Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Weekly (well, sorta) Book Review #4


The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson Mccullers is a literary masterpiece, no matter how many people in my North American Literature class loathed it.

The novel begins in a small town in the thirties with a character by the name of Singer. Eventually, the reader comes to realize that everything about this character is ironic, including his name, as he cannot hear or say a word. Singer's specialty is allowing people to talk to him. Four characters in particular poor out their souls to his unspeaking body. Because he reads lips, each character gets the impression that Singer understands them better than anyone ever before. However, Singer sometimes reveals that his true understanding is very minimal. Some 400 pages later, the conclusion is that everyone is lonely and needs someone to talk to.

For me, such a book was very important for my understanding of how people work. Each character, including Singer brings something to the table that feels completely normal and real. For me, this novel taught me more than any textbook ever can. Listening is an art that involves putting your own thoughts second. For a few minutes, a true listener has to become like Singer is, silent.

My review for such a book has to be a good one, however, be warned. This book is definitely not for everyone. I think I was one of the only people in my NAL class to enjoy it. It is slow to begin with, and feels extremely long. Although, I assure you that the characters that are explained the most are the ones that should be. Each of them is very interesting and well-developed.

I give this novel 10/10, however, for most it would be closer to 6. You see, this book hit me hard in a respect that I've been thinking about for months. For many people, this book is full of explanations that are completely worthless to the "main story". But I implore you to read the book and tell me what you think. I enjoyed it...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sickness Sucks

Have you ever awoken from deep slumber and decided that you simply did not want to go to work/school? You aren't really feeling that sick, but school or work just doesn't seem to work in your mind. So you miss school/work for one day. The innocence of such an act is obvious.

Have you ever awoken from a troubled, horrible slumber with a restless mind that doesn't seem quite up to reality? A few moments later, you realize what day it is, and that the idea of getting up and going to work/school is one that seems pleasant. Therefore, you get up, excited for the new day, repeating the fact in your mind that you will make it there without completely falling flat on your face. However, as soon as your feet hold you in the upright position, you're bombarded with the realization that you feel completely disgusting and although school/work brings you much excitement, there is a slight chance that you may faint before you even get close to the building.

Destiny Quebec is a student-run conference held once a year at my school. I attended most meetings (we met every thursday at 7:30AM.) and participated in the overall planning of the event. On April 22, I awoke with the latter problem. I was so excited for the conference, but the moment I got up from my terrible sleep, I realized that making it to school would be a miracle. My cough was undeniable, I shivered while my body was hot to the touch, I was dizzy and my headache was so intense that I was convinced that my head would explode before I could put on my uniform.

Destiny Quebec happens ONCE A YEAR, so I couldn't miss it. Despite the fact that I was close to death, I did my very best to shrug it off and took the early train to school. Samantha Nutt spoke at the opening assembly, and I'm not sure if I can tell you much about what was spoken. The entire assembly, I was shivering, holding my head in agony and trying very hard not to fall asleep. I went straight to the nurse when the speech finished.

My temperature: 40 degrees Celsius. (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit), and the nurse sent me home.

I stayed home the rest of that Tuesday, as well as Wednesday and Thursday. I promised my dad that I would force myself back to class on Friday so that I wouldn't miss too much of the important expensive education that he was paying for.

On the 25th of April, I awoke from a horribly troubled slumber with an undeniable cough and a nose that did not stop running. I was still slightly dizzy as well, but I had promised my father that Friday would involve class, so I reluctantly put on my uniform and trudged my way into the classroom.

I entered the library (my first period class was English, and we were researching for our orals) on that dreary spring morning and my teacher asked me -twice- how I was feeling. I coughed and wiped my nose on another kleenex before answering the question the second time. I felt as though I was dying...

Math class was a joke. Although we were supposed to be doing an assignment of about three pages, I stared at my desk for one hour and blew my nose until there was a pile of kleenex about the size of Mount Royal on my desk. Later I would realize that the only Math I had done the entire class was the first question: the example.

My complaints were replied with the same phrase repeated in several different accents and expressions: "Meg, if you're feeling so bad, go home."

But I wanted to be at school. I wanted to learn. I didn't like wasting the thousands of dollars spent on my education.

