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31 December 2005

What the Future Brings

Twelve years ago this month, a box arrived at my house. It looked like a cow; it must have come from some weird, distant company. Inside was a brand new computer, complete with Windows 3.1! I mean, what more could you expect from a company called Gateway 2000? They were so futuristic, they even put some far-off year in their name!

Now that we're on the verge of 2006, it all seems so silly. The year 2000 never really was that far away...and yet Gateway decided they'd use it to make them sound cooler. Needless to say, Gateway decided to drop the whole Y2K thing shortly thereafter...

But about 2006. For almost my entire life, June 2006 has been the endpoint of any long-range plans I have had. And now, with graduation a little more than five months away, I really have to start thinking beyond that point.

Honestly, as 2005 wanes, I hope 2006 will bring some exciting "firsts" into my life. I don't know what they'll be, but I'm really hoping they'll be fun.

And just so nobody asks, I have applied to colleges; I'm just waiting to hear from all of them before I make a decision. (Hopefully that will be soon.)

So, here's wishing everybody the happiest of new years!


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19 December 2005

Dream 1

I had a rather weird dream last Tuesday night. As such, I decided to tell you about it, and make a sort of series out of this and future dreams that strike me as interesting. So here we go:

Dream 1: Holiday Welcome Mat, night of 13-14 December 2005

Well, first of all, this dream was set in the present. One night, probably about 23:00, in this dream, I was walking down my road, talking to myself (which I actually do a helps me sort things out) . There was not a flake of snow on the ground and it was clearly December, as there was a Christmas tree visible through my neighbor's window.

Well, apparently my neighbor from across the street (who is a junior) overheard what I was saying to myself, because he was sitting on his porch (which he doesn't even really have).

The next morning, he came over to visit me (which he never does, nor I to him). Interestingly enough, both of our houses were abnormally larger than they actually are. As a mentioned earlier, he had a front porch, which he doesn't really have. Also, instead of a downward-sloping hill in my backyard, I had an upward-sloping hill in my frontyard, so that my house was above the street by a good four or five feet.

Anyways, my neighbor came over and stepped on our holiday welcome mat. Some sort of festive word of about five letters was printed in the middle of the mat...maybe "jolly." He saw this, excused himself, and he ran across the street back to his house. He came back with a nearly identical welcome mat, except the festive word printed in the middle had about eleven or twelve letters all squished together. We laughed (I don't know why).

I invited him into my house, which looked completely different on the inside, like one that you might find in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. We talked for a while, and I realized that he came over because he overheard me talking about my problems. It turned out that he had similar problems, and thought that if we were friends, we could work on them together.

After a while, he had to leave, but he promised to come back again, and that our friendship would last. As he left, my attention somehow was drawn to a large painting of a green apple on a sky blue background that was hanging to the left of the entryway. It was a Van Gogh.


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As for Why

As for why it's been so long since I posted, look no further than bell choir, Academic Decathlon, and the like. Once I was in a lull between activities, I had only the Christmas concert on 15 December to worry about. With that out of the way, I did a major winter update for the Girard High School Music Department website, and I nearly finished the Rice Avenue Community Public Library website, which will likely go up tomorrow.

Then, some things have come up in my personal life recently. Saturday night, I heard some things that hit me so hard I cried myself to sleep. But I'm getting over it, and this is probably a good way to do so.

So that's why it's been so long...but enough about that, I've got to actually write something!

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Finally, a post...although this one isn't really much worth posting.

It's just a sort of post to say that I'm posting, which is redundant because you're reading this post and if you have any common sense, you'd already know that I've posted this post.

So, after a 47-day hiatus, I have posted.

Enough about that, though. I have to get around to actually posting a post worth posting.

(Here's hoping you're as confused as I am.)

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02 November 2005


Apparently, Public Displays of Affection (PDA) have been running rampant around our school...or so one teacher would like to think.

Next weekend, my high school will put on its fall musical, Oklahoma!. As you may or may not know, during the course of the musical, some of the characters are required to kiss.

Well, one of our teachers who seems to do everything to the letter of the law (and who, I might add, is not affiliated with the Theatre Department) decided upon hearing this that the students playing those characters should be written up for PDA.

Yes, technically the school handbook does say that "[the] rules govern student conduct: in school, ...[and] while attending school sponsored and school supervised activities" (p. 39). And it has a whole paragraph stating that "public displays of affection...will result in disciplinary action" (p. 8)

It neglects to mention, however, that it is the duty of the staff members present at such an event to handle any disciplinary problems which may or may not arise, and to use their discretion as to whether or not a rule has been broken.

Perhaps that was the point this teacher was trying to make; I certainly don't know, nor does anybody else. Regardless, when he heard that the students were required to kiss, he immediately acted, solely upon hearsay.

