Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 10: Satire and School

     When given an assignment, what's the first thing you do? Hopefully you pay attention to the directions. For this assignment, I will be writing a satire about something I strongly dislike. The definition of a satire is "corrective ridicule," which I hope I am good at, although I am also afraid I am going to mess this up by not being more sarcastic than satirical so we will see how this goes.

     My favorite class is English. It always has been. One of my favorite parts about English is reading and expanding my horizons. But what happens when the teacher wants to expand your horizons in a direction you are not particularly fond of?
     Most people love being told what to do--how to eat, sit, walk, breathe, and especially how to do the things they love. It's like a present from Sandy Claws in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Beautifully wrapped with all sorts of wondrous surprises on the inside. When you love reading, why not let others recommend books for you? Especially short ones with no plot or character development whatsoever.
     Personally, those are my absolute favorites. I can't stand reading, long, descriptive, intelligently and carefully written books--why did the author have to put so much effort in a book that could have been so much better with only 100 pages or so plus only one or two characters that are completely static. What is the point? People who enjoy reading don't want to waste their time on something that will take forever to read, so hand out all the old, short, underdeveloped books you've got. Please. I am begging you on hands and knees to just recommend the best books possible, given that they fit the criteria of a book assigned to high school students (which is what I have mentioned above as the best kind of book).
      What kind of recommendation would it be without a grade attached to it? Imagine, having to read a book that you aren't assigned to read, especially if it's one of those forever long, boring ones. The horror! Thankfully, none of us have time for that. That's the best part about school and teachers: they make sure you don't have to worry about what to do with free-time because you have all sorts of important, interesting homework to complete. Sometimes there's not enough time to even finish all of the homework which is such a relief because no one wants to deal with down time. No, all of us need structure in our lives, dictated by another. Then when we joyfully don't complete our homework we get the best feelings inside such as regret, disappointment, stress and anxiety, depression, etc.
     I would personally like to thank all of the wonderful men and women in my life, from the bottom of my heart, that make sure I never have to worry about having time to read boring books or watch Netflix or sleep. That would make for a horrible life. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day 9: Music I Love, Part One

     I know that as life changes, so do our tastes in music, as well as what is trending, so today I decided to tell you a little bit about the music I like and why I favor it so much more than what else is popular.

     In about seventh grade if you asked me who my favorite artist is and/or my favorite songs (not necessarily by that artist) I would've told you that I love Taylor Swift, especially "Teardrops on my Guitar," "Sparks Fly," Love Story," and almost every other song on her "Fearless" and "Taylor Swift" albums (however, not all of the songs). I loved her style which was more country than pop and this was probably the first real exposure I had to any artist that could be remotely considered a "country singer." Another favorite artist I had in seventh grade was David Archuleta.
     Ninth and tenth grade brought a love of Kelly Clarkson, Christina Perri, and P!nk (Pink). If I started a list now of all the songs of these artists combined that I liked during this time it would take forever and wouldn't even scratch the surface of songs that pop on the radio that I haven't heard in a very long time and all of a sudden squeal with joy over how much "I love this song!" Just this last year has also brought a renewed love of old Taylor Swift songs that I haven't listened to for a long time as well as an admiration for songs written by Rachel Platten and Alex Boye.

     Now, the songs that I love the most and can relate to more are, "Just Like Fire," by Pink, "Sit Still, Look Pretty," and "Hideaway," which are both by Daya, and "You Can't Win" by Kelly Clarkson. These four songs are going to be the main subject of a couple different posts, spaced out across this blog, posted at different times because if I talked about all of them in one post, no one would ever read the post.
   For today, I'll start with "Just Like Fire." The first time I heard this song and recognized how amazing it is was when the credits started rolling on "Alice Through the Looking Glass." It gave me goosebumps listening to it that day. I realize that everyone will have a different reaction and experience depending on the song and genre, which I respect. But this song is very empowering. Some of my favorite lyrics are,

"And I'm walking on a wire, trying to go higher
Feels like I'm surrounded by clowns and liars..."

"Just like fire, burning up the way
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way
Just like magic, I'll be flying free
I'mma disappear when they come for me..."

