30 November 2011

underground shakespeare project

Would you like to know something cool?
Well here it goes.
So today we had a sub in AP Lit. So we were supposed to be doing work, but instead we were all talking about the Hamlet optional projects. And then one kid was remembering this really funny scene in the Mel Gibson version when Hamlet is pushing everyone's heads aside when he's trying to go to see Claudius's reaction to the play. And we were thinking of how hysterical it would be if we did it in the cafeteria and pretended to reenact that part. And then the epiphany..
We decided that as a class, we were going to all do an optional project as a group. We are all going to work on making a 10-minute version of Hamlet, and then since we will all have a part in it, we will all get points!
And it's all a surprise. So on optional project presentation day, we'll tell her that we have a class project and we'll play the reenactment.
So today we started casting people for roles, and tomorrow we will hopefully meet and discuss how we can do this in 2 weeks. I am so excited.

Everyone is so excited to work on it too. It's going to be a fun way to bond and make a fabulous movie about an even more fabulous play. I was so incredibly excited!
While individual victories and achievements are great and very rewarding, sometimes group efforts are the same - and maybe even more rewarding because you are working with different people: different ideas, different perspectives.

29 November 2011

keep oiling your machine

Sometimes I have to do too much stuff that I can't even eat meals without worrying about finishing. And this morning, I was worrying about going to school because I have too much homework to do, and school will be a waste of time. Pretty ridiculous.

And then I got really unproductive, like a poorly-oiled machine, and that's the end of that.

But the key isn't to keep on working; it's to take a break and relax. So I listened to some Christmas music from Pandora and took this soothing bath. It was so chill and serene.

And then you can become refueled and energized to work again. because if your engine starts running out of fuel, you can't keep exhausting it. The only way to make sure your engine stays well maintained is if you help it. You can only ever do the best that you can do.

By the way, here is a cute picture I found. It's a fish tank (get it?)!

28 November 2011

spreading good cheer

Officially a month's worth of blog posts left to write.
Today is one of those days that doesn't really stick in your mind because it was just sort of filled with immediate things to do and mundane activities. Not bad, just not memorable.
But we need days that aren't memorable, or else our brains would explode. Or implode.
But today when me and my dad went to the grocery store after school (after we bought some foam at the craft store), I was really incredibly starving, so I bought a bagel at the backery. And the lady was really nice for no reason. Just smiling and happy. And when we checked out, the cashier and the bagger both said that they hoped we'd have a good day and that they were glad that they shopped with us.
It was probably something they say to everyone. But it was just really nice. Just a nice little way to make someone's day a little brighter. Especially because it's storming.

27 November 2011

making it to the finish line

I never finish anything.
I always have these really great, larger-than-life ideas. And I get so excited about them at first, but then my excitement dies quickly and I move on to another idea. So I have half finished paintings, stories, projects, and even songs I wrote on the flute stored in various places in my room, in my computer, and stuffed in folders all over the place.
But the problems is school. When I have a school project, I am completely obligated to finish it depsite how daunting or laborious it may seem.
And last week we finished our wire sculptures in art. And it was a nightmare of the project. While it turned out pretty good, I detested the project and it was difficult as well as painful.
When I say "finished", it means that it was due, and I wasn't done with it, and frankly, I was completely done with it. I was totally sick of working on it.
But what's the point of doing something if you're not going to finish it? It seems like I have a ton of things that are almost worthless now because I have not finished them.

But I finished my chameleon wire project; I added the tail and the fourth leg and now Fortinbras is complete. I decided to name him Fortinbras, because he is the last person talking in Hamlet, and this is the last project of the semester.
So I think next year, my resolution will be to finish the things I have started. It will probably be incredibly hard, because there are few thigns i actually finish, but if I finish this blog that will be one thing that will prove myself wrong.

26 November 2011

good as new

About a month's worth of blogs left to write, and boy, will it be weird when I don't click on the good old "the quest for happiness" bookmark everynight. It'll be mighty weird. But I decided that I will be working on something that at the moment does not have a name, but soon will. I will use the last week of the year to basically reminisce about this blog and remember the insightful things I might have said along the way, and put the 7 main points of interest into blog topics for the day. And the last day will be the biggest, most special blog I will ever write.
But anyways, that's the plan. Get excited!
So today we went to this new store that opened up next to the best ice cream place around, and in fact, it was the very house that was boarded up a few months ago when my grandparents came to town. My grandpa (who is a painter) sketched the house and made a really amazing painting of it. So it's cool, I have this sort of personal connection to this house. And now it is renovated and re-purposed as a store.
It's just like the store that I used to consign at.
Just like it.
We asked some of the workers at the store about the house. She said that it was built in about 1908, and that it was a farmhouse and at a time, an antique store, just like it is now. But then it became old and worn, and almost dilapidated. But then it was renovated in the past year, and now it's a store for the little residents of Milton.
Isn't that the coolest thing, that this little wooden, one-story house, has been renovated and now it is completely restored? Just think of all the things we could do with old things if we recycled them.

