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?