I am generally an upstanding citizen of moral rectitude, very concerned with ethics and not being a jerk. Nevertheless, I am fascinated with witty vandalism. I lack the means/guts to become a witty vandal, but I do adore Banksy, the plastic bag subway sculpture guy, and people who figure out how to make graffiti out of moss.
I visited an antique store called Behind the Iron Gates, located in an old green house behind titular iron fencing. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew that I had found one of my favorite places in the world. The foyer was filled entirely with shelves and shelves of old medicine bottles, cigar boxes, tiny oil lamps, tea cups, toy cars, and all sorts of other adorable old paraphernalia. I may have started drooling slightly. I don't know, because I was in something of a rapturous trance. It was a beautiful place, and it just kept getting better. It was like exploring in an ancient temple dedicated to the god of hoarding with good taste. The house was filled to the brim with old costume jewelry, paintings, china, old books (did you know Grosset and Dunlap published a Nancy Drew spin off series called the Dana Girls in 1934? It's true!), unwanted photographs and postcards, statuettes, furniture, vintage clothing, old toys, wide-brimmed hats... The list goes on. And on.
The maternal unit and I spent a good hour or so, exploring, examining, and generally feeling like Indiana Jones except minus the hat/whip/dashing good looks, but with the same feeling of awe and reverence as when he comes across the golden idol, right before he almost gets crushed by a large rock. And, rather like Indiana, I left with some treasures of my own: a bottle, some glasses, and a series of photographs I came across by digging through a pile of small pictures from someone's Austrian trip in 1930.
Here is the green glass bottle, with a Valentine's rose:
Tom the stuffed panther wearing the excellent glasses:
And here are some of the beautiful photographs. And I'm sorry they're all sideways. I'm aware of the obnoxiousness of this. It's just, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to rotate them. I just don't know.
This photograph was taken on Otisco Lake, evidently, a nearby geographical feature. Judging by the age of the pictures around it, it was likely taken in the thirties. Interesting, right?
The below picture is a polar bear. It was interesting to see wildlife photography from as far back as the thirties. Usually you only seem to see portraits...
Here is a portrait of a woman named Dorothy Bird, as was written on the back.
Now, this one is highly interesting. The back reads, "novembre 1939, a Bosse par Hazelrouck. Avion -----." (Maybe - the last word was hard to read blinking indecipherable). If you speak French, you would know this to read "November 1939, to Bosse by Hazelrouck. ----- plane." Now, taking into the account the time period and location (France), it seems likely that this picture was taken during World War II, of a fighter plane. Fascinating, right?!
The back of this one reads: "To dear Dorothy, from your dear friend Evelyn Prest."
The back of this one reads, "July 1934."
I'm sorry you had to tilt your head for these. Just focus on how strong your neck muscles are getting and pretend you're not getting a crick.
I fully intend to go back to this place in the near future, and hopefully acquire some other tasteful tchotchke for my collection of useless but interesting junk.
I have too many papers. I think I may have a compulsive documenting disorder, perhaps stemming from my obsessive chronicling habit. (Example - I have filled 51 journals in ~6 years). I have trouble throwing away papers, especially when they have some kind of significance. Even when I can finally part with old essays with kind tutorial comments (several years later), I can never quite rid my room of its floor covering of papers.
I know. I have a problem.
But, anyway, in an attempt to cut down on my room's white fibrous coat, I'll give you some of the highlights of past assignments. If I leave the stories and funnies up here, I feel less bad about recycling little snippets of my past.
Eleventh grade vocabulary highlights:
1. Jack nimbly leaped over the candlestick, whereas when I tried, I knocked it over and burned down the house.
2. I set up a vantage in a tree with my slingshot and acorns to pelt unsuspecting passerby.
3. I audited the fundraising assembly, despite already having decided that I was not going to do any more soliciting.
Wheee! I missed the liberal editorials foisted upon us in History class last year.