"So look I came here to run it
Just 'cause nobody's done it
Y'all don't think I can run it
But look, I've been here, I've done it
Impossible? Please
Watch I do it with ease
You just gotta believe

    Now, I will explain why each part of this song relates so much. The first stanza copied above, "And I'm walking on a wire, trying to go higher..." Everyone has had a time in their life where there is a lot of pressure and for my that time is now (and if you haven't had a time like this yet, watch out--it's coming). That line ends with, "Feels like I'm surrounded by clowns and liars," which I relate to Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye who feels surrounded by a bunch of phonies, or people pretending to be something they're not. Sometimes it feels like there is no one to talk to, surrounded by phonies or people who pretend to care and/or understand when they don't. How do you trust people like this?
    The next stanza talks about "lighting up the world for just one day" which I would interpret as making your mark on the world, as small or insignificant as it may seem you might as well go out with a flash bang, doing something to impact those around you (hopefully for the better). We all have our own madness and it is unique to each and every one of us like Pink says, "No one can be just like me anyway."
     The third stanza above is probably my favorite part (probably mainly because it's fun to sing or rather say). To rephrase it in my own words, "I came here to make some changes, just because no one else has managed it doesn't mean that I can't, you think I can't but this isn't the first time I have faced a challenge. Impossible? Please; step back and watch me do what you can't."

     I love this song because it's about life and how crazy or hard it can be and if you stick through it, it'll be fun showing off your skills and your talents, just enjoy the ride because life is shorter than it seems but so worth it, even with the really, really hard patches.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 8: The Internet

     I'm going to go back to something I mentioned in  one of my first few posts: my love/hate relationship with the Internet and technology. Phones are such amazing devices, allowing us to do almost everything we ever imagined. It's so impressive how quickly we as human beings are able to advance this technology.
     But the downside is that people get carried away on phones. You don't see the person you are communicating with, so there aren't as many consequences, right? You're safe in the bubble of your room or wherever you are when you are communicating with others. This can be nice for those with different anxieties, allowing us to "verbalize" that which we may not be able to otherwise. It's the coward's way out, yes, I know this. And this is why I try to avoid misusing the tools we have been gifted. But that's the problem, isn't it? People get too carried away and it becomes uncomfortable. You get caught up in the moment, thinking nothing can touch you--you have some sort of force-field around you and you become invincible.
     Then the moment is over. Reality hits. All you've said catches up to you as you see whomever it was that you messaged. Your impulses start biting you in the butt. People start wondering what got into them. I have these moments the most at night, when I'm the most confident, careless, and outspoken. Then the next day or the one after that I see glimpses of the person I was talking to and all of a sudden my anxiety kicks into gear and I overthink every little detail.

      Then there are other wondrous things about the Internet, a little something I would like to call Internet Predators. How can there be people out there so determined to ruin the lives of others? Think of all those young girls and boys who find the fun of social media and connecting with friends. Then one day they get a follow or friend request or maybe a new message from someone they don't recognize. They accept the request or might message back and soon enough they think they have some new friend. But the reality probably is that this "friend" is an Internet Predator: some older man (or woman) preying on the innocence and gullibility of some young person.
       Here is where the problems start kicking in: the kids start giving away sensitive information about themselves--their names, birthdays, where they live, etc--and now this Internet Predator has more information about this person. One day, this poor kid is messaging their "friend" and the "friend" asks if they want to hang out. Red flags should be popping up all over the place but of course, this is just some innocent friendship, nothing to be afraid of.
      So they go to the meeting place, maybe telling their parents they're going to see a friend, maybe just leaving without saying anything. They get to the meeting point and a car pulls up with an adult inside. But they don't look like your new internet friend. Maybe this is just someone else, they think. My friend will be here soon. And then the adult approaches and calls them by name. Now what?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 7: Psychology Project I've Already Done

     So this term I am taking an Intro to Psych course and we got our next project the other day, and our teacher had us spitball ideas for what we could possibly do with this assignment. One idea a guy came up with since it was Halloween on Monday/the day we got this project, was to go trick-or-treating on Tuesday, the day after Halloween. This probably sounds like a very odd project for everyone who has no clue what this project is about, so before I go into any more detail I will tell you about this assignment.
     This project is based on social psychology or the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another. For this assignment we are supposed to violate a "social norm" such as dressing up in unusual clothes, acting like an animal, talking to yourself in the elevator, etc. (These are some of the ideas listed on the paper.) On the back of this paper is a list of even better ideas entitled, "30 Fun Things to Do in an Elevator" that I would love to do if I had the courage for, but will need to do no matter what if I want the grade for this. Some of the things listed on this are:
  • Blow your nose and offer to show the contents of your tissue to other passengers
  • Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering, "Shut up, darn it, all of you just shut UP!"
  • Crack open your briefcase or purse and while peering inside ask, "Go enough air in there?"
  • Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside down, (You can probably tell that this will confuse some people, wondering what to do which is how this relates to social psychology.)
  • Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope
  • Announce in a demonic voice, "I must find a more suitable host body."
     And this is only one-fifth of the ideas on this paper we received!

