Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Winter Break, Oh Yeah…

Happy Hanukkah to all the Jews of the world! (including myself!) I’m really glad to be finally done with my first semester finals. I came back to my dorm after my last final at 7pm blasted music on my speakers until and RA came and told me to take notice for the 24 hour quiet hours in the building. Whoops! I guess I was just in such a state of ecstasy. I am also very excited because I’ve spent the past couple of months searching and searching for a job for next semester. It’s just so competitive in a place like college to get a job. I’ve been rejected so many times, it’s such a self esteem boost *haha*. But on the day that I was going to leave back home, I got a email saying that I got accepted for a job! I was so happy I just started squealing with joy and staring at my reaction in the mirror (I mean, who doesn’t do that?).

Okay, so recently Food Network Humor posted a hilarious video based on Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa cake: the most racist and inaccurately represented piece of food on the planet. So, in case you didn’t know Sandra Lee is a klutzy drinking Food Network “personality” who shines little to no genuine personality on television and creates ridiculous and barf-worthy ‘tablescapes’ and themes for each episode. The her entire show just drags on with each 1-hour segment. So for one episode, yep, she decides to celebrate all three major winter holidays by cultivating all of the limited and inaccurate knowledge that she knows about these unfamiliar cultures and throws together some “inspired” cakes for her viewers.Of course, any viewers that she has must be part of some cult of cocktail drinkers that probably get drunk with her in bars. In this episode the “Kwanzaa cake” consists of a angel food cake topped with icing, filled with “African” pie filling, and then drizzled with pumpkin seeds and acorns. This cake just emanates with racism; there is nothing as unsettling as a clueless person imitating the life, breath. and soul of this traditional holiday; I bet her black friends (if they exist) come from all around to share in such a spectacular cake. Oh yeah… if a god-like figure such as Sandra Lee can craft such a vivid representation of the great annual harvest, then anyone can! What’s great is that everything on this cake is fit for human consumption, including the acorns! I can imagine that everyone’s inner squirrel must squeal for joy to finally come across a recipe that consists of acorns. Sandra Lee, you are my hero. This cake is a masterpiece, and you should enjoy this wonderful creation from a devoted fan.

Connor has lately gotten me pretty hyped up about the new movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the novel with the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer. The movie follows this boy who has been deeply affected by the death of his father during the 9/11 attack. His father had always instilled in him a sense of adventure and chasing after mysteries, and so when the boy finds a key left in the closet by his father, he feels like there is still a part of his dad that he needs to discover out in the real world. Despite the absurdity of a little boy freely running around New York City by himself (not a forced isolation like in Home Alone 2) there was still a sense of magic from the trailer that was absolutely stunning. I am really curious about the emotional changes and discoveries that this boy makes as he looks for more about his father. I can relate to him, sort of. I mean, I’ve found a key in my closet when I was little, became obsessed with it, and wore it around my neck everywhere I went with the hope of finding what it opens. Of course, that lock ended up being directly adjacent to where I had originally found it *haha*. The point is, I was attached to it and the mystery behind what it opened. Little kids are just so free, they can become attached onto hobbies or other interests so much more than adults. And although these attachments are temporary, the relationships are so intimate that children build their own magical world around them. I am curious to see how the boy’s interest in his father in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is painted throughout the movie.

Also, I’ve been looking back at a lot of my older posts lately, gosh, my writing has changed so much over the past couple of years. I came across this web archive website called web.archive.org that was posted in a previous Club Penguin related post and I am re-realizing now how amazing the website is. It basically makes copies of older versions of web pages and posts them as an array across a timeline. Remember Ask Jeeves? I certainly do: the first search engine I probably ever used on the computer. I sort of miss seeing the old butler on the askjeeves.com website. I discovered using this website that the website was renamed ask.com in 2002 and that he left at the end of February 2006, how sad. I’ve always enjoyed a little bit of nostalgia in my day.

