can be used to establish a variety of emotions. Depending on the context and subject, yellow can create the feeling of a sunny glow or of a festering wound.

Many people associate the color yellow with Van Gogh's sunflower still lives. These paintings are in a palette of cheery yellows. The earlier paintings are pleasant, with newly picked flowers. A later one, the most famous, is done in warm yellow tones and shows flowers with less petals. Sunny yellow warmth is in both paintings, but the second also utilizes darker yellows in the dying stems.

Shakespeare, too, uses yellow's decaying connotations. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet describes "dead men's rattling bones, with reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls." I found that quote by using "find" on the entire text of Romeo and Juliet, searching for the word yellow. These rotting skulls contrast Van Gogh's sunny flowers.

This essay is so bad, I cannot believe that I passed sophomore English. I mean, this is my rewrite of it today, which is still pretty bad, but, well, the actual thing sucks balls, basically.

Not that I would ever dream of using such inappropriate language.

March 29, 2010

Math Class (the jokes on who?)

Today, I walked into calculus late.

This is not surprising, as I frequently walk into class late. On this particular occasion, I was late because I had to print out my note packets for class. I printed a spare for Nyx, ended up giving it to Jeremy, and then none of us needed them in the first place because the seniors were getting a class picture taken, so Mrs. James had elected to spend the entire class period communicating with the juniors.

As I was saying, I got to class, and, as I'm sitting down, I notice Mario and his freshly-cut hair (I told him last week that it looked good. I'm not certain that it does, but don't tell him I said so) and then sit in my normal seat, next to Gretchen.

"Guess who's he-re" said Nyx.

"I already noticed."

"Really?" asked Gretchen.

"Are you that surprised?"

I got a small laugh for that one.

I'm going to spare you a play-by-play of the entire class period and give a few highlights instead.

Mario then spent roughly fifteen minutes repeatedly taking the square roots of random numbers just to prove he could. He then tried to teach the rest of us how to do so, although I blatantly ignored his explanation and Boris claimed it was unnecessary (Boris was wrong).

At one point, Bryant was fiddling with something on his ipod. I think this is primarily because prolonged separation from technological devices is damaging to his health. Mrs. James started ribbing him a bit.

"Bryant how did you get on that site in school?"

"Huh?"

"He must have used a proxy. That's what they're called, proxies, websites that let you access other-" said Boris.

"I can show you what I was on if you want."

"I really don't think she needs to see that," advised Jeremy.

"Oh, I wouldn't wouldn't worry about it," said Mario. "He can't really get into it without the sound."

Gretchen and I nearly died. As Tybalt said later, "I laughed so hard that I went lightheaded."

"What time do you think the seniors are getting back?" asked Mrs. James.

"Never."

"Yeah, definitely never."

"But I was going to teach!"

"What's the next chapter on, polar or something, right?" said Sergio.

"Yes, polar," answered Bryant.

"I remember polar," said Mario.

"Which one is that?"

"The circular graphs, with the Rs and thetas."

"Oh, THOSE. The butt graphs," said Jeremy.

"They don't look like butts," said Mrs. James.

"Oh, yes they do." Jeremy went to the board and drew a graph that looked rather like this, but turned sideways. "There's the right cheek." He wrote RC on that side. "The left cheek," he said, writing LC, "and I think we all know what that one is."

"I still don't think it looks like a butt," said Mrs. James.

"No, you're drawing the wrong graph," said Mario, jumping up from the seat he'd stolen from the invisible person who sits there ordinarily and taking Jeremy's marker. He drew something rather like this, but turned sideways, and with the upward facing petal elongated and the other two squished up so that it looked like certain male anatomy.

"Okay, that does not look like that at all!" exclaimed Mrs. James. "It is a three petaled rose, not a, a, a-"

"Penis?" somebody filled in.

"It's a thee petaled rose! And the petals are all the same size, like this-" she redrew it"-not like that AT ALL!"

I must say, I adore her for being more upset about the mathematical wrong than the impropriety.

March 26, 2010

On Turning 17

I missed my own birth time this evening. Whoops.

Oh, well. I'm not that distressed. I mean, it's cool to turn a year older, to have another year of memories behind you. It's just, I have this big moment of "growing older many times a year"- when I start the school year, finish the school year, Christmas, New Years, my birthday...it adds up.

This does, however, mark a year from when I decided to start blogging. Well, as I'm sure you're aware, it's not like I actually did, but we can ignore that fact.

I think that's enough musing for a day. Who wants to hear about Mario?

Well, today in science research I went over to the computer right away, with Julie, but the one on the end didn't work, so I switched over her, and ended up sitting between Julie and Mario. On the other side of the bank of computers, her feet propped up on the table next to the printer, sat Krystal.

Aside from asking Mario if he was going to class tomorrow (as of right now, yes, but if anything changes he'll text me) and noting that he got a haircut ("it looks nice." "Thanks.) I mostly stared at my powerpoint and occasionally chattered with Julie about birthdays and Fridays and other information of some interest but not interesting enough to repeat.

At some point, somehow, we got to talking about gym, or being late, or something to the effect of Mario showing up half an hour late for gym this morning.

"Was that actually half an hour?" I asked.

"Yeah, about."

"Remind me again how you still have credit in gym?"

"Oh, all the absences are excused."

"How do you manage that?"

"I woo the woman at the front desk."

"You know Patty?!?" interjected Krystal (assume that all of her dialogue is in all caps with multiple punctuative symbols at the end).

"That's her name?" said Mario.

"I don't understand this whole wooing business," I said again.

"Well, I basically convinced her that if she gave me an excused note, that was all she had to do, but if she gave me an unexcused, she would need to go online, and fill out a form, and it would really just be far too much trouble."

"And that actually worked?"

"Once."

"So what'd you do today?"

"I said I had to pick up my brother."

"Because your brother doesn't live with you..."

"I go to the gym before school."

"Ah." I crinkled my eyebrows, thinking, as always.

"Wait, you go to the gym before school?" said Krystal, loudly, as always.

"Yes."

"Do you shower?"

"What?"

"Don't you smell bad?"

"Um."

"Do you shower when you go to the gym."

He looked at her.

"Wouldn't you smell bad?"

"What, do you want to smell me or something?"

Krystal, taking him entirely at his word, stood up and walked around the desks. She started leaning towards him and he stood up, using what height he has to his advantage. She put her nose near his arm and sniffed.

Mario looked rather confused as she continued sniffing up his arm. Julie and I were, by this time, in near-hysterics.

"I can't smell anything," announced Krystal.

"Um," said Mario.

"Lemme try your hair," she said, unsuccessfully attempting to bring her nose close enough to his hair to smell it. She then brought a stool over.

Mario tensed and leaned back slightly, his eyes all screwed up. His face looked like one a small child would make before getting a shot, something of an anticipatory wince.

