Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Excited for Photo!

The Thanksgiving holiday is done now and I have four more full weeks until Christmas break. That makes me a bit sad.
I didn't get any of the finals that I wanted to get back today. I know what I got on my Spanish final, but Dr. Andy wouldn't give us our history finals back and Mr. Hallas wouldn't give us our math finals back either. I was actually quite impressed that Ms. McDermott gave us our english finals back last week, because usually the english teachers are the ones that take forever to grade because they have to read so much.
I'm now in photography class though! I'm so excited! We get to use film and old cameras. Mr. Jones, our teacher, also told us that we could basically take as many roles of film from him as we like, so I'm very excited to start shooting. I've been excited since the trimester started really. Every day before photo, I'll wonder to my friend Lily if we'll be getting our cameras today to start shooting. I thought we'd be getting them today, but we have to wait until tomorrow. It's alright though because today we learned how to use an old camera that uses film and we got to play around with the buttons and knobs that are on the camera.
I don't really know what I'm going to take pictures of, but I'm sure that I'll find something of interest to me. The only problem I see with myself and this class is that I don't think that I'll have the patience to wait to develop the film in the dark room. I want to see it right after I take it, especially because I want to know if the picture I took is good or not.
Mr. Jones also told us that we would learn in his class how to take pictures of people without them noticing. He then said that we would have this unit where we take pictures of architecture, and during that unit we get to go outside and take pictures of houses in the neighborhood and we're allowed to sneak up onto people's porches and take pictures of anything that interests us. We're going to learn how to trespass! Now that's my type of class.
They're a bunch of electives that are art related at school, but I think that it would be cool to have other classes. How much fun would a cooking class be? Or maybe a knitting class, or a sleuth/private eye class. Or how about a lets-blow-things-up class? That would be awesome!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I must say that I had a pretty enjoyable Thanksgiving. I don't think I was expecting that much from it, because my mom invited a bunch of her Japanese friends that weren't planning on having a big Thanksgiving affair and my dad invited two of his students that didn't have anywhere to go for the holiday over to our house. Usually when we entertain, I'm stuck babysitting, but that didn't happen this time, so I was extremely thankful for that.
Since we were going to have a total of ten people at our house, my mother and I had to do a lot of cooking. We started Wednesday afternoon and cooked for about five hours. Then, on Thursday we cooked a lot. And cleaned. We cleaned a lot as well.
Out menu consisted of:
Turkey (duh...)
Pineapple Stuffing (my favorite)
Streuseled sweet potatoes and dried fruit
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry-kumquat chutney
Terragon marinated mushrooms
Grape chutney
Brussel sprouts au Gratin (which is absolutely delicious)
French beans with bacon
Lemon tart
Bourbon pecan pie

That doesn't even include the stuff that the guests brought. It was truly a big feast.
I think that this is the first time that we've made such a big deal about Thanksgiving since we moved to Pittsburgh. Last year my dad was off on a work trip somewhere and so my mom and I got a room at a nearby Bed and Breakfast ( I love Bed and Breakfasts-they're all so cute).
It was kind of nice to cook and make the food. I think I appreciated it more because I actually made about half of the stuff on the menu above. My mother was constantly reminding me that "cooking is about precision" and then once I would show her what I made, she would say "oh, just dump a little more of (insert ingredient here) in that." Also, the French need to learn how to spell. But of corse, that's nothing new.
The entertaining part was pretty fun. My dad was talking to his students about computer stuff. They sounded like they were talking in code with all of those weird terms.

It snowed today. I love snow. There's something magical about how it covers the whole world. It was the first snow of what I hope to be many many more. We need actual snow days this year. That's something I would be extra thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Books #33 and #34

I've finished two books since the last time I wrote one of these, so it's time to catch up!
The first book that I finished was Son by Lois Lowry. Son is the last of the four books in The Giver quartet. I don't even think that the fourth book was supposed to exist, but thankfully, it did. I loved The Giver. It's one of my most favorite books of all time. The language, the plot, everything is just perfect in that book. The best part about it too, is probably the worst part about it because you don't really know what happens to the community. It's one of those endings that you just have to imagine for yourself, like the ending in Inception (which was just as brilliant).
I loved Son because, unlike Gathering Blue and The Messenger, it returned to the original community; Jonas' community.  I learnt more about this place from the perspective of a girl named Claire. I should probably mention here that the book focused on a girl named Claire who was named a birthmother, but her son was taken from her and she just wanted him back. She searched for years for her son (and I'm not going to tell you if she found him or not).  The writing in this book was just as good as the writing in The Giver. Unlike some reviews of the book that I've read, I think that the time that Claire spent in the fishing village was one of the best parts of the book-especially her relationship with Einar. I loved the Rumplestiltskin-like character of the Trademaster. And above all, I loved the theme of the book-that love is stronger than hate (if you didn't learn that from Harry Potter, you'll definitely learn it here).
5 stars