     Now to the reason I started writing this post, which was to tell a story very near and dear to my heart. ;)

     In about 2010 or 2011, my cousins moved to Idaho. I went up with my grandma to visit them and see their new house for the first time--my parents and two younger siblings were going to join us that weekend, but I had three or four days just with my cousins. Something else you should probably know about them: they are all boys (my cousins in this particular family that is).
     It was the Fourth of July and we were bored. And of course, when a group of people (not to be sexist, but specifically guys in this case) get bored, what do they do? They find something stupid to do. And when I am with my cousins, I act like one of them. So as a review: hot summer day, it's the Fourth of July, and we are bored.
     One of their (very, very) few neighbors, Keesha (hope I remembered that right) was over at the house that day as well, so I was not the only girl. My cousins lived in a small town called Dingle which is the one road town you drive through from Montpelier, Idaho to the Bear Lake North Shore. There are not very many people in that town!
     Our most brilliant plan was to go trick-or-treating for the Fourth of July (because who wouldn't think of that?!). So we went to the first house, that of one of the older ladies in their ward, and told her of our idea. She told us good luck and that she (sadly) didn't have any candy to give to us.
     So onward we went, riding bikes and switching every once in awhile since Keesha's bike really sucked. After every house it was a race to see who could get back to the bikes the fastest so they didn't get stuck with the bad bike (which I thankfully only had to ride two or three times--but also when we were making the longest journeys). We went to about three or four houses, knocking and saying, "Trick or Treat!" at the doors and then explaining our plight to whoever opened the door to us. As you can probably guess, not many people were willing to just hand out candy to strange children (even though it was more socially acceptable to go to stranger's houses in Idaho than it is in Utah).
     Now we were faced with a dilemma. With a so far unsuccessful mid-afternoon, we rode our bikes to my cousins' grandparents house and my cousin, Cannon, came up with quite the idea. "We need a song or something--something people will be willing to give us candy for--a 'trick.'" So there we sat, Keesha, Cannon, me, and one of Cannon's three younger brothers, Logan (the other two decided to stay home--boy did they miss out), plotting. We decided to write a (fairly rough) parody to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." How we came to this, I have no idea. Cannon grabbed an orange piece of paper and I think a crayon for writing and the song started out fairly simply; the first line wasn't hard to come up with:

"Will you give us candy please?"
Then we needed something that rhymed with "please." Plus a reason they should be handing us candy. 
"If you don't then we will--" (what rhymes with please?) "--sneeze."
This is quite the original song. I doubt you've ever heard (or read) anything quite like it!
What should we write next? Umm... Well, what do we want?
 "It can be any kind, 
We really, really do not mind"
So what are some things that sound good right now?
"Oreo's and gummy bears--" (what rhymes with bears?)
As sugar deprived as we were, we could not think of anything that rhymed with "bear" and would fit into our song. So someone suggested we forget rhyming and use that as a reason to emphasize the point that we needed candy in some shape or form:
"Just thinking about them makes us lose the ability to rhyme"
We said this part fairly quickly, not really with any tune. Then we just repeated our first reason we should be given candy:
"Will you give us candy please?
If you don't then we will sneeze."

     After we wrote this song, how successful do you think we were? Let me just say--we got candy from every house we visited from that point forward. Until we went back to the first house to show the older lady the song we came up with, even though we knew she didn't have candy still. When we finished, her reply was, "Well, then I guess you're just gonna have to start sneezing!" So we all laughed and then pretended to sneeze as we walked out of her house and back to where my cousins lived.
     The most memorable part of this day, besides being our Halloween on the Fourth and having a special song, and visiting the older lady down the road, would be one specific house we visited. It was an older man that looked like a biker: gray hair, a goatee, bandanna around his head, and gray tank top. After singing our song, he invited us into his house. We walked to the kitchen where he said he had something special for us because he liked our song so much (don't worry--it's nothing bad or scary). We stood around the island in his kitchen and he pulled one of those big, Costco sized Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip bags. My cousin Logan piped up saying, "Well thanks, I'll just take the whole bag!"
     I don't think he was expecting the response he received. The man looked at him and said, "If you're gonna say something like that, then you don't get any!" and proceeded to pour a handful's worth of chocolate chips into the rest of our palms.