25 November 2011

black friday 'festivities'

Today is quite an important day for the economy. The single day in America when everyone stands in lines at midnight and shops all night long. It's sort of ridiculous.
And this year, 2 people were shot in San Diego and some freak pepper sprayed people.
And this is a time when we should be saying to ourselves, "what am I doing here? Why am I standing in line at Walmart for 12 hours waiting for a sale?"
Everyone knows that Christmas basically begins today, and the shopping therefore also begins. But do we actually remember the reason we have a holiday on December 25? It's to celebrate the birth of Christ, and while it's a Christian holiday, the world seems to join in the fun. But recently, it's becoming more of an economic booster program and a commercial shopping palooza. Where is the real reason behind Christmas? It's supposed to be about showing people you love a little extra love, not about pepper spraying people so you can get a video game for your kid faster than everyone else.
And what is it that you are buying? I don't know many people who actually had a list of things they intended on buying when they were going bargain hunting. People are just running around like wild beasts searching for a deal. And before you know it, people have tons of things no one wants that will eventually land in a pile behind the customer service desk, waiting to be re-shelved. It's a twisted system, which is why we never go out on Black Friday.
Why not focus on the real meaning of Christmas - giving, generosity, and love - and not on finding the newest toy, appliance, or Apple product on sale. Spread some love this holiday season!

24 November 2011

a thanksgiving post

Would you like to know something interesting about Thanksgiving? The "first" one - you know, with the Natives and the Englishmen and Massasoit and all his men - was not the first, hence the quotes around "first".
Thanksgiving was actually a tradition among the native peoples. So the holiday is literally ingrained in the American tradition, which makes it even more special.
But today is not about the food we eat; as my How To Read Literature Like A Professor book says, meals in literature are usually symbolic. And in life, this feast symbolizes a harvest and a celebration of our achievements and what we are happy to have in our lives.
We had this really nice turkey that my parents spent most of the day cooking and we also had mashed potatoes, squash, rice, pie, cake, stuffing, green beans, and muffins! So it was really great and we had a fun time watching the parades, the dog show (it's the biggest one of the year), and hanging out. Plus, my dad's cousin came over and we had a really fun time.
So we always say a prayer before we eat Thanksgiving dinner, and we usually give thanks for the meal and for each other. When I was little, I would always do this because we would also say prayers at my old school (Catholic school) and we'd say it before snack. But I never actually thought about it. I sort of said it emptily. It was like it was expected, so I said it.
But I didn't really back those words with meaning. But now that I'm older and wiser (well, just a little more perceptive), I know that really there is so much to be thankful for that I can't even list it all here. Nor will I ever be able to crack the surface in my lifetime. The things I have - material and intangible - will always be so great that I will unfortunately not be able to appreciate all of it in my lifetime. But when I sit and think about it, the list is infathomably long.
To begin, I spent today in my huge, brand new house with my family, and we had a huge feast. And in America, there are tons of people who can't even afford that. I saw this photo gallery of celebrities helping out in LA at this Thanksgiving food distribution for people who cannot afford their own meal.
There are some people around the world who cannot even get a meal all day today, and they might get something half-edible tomorrow. They will never be financially secure. And on the other hand, I personally have never had to worry about that, and even when I live by myself, I probably won't worry about it nearly as much as some other people in the country and the world.
Another thing: the other day I got a letter from one of the most dangerous countries on earth right now, from an American soldier. Who is not with his family today, not in his own country, and surrounded by people who fear him, strongly dislike him, or could potentially harm him. He lives in danger ever day.
I have neevr experienced war, poverty, lack of shelter, money, or safety. I haven't lived life as it si defined by the difficulties we must endure.
We all have our own struggles and problems, and they are difficult and sometimes they seem insurmountable. Sometimes we can't even find someone to turn to for help; it can seem impossible to find that one person who can actually understand how you feel.
But life has ways of working magic on us.
I have heard that the 3 main requirements for life are food, water, and shelter.
Yet there are billions of homeless people and starving people.
And when there are so many without food, water, and shelter, I can't help but think that if the porbability of being so disadvatged is so high, why do I have so much? How did I come to acquire this much, and seem to have little wrong with me?
So today, after you have read this, do a little Thanksgiving relfection. Go to a comfy chair and thnk. Or take a walk. Or stand on your head. Whatever you would like. Just thiknk, for even a few minutes, about what you are truly thankful for.
For me, it's obviously my family first. My parents do eveything for me, and they are always there to talk to and help me, with say, AP Macro homework, or trying to cut down a college essay to fit into the parameters. And my siblings are always there for those times when I want to laugh about something stupid, or play a game of Monopoly, or play in the backyard, or talk about anything and everything.

My friends are always there for me too. Liike the other day when I had a really terrible day, I stayed up late telling some of them about it and they gave me advice and listened to me while I vented. They also give me rides when I don't have anyone to pick me up, and they are always there to share a laugh - which is usually everyday!
Also, I'm pretty healthy, I have access to healthcare of all sorts in one of the most affluent countries on earth, and I live in a safe environment with all sorts of opportunities.
We aren't all born with great opportunities. And there si no way we can have everything, and that we can always be content with how things are going in life. But 99.999% of the time, my life is amazing. And I have a huge list of things to be thankful for, including this blog that has let me ponder about life more deeply, and to come to this realization.