Dr. Verona caught sight of Krystal on the chair and said "Krystal, demerit."

"He made me do it!"

Mario snorted but returned to his work, which seemed to consist of repeatedly highlighting the same words on a UPenn website.

"When you scroll over a person, it highlights the fields they work in, and when you scroll over a field, it highlights the people."

"That's handy."

"I suppose so." He then proceeded to give the computer monitor that oddly intent stare of his, and Krystal returned to her seat, and the conversation ended.

March 25, 2010

I would talk about the sweatpants...

but they've been talked to death. Instead, I will share the bajillion compliments about the writing on my english paper, and we can all pretend that the compliments are about us and feel happy. Because, truly, I believe that simply reading nice words can improve our self-concept. Or, well, something to that effect.

-nice use of polysyndeton
-nice us of concrete details
-so much that's conceptually interesting here
-(He was 16 (maybe? less showy anyway))
-well-put
-unneeded?
-too clich├ęd?
-you might play with asyndeton here
-good sentence length variation
-was
-or just "couldn't sleep"
-I'm a little confused
-good use of great litotes.
-this is great
-(is this needed?)
-same question
-I love this repetition
-great
-beautiful description
-good
-good use of polysyndeton
-good
-good
-love the evanescence
-i love this
-great
-then
-great close

Me? Self-indulgent? Never (insert shifty eyes here)

Those (shifty eyes that unfortunately break my html block) are called shifty eyes. I learned them from Andy, whose name I can't figure out how to pronounce but I suppose I'll have to learn eventually.

And, to finish this off, I'm going to add another mindbender. The dwellings one is just never going to end, unfortunately. I'm sure you're *very* disappointed.

"We turn to stories and pictures and music because they show us who and what and why we are, and what are relationship is to life and death, what is essential, and what,despite the arbitrariness of falling beams, will not burn." -Madeline L'Engle

I must say, great use of polysyndeton. Oh, yeah, it's saying we learn from art. Books help us discover who we are, what we fear, and just help us understand stuff, like, in general. Remind me to practice these intro things for the ACTs.

New Moon, by Midori Snyder, is an awesome book in which Jobber succeeds only by understanding herself. I would go into detain about the climax of the book, but I wouldn't want to spoil it, so I won't. The theme of the story is that the tools to save others already reside inside us; all that remains is to find them. This explains how we truly are and makes the art meaningful.

Stories also allow those of us still in the plane of the living to comprehend death. The Christian bible uses Jesus, the Greek myths se Hades' realm, and, weirdly, my saved version of the mindbender ends here, with the sentence "The better people are allowed to drift freely, floating like browned leaves, while the more nefarious are given painful punishments that will last an eternity."

How decidedly odd.

March 22, 2010

Facebook, English, and other Interesting Occurrences

Last week, Mario friended Genie on facebook. I told her that if he so much as said one word to her, she was to tell me immediately, and if it was anything creepy, I was going to threaten him, my unthreatening, kind-hearted demeanor be damned. Nobody messes with my sister.

Today, Krystal yelled across the English room to me.

"Tea, I didn't know you had a sister!"

"I do. I actually have two."

"Wow. I only found out yesterday."

"How odd."

"Yeah. You want to know how I found out?"

"How did you find out?"

"I stalked you on facebook!"

"What?"

"I was stalking you on facebook, and I was looking at your graffiti, and there she was."

"Oh, that's, um, nice, Krystal."

"I know."

Otherwise, in the realm of facebook, Mario is a creep, and Andy is totally awesome, even though it's starting to take me more than a half an hour to respond to his posts.

March 21, 2010

Beloved has been growing on me

Somehow.


Oddly.


Very, very oddly.

We have a bit of a love-hate relationship, Beloved and I. I love the narrative style, the strange mix of what was with what wasn’t, what is with what isn’t. I love the way it mostly follows a straight storyline, then changes its mind and twists and bends and turns. There’s something about the unexpectedness that makes me pay just a little bit more attention, like a plot twist, but fascinating as opposed to exciting.


My qualm with the book is how emotionally draining it is to read it. Yes, it is designed to provoke sadness, but if it causes so much hurt that the reader stops moving forward, then it’s undermined its own position. Reading a book should not lead me to think of masochism. Yet, the more I’ve read, the less the pain within has bothered me.


There’s some odd beauty in its undulations. I didn’t really see this until it took a sudden dive into the two “I am Beloved and she is mine” chapters. I read the first one at night, before bed, and I went to sleep with “a hot thing” echoing between my ears. When I finally chased it away, I was left with repeating pairs of words, words not even in the chapter itself but that still were stuck, reverberating, inescapable.


The next morning I went on to the poem chapter. I don’t know that it’s actually a poem, since I liked it, and I don’t tend to like poems, but these lines had voices, the same repetitiveness that characterizes Beloved, and words that felt like baby-talk, almost. Words that lacked meaning and yet had twice as much. It’s funny, really. I still have trouble reading the book, sitting down and digging in and immersing myself, but I can still see it, in my head, and it’s becoming beautiful.

March 19, 2010

After School Unadventurous Adventures

I left Spanish this afternoon with Gretchen and Avon, and we were the nearly last, if not the very last, people to leave. Avon went down the first staircase to catch her bus, and Gretchen and I sped up, soon overtaking Dino and Sonny, who, while moving at a reasonable rate, couldn't match what Richard calls Gretchie's ridiculously fast pace. We then proceeded to talk about Dino, but, despite his relative proximity, he didn't notice.

Then Gretchen ended up wrapped in some conversation with Sonny, Dino forged on ahead, and I followed far enough behind him that it didn't seem worth the effort to chase after him just to awkwardly disengage upon reaching the bathroom.

By the time I extracted my wallet from my backpack and journeyed downstairs in search of a bake sale, the lobby seemed almost deserted, and there was, alas, no bake sale. I located Nyx by means of her floral shirt (which is very pretty, by the way) and announced myself to her, Kathrya, and Tybalt by means of a request for food.

I was very disappointed to discover that Tawny's baklava, which had previously been in the locker she shares with Nyx, had been removed. I pulled out some pretzels, which Kathrya and Tybalt agreed didn't taste like "real pretzels," and Nyx left for the dodgeball game, and the three of us stood somewhat oddly in the lobby for a few minutes. Brian came by asking for members of his team, and a bit later, in a matching tee, Rodney walked past.

Rodney can be identified by the fact that, in my English class today, Ms. Seltzia mentioned tessellations. I said that they were my absolute favorite, and Rodney was, sadly enough, the only person in class who got the joke.

Kathrya, Tybalt and I eventually started walking towards the cars, and we saw Bryant walking towards us, and then we all turned around and walked out to the parking lot.