Therefore, I decided that a visit to the nurse would be my only destination. Home was kilometers away, and I wished to keep it that way. My science teacher warned me that I had missed three classes when I asked to go to the nurse the next period. So I stayed.

Let's just say that I did not learn one thing in that class. I should have gone straight to the nurse the moment that I found myself asking the same question for the third time. However, I made it through the entire hour and found my feet walking swiftly to the nurse's.

My fever was apparently 38.5 degrees Celsius this time. (101.3 degrees Fahrenheit) and I was sent home for the second time in 4 days.

I hate being sick. Taking a day off as explained in the first paragraph is nice and everyone should have that opportunity. However, being actually physically sick is something that I would wish on no one. I had more sleep in the six days that I was sick that I have had in the past three weeks.

I'm not complaining about the sleep, but of the things I missed. I apologize to Samantha Nutt and to all the speakers that I missed at the DQ Conference. I apologize to my science teacher and the many (stupid) questions I asked in my diseased state. I apologize to my dad who had to come get me not once but twice in the middle of the day. Most of all, I apologize to the friends whose presence I missed in the week that I felt under the weather. I know it is hard to live without me.

By the way, I am still coughing from time to time, even now. Prayers are appreciated for my complete recovery.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Stressful Relaxation (What an oxymoron!)

Stress has always been a strange concept for me to grasp. I am (usually) a very relaxed person. However, there have been times when I was completely stressed even if my surroundings were amazingly relaxed.

For example, when I am stressed over a project or the large amount of homework awaiting me as I venture forth into the land of home, I try to calm myself. This calming process never ceases to amaze me because of its ability to backfire.

Over the years, I've collected a bunch of ways to stress over something that is usually mundane. This Stressful Relaxation is a real nuisance.

Making a cup of tea is usually tedious work, right? When you are in a stressful mood, making a cup of tea can end in glaring at the kettle and willing it to boil. As the kettle refuses to scream because you have forgotten to plug it in, your stress level has a tendency to rise.

This evening, I would like to apologize to a few of my friends (they know who they are) because of my involvement in creating Stressful Relaxation in their afternoon.

Hugs are typically very positive actions. I find that a hug can cheer up any gloomy face, and makes the hugger feel happy as well. Even so, hugging someone who obviously has fifteen things on their mind can leave both the hugger and refuser-to-hug feeling empty and perhaps even more annoyed.

Talking to a person who has refused a hug from Meg is generally a good thing to do. They must have lost their marbles for such a thing to happen. Yet, talking to a stressed person while they are trying to unlock their locker lock is a particularly stupid thing to do, even for me.

Therefore, I apologize. I know how it is when things pile on top of themselves. Things can get out of hand. Stress is a horrible, terrible thing. Unfortunately, trying to dismantle a stressful day can be a stressful job. I think that is why Stressful Relaxation exists.

The truth is, when your mind is stuck with stress, there is not many things you can do to counteract it.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekly Book Review (3)


This week's book is none other than Coram Boy by Jamila Gaven. A book that has won multiple awards and praise from authors around the world. I say: HAVE THEY NO TASTE?

I apologize for being completely juvenile as I review this piece of literature, but I cannot comprehend why it was given such praise. To me, it was a book that has its high points but many more low points than high.

The first 100 pages are riddled with reasons to put down the novel and read something more substantial. It was very disappointing to me that the one positive character that I had began to like was never revealed in depth, and dies in the end. (Poor Thomas should have been more focused on.)

In fact, all the most boring characters are the main ones. Alexander, the quiet one who has to struggle against his father for his dream of becoming a musician. Melissa, the other quiet one who falls in puppy love with Alex as a child. Meshak, who is a schizophrenic and completely in love with Melissa. Yes, the same old story in a different town. (or rather, same old city with a different name) Meshak is horribly perdictable, Melissa stays in one place her entire life and Alexander does exactly what you expect him to do.

What about Thomas? What happens to his family, one that is struggling, though happy? Oh, that is apparently unimportant.

Once again, I apologize to anyone that enjoyed reading this book. For me, it just didn't fly. The language used made every page seem as though it was useless. There was no point in reading something that made every characters actions seem normal.

