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?