Everyone was furious; emails were flying across the building. I happened to get a chance to read some as I was in the choir director's office when this arose. In my opinion, the funniest of these was from the director of the musical, saying that we didn't want to know what his blood pressure was at that moment.

The prinicpal brought up a good point: do we slap football players with detentions for aggressive behavior every time they tackle someone?

Needless to say, this teacher has done some controversial things in the past. Some people like him, some people hate him, and some people have no clue—it depends on the day. Oh, well; he'll be retiring soon, and then none of this will matter.


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24 October 2005

Bad Day

I've been having a pretty bad day. Everyone has been acting really weird around me, and I don't know why.

An example: I had to stay in the band room after class to read something the director is going to pass out tonight. When I left for lunch, I turned the corner into the main hallway and I saw the other two drum majors walking the other way (apparently, they eat lunch in the music room nowadays).

Anyways, as soon as I rounded the corner and came into their view, one of them suddenly burst into laughter while the other just chuckled a bit. And it wasn't like one had told a joke to the other and I just caught them at the moment when the other started laughing; there was a distinct pause of a second or two, then, all of a sudden, laughter. I didn't know what was so funny.

It was like this all day—English, Wellness, Chem... People would start laughing about absolutely nothing at all (or apparently at nothing), and when I'd ask what was so funny, I'd get the same response: "Nothing."

Which I guess is okay, as long as it truly was nothing that they were laughing about. After all, it seemed like they were laughing about nothing.

But I have a suspicion that it's probably more than that, and that's what's made my day so bad. In fact, right now, I'm at the public library, sitting at a computer named "Grumpy" (after the dwarf). How ironic is that?

Oh, well. It will all get better soon—I hope. At least I got to post twice today!

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SAT Scores

So, I got my October SAT scores back today.

Now, in case you didn't know, I took the old SAT in January and got 700V/740M (1440). This was very similar to what I had expected as I had taken some practice tests ahead of time. The math score bothered me a bit, though. I knew I was capable of a higher score.

This time around, on the new test, I got 670CR/790M/660W (2120). Critical reading predictably went down slightly, my writing score was comparable, and math went up! The day I took the test, I was very confident of the math sections. I felt that I possibly had performed at or near an "800" level.

Apparently "near" was the correct word; very near. The 790 bugs me a lot more than the 740, because I now know I'm capable of scoring that high, but I still can't say I got an 800. Ugh! Oh, well. Maybe I can convince my parents to let me take it a third time?


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03 October 2005

Evens and Odds

Whilst nothing much worth blogging about is going on in my life at this very moment, I thought I'd take this time to go back to the days of summer camp.

Every year on Wednesday night (weather permitting), we wait until the sun goes down and we play Capture the Flag. In order to fairly divide the teams, we are split by birthdate. One side consists of all campers who were born on an even day of the month. The other side consists of the odds.

If you're thinking that's all well and good, let me tell you something: it's not! This method of team division is absolutely not fair! It has been, and always will be, skewed toward the odds.

First of all, as manager of the camp contact list, I collect birthdates from people so that I can easily sort them by age. Well, looking at this year's list, 80 campers reported themselves as odds, while only 75 reported an even date of birth (the rest declined to answer). This is simply not fair! Why should we give the odds a nearly 7% advantage even before we set foot on the field? Granted, the officials do try to even the teams out before we start, but how can one be sure they're not biased?

There are 365 days in a normal year. Only 179 of them are even, leaving 186 odd days. It's even worse in leap years, when we add 29 February (notice that it's an odd day). So, every four years, 716 out of 1461 days are even, or 49.00753%. Leap years, however, don't occur on "century years" other than those divisible by 400. So, it's really like 71600 out of 146097 days in 400 years are even, or 49.00854%. I guess that's slightly better.

Let's break it down even further (because I like things to be perfect). This is absolutely necessary in my book, because on top everything, Daylight Saving Time (DST) throws weird things into the mix. Of course, it starts and ends on different dates each year, but they're always Sundays. Such calculations were made easier, however, by the fact that the current version of the Gregorian calendar repeats itself in a perfect cycle every 400 years (i.e., today, 03 October 2005 is Monday and 03 October 2405 will be Monday). The hard part is that those 400 years in the cycle don't start on each day of the week with the same frequency. 01 January falls on Monday and Saturday 56 times, on Wednesday and Thursday 57 times, and on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday 58 times during each 400-year cycle.

Using this, though, I could determine how often DST begins on each date (01-07 April) and ends on each date (25-31 October), keeping in mind that when it starts, the appropriate side loses 1 hour of baby birth, and when it ends, the appropriate side gets an extra hour of baby birth. (Wow, this sounds weird.)