The only bit of the conversation I can remember is that something about Dino came up, and Bryant said, somewhat out of nowhere, that Dino has a really annoying voice. I then mentioned something about being really confused when he started laughing at me in the language lab until I realized that the audio system was making chipmunk voice, and there was a fair amount of me trying to figure out where to walk, because I didn't like being way out on the edge, because it's hard to talk across four people, but it felt sort of weird to drop back, so I think there ended up being a fair amount of weaving about, but I suppose it worked.

When we reached the vehicles, Bryant requested his ride to unstickered parking, and Kathrya and I both volunteered.

"You want to ride in the truck?" I asked. "It's pretty fun."

"It is," said Kathrya, "extremely cool."

Bryant consented, so we waved goodbye to the lovebirds (yes, I am going to call them that). I stood on that random black bar on the underside of the truck that is probably not random at all and meant for standing on to throw stuff in the back, and threw my backpack and lunch into the bed of the truck. Bryant seemed apprehensive.

"Do I need to put mine back there?"

"Just hang onto it."

"What do you do when it rains?"

"I don't. I mean, I haven't had a passenger when it was raining. Actually, wait, no, I drove Ginny home. She just held everything. It's a bit crowded, though."

He nodded, and I put in the key and rolled down the windows. As soon as power reached the stereo, Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone" started blaring at a somewhat inhuman volume. I turned it down a bit and pulled out of the parking spot.

"You mess with it," I said.

"This is fine."

"I hate this song."

He did something to the music controls that I didn't see because I was driving. Britney started singing "and I'm caught in between, counting 1, 2, 3-"

"Oh, that's loads better," I said.

He laughed and did some different button pushing and the music changed again, to something instrumental, familiar, and yet somehow out of reach.

"Should I go right up here?"

"It doesn't matter."

"I'll go straight then."

I turned out of Paperclip, still trying to figure out what the song was. "It's Lady Gaga, singing, well, something, I just...."

"Bad Romance."

"Ah, yes. I probably ought to have known that."

I wasn't looking at him, but I could practically feel his shrug.

From there, we somehow managed to discuss both what house the blueprint on the dashboard was for (he read off my address, so I assumed it was my house, but it turns out that he actually read the builder's address label, and it was for a different project) and, after I took a turn a little bit too quickly, whether I was allowed to have passengers in the car.

I said that as long as he could pretend to be my twelve-year-old sister, we'd be fine, but I wasn't sure he could pull it off, and, oh, wait, my sister is actually thirteen, I totally know how old my siblings are.

I think I got a laugh for that one.

And then there was something about parallel parking, and then we were at his car, parked as crookedly as predicted, and he was gone, and I was coming to an intersection I wasn't accustomed to, trying to determine the best possible route to a pastry.

March 18, 2010

Providence, Fate, and Blue

A retelling that is almost kind of not at all true, but holds truth, all the same, in its own strange way.


I fell asleep as soon as I got in the car. I pulled my mother’s baseball cap down over my eyes, buried my peripheral in hair, dropped my feet on the dashboard and proceeded to ignore the world. My mother was driving, controlling the careful phases of breaking and accelerating so precisely that I wasn’t sufficiently jostled. She was quiet, not bothering to attempt conversation with a daughter who was dead to the world.

I didn’t wake up until we hit traffic, and, even then, I tried to keep my eyes closed after attempting to view the world and temporarily blinding myself. I read off the directions with a hand on the brim of the baseball cap, shoving it down still further to eliminate glare. When we arrived in Providence and I climbed out of the car, I could conjecture that it was sunny, but I hadn’t seen the sky.

I walked three blocks to the admissions office without bringing my eyes above knee-level. The light was too harsh, my head too sensitive; I saw no need to risk painful sunspots dancing before my eyes. The information session was held in a poorly lit room with the windows behind me. The sky, whatever color it was, could not be perceived.

I finally looked up later, as we left the building, when I tripped spectacularly on the stairs and managed, somehow, land on my back, my head back, my face tilting up, my eyes open. I saw the sky. I saw the blue. I saw the blue so bright I can barely stand to see it, so blue that red and green and yellow and black and brown and orange do not exist, so blue that the entire universe stretches up above in a sky so deep that the sun seems close.

I saw the blue, and I was in a car, in the back seat, a car winding slowly around and around a mountain, and, with each revolution to the side away from the other hills, I saw the sky, the blue, the blinding blue, stretching out over and above and around the endless plains that somehow managed to exist in mountainous Utah. I saw the blue, the bright blue, and I was standing over the Grand Canyon, looking at the sky made somehow bluer by the red rock, bluer by the vastness.

I saw the blue, and I was in a gondola by myself, suspended over ski slopes that once held snow and would hold snow again but now held flowers and grasses and stones. I propped my feet up across from me, pushed my hair back from my face, tilted up my eyes and proceeded to view the world, to almost touch the mountains, to see the sky. The gondola stopped mid-journey, and a breeze came through the window and the gondola rocked and I began to sing a song of my own, a song for then without words, but soon with a story, of flying and running and living, but mostly of flying. I sang the song to the sky, sang it to the bright blinding blue that was deeper than night and stretched farther than the sun and would hold me, and cradle me, and keep me warm with its beautiful everywhere blue.

My eyes closed and opened, and my mother reached me, helped me up, and the blue was suddenly gone, replaced by tired bricks and weary ivy, but I could still see it, and I could feel the mountains and the canyon and the plain, and suddenly, in Providence, there was a planet.

March 17, 2010

Rememory

What do I have that is worth re-remembering, worth breaking apart into a thousand tiny fragments of perspective, of me and mine and ours and more, until the story itself becomes almost entirely kind of partway obscured by the words, and most certainly blocked out by strength of feeling.

It's a big assignment, to write something emotional, something enjoyable. Weirdly, I want to do the depression again, to pick it apart from my own view as well as Nyx's and Gretchen's and Amy's. It's just, last time I wrote about it, I became a complete bitch in the process. And, last time I wrote it, it turned me into a crying, angry bitch who screamed at her mother for offenses committed long ago. To top it off, it was for the same teacher I have now, but with two years less of maturity and knowledge and words behind me. Gray is still it, to me, though. That's how it was before, colorless, and I don't know how to write it with color. It's gray, my memory of sadness.

And yet, what is my memory of happiness. I look back for a happy moment, look back for something, and I know their was contentment, know there was joy and excitement and happy and love and hope, but what stands out, what can be reconsidered and rewritten and torn apart and pieced back together and made into a creation that is no longer purely the memory but is more?

Nyx just said "getting ridiculous test scores." Could I do a rememory of the SAT, of the scores, of the pain and the pressure finally exploding like a bottle of champagne into pure joy? But, even that isn't all happy. It's happiness tinged, tilted by effort, a mistrust of tests, a feeling that even though the numbers say I'm better than just about everyone else, I'm not better, or I am, but not enough, or not in the right ways, or something, because always, always always always there is this pressure, this urge to do better.