I personally know that a novel is missing something when my favourite character is the villain. Unfortunately in this story, there wasn't a truly defined villain, however Otis, the slave peddler who has almost no part in the plot was surely the character with the most substance. He somehow escaped the gallows and lived to become a successful man that held parties periodically. It seems to me, that if his character was explained more in depth, he would surely be my favourite character.

I just wish that the story would end in tragedy. Alas, Aaron, Melissa, and Alexander are reunited in the end. What a horrible ending.

My advice: no matter what the critics say, don't read the book. 3/10.

PS. My version would have had Otis as one of the main characters, instead of his pathetic son. My version would also have Aaron dying in the end and coming back as Meshak's angel. Talk about irony?

Feel free to comment if you disagree with my thoughts. Oh, and please answer to the poll I've put up. All opinions are welcome :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tea Vs. Coffee

I'm a big fan of staying at a coffee shop for hours while curled up with a book, sipping a pot of perfectly brewed coffee. My only complaint is that coffee is sometimes too strong and I end up with bags under my eyes the next morning.

Tea, on the other hand, happens to be a fact of my life. I have at least two cups of it everyday. My only complaint is that tea sometimes isn't strong enough for those accidental items of procrastination.

Oh, the conflict.

I think that I must debate each of the pro's and con's of each drink to fully understand which is superior. This might take a while...

Coffee (Pro's):
  • In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries (tons of business:))
  • Reduces the risk of various diseases such as: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, cirrhonsis of the liver and gout (check wikipedia for more info on that)
  • Coffee has tons of anti-oxidants
  • Low calorie unless additions are made to the liquid.
  • High in Caffeine leading to the best sleepovers and 2am assignments possible.
  • Making it is a matter of pouring water and coffee into a machine and pressing a button. It is impossible to overcook it. And improbable to make it wrong.
  • There's something comforting in drinking a nice cup of coffee while chatting with friends.
Tea (Pro's)
  • There are more than a hundred different kinds of teas. (If you count each kind of herbal tea)
  • Tea has been around since around 2737 BC (crazy long ago)
  • Tea leaves contain around 200 chemicals and healthy things like flavanoides, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. (check wikipedia)
  • Tea has been proven as a great digestive aid. (drink a cup of tea after dinner!)
  • The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity. (taken straight from wikipedia)
  • Tea has virtually no calories and tastes great without sugar/milk.
  • Green tea has only 10-20% of the caffeine in coffee. This allows you to drink it after dinner and still be able to sleep.
  • There's something comforting about drinking a flavourful cup of tea and reading.
  • I'm drinking a cup of green tea as I write this.
Coffee (Con's)
  • Because of its high caffeine content, coffee has lead some researchers to the realization that it may cause the temporary clogging of arterial walls.
  • Excess coffee consumption may lead to a magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesaemia, and may be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
  • Coffee is addictive because of caffeine and "coffee junkies" have the same symptoms of drug abusers.
  • One scientist theorizes that the smell of coffee beans/coffee restores appetite.
  • Coffee usually tastes better when flavoured with sugary and fatty ingredients.
  • Coffee is usually much more expense than tea is.
  • Coffee leaves stains, tea removes them.
  • Coffee should not be consumed after 8pm because of its excess caffeine. Believe me, it will be very hard for you to fall asleep.
Tea (Con's)
  • Tea has a tendency of becoming predictable. Coffee is different every time.
  • Because it does not contain as much caffeine, tea won't allow you to stay up for as long or with the same sense of being awake.
  • Because of its lack of calories, tea won't fill you up.
  • Sometimes, when time is of the essence, the tea bag is forgotten and hot bitter water is created. (Yuck.)
  • Likewise to the previous point, the kettle is sometimes neglected, leaving screaming boiling water in the kitchen.
  • Throwing the tea bag into the trash (or compost) is sometimes a nuisance.
  • You must wait for at least 2-3 minutes before the tea bag has soaked through the water and creates the true mixture. Weak tea is never happy tea.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!

Please, correct me if I'm wrong... but based on these points, tea has clearly won. What do you think, should tea have won? Are there more pro points for coffee that I have neglected? Please comment your thoughts and/or feelings.

The Beverage War must continue. Tea has won this battle... but will it win the war?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekly (or not so much) Book Review numero dos

I wish to apologize for telling the world that I would write a weekly book review and then writing one once a month. You see, the past month has been especially busy with things like vacation on the brain.