"Rapture Fuels 'Godless' Group's Push"
"The Brother's Koch and AB 32"
"A Tea Party of Populist Posers"
"Midterm Campaigns, brought to you by a pack of wolves masquerading as a herd of sheep."
Hmm. That is a very dead moth, partially crushed in that manila folder. I should have filed these papers sooner.
Ooh, here are some grave rubbings I did! What fun!
"Come hither, youth
And cast an eye.
Then go your way
Prepare to die."
Don't you want an eerie poem as your epitaph? When I die, I think I'd like a cryptic rhyme that, if deciphered correctly, leads the person on a DaVinci Code like quest around the world. At the end, instead of treasure or world-usurping knowledge, I would have a completely nonsense phrase, like "Bacon can be good if only yelling 'maybe' unholy LOOK BEHIND YOU." There would be nothing behind them.
QUICK QUIZ: Are you smarter than a 10th grader?
Francis Bacon, Galileo, and Isaac Newton promoted the idea that knowledge should be based on
1. The experiences of past civilizations
2. Emotions and feelings
3. Experimentation and observation
4. The teachings of the Catholic Church
Some of the vocab highlights from this year:
1. When he cleaned behind the couch, he found a forgotten t-shirt, his old phone, the front door key, a small dog, a sombrero, and an aggregation of coins.
2. Old Man Wilson was commonly called a misanthrope, purely because he was cantankerous and once set a dozen feral dachshunds on a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. However, most people forget his advancements in the realm of taxidermy, and his loving adoption of hundreds of dachshunds.
3. My cousins laughed at my fawning behavior towards my taxidermy-obsessed grand uncle. They now work for me in my meat-processing factories.
4. He had always felt phlegmatic in the morning, but normally that feeling had dissipated by lunchtime. Today, however, it intensified. He could find no discernible reason for the phenomenon until he realized that he was slowly metamorphosing into a gastropod.
5.Quetzyl was very distressed when the game of pok-tok culminated in his defeat. We tried to calm him by explaining to him that he was being unsportsmanlike, but he reused to be pacified. Apparently, he really wasn't happy about the loser's penalty of being sacrificed to the Sun God at the High Temple. What a baby.
6. When I saw them together, an epiphany came upon me. My boyfriend wasn't cheating on me with my best friend; they were both just part of the cake baking club, and had to make a baby-shaped cake as part of a project in pastry sculpting!
7. "It is the epitome of hyperbole," she declared, "to say that you're hungry enough to eat a horse. There is no conceivable way a horse could fit in your stomach, as the maximum capacity is only about a gallon."
"That's great, Mom, but can we eat now?" the children said. "We're so hungry."
8. My many experiments ended fruitlessly when I determined that there was no optimum way to make a necklace of live butterflies cheaply and effectively.
9. I hope I can have your compliance
As I begin my first act of defiance.
I'm starting a war
Against windows and doors
So we can smash down walls like giants.
As a final note, I would like to point out that I am a little over half a year in AP Biology, and the stack of papers from that class thus far is currently exceeding 3 inches.
Over the past few months, my bedroom has gone from disorganized to cluttered to fairly squalid. Meanwhile, I have remained cheerfully oblivious to the impending hordes of dust and bits of thread and occasional dead fly, sort of like how crazy cat ladies don't really notice that their feline friends have been breeding under the sofa for months and now they have 50 cats living in the house.
(That will probably be me when I'm older, by the way.)
Anyway, the grossness of the place has been pointed out enough for me to start noticing, and so I've finally taken the initiative in cleaning fumigating the place. So far, so good. I've spent the day sifting through the stacks of paper along the wall that have accumulated through the years, and have stumbled upon some treasures. I thought I'd share them with you, because they amuse me.
In ninth grade (hey, isn't that when I started this blog?), I was subjected to a highly insightful career determining test. The well-crafted diagnostic asked a series of questions, mostly concerning likes & dislikes and abilities, to ascertain what my ideal job would be.