Even the happy has been destroyed by the pressure.

Is this what it is, to be an overachiever? Is that what I am now, no more semi about it? Have I outgrown the title that began this? I can't have. After all, I still sleep eight hours a night. I still stress over little tiny details like essays.

And yet, why isn't there anything happy. Why can't I find happy? It's as if everything I have right now is colored, hopefully just by my headache. Maybe when I try again, in the morning, I'll have a memory worth remembering.

This is the problem, I think, by choosing to avoid depression by constantly looking to the future. The present can be difficult to stomach. The past can be impossible to confront.

I promise to be less emo tomorrow.

March 15, 2010

More Silly Questions for Funsies

If you could go anywhere in the world with Nyx, where would you go?
It wouldn't matter where, so long as I was with her. But preferably somewhere that one of us is able to communicate in.

Is Rube the kind of friend that you would want to have as a friend?
Of course. I wouldn't be friends with him otherwise.

If Nyx died, what would you do?
I don't even want to think about that.

Would you tell Ginny honestly how you felt?
Of course I would! God knows I've done so often enough in the past.

If Genie said he/she loved you, what would you do?
Hug her.

Is Boris old fashioned?
I don't know, but I'm going to say yes.

What is Genie's greatest wish?
To find the perfect lemon-related recipe.

How big is Julie's bed?
Approximately the size of Argentina.

What music do you think Mario is listening to right now?
I have a feeling he's still reading his "The Physics of Semiconductors" textbook and thus doesn't have time for music. Either that or his power is out and his ipod is dead and he's holed up at Starbucks waiting for a miracle.

What are the last 4 digits in Kathrya's cellphone number?
I have absolutely no idea. I'm clearly a horrible friend.

What was the last thing Boris ate when you were with him/her?
I have never seen Boris eat. Or, if I have, I don't remember it.

When was the last time you hugged Dino?
Never....

Does Julie have any relatives in jail?
Probably. I mean, if you extend the relatives far enough, it's impossible for her not to.

Have Kathrya and Boris ever gone cow-tipping together?
No. I can't imagine Boris cow-tipping. I can't imagine Kathrya being that mean to an innocent little bovine. So, no.

What's Dino's worst pet peeve?
Being told that his voice sounds like a robot.

What movie would you watch with Genie?
Whatever she feels like watching.

Do you think Dino dances like crazy when no one is looking?
Doesn't everybody?

Does Gretchen like to sing in the shower?
I don't know, but probably.

What's Ginny's favorite colour?
BLUE! SPARKLING BLUE!

Does Nyx blow dry his/her hair? or just let it dry on its own, or towel dry?
She probably blow-dries it sometimes, but probably not all that often.

Have you ever gone to the beach with Genie?
Oh, once or twice.

Does Nyx ever go fishing?
She'd rather sail, but she's up for anything.

Do you like Boris's hands or feet better?
Ummmm......

Does Mario have curly hair or straight hair?
Straight. But slightly puffy on occasion. But mostly straight.

What's Boris's favorite kind of drink?
Water...?

What's Dino's favorite book?
The Land Before Time. I don't care if it isn't a book.

Does Julie have any pet names? How did he/she get them?
Julie mc Julie pants? That's the best I can do on such short notice.

What would you like to call Kathrya besides his/her name?
Awesome. Duhhhh.

Did Gretchen grow up here?
Not originally, but after a point.

Which are Genie's top bands or singers?
I don't know, what ever she's listening to these days.

What school activities does Mario participate in?
Math team. With me. That is actually purely coincidental- I joined first.

Where was Boris born?
Somewhere.

Does Rube have any siblings?
I don't know. I don't think so, as I've mentioned my sisters plenty of times but he's never mentioned any, but it's always possible.

Where did Mario go for vacation in the summer?
I don't know. He did that summer thing in Boston, though, does that count?

What job does Dino want to do when he/she grows up?
Truth-Speaker, but unfortunately for him, that profession doesn't exist in the real world.

What do you think Mario has on his/her bedside table?
A picture of Scarlett.

Does Genie have posters up on his/her room walls?
Yup.

Does Mario still have tonsils?
I have no idea.

Which does Rube like better - Coke or Pepsi?
Again, no clue.

What is your idea of a hot romantic date with Ginny?
We can do math packets. Romantically.

What is Nyx's favorite color?
Yellow. Sometimes.

Have you ever fallen in love with Mario?
Love is a strong word. Like? Lust? Sure. Love is a bit harder to define.

What is the thing you love most about Julie?
She always, always has something nice to say, and is far kinder to me than I deserve, and is totally smart, to boot.

Did you ever dislike Mario?
Yes. Yes yes yes. He was so so so so annoying.

If Julie had a lot of money, where would he/she go on vacation?
Somewhere fun.

What are Ginny's major goals in life?
Write something awesome. Figure out what she wants to do with her life then do it. Accumulate large quantities of sparkles.

Has Julie ever lied to me and if so, why?
White lies, if any. Beyond that no.

Do you see yourself with Gretchen in another year, 3 years, 5 or so?
Yes, yes and yes. Even if we aren't in the same place, we are going to keep in touch.

If you have the chance, what would you probably say to Boris?
Please go away.

Where is the place that you want to go the most with Dino?
The state math meet. Although, given the option, I'd prefer to take Gretchen.

Which part of Mario that you hate the most?
The whole multiple-personalities thing.

Which colors does Mario wear the most?
I'm not sure. Yes, I can categorize his wardrobe, but there's no one color that dominates.

Have you ever seen Genie sad?
Yes.

Are you afraid to lose Rube?
Not really? I mean, I like him, he's my friend and all, but I could soldier on alone if he decided to go his separate way.

If Boris won $1 million, what would he/she do?
Buy something. Then invest it. He's boring like that. Boring Boris.

Can you share 3 good points about Nyx?
She's persistent, insightful, and loyal.

Do Gretchen and Rube hate each other?
They haven't met.

Christmas is coming, would you want to celebrate it with Dino?
Isn't he Jewish? But sure, if he wants to help my dad carry that ridiculously heavy tree, he's welcome to it.

Is Rube a shopaholic or no?
I highly doubt it. As addicted to the internet as me? Yes. Shopping, not so much.

Name one of Mario's body parts you simply love?
Hands. Well, and forearms, which kind of includes hands. And his hair on Saturday, but I'm not sure "I like this part when wet" is a legitimate answer.

Which is Kathrya's favorite season?
Summer, probably. No, winter. No, summer. No, winter.

What place would you like to visit with Kathrya that you haven't been to yet?
Again, anywhere she wants to go as long as she's with me.

What is Nyx's most prized possession?
The yellow pants. I mean, seriously, those are sick. Alternately, her boat.