23 November 2011

leaf-throwing and ornaments

Almost a month's worth of blog posts left to write. And then I will have finished this project.
But to take my mind away from something so sad, I want to tell you about something fun I did today.
So for some bizarre reason I woke up at 7:45, ready to bound out of bed for school, but we don't have school because we're on vacation. So then I got up and I had the earliest start to the day ever (on a non-school day).
So I decided to walk around my neighborhood. And then I met my sister walking around too, and we started to take pictures of ourselves looking ridiculous. And then I had this fabulous idea that we should take pictures of throwing leaves in the air - you know, that quintessential leaf-throwing, happy-go-lucky fall picture that requires perfect timing and proper arm positioning to avoid failure pictures. So I got this great picture, and it was so perfect that my sister wanted to try, but unfortunately, it didn't turn out stellar, so we kept trying. And basically we just took all the leaves from someone's yard and threw them all over the place and into the street.
But later, we went to Crate and Barrel (another one of my favorite stores, in addition to Home Depot and Barnes and Noble) and bought Christmas ornaments for our tree and also for our little baby trees in our rooms (well. they will eventually be in our rooms).
And later, to celebrate our stellar performance in AP Macro, me and two of my friends got manicures at the bets place in town, and I got the kind that lasts for over a month, so it will be perfect throughout the swim season. I'm excited!
It was a perfect first day of vacation. And I really really needed this little vacation, even though it will be filled with finishing art projects and starting new ones, but it was fun to just relax and enjoy life.

22 November 2011

who are we anyway?

Today I got something cool in the mail. And it wasn't from another college I don't intend on applying to. It wasn't a Thanksgiving card. It was a letter from Kabul, Afghanistan.
It was from a solider!
You see, about a month ago, I went to someone's house for a senior swim team meeting, and we all had to write letters to the soldiers. It all started because my assistant coach's son is in the army, but he now is on leave, so we are supporting another teacher's son and his troop in Afghanistan. And my coach said we can write our address on the letters we wrote, and they might write back.
And lo and behold, he wrote back.
He was the teacher's son, and he said that he and his group (I don't know what you call them, but a bunch of soldiers are at the same base together..a troop? I don't know) are building schools in Afghanistan to train the soldiers in the Afghan National Army. He said Afghanistan is the 5th poorest country in the world, and after doing some research, I found out that Niger, the Congo, Liberia, Somalia, and some other central African countries are also the poorest. Afghanistan is also the worst place in the world for women (from guardian.co.uk), along with India, the Congo, Pakistan, and Somalia.
He described what it's like living there. He said that most women wear burqas, which are big veils that cover your entire body (except your eyes), yet there are some women who take the rick of only wearing a head covering and "western" clothing.
And something I wouldn't have expected - and probably more so the entire country - is that the Afghans he has met have been pretty friendly. He said they are just people like us. While some of them have their reservations about Americans, there are others who don't. It's just like us. Many Americans are hesitant of people from the Middle East and Middle Eastern culture, believing it is made up of extremists. But this is just a misconception. I know people at school from the Middle East, and I know girls at school who wear head coverings. And to me, they are just high schoolers like me.
But everyone has reservations about people that they don't know. We are afraid of the unknown, and that is how humankind is. Fear of the unknown is not uncommon.

But really and truly, we are all the same on the inside. Same bones, same blood, same species. We all evolved from a common primate, and going back far enough, every living thing came from a prokaryotic cell. We are really no different, and that letter reminded me of it.
He said he will be coming home soon to see his wife and family. And his mom teaches at my school, so I think I'll show her the letter when we get back from Thanksgiving break.

21 November 2011


We can't be happy all the time. And if we aren't happy, we can only hope for it in the future. But at least I know that even if some things don't go right, I know that I have people I can depend on to do things for me if I need it.
And having friends like mine makes everything better. As they say, friendship is a priceless gift that can't be replaced. And if you want your friends to be there for you, you have to be a good friend to them too.
And this Thanksgiving, my friends are definitely at the top; not just because they are fun to be with and because they make me laugh, but because they are always there for me.

20 November 2011

making memories, part 2

So, I'm not usually good about making up posts that I couldn't do the day before, but I did yesterday's tonight, so have a look! Yesterday was so fun, I can't even touch upon all the fun we had in just one blog post.
The cool thing is, none of the people on the team are necessarily my bets friends forever. They are just a group of teens who swim. Some are good (one just signed with University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill) and some just started swimming. Some are old, some are young. Some of these people are good friends, and one of my best friends was on the team, but quit. And with new people coming every year, we are all strangers to each other.
But the best part is that we can bond not over just swimming, but at meals, in the hotel, on the bus, in the grass patch (a reference to the other post), and at swim team pizza parties.

You'd be surprised with the variety you can get in a group of people, and how bonding for 20 straight hours can really make you into good friends.

19 November 2011

making memories

So you see, yesterday I was at a swim meet in Tennessee and I could not blog, but luckily my dad made a placeholder blog post so that I could come and fill it in when I got back today.
So yesterday morning, at 4:07 in the morning, I woke up and realized I still had some time to sleep before we had to get up. So at 4:45, I got up and rushed to school to get there before 5:15. And then we got bagels! But after the bagel I fell asleep and surely we were there. At 7:45 we jumped in the water to warm up. Which is the most fun activity ever before 8 in the morning.