These tests are rarely accurate, but I was at the receiving end at one of the most brilliantly inane prognoses ever. At the time the test was taken, I was thinking about going into a career in writing. The test, in its supremely omniscient capabilities, told me that I would be better off being a mime, flower salesperson, stone carver, or coroner. To this day, I'm impressed that "mime" is a career option.
Some choice vocab sentences from 10th grade:
1. "It appears that the girl was bludgeoned to death, poor thing," the inspector said, shaking his head sadly.
2. With nuclear war imminent, the citizens were shepherded into bomb shelters stockpiled with enough supplies to last into the next century. Of course, the radiation would have destroyed everything so entirely, they would probably never be able to live on the surface again and the human species would slowly go into extinction - if they didn't die of vitamin D deficiencies before then.
3. Harry Potter was ambivalent about the Firebolt; he wanted it so badly, but he already had a broom, and it was extremely expensive.
4. Dolores Umbridge tried to present an amiable face to the world, but her true, sadistic nature refused to be concealed.
5. Ron was invigorated when he thought he had taken the Felix Felicis potion because he believed that he was invincible.
MASH - Remember that?! That highly amusing fortune-telling children's game, in which a list of topics and choices is presented on a paper, and a system involving counting is used to eliminate options. This highly amusing game told me that I would have the following when I was older:
A job as a clown.
A car that was actually a bicycle.
A green wedding dress.
One million dollars in the bank account.
A hobby that involved smoking pot.
A style in clothing as an emo.
A mansion in Australia.
A husband named Brad Pitt that worked as a janitor, drove a rocket, and enjoyed hunting.
A honeymoon in my grandmother's backyard.
I miss Amanda. She graduated last year, and she was a scary grunge kid who was absolutely hilarious. When she saw me in the hall, she would ask me how life in the mafia was, and had I kneecapped any people lately?, or yell "Happy birthday!" on random dates. Occasionally I was too bemused to respond. Other times, I asked her where my cake was. (For my birthday, of course. Don't tell me you forgot it! How could you!? I...I thought you cared.)
She also wrote me notes sometimes:
Tag you're it.
NO TAG BACKS. NOT PLAYING.
Here's one that had a drawing of a mushroom and an angry caterpillar with a cape.
"I DREW YOU AN ANGRY SUPER WEEVIL. From MAND."
Once she wrote me an angry letter: It was a picture of a letter "M" with a snarling face on it.
I miss Amanda.
Ah, Health class. A beautiful time. By which I mean a terrible time, but a time which did provide some amusement. (I find amusement in strange places). I don't think the teacher liked me terribly, for all that I was a quiet, model student who never made jokes during the reproduction unit or listed the numerous colloquial definitions of the word "sauce". Goal-Writing:
1. Write a goal for tomorrow.
Tomorrow I will wake up on time and get out of bed and not go back to sleep.
2. Write a goal for next week.
By next week I will have finished my APUSH book and not have hosted any book burnings for the other kids who dislike that book, too.
3. Write a health-related goal.
I will eat a piece of fruit today. Without sugar. Or in a pie. Not that that's an issue, but I just thought I'd clear it up. Because pie is tasty. Writing "I" Statements:
"That's really stupid!" becomes "I feel sorry for you when you say stupid things because I don't want you to look like an imbecile." (So much nicer!)
"You don't really care about me!" becomes "I feel unloved when I am shoved down the stairs because caring people don't shove each other down stairs."
"You really don't care what I think!" becomes "I feel undervalued when my mouth is duct-taped shut because I want to share my ideas with you."
"You're mean to me!" becomes "I feel hurt when you try to stab me with a wooden stake because I am not an undead being."
"You gave me a lower grade than I deserve!" becomes "I feel offended when you mark me wrong for my humor because a sense of humor is all that has kept me from insanity." (Based on a true health class story! In a different goal-writing project, I talked a lot about clowns, chain saws, etc. I was docked points for "lacking sincerity." Bah.)