     So how does this relate to my project? Besides being one of the most memorable and fun days I have had in my life, we have been told to do something deviant, or something not considered a "social norm" and I think that trick-or-treating for the Fourth of July. Even if there were parts that weren't as enjoyable, it was an amazing day.

What do you think of this story?

I think this is a well-timed post since my cousin mentioned above, Cannon, left for the Mexico City, Mexico MTC yesterday to prepare for a full-time LDS mission in Asunción, Paraguay. (Good luck!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Day 6: Blogger's Block

     Writer's block is a beautiful thing, no? Insert your response here which is hopefully along the lines of, "You're right, Alyssa, it's not a beautiful thing!" If you did not respond in a way similar to what I just typed, I think you are kind of crazy, but to each their own (although why you would enjoy writer's block, or any "block" is beyond me). So, to "get over my writer's block," guess what I did? I Googled, "blog post ideas." (I'll paste the links I found at the bottom of this post so my fellow bloggers can find some possible inspiration.)
     The prompt I am using for this post is, "The reason I started writing this blog is..." which is a very basic prompt but at the same time, I feel I can write a reasonably short post about this that still has some interesting content.

     I will start by saying that despite my possibly misleading URL, I was not actually upset about this assignment. Yes, creating this blog was an assignment for my AP English class, but one I was (almost) wholeheartedly excited for. Wow, a blog! I thought--again. Maybe this time, since it's an assignment, I will actually keep with it! just like I tell myself every time I decide to create a website or make a blog for myself, thinking this will be a magnificent idea!
     Overall, I feel like I have done fairly well, this being my seventh blog post. But the biggest problem I have been facing is content. What do I want to write about that is interesting enough to gain followers for? All the "famous bloggers" have something consistent they write about--whether it be fitness or daily life (neither of which I am interested in writing about)--so what about me? What am I supposed to do? So far it's been something I've just been "winging;" nothing has been planned, I am just typing as I go, hoping to come up with something witty or interesting. So far I am pretty sure I have failed at both.
     Look at my blog. What is your favorite thing about it (comment below)? If this wasn't an assignment, I probably wouldn't be doing this (and my mom wouldn't be letting me spend so much time on her laptop, typing long, nonsensical, boring posts). What's different about this blog? Why are you reading this right now? And if you are just skimming, what is so boring you find you need to avoid my writing? Because you might as well close the tab if you are just going to skim, it's not going to get any more interesting, believe you me.

     What's different about me?

Content Idea Generator (You need a subject for this to work--like what you want to write about.)
Blog Post Idea Generator (Gives some semi-good ideas for when your brain is truly dead, and then some of the ideas are truly awful. Depends on your point of view.)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day 5: Appetite for Fright?

      What is it about scaring ourselves that we find so addicting? Going to haunted houses to be chased or frightened, or being a thrill-seeker jumping out of an airplane with or without any gear? Why do we, as a society, find this kind of thing to be so much fun?
     I personally think the idea of paying money for someone else to scare you (like in a haunted house or attraction) is stupid. "Here's $30, try to scare me, and at the end of the night I will have nothing to show for my money." That is pointless. Especially considering you probably worked considerably hard to earn that money and you throw it away simply for the opportunity to--what exactly--be scared?

      The other day I was at Lagoon with some friends and my family and a majority of my friends wanted to go through the "Frightmares" haunted houses. The lines were enormous after about 5:00 (PM), which is when "Frightmares" starts; everyone was in line for a scare. I mean, this was a plus for us--the other people in the park were almost all in line for these haunted attractions so the lines for the rides were considerably shorter than they were throughout the rest of the day. So why? Why was everyone drawn to this "thrill"?
      What is it about adrenaline coursing through our veins that people seem to so readily enjoy and embrace? The feeling of our sympathetic nervous system speeding up our heartbeat? I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this question. I scare fairly easily which I normally wouldn't admit to. My biggest fear is being in the dark, at night (or very, very early morning), especially in the mountains. Why? Well to explain the "dark at night" part, when is the last time you took a good look at the world we live in today? There are crazy people running all over the place and I realize there are just as many scary things going on during the day as the night, but at night is when there is the cover of darkness and no one to hear you scream in a sleeping world. That is not a pleasant thought in my opinion. Why did I add the mountains to this fear? Umm, hello? Lions, and tigers, and bears? Specifically any predatory animal that can and will harm and/or eat humans. (Yes I realize that at least in our mountains we don't have lions and tigers.)