So, when DST starts on 05, 06, or 07 April, they cancel each other out. One side loses an hour in spring, and gains it back in autumn. When DST starts on 01 or 03 April, even has a net swing of 2 hours in their favor, because odd loses 1 hour in spring and even gains 1 hour in autumn. When it starts on 02 or 04 April, odd has a 2-hour swing for the same reasons. Add this all up, keeping in mind how often DST begins on each date every 400 years, and the evens get a total swing in their favor of 8 hours every 400 years! So, rather than 1718400 out of 3506328 hours being even every 400 years, it's 1718408! That brings us to 49.00876%! Yay!

I don't know how many of you are in favor of President Bush, or how many hate him, or how many are relatively neutral toward most of his policies but still can't help but wonder what his IQ is (no, I'm not changing the subject). In August, he signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which, effective March 2007, will change the nationally observed dates for DST. Instead of starting on the first Sunday of April (01-07 April), it will start on the second Sunday of March (08-14 March). Rather than ending on the last Sunday of October (25-31 October), it will end a week later, on the first Sunday of November (01-07 November). This changes things a bit. Let's see what he did to the system.

Remember how I said that sometimes the swings caused by DST cancel each other out certain years? Not true under the new system! Every time DST will start on an odd day, it will end on an even day, causing a 2-hour swing toward the evens. The same holds true the other way. Since four of the possible starting dates are even (08, 10, 12, and 14 March), odd gets this swing roughly four-sevenths of the time. In fact, if you add everything up, they get a net swing in their favor of 108 hours every 400 years, bringing the total number of even hours down to a measly 1718292 out of 3506328, or 49.00546%.

If you're thinking this is some sort of Bush-planned conspiracy against the evens, think again! It only has to do with his concern for conservation of energy! In fact, Bush himself is an even! So there, he didn't plan it to work that way. It's only the repercussion of yet another Act we probably didn't need anyway (or at least not the DST part).

You may be wondering why I'm so frazzled by this whole DST thing. Not that it will affect my daily life much, but for my birthday this past year I got, among other things, a new alarm clock and a new wall clock. Both automatically adjust themselves for DST changes. Now I have to contact the Customer Service Department of both companies and see if I can get them fixed! Ugh!

I have a year and a half left to sort that all out, though. I'll probably send them in next summer when I don't need them to help me wake up in the morning (I am not a morning person)!

So now that I've ranted for well over 1000 words about how unfair everything is toward the evens, I guess I'm done. I just find it ironic that the four people whose blogs I regularly read (and who often comment here) are all odds! Grrr; I bet it feels nice.


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07 September 2005

My Schedule

Well, two days of school are in the books. I don’t have a horribly difficult schedule, in my opinion, but some of the classes are challenging. This is what I have for the first semester:

07:48-07:53 Homeroom
07:57-09:17 (1) AP English Literature & Composition
09:21-10:41 (2) Wellness & Nutrition
10:45-11:13 Tutorial Period
11:17-11:57 (3A) Concert Band
11:59-12:29 (3B) Lunch
12:31-13:11 (3C) Concert Choir
13:15-14:35 (4) AP Chemistry

There are pros and cons to the four-by-four block scheduling we use. Pro: One only has four (in some cases, five) classes to worry about each day. Con: There are only 90 days (instead of 180) to cover a whole year’s worth of material.

Example: Tuesday night for AP Chemistry (first day), I had to read Chapters 1 and 2 of a brand new AP-level book. Granted, all but two of the 68 pages were totally review from Chem I, but it was still a lot of reading. Today we reinforced the unfamiliar part, and did some review sheets. The test is tomorrow.

Please keep in mind that this is an extreme example and represents only one day in an entire semester. Some (hopefully most) days will be lighter than this, at least from Chemistry. Some will probably be heavier. Oh, well. That’s life.

In other news, I have 1.85 new teachers this semester. I had my AP English Lit teacher for Honors English 11 last year, but he’s got a student teacher now (.25). My Wellness & Nutrition teacher is completely new to me (1) and the Choir Director is a newbie (.5, because it’s half a block). Also, the Band Director (Mr. Dearbeck, see “Forty-four Chairs”) is a first-year teacher, but I’ve known him personally for years (.1). Total: 1.85.

Meanwhile, marching band is going well. I’ll have more posts later.


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05 September 2005

Eve of School, Deceleration of Blogs

Ah, Labor Day. It hardly feels like September, but alas, the calendar doesn’t lie. School starts tomorrow for me, and I can honestly say that I have never anticipated the first day of any school year as much as I have this past week.

See, the administrative offices of my school district were housed in third-floor classrooms of the middle school. Now the middle school needs to use those classrooms as classrooms because our enrollment is growing faster than we can keep up. So, they built an addition onto the high school building during the spring and summer and the administration moved across the street two weeks ago. The only real loss to the building was a first-floor classroom’s only window that was covered up by the back end of the addition. My physics teacher is happy that his second-story window directly above didn’t have to be sacrificed.