That's enough for now. I have several more piles of papers to get through, and headway is slow. I should probably neaten up more often, and spend less time documenting.
Hey, look! A new installment in my much loved "say mean things about the stupid things people say on Facebook because I'm too cowardly/polite to comment on them directly" series!
I have seen this status so many times. I liked it when I first saw it, but since then I have seen it relentlessly and I'm beginning to think it may be the cause of great evil:
"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." (-allegedly Albert Einstein, but probably not. Albert Einstein didn't say a lot of the things people think he said. He also didn't say "God doesn't play dice", even though he was a little distressed about quantum mechanics messing up his nice special relativity. But I digress).
This quote is the reason America is aptly named Idiot America (thank you, Billy Jo). Everyone is not a special little flower. And if they are, they should darn well bloom already! You don't get a free pass for being unique. You need to DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR UNIQUITY already and stop moaning about how no one understands you. Goodness rollerblading gracious, THIS IS THE REASON AMERICA RATED BEHIND LITHUANIA IN EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS. DO YOU KNOW WHERE LITHUANIA IS!? LITHUANIA KNOWS WHERE LITHUANIA IS, AND IT KNOWS WHERE AMERICA IS! LOOK AT THAT! DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM WE HAVE HERE?! WE BARELY KNOW WHERE AMERICA IS, LET ALONE LITHUANIA! GOOD GOING, ALBERT! SEE HOW YOU'VE RUINED THIS NATION?! DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU AND YOUR STUPID LITTLE FISH HAVE DONE?!
This is Lithuania, by the way. It's a former Soviet satellite country, located in eastern Europe by the Baltic Sea.
I'm not really sure how I got from fish to Lithuania.
Man, more rants like these and I'm going to lose my voice.
I have a fond spot in my heart for cephalopods. They're my all-time favorite mollusk. I once did a project on octopuses in elementary school, and learned about jet propulsion and how their shell is internal and manifests itself as a sharp beak for munching on prey.
My favorite cephalopod is a toss-up between cuttlefish and mimic octopuses, but I still appreciate the traditional Pacific octopus. They're so pretty, and squishy, and they all look like they are just great at hugging.
If I could own any cephalopod, though, I would like to own a kraken. Kraken do not actually exist, but I can't help but fantasize about what I would do with an octopus as large as a ship. I don't think he would fit in my pond (besides, all of his cells would explode due to osmosis), but maybe I could get a nice house by the sea, and I could visit him everyday, and I could tell him jokes and watch him catch seagulls and government helicopters with his gigantic tentacles.
Here is a video of an octopus making a break for the ocean, in the spirit of free and independent marine organisms.
It's a love song from the point of view of an evil genius!
This is really the only kind of love song I like.
I refuse to go on the quintessential single person's angry diatribe about Valentine's Day (cliche, anyone?), but I must be frank - there has got to be a better February holiday. I know not every month has to have some fun celebration, but February's right smack in the middle of winter, and I think we need one of those nice holidays with good food and spending time with family and friends. A holiday that doesn't involve sending kitschy cards and buying flowers that symbolize your everlasting love by dying within a week. You know?
Oh, wait. We already have a February holiday. It's called Superbowl. Heh.
This song has been stuck in my head for 10 months now, and it still makes me happy when I hear it. I think it may be one of those ditties that exemplify your emotional state or something. I suppose, therefore, it's not shocking that it's a song about alien abduction.
I had a scary experience today. Sheltered as I am, in a nice little town where I mostly have pleasant, superficial conversations, I sometimes forget how absolutely, terrifyingly stupid people can be.
Today, during a class discussion, I heard this statement:
[paraphrased] "Why do we care about workers over there, in China? I mean, if we got into a war with China, we'd be killing Chinese people. So why do we care if they die [in dust explosions in factories]?"
I believe I gaped for a moment, and then said something seemingly self-explanatory, like "Because it is bad when people die." I may be wrong, but to all extents it appeared as if the person was being sincere.