So anyways, I swam two events in the morning, one towards lunch, and another at night. But yesterday was such a fun day filled with so many memories.
First, I showered a record number of 4 times yesterday to keep the chlorine out of my hair. That was a blast. And at the end of the prelims, we all showered and there were probably 40 girls in the locker room, all wet and gross and hot. But some nice girl from another team that I don't even know let me share her shower, and a bunch of people from our team started Christmas caroling in the showers. Everyone else was rather scared. Then we attempted to not get wet as we put on clothes.
Then we went back to the hotel and in no time at all we were back to the pool for finals, shimmying into our wet swim suits again. But that wasn't a problem, at least I was swimming in the finals. So we all went down to the pool deck to do the cheer that the seniors made up at one kid's house at a swim team meeting and we were all laughing and sweating and probably looking especially attractive. And then we did the timeless "donuts and cheese" cheer, which really does not make sense nor relate to swimming, but it's a tradition, so we have to do it. And everyone was looking at us strangely. But the best part was when the sophomores were asking "wait, do we actually have donuts and cheese here?" Oh, sophomores..
So after finals, we found out that we came in 3rd our of 26 teams, and we went to CiCi's Pizza - at 9pm - for dinner. And the poor employees had to brace themselves for our insanity. All of the families in there were a little horrified when we stumbled into the restaurant like a herd of some hoofed animal and basically took over the restaurant. And later we played arcade games and got ridiculous prizes, and after we went back to the hotel at 10 and played games outside on this ghetto-ish, anthill-infested patch of grass next to the hotel. We played Red Rover and freze tag and basically we ran around like madmen until 11:30.
We pretty much stayed up from 4:30am to midnight - basically 20 hours of nonstop craziness and mayhem and fun - hanging out, swimming, cheering each other on, singing, dancing, eating, and making some pretty fabulous memories. I can't remember laughing so hard at a swim meet before. Good times, good times!
And all the while, we had parents creeping around taking pictures..let's just wait and see how attractive we look on the slideshow at the banquet..

18 November 2011

out of the box

Today a representative from the Rhode Island School of Design came to talk to people who wanted to apply there. And so I went. Plus, it was during math, which was totally OK with me.
So he was talking about the school and what they do there, and since this was the first art school I had been at an information session for, I didn't know what to expect. But he said that for starters they are looking for creative people. Which might seem obvious.
You can make a badger out of pinestraw and people would say it's creative. But there is also creativity in solving problems, coming up with alterations, and approaching art-making.
He was explaining some of the projects he had to do when he was at RISD. One of them was a team project where they had to build a boat out of cardboard, plastic, and duct tape. And then it had to float. Another project was to make a violin out of cardboard - without using glue or tape or staples, and it all had to be unfoldable into one piece. Another was drawing - in the shower. And my favorite one: doing a self-portrait and drawing what you feel - you touch your face and draw what you feel. Crazy!
It's so cool that they do that because it forces you to do things in an unconventional and different way. It's like opening a jar. What if you tried with your feet? Or you made a contraption to open it? It's just a different way of looking at life.

17 November 2011

the shortest and sweetest

It's important to have a longest blog post. But it's also important to have a shortest blog post. And this will be that very post. I must finish my wire chameleon for class and I need to study for 2 tests, therefore, I cannot write my normal wonderful-ness. I'll save that for tomorrow when I will have nothing to do. Oh wait, I'll just have to get up at 4:30 for a swim meet on Saturday. Awesome time!
But at least my life isn't as bad as Hamlet's at the end of the play. At least my cousin-turned-stepfather, mother, lover, and childhood friends were not poisoned/drowned/condemned/stabbed to death. That's a plus.
Ladies and gentlemen, the shortest blog post ever.

16 November 2011

when disaster strikes

So today I had a blog all planned out. I had a swim meet today, and I was either going to write about how winning is really great because it makes me happy and boosts my confidence levels, or about how winning isn't the only goal in life and it's just about having fun and doing your best.
But now I can't write about those things because I didn't have a meet today. It was canceled because of the tornado warning.
So here's how it all went down.
We were in lunch, but all the art kids stay in the art room and a few of my friends and some other people come and we all eat lunch in there. And then we work while everyone else talks. And so we were wiring away when this announcement came on and it said "we are now under a tornado watch" and we all just sat there and kept working and eating. But then our teacher came in and said we had to go out in the hallway as a safety measure.
So we went out in the hallway, and we ended up staying there for an hour. On the floor in the hallway with about 100 other kids from the hallway. And I had to leave for this swim meet at 2:15. And the time kept on passing by - 1:38. 1:42. 1:54. 2:02. And that's when they said we weren't leaving until 2:30.
A small panic attack ensued at this moment. My coach would blow up if I missed the meet. But then again, we were all going to, so it was OK. And then at 2:20, they said we could all leave and go to 6th period, or for me the swim meet. So I met my mom and she gave me my swim bag, and then we went to the coaches room. But then some kid said, "Oh yeah, the meet's canceled". And so it was. My mom had to come back with my backpack and it was a disaster. And then we waited a while and took the team picture and went back to class at 3:15. So no one went to the meet and no one got in trouble. It was a whirlwind day. Especially since it was canceled due to a tornado.

But it reminded me that people generally don't make plan Bs. Most people just assume plan A will work, and the possibility of error does not enter our minds.
But the weather is something we are all dependent on, no matter how much money you have or how smart you are. It's a unifying factor of humanity, and sometimes we forget that. Nothing you ever plan is 100% going to happen, and I think we need to remember how depsite the fact that we are all very influential, when it comes to us versus the earth, we are pretty powerless.