      One year at girl's camp, we (my friends J, A, and I)* were heading back to the tent that J and I shared. None of us had a flashlight which was obviously brilliant considering it was about 10 PM. There was a small path off the main "road" that led to our tent--a path that only one person could travel through at a time. My friends J and A volunteered me to go first towards the tent. My visibility at that point was at about zero. I started to take a step between the small trees that lined the opening to the path when I heard something hissing. And then, guess what? I screamed. This led to J screaming, and then A laughing at J and I screaming. We really should have had a flashlight. We never learned what it was, whether the hissing came from a raccoon or a skunk (although if it was a skunk, we probably would've been able to tell), or if there was even anything there.

      I seriously don't understand the allure of that. But you know what? To each their own.

*Just using first initials for privacy's sake.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Day 4: Reflections Essay

Written October 7, 2016

In a (Rather Large, Confusing) Nutshell

Who am I? I am Alyssa B. Hansen and I live in Utah. This is as much as you need to know for this essay because frankly, I find introducing myself boring so I am going to continue to the subject of this essay.
Seeing the world depends on perspective, and everyone’s perspective is slightly different from the rest. One person may have a small family where everyone loves each other, there is rarely a raised voice heard, and they love school. This person’s perspective or how they see the world is going to be different than say a person who was adopted at ten years old, and lived a rough life before then. They may scare easily with things that bring joy and laughter to others. I know both types of people, and honestly prefer to spend time with the person whose perspective is the most different from my own because then I can learn from them and their life experiences. The trick is just finding an “in.”
      When you meet someone who has had a rough life, how are you supposed to gain their trust and then compel them to tell you their life’s story? Let me just say it is easier to type the process mentioned above than to actually do it and I know this because of past experiences. The reason I find people so different me so interesting is because their perspective on life can really open my own eyes to some things I may never have known or thought of before speaking to that person. If someone were to tell me that, “ignorance is bliss” I feel I would have to disagree.
      When dwelling in ignorance, it is hard to know what really goes on--just like in some of the dystopian novels when some character  finds that their world is not as peaceful and perfect as it may originally seem. I feel like I can relate to those characters although when I started to find the imperfections in our world, I was much younger. Most of those characters are in their early to late “teens” when something starts to change, it’s either slow and steady or in some of these books it is like a cold bucket of water being splashed in their faces, right? Ignorance is something that should be limited, because with ignorance there can be stupidity or the appearance of not knowing anything about the world around you. This isn’t exactly good, especially if you are trying to debate a point when you only know a couple, small things about one side of the story.
      So how does this relate to how I see the world? It’s like what is mentioned above, preferring to surround myself with people that are different than me, because it’s like tuning a radio to get just the right station, only in this case, it’s trying to create a vision of the world that is the most accurate. I like being able to understand people which is hard to do without knowing their story. A lot of the time, people are quick to judge based off of a glimpse of a person, which is something I prefer to avoid. I believe you need the whole story before you even begin to think about judging which is again, easier said than done.
      I see the world as an oxymoron. The world itself is so huge but as everyone it always saying, it’s also a very small world. When looking or attempting to look through the eyes of another, people gain a sense of something that is beyond them. When I realized the way I could see through my eyes and have thoughts and move around the way I want to and that others were doing the same thing, it changed my perspective. I was no longer the only living thing, with a bunch of other “people” who seemed more like robots moving around solely to teach me and train me and talk to, but rather that every person I looked at was looking back at me, and whatever I was thinking, they could be thinking something similar or completely different. Now, everything someone else did made a sort of sense. Of course I couldn’t tell the exact meaning of others’ actions but now I could tell that there was a reason to anything and everything people did.
      I feel like I should now end this essay which if you have actually read the entirety of it, I applaud you because I don’t know if even I will be able to do that now. I would also like to thank you for following this almost stream of consciousness because that is my perspective. My perspective on the world is a stream of consciousness that ebbs and flows to places all over. My perspective is something ever moving, ever changing or evolving. Morphing into something to help me better understand the world. What is my story? I am different--and I appreciate that.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Day 3: My Opinion on the SRI and Lexile Scores