Another Stolen Questionnaire

They make me happy.

1. With black hair: Ginny, darling.
2. Younger than you: Genie
3. In your class: Gretchen
4. One of your best friends: Kathrya, as the others show up elsewhere.
5. Older than you: if Mario wasn't conspicuously located below, I'd pop him in here. I think I'll use Dino instead, since he just turned older than me last week.
6. That lives close to you: Nyx
7. With curly hair: Julie, of course
8. That lives far away: Rube, I suppose.
9. You are unduly fond of: Mario. As if that's news to anyone.
10. You dislike: Rachel. Which is silly- I am, clearly, so much better than her, I shouldn't expend the energy. Boris, then. He's infinitely more dislikable.

How old is Gretchen?
Sweet sixteen, just like me. Until soon! yay!

Are Mario and Ginny friends?
Not really, no. Actually, I'm not certain I've ever heard them have a conversation. I haven't heard him say anything mean about her, though. I mean, he doesn't generally say unduly mean things unless he's around Irving and Irving is saying mean things, but I can't say that Irving talks about Ginny, so no.

Does Genie have any pets?
Yup. A dog. Coincidentally, it is identical to my dog.

Why do you love Kathrya?
Because she's always willing to offer a hug or a kind word, and can make me laugh even when I'm crying.

Does Dino hate Kathrya?
Oh, most definitely. As he said today: ewwww Kathrya. I don't like Kathrya. (although that was more because I pointed out that he'd said her name without insulting her in the same sentence).
What is Nyx's weakness?
That spot on her neck that everyone has where you pass out if somebody pushes it.

Where does Boris go to school?
Paperclip High, conmigo.

Who do you talk to more, Genie or Rube?
Genie, easily.

In how many years does Julie turn 21?
Uh...*counts on fingers* 5?

Whats Dino's favourite band?
The Land Before Time. We can pretend that's a band, right?

Would you ever have sex with Ginny?
Oh, yes. Mad, passionate sex. With, uh, passion. And stuff.

How far away does Gretchen live from you?
Not particularly distant.

Do you hang out with Rube a lot?
On Saturdays, at class. I'd go to pizza with him afterwards, but then I'd either have to pay for my own cab or miss the train, which just isn't going to work.

Who is crazier, Nyx or Mario?
It depends on how you define crazy. But Mario under more definitions.

How long have you known Kathrya?
Since sophomore year gym class.

Does Genie like Boris?
Genie doesn't know him, but I highly doubt she'd like him.

How old is Ginny?
My age.

What is your favourite thing about Rube?
Severe geekitude.

Have Kathrya and Dino made out?
Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa. No.

Is Mario related to you?
No, fortunately.

What would you change about Boris?
Let's not talk quite so slowly.

What colour of hair does Kathrya have?
Blonde. Flaxen? I don't know what flax really looks like.

Is Ginny immature?
Not at all.

Whats your relationship with Nyx?
Nyxie is my bffl-ie

Is Rube still in school?
Yes. He probably even had school today. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Where does Julie live?
Across town.

Mario have any siblings?
Yup, mini-mario, the younger, taller, angrier counterpart.

What sports does Dino play?
Tennis. And math. Because math is a sport.

Have you ever held hands with Ginny?
No. No, I have not.

What kind of eyes does Kathrya have?
Blue ones. They're very pretty.

Have Nyx and Rube ever dated?
They haven't even met.

Have you ever seen Dino cry?
No. Now that would be interesting.

Do you have any classes with Boris?
Yes, sadly. Calculus. Woe is me.

Does Dino drink alcohol?
He likes to pretend that he does.

When is Nyx birthday?
ENERO!

If you had to go out on a date with Gretchen, where would you go?
THE MOOOOON!

Does Mario like to shop?
Considering the only time his wardrobe changes in Christmas, I highly doubt it.

How often does Kathrya go online?
Frequently.

Are Dino and Mario childhood buddies?
I don't think so...

Is Julie usually late, early or right on time?
I'd say on time.

Do you think Rube is happy with his/her life for the most part right now?
Probably, but I don't really know. Maybe parts of it.

Do you trust Julie?
Most definitely.

March 11, 2010

The funny thing about staying the same size is that nothing ever goes away


I stumble to the closet feeling as if I should be putting my pajamas back on rather than getting dressed. I smash my hand against the wall until I found the light switch and, squinting, I survey the overflowing buckets of clothing I started using a few years ago in order to keep my closet neat and tidy.

I take off what I’d slept in, a baggy tee from a middle school choir trip that had been worn to bed so many times that the conditioner from my hair had left a large white patch about the neckline. I don’t dwell on where the shirt had come from, don’t bother to send my mind back to getting whiplash on a rollercoaster and drinking myself sick with soda. It is far to early for reminiscing.

I reach into the drawer I keep my bras in, a drawer that is so full of underwear, underwire, and swimsuits that it no longer closes. I dig through it, searching for the practical skin-tone I bought last week. I skip past a bright blue bra, the first one I went to a store and bought, that, miraculously, still fits, despite its somewhat wretched appearance. I run a finger along its limp strap and considere walking into the store with my mother, blushing over the half-naked mannequins and trying to reason out why nearly every item in the store was emblazoned with the word “pink.”

I find the bra I’ve been looking for and put in on. I reach up for the t-shirt bin. I fumble through the softened cotton of the pink v-neck that I'd bought specifically to match the long lavender skirt I spent all of sixth grade dreaming of, the fuzzed print on the shirt that my sister and I both have, that we would wear together while bumping hips and laughing, and the thicker, double-printed fabric of the pink shirt I bought before freshman year, the shirt I was wearing on the day that I lay out on the grass in the sunlight, seeing words and hearing music, and noticed that, surprisingly, I was actually happy.

Happiness is nice, but, after handling the bra, I don’t want pink. I switch to the next bin. I reach past the stiff, ribbed fabric of the long sleeved white shirt I had on when I was sent home from school for being a danger to myself and others, a shirt that I defiantly wore regularly for two years before the memory had receded so far that the defiance was no longer needed, and I saw the shirt was so ugly I didn’t want to wear it in the first place. I discover, then, the thin yet fluffy fabric of the shirt I wore the first day of my freshman year, a shirt that my mother bought me for my thirteenth birthday simply because I said I liked it, a shirt that, every time I look in the mirror while wearing it, I still see my fourteen-year-old self reflected in the mirror in my grandparent’s bathroom, wearing the swirling blue shirt, trying to determine why it was that my grandfather, when looking at me, seemed only able to see that I was everything his favorite was not, with all of the intelligence that could get me to the places my grandfather dreamed of for him, but that he would never be able to reach. I resign myself to his ignorance and take the shirt out.