15 November 2011


For some reason, people think that getting things will help to increase happiness levels. I apologize for sounding technical and using words like "increasing" "decreasing" and "levels", because I just did a ton of AP Macro homework.
For example: If I get a dog my life will be happier. If I get a new wardrobe my life will be so much better. If I get the newest model of this BMW I will be the coolest cat in town and I will surely be happier.
But thinking about everyday, we don't normally get things everyday. We usually just do our daily routine. Which consists of mainly mundane things.
And when I think of the times I was happiest, it was definitely on holidays like Halloween, the Fourth of July, Easter, and Christmas (not because of getting presents, but because they are fun holidays to spend with family), when the seasons change (that's definitely the best - when it gets hot for summer, when the leaves turn colors in the fall, when the snow starts falling, when the weather gets warm again..), in school with my friends and going out to eat with my friends, swim meets (definitely a great, great time with tons of people I love), the summer vacation (especially in Nahant with the family and the beach), commiserating over school assignments with friends, and meeting up with family members from a while ago. That was the longest sentence ever.
But I wasn't happy because I had a ton of material items; I was happy because I was spending time with people that I love, doing things together.
And that's what happiness is all about - the memories of the mundane that always give you something to smile or cry or laugh about.
Wealth comes in the friends you have and the family that has been with you forever. And while you didn't buy them, they are the best things life has to offer.

14 November 2011

leave them at the door

Sometimes we wake up and we already know if it's going to be a good day or a bad day. Sometimes these determinants are extremely small things. Sometimes they are larger things, like falling down several flights of stairs.
The best way to have the best day is to forget about those things and pretend that each new day is a clean slate. Don't approach the day as if it will be wonderful, because something could go wrong, and then you are disappointing yourself even more. And if you go into the day thinking it's going to be horrible, you might miss out on the things that are great about the day.
Think of each day as a blank canvas. Leave all of your previous ideas and extraneous thoughts at the door and start anew. It will help you to clear your mind and focus on getting the best out of the day ahead of you.

13 November 2011

pullin' a polonious

I was thinking about things that make people happy - money, food, good fortune (those are some of the superficial ones) - and then I thought about the things that would make people unhappy - using these same dumb examples: lack of money, lack of food, and bad fortune.
And a lot of times, not having things is why people will become sad. People will dwell on the good things that they don't have - like a new car, or the best clothes, or a better TV - and not on the good things that they do have.
But judging on today's standards, and especially in this affluent country, it may seem like you always have the short end of the stick. But instead, I propose an alternative method.
Think the opposite: think about the bad things that you don't have.
It sounds pretty stupid at first.
But when you think about it, the list can get pretty long.
Most likely:
you aren't dying from malnutrition,
you aren't homeless,
you aren't plagued by severe medical problems that threaten your everyday life,
you aren't wondering when you will get your next meal,
you aren't living in a war zone,
you aren't wondering if the safety of you and your family is in danger,
you aren't worrying about half of the things that more than 80% of the world population worries about everyday, like food, the weather, clothes, sickness, housing, and violence.
You are all clever people - try pulling a Polonious. As you know in Hamlet, Polonious (father of Ophelia, Hamlet's lover) conjures up a plan to learn about the things his son Laertes is doing in France. So he tells Reynaldo to ask around start spreading rumors about Laertes, and depending on how they react, that would tell him what Laertes is doing (i.e. "Hey, did you see Laertes beat up that idle mob?" "No way! Laertes would never do that! He's at the library studying!" So we find out indirectly that he is a studious and good-doing person, by asking the opposite). Clever Polonious is at it again!
It's just like with happiness - instead of directly evaluating your life, trying doing it indirectly, by thinking of the opposite of what you are actually trying to find. And you may find that it works better than you planned. Although for Polonious, life takes a sharp turn for the worse when he is killed in Act 3. Hopefully you won't be "slain" in Act 3.

12 November 2011

words, words, words

The more I read Shakespeare, the more I love Shakespeare. And wonderfully enough for me, there is enough Shakespeare in plays, sonnets, and other poems to sustain my passion for some time. I should just major in Shakespearean studies.
So I went Barnes and Nobling (being a teen in the "New Age", I can take the liberty of creating my own neologisms and lingo for things that us teeny-boppers like to do) tonight with my sister. We weren't going to get books for school, or going to the "Teen Readers" section. I went straight to the 2-shelf spread of Shakespeare in the fiction section and my sister went to the veterinary/pet/animal section. Which is also next to the plant section ( I found this hardcover book on the study of mushrooms, and I thought "by Jove, this must be fascinating!"
So needless to say, I left and went back to the little Shakespeare shrine. They have all of the plays lined up so perfectly; it's so perfect it almost hurts. So I bought this large book about Shakespeare's life and about his plays and basically all the information you knew, didn't know, wanted to know, and maybe never even thought about wanting to know about Shakespeare. And then I bought a copy of The Taming of the Shrew, which was written in 1590. It was his second play, after The Two Gentlemen of Verona (I looked this up a while ago). The earliest record of The Taming of the Shrew was on May 2, 1594, in a newspaper in London, but it is believed to have been written earlier than that. It was the first of one of his many popular plays. Sorry, but his first was not his most impactful.
When you think about it, he was as great of a playwright as Einstein was a mathematician and science theorist (I don't really know what he was. I just know this was his general field).
And the best part is, we can read and reread Shakespeare's magical play all the time. Even though that's not even close to what most people would want to do.