     I know as a student that finding books considered to be appropriate for a person's reading level can be hard for those in junior high and high school with a love of reading and usually a higher "Lexile score." Just taking the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) is a pain and then trying to find a book to correspond with whatever score you end up with? Forget it!
     I was recently told to find a book "on my level" which is difficult for any student when they get to the 1400's, 1500's, 1600's, and even higher. There aren't many books that score that high, let alone would interest middle or high school students. (If you don't believe me, go to and in the boxes that say "Lexile Min" and "Lexile Max" write 1500 to 1700 and start reading just the titles.)
      If by some chance you do happen to find a book "on your level" that might not have you snoozing within moments, it's not available anywhere near you and probably costs $25 or more (which isn't worth paying if you aren't even sure what you are paying for). I therefore think students should just be encouraged to read, not necessarily some book that a computer generated score thinks would be "appropriate" for them.

     Throughout this post, I will be referencing and quoting an article I found the other day while searching for a book on my Lexile level that was posted in 2012. I would recommend reading the whole article, because I am having a hard time not just pasting the whole thing here but first, that would take up way too much space and second, I feel like that may deter some people from wanting to read this post (which I understand, I have a tendency to skip paragraphs of anything I find boring and long to just find the point).
     Seriously. I even tried to just cut out the parts that don't apply as much and everything applies! So before you continue reading (unless you want to read it without context), please read the article found at the link below.

     This article is written by an author, Mike Mullin, approached by the mother of a sixth grade girl whose school was requiring the students to find books "on their level." Through research, he found that his book had a marginally higher Lexile score than that of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. This author says,
     "Is my work more difficult, more sophisticated, or more appropriate for older readers than that of Mr. Hemingway, a Nobel Laureate in literature? Of course not! Think about it: If this poor student stays in her school system, she'll NEVER be allowed to read A Farewell to Arms. It's allegedly too easy for her." 

     The point that I agree with the most in this article is when the author says, 
"There's a bigger problem: the Lexile system punishes good writing and rewards bad writing. I'll illustrate this point with an example. Here's the first sentence of... a book with a Lexile of 1650:
'ON the theory that our genuine impulses may be connected with our childish experiences, that one's bent may be tracked back to that 'No-Man's Land' where character is formless but nevertheless settling into definite lines of future development, I begin this record with some impressions of my childhood.'
"Forty-eight words that can be replaced by three with no loss of  meaning: 'My childhood was.' This is a truly awful opening, whatever your opinion of the overall work."

     There are a couple reasons I have heard that slightly validate the use of a Lexile score, such as that if you read harder things that push you, you can become a better writer. If this was really the case, then I wouldn't be a very good writer since most of the books I read every day are books with a score half of what my "reading level" is according to the Lexile system. I feel that you can become a better writer as long as you are reading. If you are reading regularly then you are getting exposure to at least a couple different styles of writing (and if not, then you need to expand your horizons just a little bit). Those writing styles, if carefully observed and examined can help you with what you endeavor to write.
     I would like to end this post by quoting Mike Mullin one more time.
     "Good writing is simple. The best writers never use two words where one will do, and they choose their words with precision. But the Lexile system rewards complexity and obscurity by assigning higher Lexile scores for works with longer sentences and longer words. In short, students forced to use the Lexile system in their reading are being taught to be bad writers. And some are likely being forced into books that will turn them off to reading...
     "Let your child pick books the way you do--based on interest and need. Ask your school to dump the Lexile system. The last thing we need is an expensive program that makes the great work parents, teachers and librarians do--educating our children--more difficult."

Mullin, Mike. How the Lexile system harms students. 21 Oct. 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

I would also like to acknowledge that this post ended up being way longer than I initially anticipated, but just remember that the length of this is without pasting the whole article by Mike Mullin. I apologize. Kind of--but not really. 

Thanks for reading my post about Lexile scores.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day 2: What's in a Name?