The second book I read, I finished over the weekend. It's a book called Cinder by Melissa Meyer. I was very cynical about this book. I saw it on the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble and thought it would be just a typical distopian-Twilight-esque book. The reason that I read it is because the school's librarian, Mr. S. gave me a copy of the book because there was a raffle at school on Banned Book Week, and I won, so he picked out a book for me to read. He actually gave me another one as well, called Starters, but I've already read that.
It was ok. I don't think it was great. It was an interesting twist on the Cinderella story. I didn't like the language. I think it was too straightforward and a bit dull. It was also very predictable. My favorite part about it though, was Iko. She was amazing. I would want to have a robot that had a personality like Iko. She was cute and funny, and I loved the fact that she dressed herself up in Cinder's stepmother's jewelry.
3.5 Stars

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bhangra in the Burgh!

So I'm back again.
I feel like my brain fizzed out last week because we had finals on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. And if that wasn't stressful enough,  after that we had two more days of normal school and it was just extra tiring. I got home early on Wednesday because the only final I had to take was my Chem final and I just knitted sashay scarves for about six hours. It seems like I'm mass producing these scarves and people keep buying them.
Saturday though was awesome. I went to the museum from 11 to 4. The day was pretty slow. I was on Polar World cart and we got a whopping total of 17 visitors in two hours, then a girl named Mollie and I went to the discovery room, which is a room where little kids can touch things and see live animals, but it's sort of like a self-serve room. You really don't have to do anything.
But it was after the museum that all of the fun happened. My friend Krithika invited Alexandra and I to go to Bhangra in the Burgh. It's a dance-fundraiser-show that celebrates the Indian festival Diwali. Apparently, Bhangra is a type of Indian folk dance that was combined with hip-hop and reggae music. So we went to this show that was sponsored by CMU but was at Pitt (confusing, I know) that featured these Bhangra groups from all over the country and Canada.
It was amazing. It was so cool! These dancers were dressed up in the Indian dress (which I have always been jealous of because it looks so amazing) and dancing. The music was so loud that the bass shook the whole auditorium. The Bhangra dance itself is high energy and very rhythmical. It seemed like the most common move was when the dancers squatted to the ground and then jumped back up again multiple times. It was awesome. Everyone was dancing in their seats and cheering and trying to take pictures. I tried, but the best picture I got was a blur of bright colors, because, you know, the dancers don't like to stay still.
It was a lot of fun. This show of Bhangra in the Burgh was apparently the sixth one they've had. It was a charity event, and all of the money goes to an organization whose name escapes me, that gives disabled children bicycles, which is pretty cool. I've already decided that I'm going to go see it next year too. Maybe by then I will have mastered the squat jump.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Today, I am going to write about something that upsets me. It's something that makes me irritated and mad.
An awesome company called Buckyballs makes tiny magnets that nerds and geeks can play with to make really cool shapes and designs.  These awesome shapes are often a cure for office boredom, or for studying.  I can spend a really long time playing with these things before get bored of them. My dad's the master at making these things. Buckyballs also have Buckycubes when the magnets are not round, but are square. It also has a kit where there are magnetic sticks which you can connect them to these balls that aren't magnetic themselves, but when you stick them to the stick they become magnetic and then you can make cool shapes with triangles and hexagons and all kinds of stuff. Doesn't this sound cool?
However, the company is now shutting down.
This is not because their business has been unsuccessful. It is because the little magnets are dangerous for the little kids who try and eat them. The company didn't want to go bankrupt trying to go to court, and decided that it would be easier and cost less money to just stop making them.
They have stickers on the box of the Buckyballs telling you to keep them "out of reach from children." You don't need to be a physicist or a quantum mechanist or even have a high IQ to tell you that you DON'T GIVE SMALL THINGS TO SMALL CHILDREN!!! This company's whole concept and whole business is to SELL SMALL THINGS!!!! They tell you to keep out of reach from children. It's incredibly hard to take just one magnet away, because even if you put it on the other side of the table, it will still come zooming back to find the other 215 magnets. The magnet is just that strong.
So a company is shutting down because some people fail to keep an eye on their children. It's shutting down because some people just can't be responsible. And its all because they just don't have some common sense. It seems pretty sad to me.
Awesome companies should be able to do awesome things. Why does the government have to step in because one child went to the hospital after eating one Buckyball? America prides itself in being a country where you can make pretty much anything. If I had a good idea, I can make that idea become a reality. At least, I can, until the government says that I can't anymore. It seems like we have a long way to go.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Have Done the Horrible...