Michael

1 Pill A Day Keeps The Nausea Away

September 3rd, 2010
Dear multi-tasking Planet Earth,

Just the other night I had to write my thoughts on the subject of what I believe is the difference between being alive and living. I had instantly drawn my attention to the familiar answer that being alive is simply living at your fullest capacity. After thinking about that for a split second, how can we completely absorb our surroundings and take in the best that the world has to offer? I face this painstaking decision every day. Just little things. Do I go to art club or math team after school on a Thursday? Do I stay after to tutor in math in the TLC or go to the University of Illinois college representative meeting? Do I work more on my colored pencil drawing of a red panda I started over a year ago or read the rest of Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures? By pushing too many activities and plans in front of me, just about nothing gets completed. Sadly, the stress of deciding turns me away from all of those things (and many more in the past) and it is very tempting sometimes to recede back into that immobile state of being at home. I usually look to my laptop as an escape from the plethora of decisions, yet they still haunt me. Do I watch that Youtube video that I was recommended or search for interesting, new music on iTunes? With billions of possible websites to visit, it is close to impossible to experience everything you plan to read or watch online. You become caught up in other peoples’ works and less with your own, which is kind of why internet writing is difficult for me. The truth of the matter is: you guide your life. On that sailboat to your ancient kingdom of gold, you are the captain. Side-tracking happens along the way, but you still eventually head toward that goal by persevering through the rough waves. If not, you are stuck nauseous in the turbulence of the sea. I guess I am trying to say that to fully absorb the wonders of the world, you need to take life one step at a time, which makes sense, right? If you watch television and eat ice cream at the same time, you don’t pay attention that much on whatever program is currently airing, nor do you enjoy the sweet, creamy flavors of the ice cream that you are eating. Life just passes by and your senses continue to ignore it.


That Abandoned Idea

(June 11th, 2010)
Dear thank-god-its-summer-break Planet Earth,

Sometimes I think this idea is gonna be so great. And maybe it is. But then other times I remember other things I thought would be great… What if this all bombs out? Then in a few years I’ll look back and think, Boy, was I stupid.” ~ Trevor McKinney

As a child, you are given little to no freedom. Making a difference in the world is left for the big, strong adult figures in society… everyone else just fades to the background and lets the world change around them as they go on with their normal lives. To adjust the normal rhythm of events would be too enormous for a child, supposedly. Even after thinking you come close, there is always someone to drag you down and say that the brilliant idea won’t work and how you should just move on.

Thirteen-year-old Trevor managed to go against the flow of the world and bring about positive difference. Living with an alcoholic mother and a father who abandoned him, Trevor puts aside his problems to think about how he can actually spark change in the world around him. Through the concept of “paying it forward” he passes on good deeds to the needy people around him: he helps a homeless man make a living,  helps an elderly woman with her dream garden, and helps save the life of man getting mugged. His whole plan acts as a long chain: one is supposed to help three people, and each of those three are supposed to help another three and it keeps going on until all the world is performing kind acts. Faced with the imperfections in society, Trevor just about abandons his theory thinking that no one in their right mind would pass it on. It takes a reporter: Chris Chandler, to trace his way from the other side of the country to find Trevor and tell him that he has created an enormous movement, sparked the interest of the media, and lowered crime rates eighty percent. Out of nowhere, Trevor is whisked to stardom for his development of a simple idea.

I was introduced to Pay It Forward in Eighth Grade in one of my elective classes for a unit on inspirational people. I don’t even remember why I was forced to take such a pointless class, but that doesn’t matter: I pulled something great out of the experience. After watching the movie, I at once fell in love with the sweet, warm plot line and it dawned on me that this was something I would want to revisit in the future. This past week I decided to read the book version of the novel and get even deeper into the lives of the characters that I had known  solely on the surface after seeing the movie. It seems like everyone always says that the book version is better than the movie, and I can’t disagree with that. I just adored watching the hidden progress of the movement and exploring the lives of the characters through their own various perspectives and inputs. Each chapter focuses on a different character who was affected by Trevor’s idea, which helped me understand the movement as a whole. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in mystery novels, since there is quite a bit of profound investigation. Pay It Forward also has numerous heartwarming moments; these charitable characters painted intricately by the author will appeal to any reader. The ending was such an incredible twist of events; you’ll enjoy it.