I barely know how to reply to that. Why do we care if people die?
To be honest, I had sort of hoped that the answer to that was obvious. Evidently not.
Because I find it distressing that it is not immediately apparent to some people that it is bad when people die, I have compiled this helpful, numbered list of reasons why we should care when people die:
1. Chinese people are people, too. Duh. After all, "people" is included in the phrase "Chinese people". I don't see why this isn't painfully obvious. Call me hopelessly naive, but I thought that I wouldn't need to point out that racism is prejudice based on irrational societal impetuses and personal biases with no supporting evidence, and is thus an invalid and idiotic point of view?
2. It is bad when people die because it causes the people they are close to distress. Through an amazing thing called empathy, we can imagine what it feels like to have a loved one die. Generally, unless you're a raving psychopath, this is a painful feeling that we like to avoid. Since we would like to avoid this situation ourselves (or dying ourselves, for that matter), we try to do the same to others to save them the pain. Maybe, if you want to be selfish about it, you can hope that they might return the favor one day.
3. I was of the strange impression that war is bad. I don't deny its usefulness and necessity in some cases, but I lament the need for it and would honestly prefer that it is kept to a minimum, if at all possible. Furthermore, while I still acknowledge that war is occasionally necessary, I must point out that war is, in fact, government-sanctioned killing. It's necessary. But it kills people. And as we have established, killing people is bad. Yes, even when they don't look exactly like you. I know it's hard to believe.
4. My personal favorite: The point of morality is to ease the pangs of coexistence. It's not easy to live on this planet with all these roommates, but we're all stuck here. If we're nice to one another, then it will be a lot more tolerable to be stuck on this drifting bit of space dust. Having people die in aluminum dust explosions makes living here not so much fun.
If anyone else has got any bright reasons for why we should care when people die, feel free to share. I'm sure I could think of some more, but I'm having trouble getting past these reasons. They just seem so...reasonable. I don't know, maybe that's just the empathy in me talking.
In the spirit of learning and advancement and doing ridiculously labor intensive things for stupid reasons, I am attempting to type and alphabetize my Pre-Calculus and Calculus notes."Why?" you may ask. "That sounds ridiculously labor intensive". Well, I'll tell you. My notes are confusing and vague, and lack comprehensible explanations. Instead of the amalgamation of worksheets and tables and notebooks, I want a single compendium of mathematical wonder.
I can see it now: a beautiful shining binder filled with all sorts of useful information with clear definitions and step-by-step guides to solving problems. I could look up anything, and BAM! There it is, complete with helpful notes and and hints. Eventually, through use, the easily accessible information would make its way into my brain. I would be well on my way to understanding the Integrated Theory of Calculus, or Calculus Transcendence, or "Getting It". Whatever you call it when you understand how everything fits together and creates a seamless, unified whole of pretty numbers that make sense.
It's a beautiful vision.
Then I sit down at the computer, determined and ready to type my thick, paper-filled notebook, and I realize that Google Docs has an inequality symbol...buried in "Insert Special Character", through several series of pull-down menus and scrolling through pages. Same with superscript. Same with union and infinity and integral symbols.
Okay, okay, I think. This will only take a little longer than I thought. You know what, there's a lot of stupid PreCalc stuff in here that I know well. I'll leave the simple stuff out. I'll just do things that I'll need, like asymptotes, and derivatives, and dividing polynomials through long division.
And then I realize it takes ten minute to type out one problem because I have to go through all of the menus to find the squared symbol. These are math notes. There are lots of equations.
I'm going to be frank. I'm a bit discouraged, and I'm not sure what to do. I'd love to have beautiful, pretty notes where everything is easy to find and easy to understand. It would be a lot less daunting than hunting through my notebook, not to mention less time-consuming. I just don't know how I can do this.
Yet another shining idea of mine blatantly crushed by inconvenience/time/laziness/inability to program computers....