     According to one website: "The name 'Alyssa' is of Greek origin, and it means 'Rational.' It's a name commonly given to girls." Some places also say that "Alyssa" could have been a variation of "alyssum" which is a small, usually white flower. Other places it also mentions that this name is an Anglo-Saxon name.
     Going to the first meaning of "Alyssa" listed, I've never seen this particular meaning for my name but as I was talking to one of my friends while writing this, she agrees that this is a fairly true statement for me. I am good at acting rationally (most of the time), and have a tendency to question what people say, to argue, and to debate. 

     According to, the name "Hansen" is, "Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, and North German: patronymic from the personal name Hans." Basically, children take their father's names as their last name with the suffix "-sen" or "-datter" depending on whether they are a boy or girl. For me, my last name is Danish.
     Most of my ancestors are Danish or English, however I have ancestors from all over Europe. On my dad's side, the first to come to America were my great-great-great-great-great grandparents (that is five "great" grandparents if you didn't care to count), Hans Jørgensen and his wife, Maren Pedersdatter. Hans' son, Niels, was the one to adopt the patronym and as the custom in Denmark of passing names isn't traditional in the U.S., it has been "Hansen" ever since. 

     I know that my five-times-great grandparents came to the United States for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A church that I personally believe in with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I am grateful for my grandma on my mom's side, who is a convert to the church, because without her, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I am also grateful for all my ancestors on my dad's side that stuck with it and didn't fall away from this gospel which has so greatly impacted my life. And no, I am not just saying that, "because that's what I am supposed to do." I am a Mormon. "I know it. I live it. I love it," (Ann M Dibb). I am willing to stand alone in my beliefs, if that is what it comes to.

     I know that the subject of this post has morphed into more of my religious views, but I honestly don't care, since this is supposed to be post about me, and being a Mormon or LDS is a huge part of who I am. I would rather just have it out there during the start of this blog, rather than keep it hidden. I also know that there are many people with differing views and opinions; to them I say, "to each their own!"

Monday, September 19, 2016

Day 1: About Me

     Okay so today I have decided to actually tell a little bit about myself through this blog. I have a love/hate relationship with the internet and technology. It's great that people are able to post or say everything that they may never have the guts to say in person (especially for me--more later), but I have tried very hard to not do that very thing--to not abuse the power of technology. It has been extremely difficult because I am definitely not the "confrontational" type of person. I find it much easier to express myself through my phone or writing or drawing (which writing and drawing are two of my hobbies), so I try not to tell people important things about myself this way, but since this is kind of the nature of the assignment, here we go:
     One of the biggest things about me that most people don't know is that I have social anxiety. It's not just that I am not talkative--because believe me, I could talk your ear off--it's just that I have a hard time being around people and an even harder time making conversation, although it's more than that. I have recently found it's very hard to explain my anxiety but I will really try to the best of my ability.

I will just pull from another website to describe how I feel most of the time:

     "Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, and/or dread about a real or imagined future event. It is tied to a sense that these unpleasant events are at least partially unpredictable and uncontrollable, and therefore accompanied by an uncomfortable level of uncertainty."

     "Social anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, dread, or apprehension about social interaction and presentation. Frequently, the primary concern fueling social anxiety is a concern that one will be (or is being) judged negatively by other people, regardless of whether this is actually the case. The experience of occasional, mild social anxiety is quite common, as is the experience of anxiety in general. Social anxiety can range from a relatively benign, infrequent level of severity to being a major hindrance in everyday life."

So yeah--that's about me in a nutshell--or rather why I can seem so quiet and/or shy.

That's all for now.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day 0: Test Run

     Hi there my new friends. I am currently avoiding all of my homework--well all except for this. Why work on a project the night before it is due when you can make a blog for your AP English Language class? Because right now, this seems like the better option, but we'll see how that goes. I'm not entirely sure what I should put on this since it's going to be published and everything I keep thinking about typing is way too personal to share. So let's brainstorm for a moment...
(Pretty sure if I set the timer for 15 minutes, most of my time has been used up staring at a computer screen.)
     Okay let's think of highlights from each of my classes today. First period we took the SRI and I got a pretty good score, second period I almost fell asleep (the sad part is the "almost"--I was really tired!), third period I sat outside for most of the class and then fourth I didn't have to do anything.
It has been 17 minutes since I started typing and I'm pretty sure this is one of the most boring things I have ever written. Guess I should work on my other homework before I try fixing this (if I do).