Of Brilliance and Mediocrity

(April 29th, 2010)

Dear amazing teacher-filled Planet Earth,

Imagine: coming into English one day expecting a rather dull discussion on the usage of a semi-colon and realizing that by the end of the class period, all the students have their cell phones out marveling at the outline of a dead body under a rug. Well, that’s exactly how the scenario played out today! My English teacher pondered over what to make out of a slightly used pair of sweatpants left over from another class period. Before you know it there is a group of high-schoolers helping her stuff the pant-legs with construction paper and creating a crime scene in the middle of the classroom floor. These quirky mannerisms are what make this year so captivating.  Everyone’s had that teacher who has created some wild, unforgettable moment to shatter that absurd boring aspect of education. There is an amazing, unique person that always adds light to the confines of the dull cement block walls or the painstakingly over-original shade of slumber brown reflecting off of the bulletin boards. I’m talking about the person who really captures a vivid environment for their students by hanging random paper mache molds of ham, a giant sculpture of a green egg from the book by Dr. Seuss, a festival of lights from the dry-erase board or a small stuffed pair of toddler jeans disguised as a flower planter and referred to as “the half girl”. I’m talking about the teacher who will make every occasion count by bringing in an enormous glowing elephant lawn decoration during the week before winter break and set it up with a group while one classmate reads from the instructions, the one who puts up a Youtube video of a blazing fireplace on the overhead projector and dims the lights when the temperature in the room is cold. This is the teacher who adds random images of dopey-looking horses or adorable squirrels on intermittent slide shows to loosen the scene or cut out a shape of a duck from paper after she asks you to blurt out any animal from the top of your head. I hope I’m not gloating by saying that my English teacher is among some of the most wacky of all the figureheads at my school. I don’t want to spread the idea that nothing work-related gets accomplished. Instead, my teacher just makes it an enjoyable experience. Before assigning a five-paragraph essay, my teacher once acted out a skit based on the television show, CSI. She blows away the previous definition that school is a place solely of study and learning and makes every day memorable.

By the way, Connor recently had his entry accepted on GraphJam, a downright hilarious website full of charts, diagrams, and of course, graphs. I recommend that you check it out, he would really appreciate more viewers! Anyway, click here to see it.


The Road

(April 5th, 2010) Dear Planet Earth,

With
miles of
asphalt
beneath
the shoes
on your feet,
there is such
an intense
feeling of
skimming
the vast surface of
the crust of the Earth.
This feeling, this tingling
sensation that drives
through the body makes
one empowered with a
burst of energy. The driver
becomes the captain of the
seas,domineering over the
road. Objects whirl past the
window in a matter of seconds
as the rubber tires endure another
feisty mile along the sizzling pavement,
 fried from the direct sunlight. The
landscape is similar to the picturesque 
scenery in those all-terrain vehicle
commercials. Road trips profoundly bring
out the quite meaningless but extraordinary
elements of your surroundings: the endless
fields of crops growing in the countryside, the
ancient wooden farmhouses breathing with
mysteries of a forgotten past, silos shining like
stars under the strong  heat of the blazing sun, fence
posts holding hands and cheering from along the sides
of the road for the metal machines that zip across from one
end to the other. Who can forget the rusty trucks with flaps
waving in the strong current of the wind or lugging some top
heavy machinery for miles. The experts, professionals,
geniuses of the road pulling
 on for more action on the elongated
network of highways and expressways. Who could forget the
awkward squeeze of passengers in the backseat, dreamily staring
out the window, pleading for an intricate sideshow on the wild
prarie grass, attempting to start that short piece of literature
wedged between the leather of the seat and the leg of the adjacent
person, all while zooming through the vortex of space at ninety miles
per hour. Trudging past the buffet of mixed messages circling the front
window of the vehicle: the advertisements for fizzing drink products or a
spectacular attraction at
 an upcoming exit. There’s just so much more
of a world out there on the open plains that any city-dweller, rushing
from malls to offices, apartment buildings to daycare centers, grocery stores
to cinemas, tends to avoid. Not once in life is there an opportunity of seeing a
clear, immaculate perception of that ominous horizon line hidden behind the
summits of buildings and tree branches. Not once in life have the clouds been painted
so delicately across the sky, leaving minute bursts of heavenly blue hue in certain  
areas. The road is out there. it may be a crooked, jagged, path, but it will never be forgotten.