However, all this has had an effect on my immediate state of sanity. You see, in order to ensure that the administration would be moved out in time for the new middle school teachers to move into the classrooms, my school district decided to delay the first day of school by a week. However, after mid-August, there’s really nothing to do before school starts. Thus, around the last week of August I get a long-term headache of some sort, mostly from not doing anything of consequence all day.

Except this year, summer vacation lasts into September, for the first time in six years! Which each passing day, I am awaiting the first day of school which increasing anxiety. I got bored back in June. Camps kind of filled up the time in between. Now, I’m all set to go to school, as soon as possible (and no, I can’t believe I actually said that).

While school is on the horizon, however, something else is lurking. It is the inevitable deceleration of blogs. I’ve already seen it, in fact. Currently, I only regularly read four other blogs, all of which have been started since May, and all of which are authored by people who have already started their school year. This past week, I’ve already noticed a sharp decline in the number of posts from most of them.

How can we fight this? I don’t know. We could write shorter, but more frequent posts. Getting up early and staying up late are viable options, too. For the most part, however, I think we just need to remember that now that the school year is upon us, our lives will be more interesting. We will be interacting with other people on a daily basis, not just here and there. It will all get better.

I hope that this deceleration will slow and turn into an acceleration after a few slow weeks. School just takes an adjustment.

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31 August 2005

We Are Cheerios

With Hurricane Katrina now in the past, I'd like to share a rather weird analogy that my brother came up with. It's not the best analogy, and is probably not very sensitive to those who lost everything, but I need something to post before August is done.

Imagine a big bowl of Cheerios. The bowl is the basin of New Orleans. Each Cheerio represents a house. The crumbs are people.

Now imagine that the aforementioned bowl is floating...floating in an endless sea of milk. You look left, you look right, but all you can see is milk (which would initially be tasty, but after a while it would get boring).

Somehow, a hole is poked through the protective shell that is the bowl. Milk begins to seep in. Then it begins to flow in. Cheerios get soggy. Crumbs scream for their lives as they float into the infinite abyss of lactose.

Pretty scary, isn't it? (Pretty weird, isn't it?) That's my brother for you. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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29 August 2005

Forty-four Chairs

An odd headline, isn't it? Well, maybe for most people. However, the people who stayed with me in Cabin 8 at band camp this year know exactly what it means.

You see, we have a new director this year, Mr. Chris Dearbeck. A 2000 graduate of Girard himself, he was a saxophonist in the marching band throughout high school. Each year through college he wrote our drill and was assistant director. When our previous director finally retired, he got the job.

Mr. Dearbeck has always been the kind of person who enjoys a good, harmless prank. If I'm getting the story right, he once was involved in duct-taping a chair to the roof of a cabin at band camp. That got a little messy under the sun, and since then, the use of duct tape has been severely limited at camp.

Needless to say, when we realized that the last day of band camp this year was going to fall on Mr. Dearbeck's birthday, we knew we had to do something.

Ideas were thrown around each night. It was obvious that it was going to be done in the middle of the night, when no one would see it. As a drum major, however, it was my responsibility to make sure they didn't decide to do anything too drastic.

Finally, the night before, it was decided that we would all get up at 02:30 and take all the small wooden chairs off of all the camp's porches and place them on the front porch of Cabin 9, which would essentially lock Mr. Dearbeck inside his cabin were it not for the back door. In addition, large, comfortable orange chairs can be found on the porches of Cabins 9 and 10 (you can see one in the background of the picture below on the porch of Cabin 10). We had decided that we should take the orange chairs back to our own cabin and get up at 06:00 to wait on our porch for Mr. Dearbeck to come over and say something.

I suggested some sort of assembly line to make things go quicker, because I have had many a night of insomnia at camps, and I know that 02:30 is not when people sleep their heaviest.

We all went to bed, and once 02:30 rolled around, the person in charge of the alarm slept through it. I awakened once again at around 05:15, at which time I set my alarm clock to go off at a later time. It made a little confirmation beep, ensuring me that it was, in fact, set. This slight noise awoke some of the others in the cabin, who woke up the rest, and to work we went.

The assembly line worked almost extremely well. From 05:20 to 05:40, four of us removed chairs from the porches of Cabins 1 through 8 and took them across the gravel road (which was hard to do quietly), while two stayed back at Cabin 9 and began putting them up on the porch. By 05:45, we had forty chairs stacked on the front porch, with four left over. We quickly decided to put them just outside the back door, so that once Mr. Dearbeck resorted to the back door he would find another surprise, but not so much of one that it would be a fire hazard (always thinking ahead).