I reach up for a short black skirt that always brings me back to my first day of sophomore year, sitting in Music Theory, the backs of my thighs frozen against the too-cold seat, wishing that I’d had the foresight to wear pants, or leggings, or anything that could have kept the creeping cold from stretching all the way to my bones.

I remember this and open up a second drawer, this one with two pairs of tights. The first pair is flamingly red and so thin that I avoid touching them for fear of creating runs and destroying a gift from my grandmother. The second pair is gray; I got this pair for Christmas last year, and fell so madly in love that I spent the rest of my holiday vacation running about the house in them. Holding them, I can feel myself sinking back into the comfortable chair in front of the fire, watching the flames as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer danced from the radio.

I sniff both pairs, testing for cleanliness. The grays have the same scent of laundry detergent the rest of my wardrobe does. Then I bring the reds to my face, and I am suddenly back in my grandmother’s house, standing in her closet, trying on the crazy old clothes, all my size, and dancing before the mirror. Then I am younger, every inch covered by her scarves, scarves that smell of the same closet and home and woman that the tights do, and I am twirling with my sisters to the music produced by a spinning record, and my grandmother is laughing and moving and twice my size, with her eyes whole and her hair long and her heart open to my own.

I slide my left foot into the tights and began to roll them up before I realize that, if I wear them and wash them and sweat in them and fill them with memories of my own, they will no longer be my grandmother’s tights. I remove my foot, roll the tights up, and return them to the back of the drawer.

I put on the gray tights, the short black skirt, and the tee-shirt that I loved freshman year. I put on the crumbling black sweatshirt that still bears the snags of adventure camp, that is still the only item I own that lets me feel fully protected from the little tiny pinpricks of mosquito legs that I still feel crawling beneath my skin in every dawn and dusk and wood. I slip into my piano flats, a pair that I wore for each performance of Beauty and the Beast, that I wore for every recital until I discovered that I could, in fact, pedal while wearing heels.

I pull the tights out one more time, inhaling the overwhelming sense of home, before leaving the closet behind.

March 10, 2010

On Getting in

RSI. Holy shit.

What actually happened was that I checked the mailbox three times before the mail actually came. When it did, I trembled a little bit as I removed the envelope I wanted and the small brown box that had been on top of it. I carefully tore the short side of the envelope to get it out faster. I read it frantically, and, at the moment I saw I was in, my mom pulled into the driveway. I yelled that I was in, waving the letter, then started saying “oh my god” repeatedly and grabbed onto her to stay upright. Then I went inside and started my homework.

It’s so weird. It’s like how, on American Idol, when they find out they’ve made it to the next round, their legs can’t hold them up and they fall over. It’s like that.

I’m accepted. I literally collapsed with shock after getting the letter.

I’m like a messed-up Weeble. I weebled and wobbled but I did fall down.

I was trembling so much that, even though I’d managed to get the damn thing open, I had to get my mom to read it.

I’m still in shock. I’ve basically come to terms with the fact that I got in. I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that I’m actually going to be there this summer.

I haven’t done homework in three days. I’m too preoccupied. I woke myself up this morning at seven thirty, still over excited, although I think the stuffy nose might have actually been the cause.

Oh my gosh, I’ve been spazzing so much. Seriously- I woke myself up before six this morning thinking in acronyms, my only thought “RSI! OMG!”

I didn’t finish my homework last night. I guess I should go back to that physics.

Oh, yeah. Hi, Mom. No, I kind of didn’t do any homework last night. Can I go into school late? Cool. I’ll read Beloved on my way there.

Am I excited? Well, I was fairly psyched yesterday, I guess. Now I’m all depressed about dead babies and crazy slaves and I can’t jump up and down, so I’m checking my progress report and wow! Look! I got two ‘sparkles like a gem’ on my progress report! This is best thing ever!

March 8, 2010

Here I Am, Blatantly Ripping Off Ginny's Stuff

My Six:
1-Mario
2-Nyx
3-Me
4-Gretchen
5-Tybalt
6-Irving (I think, for variety's sake, Bryant and Dino, my next to tags, shouldn't be repeated)

All 6 people move into the same house…

Who calls a bedroom first?
Irving. He just would.

Who goes straight to the bathroom to check their make-up?
Mario. And he's not checking his makeup, he's switching places with a clone.

Which person goes to the kitchen first?
Nyx. That one's easy.

You find out that friend’s number 4 and 6 are in the shower together. Do you care? And what do you do?
I would make sure he hadn't drugged her. Then I would make sure he didn't get her knocked up.

Which person has to sleep in the attic?
Mario, because he fights with Irving about the bedrooms and loses.

One room is a pink baby room, wants that room?
Nobody wants it, and Tybalt ends up stuck with it.

Who puts up so many posters that you can’t see the wall?
Nyx, probably.

House Party…(cause we're really the partying sort...)

Who decided to throw a party?
Nyx? Maybe? Or Irving? Nyx would probably get more people to come.

Who hides in their room while it’s going on?
Gretchen.

Who ends up making/buying all the food?
Me and Nyx.

Who starts a giant game of truth or dare?
I can't imagine any of us successfully pulling that off.

You find friend number 2 making out with the person you like, what do you do?
I would ask her how her boyfriend is doing, and take her blood alcohol level.

The Police show up, and friend number 5 called them… are you mad?
Nope.

You go to your room to sleep thinking everyone was kicked out, but you find some people you don’t know in your bed, now what?
Crash Gretchen's bed, since I've been fighting with Nyx about the boy.


Parents… (The day after your crazy party the parents of you and your friends pay a visit)

Who is grounded first?
Gretchen.

Who’s parents congratulate them?
Mine, probably.

Who is forced to move out for a bit?
Irving, maybe?

Who’s parents don’t care?
I don't know the guy's parents, so it's hard to say.


Who blames it on everyone else?
I blame Irving, he blames Mario, Mario blames me, and we all have a fun blame-shame triangle.

Back at the house…

Friend number 1 borrowed your Pj’s without asking, is that ok?
It depends on if I have spares. Also, I would want pictures of this ridiculousness.

Friend number 4 is blasting music, do you join him/her or shut it off?
Shut it off. Blasting music bugs me.

You have an exam tomorrow and friends number 2, 4, and 6 are being very loud, what do you do?
Tell them to go farther away. Alternately, move myself farther away.

Friend number 1 is hogging the bathroom all morning…
because all 8 of him have to shave.

Its April fools and someone took all your clothes and hid them, you have school in an hour, what do you do?
Run around screaming until someone takes pity on me.

Friend number 5 lost his cell phone… again!
He is permanently attached to Kathrya, so this is unrealistic.

You bought a really cute shirt!! What do you do with it?
Show it to Nyx.

Friend number 2 bought a dog for the house without telling anyone…
I'll warn Gretchen.

If there was someone singing in the morning who would it most likely be?
Me, probably.