The Less Taken Path

(March 12th, 2010)

Dear Car Riding, Gas Guzzling, Ignorant Planet Earth,

I’d like to make every day a day open to adventure. One where the eyes shift around the diverse landscape in every direction, admiring all of the earthy colors and natural architectural masterpieces.  And one breathes in the aroma of the trees and the after-effect of a rainfall to be fully enveloped in the real world. The world that we are provided, not one constructed solely by man. I’d like to step inside a consistently shifting world that shines a cheerful expression at the coming of the following season. In order to fully appreciate such a majestic world, it is really as simple as opening your eyes. What I mean is, opening up to the world around you and using all of your senses to admire it. This, I fear, is something left out of a busy work day: the simple ability to be conscious of your surroundings. A contemporary worker is droned out under the barbaric noise of a Blue-tooth headset or trapped inside a car: such an object that shields oneself from the outside world. As for myself, I feel that almost every day I can manage to catch a mighty breath of the outside world. I walk about 1.67 miles every day to get home from school. This type of activity has given rise to questioning of some students that I am familiar with. They are so used to driving from place to place in the nick of time or at least catching a ride from their friend. I do agree that driving would make the process of transportation largely smoother, but without my daily walk I just feel like a large part of me is left out of each day. As a person strongly opposed to any sort of athletic sport,  I do believe that walking is enough to get myself into shape. Physical education just forces people to do activities that they don’t want to do, so there is little, if any motivation. On my walk, I just feel so alive since I am in touch with what is around me. Walking just leads to this feeling of strength and power.  I feel as though every stride that I take has meaning towards something great. Some days I eventually feel like running to release all the strength I have accumulated from this path, this winding sidewalk that I follow for 1.67 miles. I take it all in: the trees, the grass, the sky, and I feel something that others may not experience on a day-to-day basics. I look at the cars zooming past me and I just ignore it. Not once have I felt any sort of jealousy that they could get to where they are heading faster. I look at them and see all of their suffering. I watch them wait in traffic and I can just feel the negative vibes flowing from their automobiles. I feel like smiling, I feel as though I’m doing the right thing by getting exercise, by not wasting gasoline, by taking in my surroundings. People in the cars that zoom past think they have all the power, but they are wrong. I know there will be a day, though, when I follow in their footsteps. When I get my license and my walking days would just flow out the window. Poof! All of the memory lost. I cherish it now because I am young and I know that at heart I am the champion of the sidewalks.

Where Is The Love?

(February 11th, 2010)

Dearest Planet Earth, with your many love-struck, little birds,

It’s the week before Valentines Day, and yes, I am feeling a lack of love in my life. All around me people are recieving special flowers from their lovers at school. All around me people are going about their daily love-making sessions in the hallway. I guess I could use the excuse that this event is a great distraction from my schoolwork, but that would make me sound like a hateful soul whose purpose is to break up any bit of happiness in others. It isn’t that I am jealous; I just don’t know how to express my feelings about such a subject. Luckily Valentines Day falls during the weekend this year, so I won’t have to put up with as much of the “holiday spirit”. Just to put it out there, what is the point of this holiday? It seems that its only purpose is to raise the ones connected by a bond of love, while smashing the rest in the dirt below. Year after year, I reflect back upon who cares about me and who I consider to be close at heart and I realize that there really hasn’t been anyone out there for me at school. I sit alone at lunch, I sit alone in the morning on the cold, filthy carpet floor hoping for someone to show up to sit by me. It’s tough. It really is tough to go through a day of classes without having anyone to express feelings with. We talked about conformity and Transcendentalism in English class today: about how hard it is for one to go against the grain of society, which I feel like I am pursuing every day. Emerson says, “For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. The man must know how to estimate a sour face. The by-standers look askance on him in the public street.” Sitting at lunch, I felt looked down upon by the peers around me. I felt like a disgrace to be at the long lunch tables since a group of friends who were planning to sit where I was gave me such a sour look.  I really don’t want to have Connor as a person I rely on. He isn’t there for me when I actually need it, which is why I need to find someone who will care for me that I see every day in real life. Of course, going through every day alone gives me something special that many others do not: the ability to think for myself. I develop my own beliefs and causes at school which make me stand out as a unique character. Emerson continues by saying, “The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” As I continue to battle the common day’s conflicts, I remain strong and continue uninfluenced by the harsh tone of my surroundings.

When asked about what I will be planning to do on this upcoming holiday, all I have to say to respond is that I will do as I normally do any other day. I might even hang up some banners for Presidents Day to celebrate the 15th. After browsing the many exotic weblogs on WordPress, I have located one that demonstrates my feelings about such a “Valentines Day” that our society has grown to adopt. Click Here.