I can't even believe that I did this. I listened to Christmas songs BEFORE Black Friday. The world must be coming to an end.
Please don't get me wrong. I enjoy Christmas songs a lot. I really do. However, it's just the fact that sometimes they are overplayed.  Whenever I go somewhere during the Christmas season, I just hear them everywhere.
Speaking of the Christmas season though, I'm really looking foreword to it. I can't wait for the time of year when snow falls and covers the pavement, or when I sit with a book on my couch and read with a cup of hot cocoa (that is, if my mother allows hot cocoa in the house). This year, I plan to learn some Christmas carols on the ukulele, and that will be very exciting.
Christmas comes around earlier every year. A couple of weeks ago, I was at Michaels, a store, I must say, that is not good at giving their customers discounts on anything, and I noticed that there were Christmas decorations adorning the store. It was before Halloween. The witch items and everything concerning spiders or anything at all creepy were gone, replaced bright red, green, and white objects that will not come in use for another couple of months. Isn't that sad? I don't even think that I've seen much stuff for celebrating Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays around. Its the only time of year when I'm sure that I will get to eat my absolute favorite pineapple stuffing.
I am just waiting for the first snow right now. Last year, our winter was pretty lame. We didn't get much snow, and only got one two hour delay. That was unacceptable. So this year, there has to be a lot of snow. And I mean A LOT. Like the amount that we got a couple of years ago. We got about three feet of snow overnight and the whole city seemed to halt. I didn't have school for four days. It was wonderful, and the snow was absolutely gorgeous. I hope that this year though, there will be people who are willing to have an intense snow ball fight. That would be awesome.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back in the Habit?

It has been a while, hasn't it? I have to admit, the only real excuse I have for not writing is that I was busy. Busy, busy, busy. I still think that's a lazy excuse though, but I like the feeling of blogging once again.
The most notable thing that I've done in the time that I've been away, is that I wrote a piano composition. For english class, we are reading the epic poem Beowulf, and our teacher gave us an assignment to represent Beowulf in an artistic form. I, naturally, picked music for my artistic form, and composed a section of the poem. The composition is on here on YouTube. I spent A LOT of time on this. I originally wanted to play it live for the class, but I wasn't going to play it on an electric keyboard (because they don't sound real and they shake if I play anything intense), and the piano in the room my teacher booked for this has a broken pedal, and my whole piece uses the pedal except maybe two measures. So I had to record it at home and then upload it online.
I also have finals next week. Winchester works on a trimester schedule, so for the first and the third trimesters, we have finals. They're two hours long. I don't know that I'm really stressing out that much, because the only subject that I have to study a lot for is chemistry, and that's just because I'm not particularly good at chem( or any type of science really). My AP European History final is two essays, and Dr. Andy gave us six possible essay questions, which I was really happy about.
The school is doing this thing called "Movember." It's when guys shave their facial hair at the beginning of the month and then grow a mustache throughout November. So a lot of the guys (obviously not the girls) shaved their six hairs worth of "facial hair" and decided to grow a mustache. The teachers did it as well, and it will be interesting to see what they will look like at the end of the month. The point of Movember is to raise awareness for men's prostate cancer. The teacher that I wanted to see without facial hair, Mr. Hallas, said that he wasn't going to do it because his wife said he couldn't. Apparently he's had that mustache forever, and it never grows, it just stays the same length.
I wonder if I'm back in the habit of blogging. I really hope I am going to keep on doing it, because I really really like it, and I didn't enjoy not blogging. Double negatives. Urgh.