11 November 2011

respecting yourself

Respect is a pretty commonplace virtue. Respect is expected in lots of different situations, for example in a movie theatre or at a play, you should be quiet and respectful to the presentation. And you should respect your coworkers, your mom and dad, your siblings, your pets and such.
But a lot of people forget about respecting themselves.
And you own yourself; if you can respect a bunch of other people that are not even your own self, why can't you give yourself respect?
Some people like to hide behind who they are, or they create a new version of themselves. Instead of doing yourself a favor by setting up a lie, you are hurting yourself. You are tearing yourself down by striving for nothing in a twisted way.
You are the only you that you get; don't tarnish yourself and lose who you are. Don't forget who you are - not who you think you should be or what society tells you to be, or who your friends want you to be. Be the person you know you can be, because in the end, friends or no friends, society or not, you will only have yourself. And you need that person to be truly and honestly you.

10 November 2011

happiness is inexplicable

Today was a great day. It makes me want to home school my own kids (even though, as I already clarified, I will never have kids. I wouldn't italicized never if I didn't mean it). Because today, my art class, another art class that thinks they are way more exclusive than us, and some other random people who call themselves artsy went on a field trip to the High Museum in the ATL to see a special exhibit - pieces from MoMA! And in case you don't know, it's the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It's a way big deal. MoMA is incredibly important and it's even more incredible that we can see paintings from MoMA right here in Atlanta. We got to see paintings and some sculptures from Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder (my favorite), Constantin Brancusi, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Jean Miro (sorry about the lack of accent on the i), and 5 more (I can't remember the rest of the names.. I think de Chirico and Bearden and some others..). But anyways, it was insanely amazing. I got to breathe next to a famous painting made by someone that anyone knows! Who doesn't know Picasso? Art and Picasso are practically the same; it's like when people call a smart person Einstein.
But it was also fun going to the museum with artsy people because sometimes when you go with non artsies, they just browse and go from room to room not taking it in. But some of the art kids (not the phonies who used it as a free pass out of school) really looked at the paintings and analyzed them. That's what we do.
I was just incredibly happy to see Calder's work. He is literally my favorite, ever since I read a book referencing him. He is the best 3D worker (tied with Henry Moore), and van Gogh is my favorite painter, though I have many (including Vermeer). My favorite print maker has to be Matisse, and my favorite architect is without a doubt FLW (Frank Lloyd Wright). So I guess Calder is not "literally my favorite". It's too hard to pick just one.
And because of this, I didn't go to school, which means I didn't have homework, which means I got to go swimming, which is always a party. And today it really was, because the coaches let us play water basketball and it was a big blast. I think we lost; maybe we tied. But I had so much fun I didn't care. And for some reason, I was just really happy.
And sometimes happiness is just inexplicable. It was just an ordinary swim practice, and I just went on a field trip (a very fun one). But the whole day was just wonderful and it made me so happy I could dance. And you know that if I could dance about it, I am really happy.

Science, religion, and sometimes philosophy cannot explain everything. Sometimes life is about the things that fathomable measures cannot qualify. Sometimes it's just about those things we can't explain. Those ineffable moments that make you feel something wonderful. That's just life working it's magic.

09 November 2011

chill out please

Someone I know retweeted a quote on Twitter today.
Sometimes quotes are wonderful little pieces of advice that stick in your mind, and sometimes they are annoying and trite. But this one was a good one.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

A fellow Transcendentalist; what can you expect? I think too many people worry about getting things done on time. Last night, I had to study for 2 tests and do 2 packets for economics. And last night I did none of it. I had a bad headache after swim practice and I couldn't do it so after blogging I went to bed. But this morning I did it before school and I studied for both tests. And they all ended up working out. But you can't beat yourself up for not doing everything in one day. We only have 24 hours in a day; how can you expect so much from yourself in one day? You can only do as much as you can do, so chill out sometimes and recognize all of the great things that you do.
And never forget the words of Emerson.

08 November 2011

sleep tight

Today I got a present.
Would you like to guess what it is?
It's not a live animal or a toy. It's not a balloon or an explosive.
Have you given up?
It's a mattress!
I have had 2 mattresses in my lifetime. One was my crib mattress, and the other was the one that we just replaced. Apparently, which is completely disgusting, mattresses can soak up 3 gallons worth of sweat. EW. And my old one had 14 years worth of sweat in it. Hoorah! And once it gets too saturated, if you will, it doesn't really function. And you are supposed to change the mattress every 8 to 10 years.
But what if you don't have a bed. What if you sleep on the floor? When I was in Washington DC, we saw tons of homeless people getting jackets and blankets and throwing them on the ground to use as beds. Because they didn't have any.
A bed is supposed to be a place for you to decompress and relax and feel cozy and safe. But if you don't have one, it's like you can't ever relax, because you have to be on lookout for bad things. It's so sad to think about it. Food and drink are essential to life, but so is shelter, and beds are shelter.
I'm just really lucky that I get to have this new mattress. Thanks to my mom and dad for getting it for me :) And to the rest of you, consider a mattress replacement soon if you have not..