It was nice getting up at 05:15 to do this, because we could just sit around and wait for Mr. Dearbeck then. There was no need to go back to bed and wake up to a second alarm. Around 07:20, Mr. Dearbeck finally came over. The first words out of his mouth had nothing to do with assigning us laps, or making us take the chairs down later. He simply said, "I'm impressed."

The prank was flawlessly executed, and the director, who himself would have done something similar, was there to commend us. Forty-four small wooden chairs were given in exchange for six large comfortable ones. I have now made 44 my second luckiest number. What is my luckiest number? Twenty-three, the age Mr. Dearbeck reached that very morning.

How ironic.


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27 August 2005

Apology for Delay

Wow. Has it really been five and a half weeks since I last posted? The calendar doesn't lie, however. This is the last week of August, and this is the first post of August. In fact, half the reason I'm posting now is so that years from now I won't be looking at my archives wondering where August 2005 went.

There are a multitude of reasons for the delay. Firstly, I had always known that it would be like this. June is always a slow month for me activity-wise, so I had time to post with some sort of frequency. As July rolled around, my posts thinned out, and now here I am, trying to make up for lost time.

Why then, you ask, did I start my blog in May, knowing that my summers are filled with things that prevent me from posting? Simple: that's when I thought of it. Had I thought about starting a blog in January, I probably would have done so, but I didn't, so there.

Another reason is that I like all things with which I fill my life to have meaning, to not just be some useless waste of energy. So, I've only posted when something truly amusing or profound has come up in my life. Unlike some other blogs I frequent, my goal has been to steer clear of the type of blog that is essentially a mindless regurgitation of everything one did on a particular day (although if I have another dry spell, I may finally resort to that).

That being said, August has been a wonderful month, what with band camp and the typical mutterings of my brother. I have several ideas for entries on topics covering the past month, which, assuming they all fully develop, will yield three or four posts before school starts on 06 September and I get back to some sort of interesting life (and I can't wait).

So there. I've finally posted. Prepare to see some real content here soon.


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19 July 2005


This post came about from Jay’s reminiscence on his days at summer camp. In his post of 10 July entitled “Summer Camp '05--Day 1,” he mentioned that they utilized the “family-style” approach to the serving of meals.

Oh, how I long to go back to those days!

At the camp I was just at this past week, they used to serve things family-style (ah, those were the good old days). Fifteen minutes ahead of each meal, a cabin took the rotating duty to set up for the meal. They would set 21 tables for ten people each. Ten place settings and one of each dish were set up on each table. No one complained (imagine that!). During mealtime, the Golden Rule was observed.

No, not that Golden Rule. The Golden Rule that states that “if you kill it, you fill it.” If you took the last chicken nugget from the bowl, and there were still people who needed them, you would be obligated to take the empty bowl up to the serving window where a friendly member of the Kitchen Staff would gladly refill it with a smile.

Fast forward to the days of 2005.

The dining hall is still as crowded as ever, as it is very hard to fit 21 tables in there as it is. On top of that, however, they’ve thrown in a buffet line. A buffet line! What kind of sacrilegious mealtime fiends are these people? They’d scrunched the tables together, and put in an extravagant dual-line buffet, and they were using the serving window as a third line. The cabin that had to set up for the meal now only had to put out silverware and pitchers of juice or water.

If that isn’t bad enough, the Golden Rule of Camp Mealtimes was becoming rapidly extinct. If people wanted more food, they just waited until everyone had had one turn through the line before they took a second. So, people were getting lazy. Even for the pitchers of beverages (which were exhausted quickly, as it was a very hot week), common courtesy had disappeared, even though the refilling stations were also self-service.

Now, I do give the camp half credit for coming up with the buffet line idea, but not thinking it completely through. They entertain many different “specialty camps” throughout the summer (each has a different theme). Some camps have as few as 50 people, but as you’ve probably gathered, campership during my particular week hovers near 200 (it is consistently their largest camp each year). It seems feasible to get 50 people through three buffet lines rather quickly, but 200? Come on, who do they think they’re kidding?

So the typical lunch would proceed as follows: At 12:00, the designated cabin would (ahem) barely set up for the meal ahead. By 12:10 they’d be finished and would spend the rest of the time talking amongst themselves. At 12:15, the counselors would start letting people into the dining hall in small groups, and campers would begin looking for a counselor holding up fingers, indicating that there were the corresponding number of available seats at that table. By 12:20, we could pray, and at about 12:21, the director of our week’s camp got up to the microphone and started calling tables to go to the buffet, no more than three at a time so as to avoid crowding.

It was often 12:30 by the time my table was called, but I waited patiently as I had made a new best friend and enjoyed talking to him. At 12:32, I’d be halfway through the line, when the Chief of Kitchen Staff walked by to refill something. “Excuse me, but what’s in these wraps?” I politely asked. No response. Apparently, she was too busy doing other things (just what, I don’t know).