Therefore, I wish to make it up to my "readers"- which is apparently my parents and their friends (not that I'm complaining). The most recent book I have read will probably be extremely familiar to my mother's friends. It involves a blog and a paper clip...

You guessed it, One Red Paperclip by Kyle Macdonald. The inspirational story of a man who decided to play Bigger or Better until he is offered a house. He made it after only 14 trades and one year.

It sounds pretty insane, and it is. In fact, I'm sorry to admit that the insanity of the story is just about all this book has going for it. It's a very easy read because the language isn't very extraordinary. However, the language aside, you will not be able to put it down. Shock value can do that to a reader, can't it?

If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky story that may keep your interest for a few days (or in my case, a few hours), this book may be the one for you. That in mind, you may just want to go to his blog and read it from there instead of making the effort of visiting your local library.

My rating for this non-fiction story: 7 out of 10 for effort. It's certainly worth looking him up on Google. Just don't waste the $17.95 (Canadian) it costs to buy his book.

By the way, WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF TRADING A PAPERCLIP FOR A HOUSE? I could be living in my own place by now. Besides that, now that the story is told and published, I can't even steal the idea for a fiction story. Perhaps I could trade it for something bigger...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Quest Begins

"Life is for living, so get on with it"

I read this headline off a newspaper encrusted with ice , a few minutes ago (Yes, I am back in Montreal) as I walked back from Becky's house. Of course, it was too dark to read the article. It always is.

I can't help thinking that this headline was meant for me. I've been spending way too much time engrossed in unimportant things lately. I need to "get on with it", at least that's the way it seems.

Disappointment has been the name of the game in the past month. Disappointing events have been happening time and time again. Obviously, the only person worthy of such disappointment is myself. I've spent too much time being disappointed, and not enough time acting on these feelings.

I've been scared to admit my disappoint me to my friends. Because of this fear, I've also felt more alone than ever. I've been afraid of living and I need a second chance.

That reminds me of Easter. Today is the day that Jesus rose again. He promised a new life for anyone willing to follow him. He has promised me a new life.

Spring is in the air, isn't it? I mean, there is still ten-foot piles of snow and icicles hanging from every roof, but Spring has still sprung. The quiet whispers of forgotten warmth and new life lingers in the freezing wind. (Why is the wind so frigid?)

My birthday is only months away. My sixteenth will be so sweet, I can smell it. The only thing I must change before then is my life. I must begin a quest to change my life. To Live My Life.

It seems possible, perhaps even plausible. After all, I've been changing my life since the day I was born. All I have to do think, believe and act.

Get Ready, World. The rest of my life begins today.

Why don't you live too? We can change our lives together. We can change the world together.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

VACATION TIME!

Here I am, in sunny Lakeland Florida, enjoying the warm weather while most of my friends have to cope with the snow.

For them, I have a special message: "HAHA! YOU'RE IN KNEE-HIGH SNOW AND I GET TO GO TO THE BEACH!"

While I'm here, not only can I brag, but I can also visit the wonders of Busch Gardens. A few days ago, my family and I went, returning with sunburns, new sweaters and a whole bunch of pictures! My brother and I went on some of the craziest roller coasters and got to see a whole bunch of animals too! Here are a bunch of pictures:
There you have it! Not only did I get to see Lions and Tigers and Bears, I got to see Rhymenoceroses and Hip Hopopotamuses too!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The List

I've always enjoyed music; however I haven't had my own unique tastes in music for very long.
In this short period, I have compiled my own library of approximately 700 much-loved songs. Today, I would like to share 10 of these songs with you. I'll also add a little blurb explaining my reasoning for including each song. (They will be in no particular order, I've never been able to pick favourites when it comes to music.)