07 November 2011


Today we were going to get sandwiches at - guess where - the sandwich place! And we were waiting for our sandwiches to come and so we stood by the counter and talked about nothing of real importance. It was really dark because of this daylight savings business, and there was only one other family in there. It was just a mom, a dad, and two little kids - a little girl and a baby girl.
We were walking out of the restaurant with our sandwiches when my mom said that they were deaf - the mom, the dad, and the little girl. The baby we don't think was. And now that I think of it, no one was talking, and the only noise in the whole place was the music, the fan from the heating system, and the baby crying. They weren't talking to each other, and they were signing to the little girl, the baby, and to each other.
And I started to think about what it would be like if I was deaf or blind. It would obviously be different because I already have auditory and visual memories in my mind, while many of these deaf and blind people don't. It's different if you have never had hearing or sight; but if you lost it, that would be light years worse.
Just think of all the things you see right now. Your computer, your hands, your clothes, the things in your peripheral vision. And the things you hear. The quiet churning of your house, machines in your house, outside noises, people talking, and all sorts of things you hear so often that you probably don't even notice anymore. I was just thinking about music and how much I would miss it if I did not hear. I listen to so many hours of music everyday. Studying or partying or eating dinner or blogging, I always have music on. Imagine not being able to hear your favorite song. Or your family speak to you. Or birds chirping, or a movie playing. Imagine not being able to see all the trillions of things we can see everyday. Some 70-80% of the bits of information we receive everyday is visual. What if we couldn't see where we were going? Or what our own mothers and fathers looked like? Or even knowing what a carrot or a dog looked like?
It's so sad, and when you think about not having those things, you realize how important those things really are, and how no matter what, your senses are so important and integrated into our minds that sadly, we fail to appreciate their full value. I might not have perfect vision (or anything close to it), but at least I can see, and with lenses I can see perfectly. And if you want, some professional can cut your cornea and reshape it via laser technology to make your vision perfect-o for good. Pretty awesome stuff.
It's almost like losing an entire part of yourself if you don't have your senses; well, at least that is what it feels like for people who have them.
Down syndrome can happen when the very first cell of a human accidentally makes one extra copy of chromosome 21. And then that cell divides into 2, then 4, then 16, then 256, then . . (then I start pulling out the calculator..actually I did that with 16x16 . . ) and that mistake is copied. Trillions of times over again. Such a small mistake with such drastic effects. And to think that for the most part, at least among my friends and family, nothing major like that has gone wrong. We were made into perfect humans, despite some hardships along the way. Don't forget that you are lucky, because nature isn't perfect and if it made you perfect, relatively speaking, then that's pretty darn lucky.

06 November 2011

no thanks, i've had enough economics for now.

When I go to AP Macro in school for an hour everyday, that's more than enough economics for me for one day.
But when you do it on Saturday and Sunday all day, you discover that you can do more economics than you ever wanted to do in your lifetime. I had my friend over yesterday to do economics for this partner project, and today I had to finish some more of it and some more economics homework that was completely unrelated.
Our project is to create a personal budget based on a certain career, and ours is architecture. So we are architects who just got out of college, and now we have to create a budget for ourselves and factor in thousands of ridiculous little things.
There are like 10 different things you have to pay for just to live everyday. You have to pay for water. Water is free, last time I checked. When did humanity start charging itself for water? Last I heard, it was here on earth for everyone. And we have to pay for heat, and living in a building, and turning on the lights, and all sorts of other things. I never knew life got more expensive when you got out of college. Life shouldn't have a price tag!
But anyways, I got to see how literally every breath you take, every time you use a tissue or go to the bathroom or eat some pasta, it costs money. And it's not like on Sims or Zoo Tycoon, where you can selected the unlimited cash option and buy as many trees as you want, and have thousands of outfits and animals. It's just not like that in life.
When my dad said to enjoy childhood, he wasn't joking. Adulthood seems scary and expensive. I wish I had appreciated all those fun things in childhood and that I had realized how not hard life was. Because the road ahead will be one filled with math (budgets..) and cheap boxes of pasta..

05 November 2011

pogo sticking

Sometimes you don't need something new to have fun. Sometimes it's looking back at the old stuff that makes you happier.
A few years ago for Christmas I got this pogo stick. I didn't use it right then because it was really cold outside. I planned on using it when the weather got warmer.
But sadly it sat in a corner and collected webs, and I forgot about it. Like so many things in our lives, it was left to the side and I had not looked at it for years.
But today I picked it up again and shook off the spider webs. I tested it out to see if it was still ok (you know, like no rust.) to work.
And it was perfect!
The whole reason I wanted a pogo stick was because I loved using my friends' pogo sticks, and I had wanted it so badly. But once I had it I forgot about it. It was just left behind. But sometimes it just takes a while for people to come around and remember things that they once had - or still have.
So I pogoed for some time in the driveway today, remembering how fun it was and why I fell in love with pogoing in the first place. It's like rereading a book you loved, and falling in love with it again.
When we are down, it's easy to think that something new - new clothes, a new look, a new house, etc. - will change everything for the better. But sometimes all you need to do is look through your house - or your garage - and see what lies within its nooks and crannies.

04 November 2011

free cannolis

Sometimes life is fun and full of adventures. But sometimes, life is not fun. Sometimes life is filled with never ending challenges and difficulties.
But no matter how badly things are going there is always one thing that makes it a little better. One positive thing that doesn't really turn it all around, but it makes life a little bit better.
When we went out to dinner, the lady there said that instead of having one mini cannoli, we could take 3 of them for free, since they were going to get rid of them that night anyways. Not like it was an incredibly special present, but it was a nice gesture.
We can't forget those tiny things that made us smile, especially if on some days, they are the only things that make us smile.