After having not eaten a mystery wrap, I finally finished my meal at about 12:40, which is when the camp director finally called the last table and got into line for himself (the poor thing, he did this every meal). By 12:45 my table had started cleaning up, my cup was taken and I wanted water. Looking next to the cereal dispensers, I saw a Styrofoam cup. Unfortunately, it had already been used. So, I rifled through the sleeve of Styrofoam cereal bowls to see if there were other cups nearby.

Up comes the Chief of Kitchen Staff. “The cereal’s for breakfast only,” she said plainly (and rather coldly, too). I said that I was not looking for cereal; I was looking for a cup. “Oh, well I can give you one of those,” and she did.

However, to think that she didn’t have enough time to answer my earlier question about the mystery wraps, but had all the time in the world to scold me about proper cereal-eating times was infuriating. Well, I guess I sort of found out what she was too busy doing earlier.

The morals are (yes, there are multiple morals): If you’re a camper and you see a buffet line, be prepared for the worst of all disasters, especially if the camper-to-buffet line ratio is high. If you run a camp kitchen, don’t choose buffets! They can be quite horrible! And finally, if you run a camp, don’t hire a Chief of Kitchen Staff like the one I just mentioned, especially if you’re a Christian camp. It just ruins things.


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05 July 2005


The other day, I was at my grandfather’s house reading my cousin Laurel’s blog. She was right behind me, gauging my reactions to what she had written.

Laurel doesn’t like punctuation or paragraphs (although you can still understand her without it), and I was kind of helping her a bit by fixing the most obvious errors and pointing out where paragraphs should have been made.

While I was reading her post of 02 July entitled “Hospital,” I got to a part where she mentioned taking Tylenol to reduce her pains. She laughed and admitted that when she was writing it, she wasn’t sure how to spell Tylenol and had to look at the bottle so that she would type it correctly.

“It looked weird in that font,” she told me, “but I was right.”

The misspelling of medicine names is a problem. At least Laurel decided to use the brand name Tylenol and not the generic acetaminophen (that could’ve been scary).

There are too many medicines in the world, and too few letters in the alphabet with which to spell their names. This is such an epidemic that sometimes a drug’s name gets very close to being replicated by something else. There are only so many combinations of letters you can form into pronounceable words before they get so long they look like German.

Imagine some random guy is walking down the street. He has an asthma attack, and a vigilant passerby rushes him to the Emergency Room. After getting him back to normal, the doctor says that the man needs Singulair, and writes it on the prescription pad.

Two weeks later, the man suffers another attack. When the doctor asks about his earlier advice, the man rants and raves, wondering why the doctor is so insistent that he should change his wireless telephone company to Cingular! (Yes, there are people that brainless!)

So, there are two possible solutions: less drugs, or more letters. Less drugs won’t work; there are many medicines that do wonders for the ailing body, and more research will only produce more drugs. Thus, we need more letters! What these letters could be, though, I don’t know.

I’d like to buy a vowel.


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22 June 2005


You know them; everyone does. They call you to ask if you want to go see really good movie that just came out; they loved it so much that they’re going again. Why not? You’ve been meaning to go for what seems like ages. So you invite a couple other friends and make an outing of it, popcorn and all.

You sit through the trailers and advertisements and finally it’s time for the feature presentation. You’ve been waiting for this for a while. The first big scene comes up and you’re really getting excited, wondering how the protagonist will ever find his way out of such imminent peril, when your friend leans over and whispers something in your ear.

Your friend blabs, revealing major plot twists long before they happen, and your entire evening is now ruined.

Why would anyone in their right mind spend six dollars to watch a movie (not to mention another three or four for popcorn) when the person sitting next to them is going to reveal everything right before it happens? It’s not good at all, no matter how you slice it.

First of all, if you’re the blabber, your friend is likely angry with you and you have no idea why. A hint: shut up and watch the movie! No one was blabbing in your ear when you went to see it. Maybe that’s why you loved it so much; you actually had to guess what was going to happen next. What makes you think your friend is going to love the movie if you keep ruining everything?

If you’re the blabbee, you now no longer feel like watching the movie because you spent a decent chunk of change to go see it when you could have gotten the Cliffs Notes version for free. Why did you even go with him, anyway? You knew he was a blabber. At least you could’ve sat somewhere else, not next to him. Now you’re kicking yourself because three hours and ten dollars now seem wasted.

It’s not good for Hollywood either. Blabbees will either order the Cliffs Notes version from their friend and end up not seeing the movie or refuse to take the blabbers with them to the theater. Either way, it’s a lost ticket sale (not to mention the lost concessions revenue).