I call these 10 songs "The List"...
Warning: If you wish to take a glimpse into a teenager's mind, please continue. Some of these songs are not for the faint of heart.
  1. "Pain" by Jimmy Eat World:
    1. Although, I did choose this song because it happens to be the most played song on my playlist, it is one of my favourites for other reasons as well. This song is not only "catchy", it has all the perfect requirement for a great pop-rock song. There is good rhythm, strong lyrics and vocals, easy-to-learn guitar chords... what more does a song need?
  2. "Paperthin Hymn" by Anberlin
    1. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for good lyrics. (Perhaps its simply because of my poetic nature) This song has strong lyrics with a nice sweet melody and hard rock undertone. I can listen to it many times and never get sick of it.
  3. "Wine Red" by The Hush Sound
    1. Anything by the The Hush Sound is fantastic, and it is difficult for me to choose my favourite; therefore I've selected Wine Red because of its popularity among my peers. Up beat, Indie and pretty darn unique, Wine Red is a mix of vocal harmony (a man's and a woman's), keyboard, drums, base and guitar. It's amazing how fantastic so many instruments can sound together.
  4. "What Do We Know" by Thousand Foot Krutch
    1. Once again, it was extremely hard for me to choose my favourite TFK song. If you enjoy rock and roll, good and loud, go download many Thousand Foot Krutch songs. What Do We Know is one of their softer songs, however it contains all of the TFK trademarks. Great lyrics and a catchy rhythm, this song can always make me smile.
  5. "Keep the Car Running" by Arcade Fire
    1. I've always been surprised at how amazing a band from Montreal can sound! They experiment with a copious amount of instruments as well as a strong vocalist to continually catch my ear and keep me listening. Keep the Car Running has a beat that is sure to get your toes tapping and vocals that are never too harsh.
  6. "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria
    1. If you have ever heard Coheed and Cambria live, you know how awesome their guitarist is. Welcome Home has been described by my father as "So late seventies" and in part, I can agree with him. That definitely does not take away from the fact that this song has strong vocals, as well as strong guitar. Watch out! This song is "explicit", although that will never stop me from listening to it.
  7. "Fences" by Paramore
    1. "Get up and dance" is the message that I get from this song. In fact, if you haven't at least bobbed your head by the end of Fences, there must be something wrong with you. The singer of the group is of the female variety, which gives uniqueness to the group and the remarkable lyrics that Paramore songs always include make this band a perfect match for me!
  8. "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service
    1. Different from my normal rock/alternative music, this song always makes me bob my head, tap my toes and sing along. I guess some would categorize The Postal Service as Techno, and they would be right. From the first few seconds of the song, there are background beats that reel you in.
  9. "A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White" by Underoath
    1. It's true, I like screaming. Shocking, isn't it? In my defense, this song has amazing lyrics and a good sound, no matter what my mother might think.
  10. "Glow" by Alien Ant Farm
    1. This band is simply enjoyable to listen to. They have a light sound and easy to sing-along vocals. It's great to be able to listen to them and just let go.
There you have it! A list of 10 of my beloved songs! Enjoy them!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Weekly Book Review

Although most of my readers haven't noticed, I've started to notice a swift decline in my own blog posts. I need motivation sometimes!

Therefore, I've decided to start periodically writing reviews to books I've read in the past. I love reading and discussing a novel's pros and cons. So, what better way to discuss a novel, than to write a review?

So Here Goes nothing...

My first Weekly Book Review on Steven King's Lisey's Story:

This is the first Steven King novel that I've read through completely and I soaked up every word. Although it was a tad hard to get into at first, I began truly understanding the genius somewhere between page 50 and 250.

The reason I can recommend it to anyone willing to be frightened, to cry or to laugh, is not because of the plot, but because of the characters, language and emotion that coexist throughout the novel.

Although I've not read much of King's work, I know that this novel was a bit of a shock to many of King's fans simply because it was not scary, it was thrilling. Every moment for me after page 100 was spent clutching the book's cover, wondering how Scott died, or why Lisey loved him so much.

Another amazing part of these 509 pages is the words that King made up for the main character. From bad gunky to Boo'ya moon, these childish phrases will have you turning page after page to simply comprehend their true meaning.

My advice: Go Buy This Book (10/10), don't bother borrowing it from the library, because once you read it, you will wish you had bought it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Busy

Once more, I have no choice but to write about school. After all, I've been spending around nine hours of each of my days there. One might even be bold enough to mention the other 2 daily hours I spend traveling to and from the location I'm supposed to be learning in.

Indeed, the truth is unavoidable. I spend way too much time at school, having "fun" rather than doing "work". In fact, I have a sinking feeling that my grades are slowly slipping... Need proof?