If someone was considered the dad and the mom of the house, who would it be?
Ooooh. I don't know. Irving would attempt it, being the oldest, but Tybalt would be better, but Mario would beat out Tybalt, and I'm not sure if Mario would try to beat out Irving, but we would all like Tybalt better anyways. And the Mum would probably be Nyx. Or me. But I tend to need more mothering than her. Although, Gretchen could mother, but she can be a bit harsher.

If you wanted candy really badly and all of the 5 in the house had some, who would you take it from?
I would ask each of them for one sixth of their candy, and they would share, and then all six of us would have the same amount of candy.

If two people were caught making out in a closet who would it be?
Nyx would bring her boyfriend to visit, and then they would be caught wrestling in the kitchen. Does that count? Maybe not. Mario and Irving, then, definitely.

If someone had to watch you brush your teeth (every) morning, who would it be?
That's a really, really weird question.

There was two bags of chips bought at the store, but 20 minutes later they are gone. Who ate them?
Nyx or me. Possibly Mario.

Who would hate being in the house the most ?
Irving, definitely. Mario would be so happy Irving was there that he wouldn't mind.

Someone took (brand spanking new) pair of socks that were never worn, who is the thief?
Someone swept all the dirt under the rug, who was it?

If there was arguments in the house, who would be the ones arguing?
Gretchen and I would argue about my room being a complete and utter mess.

Who would be the one missing their boyfriend/girlfriend that wasn’t in the house with them?
Nyx and Tybalt both.

You walked down stairs in the middle of the night for a glass of water, someone is dancing on the table in their Leopard Thong, who is the crazy one?

I just mentally ran through the checklist of people and I am now so disturbed by the mental image of Irving in a leopard thong that I can't think anymore.

A pillow fight broke through, who started it?
Nyx, definitely.

There's a marathon of your favorite tv show, what is it? and who would be watching it with you?
I would be watching America's Next Top Model. Mario would be watching and comparing Tyra's advice to the advice in Cosmo.

Someone made a fort in the laundry room, who was the kid?
Nyx, most definitely. You fort builder, you.

There’s a prankster in the house that put plastic on the two toilets in the house, who are the pranksters?
Mario did it, but only because Irving told him to.

The musics too loud, who turned it up?
Nyx, duh.

Theres a mouse crawling on the floor all over the house,
a)who is the first one to scream?
b)and who is the one to jump is someones arms?
c)Who would be the one to kill it?

I scream and jump before realizing that it is a mouse and not a spider and calming down. Tybalt would do the manly thing and take the damn mouse outside.

Someone's crying, who is it and what happened?
I'm crying with Nyx and Gretchen because The Notebook was on TV.

Who made pancakes in the morning and almost caught the house on fire?
Tybalt. Definitely Tybalt.

Who gets sick of each other the fastest in the house?
Tybalt is ready to murder us after a week.

Someones tanning on the roof who is it?
Mario.

Who is the tallest in the house?
Tybalt, maybe? I don't know. I'm not sure how tall Irving is.

Who is the shortest in the house?
Gretchen, definitely.

Who is the loudest?
I'm not sure, to be honest.

Who is the clown?
Well, judging by their reaction when I screamed at the mouse, me.

Who is the most respectful?
Tybalt.

Who is the one you go to talk to the most?
Tie between Gretchen and Nyx.

Who is the one that always comes up with stupid ideas?
Mario, definitely.

Who's in bed first?
Mario and Irving. Together.

If someone woke everyone up with pots and pans who would it be?
Nyx.

Who is always dancing?
Me, most likely, dancing as I try to keep from knocking myself over.

Someone has the same sweater as you, so you get mad at them and who is it?
Irving. That sweater thief! How dare he copy my preppy v-neck!

You split ice all over the kitchen floor, who would be the one to slip on it first?
Me, of course. What kind of silly question is that?

March 6, 2010

Quantum Mechanics Confuses Me


This is primarily comprised of bad jokes and quotes, as, unfortunately, I really, really didn't understand the material.

In case you were wondering, photons make atoms excited. I suppose this is because atoms are jumping up and down, kind of, but not really.

Quantum mechanics focuses on particles and waves. I just missed the "map of the next two lessons" because I was zoned out looking at the really cute Asian boy on my right. Oops. I think he's Chinese, cause his eyes have a similar folding thing to Gretchen's, but I'm always awful at telling. Quantum mechanics is also when things are really small, like Planck's constant, which is also really small, 6.6 * 10^-16 eVs, although I'm not sure how big an eVs is, so that doesn't mean much.

Electric charge is quantized in multiples of e, which is the charge on an electron, not (1+1/n)^n. Light is also quantized and corpuscular, which according to Julie means occurring at dawn or dusk, which makes no sense, so I suppose we'll just ignore it. Angular momentum of electrons is also quantized, and I feel like that may be indicative of the various orbitals, but I really don't know.

Particle spin describes behavior of particles in magnetic fields, and it has "spatial quantization," in which vector arrows associated with the particles only point in specific directions with respect to magnetic field. Bosons and fermions are the two classes of particles. Bosons are whole integer numbers of a constant, and fermions are half, so it's basically like taking our odd/even numeric system and dividing by two.

Now, imagine a magnet. They line up north to south because that is the lowest energy configuration. Likewise, when in uniform electric fields, particles like to go in particular directions. I'm still not precisely certain why this isn't exactly the same thing as charge. Also, imagine electrons are spherical, like cows.

Moving electric charges reduce magnetic phenomenon. I have no clue what that sentence means, but it sounds profound, and it was in my notes. Now, I'm not going to talk about this equation, so let's discuss it in depth. Ah, well, that's confusing, let's not write it down. Also, everything about the spherical electrons is a lie. Moving along.

De Broglie found that massive particles (i.e. having mass, not big) exhibit wave properties, as does anything with momentum, its just that the wave-like nature decreases as objects get larger. A wave is a disturbance.

Also, my back hurts, and I want to lie down and sleep, so this will be finished at a later date.

March 4, 2010

Six Weeks


It was six weeks before I really got him to talk. Six weeks of nothing more than hi and hello and I’m fine and it was good and I’m going to get a coffee, I’ll see you after class.

It was pathetic, really, the entire situation. I’d arrive at the platform a quarter of an hour before the train arrived, and he’d show up twelve minutes later, clutching a paper bag, a newspaper, and a briefcase, looking for all the world like a businessman who had woken up one morning in an adolescent’s body and a teenager’s clothes. We’d exchange the slimmest of pleasantries before staring desperately into the distance in search of escape.

When the train arrived, he’d find the seat, but I’d sit first. He’d extract a bacon egg and cheese sandwich and a bottle of Tropicana orange juice from the paper bag, flip open The Wall Street Journal, and, aside from the greasy shifting of the sandwich, and the crinkling of the newspaper, and the rumbling of the train, there was remarkably little noise. The news was bad, and school was good, and his weekend was fine, and his class was interesting, and there was no statement that could not be compressed into a single word.