However, I have a solution! You must have at least one non-blabber who has already seen the movie (and wants to see it again). There are plenty of people like this around; if you can’t find one that you know of, grab one off the streets. Now, when sitting down to watch the movie, seat all blabbers to the left and all those who haven’t seen the movie to the right. Pad the middle with the non-blabber veterans. This way, if a blabber leans over to reveal anything major, it won’t be heard by anyone whose day will be ruined if they hear it.

But wait, it gets better!

Have the blabber buy a big bucket of popcorn for the group (after all, he invited you). But because he’s all the way to the left, he won’t get as much as everyone else.

People in the middle get the bucket as it is passed both ways, but those on the end only get it half as much. Sure, you’re on the other end, but think of it as a worthy sacrifice to help you better enjoy the movie. Besides, the blabber bought the popcorn, not you, so what little popcorn you might happen eat would be free! And all popcorn does is make you thirsty. So the blabber will have already purchased his jumbo soda (which he won’t need), but you will be quite satisfied with your small water. This arrangement actually saves you money!

So, enjoy the movie, whatever it may be. And good luck getting this to actually work!

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12 June 2005

A Little Bit of Luck

Well, my last few posts have somehow been related to hamburgers. With concern that I may be giving my readers pangs of hunger at all hours of the night, I will refrain from mentioning hamburgers in this post. Oops; too late.

Anyways, it’s interesting how sometimes what seems like the worst of luck can actually amount to some good, even if it’s not immediately evident, and even if the good doesn’t even begin to outweigh the bad.

Take last week for example. The transmission in my father’s van conked out, and it needed many dollars worth of repairs. We were down to one vehicle for a good part of the week, which my mother took with her to work in the city. Fortunately, my father works within walking distance of our house and the weather was nice, so transportation wasn’t much of a problem.

Except on Thursday 02 June, I had an after-school activity (gasp!). My father had the day off, but without a vehicle, he could not easily travel the two miles to the school as he usually did to pick me up. So, I started walking.

Walking, walking, walking. It was a rather nice day. But I had an urgent problem: it was becoming increasingly necessary for me to promptly locate a lavatory and utilize it. Walking, walking, walking. Where shall I go? Wherever shall I locate a lavatory, let alone utilize one? I had just started walking and was still quite a distance from home. I didn’t want to turn back to the school, as that would be foolish (not to mention a waste of time). I had to find somewhere on the way home, and I had to find it fast.

No sooner had I thought the aforementioned thoughts than I came up to the community library. I went in, set down my book bag, and asked to use their restroom. I was allowed to do so (thank God!), so I did. When I was finished, one of the librarians asked if I wanted a doughnut.

A doughnut? That’s the last thing I expected to hear when I walked into the library. Apparently, they had had a book sale that day, and were getting ready to close for the evening. They had been handing out Krispy Kreme doughnuts to the patrons.

“Why don’t you take four? We’ve got to get rid of these somehow,” said the second librarian. I certainly had no objections to that; there are exactly four in my family. What a perfect number of doughnuts to stumble upon!

So, they handed me the whole box, which had four doughnuts left, and I walked happily along all the way home.

Later, I ate my doughnut, and it was very good. It was the kind with cinnamon in it, and of course, being a Krispy Kreme, it was delectable, especially after I had put it in the microwave. The creamy goodness of the doughnut was oozing all over my hands and I just had to lick my fingers when I was done.

Oh. I probably shouldn’t have gone on like that about the doughnut; now you’re probably craving one. Oh, well. I don’t really care what you’re craving. It’s not my fault you’re hungry!

The moral is: don’t be afraid of librarians. They’re actually quite friendly. And just remember that a couple thousand dollars worth of vehicle repairs might just be along the same road as a couple dollars worth of free doughnuts.


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02 June 2005


Allow me to take you back to last Friday and put you in the shoes of a friend of mine who works at Wendy’s. Then again, maybe that’s not a good idea, because… well, you’ll figure it out.

It was just an ordinary Friday. My friend walked to work, an ordinary occurrence. It was a cloudy day, and it had been sprinkling earlier, but nothing major (yes, even the weather was ordinary). But the mundane, routine ordinariness was about to end.

On this particular day, upon arriving at his site of employment, he was required to fetch something out of the freezer. But it wasn’t just an ordinary freezer, it was a walk-in freezer (insert dramatic music here). So, what did he do? He walked in. And it must have taken him a while to find what he was looking for or to pull it off the shelf.

This is where the story gets a little fuzzy. You see, I don’t know for what he was in there in the first place. Perhaps it was to get more beef patties. Or maybe they were running low on cheese. Whatever it was, they needed to get it out of the freezer. And it’s not like it really matters what it was anyways; I’m just going off on a tangent like I usually do.

I mentioned earlier that it had rained before this. Well, typically when you walk in the rain, your shoes get a little damp (and this is not another tangent). This is what happened; my friend’s shoes had a bit of water on them.