Allow me to prove myself by explaining, hour by hour what my day today was like:

5:45: I awake from a much needed slumber and change in the uniform I must wear while in my educational building.
6:17: I climb unto the train that will (hopefully) take me to my destination.
6:45: I get off the train and immediately enter a bus that will take me to my FINAL DESTINATION.
7:00: I enter my school's newest building and head straight for my locker.
7:15: I steal a banana from the dining hall (yes, exactly like Hogwarts) and begin walking towards the board room, aka the location of the nutrition committee meeting.
7:30: The meeting begins, we discuss sugar content of drinks, whole grain pasta and bread, as well as desserts and apples.
8:20: I enter the "Bistro" and have the privilege of listening to a french author "Xavier Laurent Petit" who has come to talk to our french class.
9:25: I head to my next class, science. During science, I learn of all the things that I missed while at the Robotics Competition last Thursday and Friday. I am surprised to discover that I've missed a crucial lab that will (of course) be on the test tomorrow.
10:35: SNACK TIME AT LAST! I wolf down two (gross) bran muffins.
11:10: Assembly begins.
12:10: Biology, I thankfully haven't missed anything in this class. We spend most of the class listening to the hockey trade-offs being made.
1:15: LUNCH! I eat a bunch of lentil stew, as well as a heaping pile of salad.
1:45: I write a vocabulary test that I missed on Thursday. (102%, bonus question and all!)
2:20: History class progresses uneventfully, and I'm not surprised to find that I've missed more work!
3:20: I make my way back to the dining hall, where the play director awaits. We go through the entire play only once, before I must depart.
5:32: I take the train home.
6:00: Food is already on the table and awaiting my consumption.

You may be able to tell from my busy day that I'm involved (almost too much, actually) in school activities. From Nutrition Committee to Green Team, (that I unfortunately had to skip because of play practice today... the play is in 2 days!), I'm usually squeezed for time at around this time of year.

The things I didn't do today, and must complete tomorrow: 2 articles for the school paper, math homework, science lab (I will go to school early tomorrow and meet up with the teacher about that one), History handout and North American Literature essay.

Looks like tomorrow is sure to be a busy day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Failure

Everyone has fears, perhaps of spiders, or in my case, perhaps of needles. However, there is one fear that all of humanity shares. Although many of us deny it, the truth is: everyone is afraid of failing.

I suppose it has to do with man's thirst for success, whatever success happens to be for us. We want to be successful so bad, that we sometimes forget the important things. Regret follows, because failure is inevitable, no matter how much we strive for success. Everyone fails.

Now, you may be beginning to realize how completely pessimistic such a statement is. Maybe I am a pessimist, but I'd rather think of myself as a realist.

Sure, everyone fails, everyone makes mistakes and everyone dies. So why fear failure? It is impossible to live a perfect life, just as it is impossible to be completely successful. Instead of accepting nothing but success, accept life.

Life is full of ups and downs, and I think that we need to be able to enjoy ourselves while struggling our way to the top and running all the way down!

Anyway, I think that the most important part of life is when we're at the very bottom. Anyone who can learn to pick themselves up and keep going is better than anyone who is bragging about being on top.

(At least, this is what I'll try to tell myself after a day such as this, which has the perpetual feeling of failure.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thanks for the comments!

This is a post dedicated to the amazing individuals that took the time to comment on my valentine thoughts and utterly simple ramble about the sweet concept of laughter.

Thank you: Liz Davis, Peter Rock, Sharon Peters, Charles, loonyhiker, NJTechTeacher, .mrsdurff, elementarytechteacher, Stewart and John Schinker!

For the questioning Stewart:

I've had some teachers who have been Godsends to me. In their classes, the "utter abyss of boredom" was hours away. Their secret was their knowledge of teenagers. They knew how much I was more interested in socializing than working, so they simply integrated the two. Learning was socializing.

If you wish to mimic these teachers' successes, you will have challenges. Not all students learn the same way, and not all teachers are up to the challenge.

As for your other question, a fictional story written in a math teacher's point of view might look somewhat like this:

I had been up all night the evening before perfecting it. The Test was complete. It's questions were challenging and would reveal each student's flaws. The only part that was incomplete was the the half pages devoted to answers.

The numbers sweetly smiled at me as I put one on each desk. I had been preparing this test for the entire weekend, and I was sure that some of the large numbers would leave many students trembling in fear.