I hated it. I loathed him for ignoring my search for other students to sit with and I fumed every time he merely nodded in response to a question or comment. I stared pointedly out the window until the trees whipping past became too much for my eyes, and I let them shut, but I stayed awake, too angry to sleep.

I’d deliver a fast paced monologue on how awful he was each day when I arrived at class, the words exploding out after being pent up for so long. Before I started the final one of those twelve silent rides, I was ranting about how utterly obnoxious he was at the exact moment that he appeared behind me. I didn’t swear. I didn’t drop my bag, or start stuttering. I didn’t give any indication that all that he’d just interrupted a conversation centered on how annoying he was.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hey”

“You’re late.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s alright,” I said, but it wasn’t really.

We got in a cab and stared out the windows while the cab-TV blared, and we arrived at the station and stood on the platform, and he fingered his worse-for-wear newspaper, and I stared desperately into the wind, my hair flying about my face, hoping for a train, and soon there was a train, and we walked on and sat down and pulled out our ipods, and not one word was said.

I stared out the window as we tilted over the first bridge and rode through Rye and Mamaroneck and Cos Cob, strange towns that sounded like the bread in those disgusting heart-attack sandwiches he ate each week.

I was angry at him, so angry, and all he’d done was do nothing.

We passed over the second bridge, and the river glistened with the light of the low hanging sun, and the little boats stood in the water, and the houses sliced the threes into carefully ordered lots, and the docks broke the water into cells. A boy stood on a dock, wreathed in a pale gold light. He was gone before I could see if he was moving, before I could tell if he was even a he, before I could see more than that he was all that lived within the perfectly cut squares, and in that moment, I loved him. I loved him, and I would jump from the train and chase down the dock and run to him and hold him because his little bit of golden life was perfect.

An instant later, the boy and river and the houses were gone, and I looked back over at him, the him on the train who didn’t speak, and I hated him, and he hated me, but here we were within the aisles and the windows and the businessmen, and I knew that, next week, the seventh week, we were going to talk.

March 2, 2010

We're Going Back To Mindbenders

Because Tea goes to the doctor's office doesn't sound like very much fun.

I mean, the loud disco music was kind of fun, but mostly weird. And beyond that, it wasn't all that interesting. Although, I did see Krystal, and she, rather uncharacteristically, gave a very intelligent overview of neurology to my mother. I really do think that she's hiding some relatively serious brains.

We shape our dwellings, and, afterwards, our dwellings shape us.

We build houses, but when living in them, we are affected by them. For instance, Thoreau lived in a cabin to make his thinking more cabin-like. This was documented in Walden, which I read last summer and am going to reference in every single mindbender I write this year.

My daddy is a builder. I know people build houses. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my father's pickup truck, looking out the window at the big, rotating cement truck and the masons pouring thick liquid stone into the foundation of a house. I was brought along to more realtor's open houses than I care to count. From all of this, it's been made clear that people build houses different ways for different reasons.

There are the cookie-cutter homes of standard suburbia, each built identically to match the people within them who have followed their cookie-cutter paths towards the American Dream. Houses for the wealthy, however, are grander and more unique. They are designed to allow the rich to easily demonstrate their wealth and prestige to their neighbors. They are often gaudy, with expensive fixtures and extensive floor plans. The houses are shaped by a compendium of workers, and they eventually attract a rich buyer, who eventually moves in.

Guess what? I'm going to go watch American Idol, so I'm leaving you with a cliff hanger. I'm sure you're really, really riveted.

March 1, 2010

Gifted Ed for School Newspaper, Again

Gretchen says the last one was whiny. It probably was, as I am frequently whiny.

Such is life.

Gifted Education

I submitted the first draft of my research paper with that as the title. It's probably the most boring title of all time, but it does get the subject across. Gifted education is, put in the simplest way possible, the teaching of gifted kids. However, any understanding of gifted education must rest on an understanding of what makes gifted kids gifted.

And no, "smart people" doesn't count.

Giftedness manifests itself in many ways. There are kids who learn to read before starting kindergarten. Some bury their noses in college math textbooks for fun. Some sneak literary classics under their third grade desks or devote their spare time to their own stories. Others become engaged in aspects of the sciences, finding a cool looking rock and spending the next three months wholly devoted to the study of rocks, and where they come from, and how, precisely, this particular rock came to be in their backyard.

The constant acquisition of knowledge leaves these students ahead of the school curriculum; studies have found that they typically know half of the information being taught- and that's before the course has even started. They frequently are also learning at a faster rate, finishing classwork with so much spare time that the day becomes a series of tedious waits rather than a continuum of work.

It is understandable, then, that some of these children become bored as the schooldays slog slowly on. I gleaned a list of time filling activities from interviews with gifted students. They fill notebooks with doodles, and stare at the clock in such as way that six hands appear, and play snake on calculators and perform Beethoven's 5th with their fingertips on their desks. One girl even went to far as to exercise discreetly, contracting various muscles or doing calf raises, to the point that she would experience muscle soreness. Even so, they cannot find enough useless entertainments to fill the long classroom hours.

The emptiness that is left is time used by other students to acquire new information, but also to learn how to think and work. Gifted children, however, are in want of a challenge. Leaders in the educational field focus on the importance of a perfect level of difficulty. A too challenging class yields frustrated kids who come to think that they can't learn. One that is too easy yields frustrated kids who come to think that they don't have to. Gifted kids can be spotted by their yearning for complexity, but when they don't find it early on, they don't know how to cope when it eventually shows up.

To give them this complexity, they need challenging classes at a young age. However, it's a lot harder to put gifted kids into their own classes than I've made it sound. For one thing, how does one decide if a child is gifted? The OLSATs, while great for finding precociousness, don't show much in the way of passion or complex thinking. On top of this, there is the force of the parental unit. No parent wants to be told that their child is not gifted; some even go so far as to hire tutors to get their preschoolers to pass the tests for gifted kindergartens. Teacher evaluations can get around the testing issue, but they're biased, with children misbehaving due to boredom frequently overlooked, and racial prejudices showing far more than they should.

These are a few of the problems associated with finding gifted kids to put into programs in the first place. This is completely disregarding finding teachers supportive of gifted kids, training teachers to teach them, finding funds for the classes themselves and this training, working any sort of acceleration into curriculum, making groupings fluid enough that borderline students are stuck between too hard and too easy, and doing all of that while keeping insatiable students satisfied and prickly parents pleased. I couldn't do it in ten pages, and I can't do it in five hundred words here. It's absolutely evident that gifted children need some form of added difficulty; it's just as evident that getting it to them may possibly be more complex than the complexity these children crave.