03 November 2011

when I was a young'un

Today I was working on my senior ad with my mom. It's something that goes in the back of the yearbook.
And so I wanted to have a picture that also showed what I looked like as a baby. So we looked at dozens upon dozens of pictures form when I was born. This was in the 90s, so it was really funny to see my cousin with a bowl cut type of thing, and to see the wallpaper in some of these houses, and to see the people I have known for so long looking so different from now. I guess people change over a 16 to 17 year period.
It was so cool because in almost all of the pictures, I was smiling. Some babies cry a lot, and some are angels, and some are in between. My brother was a very cheerful kid. I don't remember about my sister, since I was only 3-ish when she was born. I just remember that I was a happy kid. I was never one of those jealous kids when another kid comes into the house; I thought it was cool.
And my parents had like just gotten out of college, and it was so cool because we were all just a really happy, young family. We lived in a small little house outside of Boston, but we had a lot of fun and it was a great little childhood. Well, infancy / toddlerhood. And I had some really nice toys and this swing my dad put in the back yard. It was a blissful, happy-go-lucky time.
And now, it's hectic mayhem, sort of like when your heart beats really fast when you're working out. But that's everyday. So it's cool to see how everything has changed. I never even knew we had all these pictures.
All I can say is, if you have kids (which I will NEVER do), be sure to document it. Be one of those parents that takes 8 million pictures. Because we don't really get those moments back, and they are the most precious of times in a child's life. And given all the new technology coming out in this era, I have a feeling that children will not end up being camera-shy.

02 November 2011

field trip to the dentist

I went begrudgingly to the dentist today. After completely forgetting and sitting on the bus until it almost left, I remembered that I had to go there, and I completely was not looking forward to the dentist. Especially since they said I might need gum surgery and I will probably need to get my wisdom teeth out now and I need some sealants. I always have more problems coming back from the dentist than I ever do when I go there. I thought we were down with all of this after 2 rounds of braces. But apparently not.
So after I walked into the office and a happy nurse told me to come back so her "friends" could "take a look" at my teeth, I saw this girl from school. First of all, I was at the children's dentist office, and they were playing Cars 2, and I was like the oldest person there, and there was a girl from school there. Working there. Just as an intern though, she wasn't like going to college and high school at once. Second of all, why would I venture all the way out to the dentist so they could just look at my teeth? Would I then go back the next day so that they could touch them? Sometimes I just don't understand these happy dentist people. he second they put some contraption in your mouth, they start talking to you, and asking you questions that can't be answered with 'yes' or 'no', like "What kind of pet do you have?" Saying "cat" isn't so bad, but when we had our guinea pig, I doubt they actually knew what a muffled "huh heuh huuh" meant.
So I was sitting in the dentist chair with this girl from school, who sort of greets people who come it, when the nurse said "honey, pick out your favorite toothbrush!" Highly humiliating. I'm already the only 17 year old in the children's dentist.
The only reason I know this girl is because she is one of those perfect, nice, smart, popular people that everyone knows and likes. But I didn't know that she knew me. So we were talking about things for the 10 minutes before anyone does anything to you, and surprise surprise, it was about college. But it was ok, I don't mind talking about it all that much. And I assumed she was just going to apply to an in-state school and be a cheerleader there, like she is now. But she is applying to a bunch of other places too, like Georgia Tech, and she's taking the same type of classes as me. And later, she said she wants to go to law school to be a lawyer. Well obviously she would want to go to law school to be a lawyer.
It was just one of those "oh, I never thought that she would be like that" sort of moments. That's what happens when you don't really know someone so well. But it was cool to talk to her and discover that we aren't so different after all, even if we were nothing more than acquaintances in high school. Pretty cool stuff!

01 November 2011

the long-cut

One time I read a poll on my iPad that looked something like this: Would you rather be fat and happy or lean and mean?
I would hope to be lean and happy, and not fat and mean, because that would just be a dreadful combination. But anyways, I was thinking of a question like it: Would you rather win at everything, or win some, lose some, and have some fun along the way?
I would choose the latter. It's not like I'm an insouciant fool who parties all the live-long day. It's just that we are all on the same path to whatever goal we are hoping to reach - probably college for my general peer group - together, so why try to go for the gold every single time and miss out on living life?
I think that there is an equal amount of things to learn in school and out of school. I've learned a bunch of these things by going to other countries (not that traveling abroad increases your life lessons knowledge, but for me it just made me think a little more about things I might not think about if I was in America). And some people I know who are so narrow minded (not necessarily in a bad way) and focused miss those things along the way.
I'd say I'm a happy and cheerful person when I walk into school every morning, no matter how much stuff I have to do or how late I stayed up doing something for school. Some people, and sometimes my friends, come in and dump their bags down and complain about all their thousands of problems. But you don't have to complain about them - you can just move on. You don't have to forget about them, just don't dwell on them.
And most of the time they are distraught because of school and not being able to get an A+ on everything. You can only do the best that you can, and there is no use in trying to be perfect. Just live life with a little bit of zest and you will go further.

Speaking of zest: would you rather eat a plain, non-marinated chicken or a flavorful one? The flavorful one might have more calories, but it tastes better.
That's like life. Instead of taking the "means to an end" short cut, try taking the scenic route. It's not about the destination. It's not about the single moment of elation at the very end that follows with a "what's next?" feeling. It's about the whole process. The whole path.