Of course, this prospect made me tremble a tad as well. What if no one passed? Surely the administration would have some questions to ask me. What if I hadn't properly prepared the kids? I tried my hardest to silently push the idea out of my head.

They would pass. They would have to. I could not bear writing a retest, the thought was revolting.

And so, the period continued, as students piled into the classroom and wrote The Math Test.

As the bell rung and everyone handed in their tests, I smiled. The hours ahead would be piled to the brim with corrections.

The kids had it easy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Laughter: the cure of all ailments

This morning, I woke up. It seemed like a normal Friday morning, and perhaps it was. My hair was in three places at once, my eyes were running and the headache from the night before still lingered in my mind. But as I put my uniform on and brushed my teeth, I couldn't help but feel that something was different about today. Something was sure to go wrong.

I made the tedious journey to the train stop in haste, hoping beyond hope that I would catch it. It was surprising when I was able to climb onto the train successfully as my feeling of something-is-about-to-go-wrong is usually right. In fact, its not unusual for me to miss both train and bus on those unfortunate days.

I pushed the feeling out of my mind for a while. Perhaps my perception was wrong. Perhaps it would be an amazing Friday and nothing would go amiss. Alas, I could not be so lucky.

I remembered about The Math Test as I walked down the stairs towards my locker. My day was thwarted. There was no chance that any amazing occurrence could rid my day of the horrific importance of that math test. And so, my day was ruined.

I grumbled as I entered the math room and my fellow classmates looked up. Some of them had that horrified look on their face, the face that screamed "help me". Others simply smiled as I entered the room, they knew my dread and were too highly advanced in mathematical concepts to take my fear into account.

I took my seat and the teacher handed my test. After a simple thank you, I took a deep breath and took out my pencil and calculator. When considering grade 10 math tests, calculators are always your best friend. Never forget them.

The bell rang an hour later and I sighed as I handed in the test. At least I got to the last question this time.

A friend was waiting for my verdict as I left the class. She smiled in weak hope. "So?" She asked, "Fail or pass?"

"Shoot me." I replied, and headed towards my advisory room.

At this point, I wasn't in a very sociable mood. However, as I entered my advisory room, there was Clinton, like he always is, awaiting to discuss the test.

I'll admit, Clinton is a very good friend of mine, so I was not mad to see him ready to make me laugh. In fact, I think it really saved my day. He hadn't been able to answer some of the same questions that I missed, so we laughed at the most challenging parts of the test. I was sad when recess ended and I had to return to the pathetic boredom that some teachers unknowingly call "learning". However, the laughter I had shared with a few friends had once again brought me back into a good mood.

After recess came the utter abyss of boredom. Science was only interesting for the first five minutes, North American Literature was full of random comments and dozing off and last and least, came French.

French is the most boring, useless and random class of my school's entire curriculum. I would not have survived it, if it were not for laughter. Once again, Clinton came to the rescue by passing notes throughout the entire one hour segment of Fran├žais.

Our inside jokes include many youtube videos, including flight of the conchords music videos, yugioh abridged version and pokemon clips too stupid to forget.

His antics cured the ailments of frustration and boredom today, so I have no choice but to thank him.

Laughter is indefinitely the cure of all things unpleasant. Thank you to all of you out there who have the ability to bring me to my knees (literally) from laughter!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine Woes

"The End Is Near."
The end of my life as a teenager. Why? Because I've already realized a few very important things that many of my adult friends cannot seem to grasp. Allow me to elaborate:
  1. Any holiday that concentrates on relationships is flawed. Three words: TOO MUCH PRESSURE.
  2. Any holiday that does not involve missing school (or work) is flawed.
  3. Chocolate is good. 20 chocolates, 1 chocolate cupcake, 2 chocolate cookies, 5 chocolate brownies and 2 chocolate reese peanut butter cups is too much chocolate.
  4. Valentines day is most probably the worst day of the year.
Sure, everyone loves the attention, the extra love from the people we love. But the truth is, shouldn't we love them just as much every other day of the year? Shouldn't we be able to surprise our friends and lovers with chocolates and flowers any day we choose? Besides, the truth remains: Hallmark invented Valentines...
Why didn't I get any cards?