What happens to water on your shoe when you go into a freezer?

It freezes, and you’re stuck. Apparently, he not only stopped long enough to read the label on the package for which he was searching, but also long enough to allow the water on his shoes to freeze to the freezer floor, essentially sticking him in place.

Now, he didn’t initially notice this. I mean, who would notice a little ice on your shoe when you’re in a freezer? But once he had found his desired item and had it in hand, he went to turn and exit the freezer, and his feet didn’t move.

Most likely thinking, “Hey, it’s only ice,” he used a little more force to try and break free. He did, but he quickly lost control of his balance and fell, face first, onto the floor. Now his arm was stuck to the floor, as well!

I’m assuming here that he called for help, because in a situation like this, you don’t just want to wait for someone to stroll into the freezer hours later and find you, frostbitten, hanging on for dear life (not a pretty sight). Someone must have taken the package from wherever it had landed, helped him up, and knew that he should go to the Emergency Room.

So, he went to the Emergency Room, and he was fine (just a little bruised, I’d imagine). He survived to tell the story.

The moral is: Wipe your feet when you enter a building. That’s what they put those little mats there for, anyway.

Now aren’t you glad I didn’t put you in his shoes?


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28 May 2005

Where's the Beef?

The other day, my grandfather took my brother David and I to the McDonald's drive-thru for a late dinner. It was 21:00 and we hadn't yet eaten.

Like most kids, David has developed certain likes and dislikes when it comes to food (as well as I have, but that's not the point). Both of us love bacon, and neither of us really likes condiments such as ketchup or mustard.

Now, I haven't liked McDonald's burgers for well over a decade. So, as usual, I ordered a 10-piece box of Chicken McNuggets with barbecue sauce (yum!). David ordered a plain bacon cheeseburger.

"I'm sorry," the cashier said. "We don't have bacon cheeseburgers." (Apparently, that's Wendy's.) "But I can give you a cheeseburger with bacon on it."

After thinking on this rather odd comment for a moment, David agreed.

I told you already David doesn't like condiments. In fact (like me), he'll refuse to eat a hamburger with condiments on it. So, he implored Grandpa to emphasize that his bacon cheeseburger cheeseburger with bacon was to be plain. Hold the mustard, hold the lettuce; special orders don't upset us...(wait, that's Burger King).

The message was passed along, and all was good. We got our bag of food and drove about three miles to Grandpa's house.

When we arrived, I opened my McNuggets and began eating. David, as usual, started to check his burger to make sure nothing foreign and unwanted was on it. Except his burger was a bit shorter than usual (you know, not tall). He opened it up and his eyes widened:

Where was his beloved and much anticipated all-beef patty? It was no where to be found! On the bun was smiply a slice of cheese and two strips of bacon (ooh, two strips).

The moral of the story is: special orders apparently do upset people at McDonald's. So much so, in fact, that they'll give you a burger without burger for the same price as a burger with burger.

Who do they think they're fooling, anyways? What kind of a person orders a cheeseburger with no beef? You might as well waltz into a grocery store and buy a block of cheese and a loaf of bread. You could get about 20 "cheeseburgers" for the price of one McDonalds burger without burger.

Oh, well. Grandpa wasn't about to drive another three miles each way just to complain. My brother ate the burger without burger anyway.


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27 May 2005


This will be one of my shorter posts. No particular reason, it's just that this topic doesn't exactly lend itself to oodles of words.

Recently, one of my classmates came into class with something to show us: her finger (ooh, interesting). It was the tip of her finger that was the object of this impromptu show-and-tell. She had just discovered that branded into it were two letters: "TO." She had no idea when this could have happened, and nobody knew the significance of the letters. I pointed out that if her finger said "TO," the original object must have said "OT." I asked to see the adjacent finger, and she showed it to us.

Branded into it was the "H" that I had been expecting.

Yes, that's right. Go ahead and laugh. The item she touched had read, "HOT" in nice, big capital letters. And yet she burnt herself nonetheless (how mindless can you get?). Just a taste of some of the people I deal with every day.


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25 May 2005

Pasting and Publishing

I am writing this post as I sit at my brother’s piano lesson, waiting for my turn. No, I don’t have a laptop. I didn’t even bring pen and paper. I’m typing this into my TI-83+ graphing calculator. I’ll then load the text onto my computer and post it from there. This is how pathetic I’ve become.

That’s the problem with parentally restricted Internet access: you can’t afford to spend time typing while you’re online. As such, I type all of my blog posts and most of my longer outgoing emails in advance. When the time comes that I am finally online, I simply copy, paste, and send (or in the case of this blog, publish).

Yet, I can’t help but feel guilty about pasting. It seems like I’m being impersonal and that I’m somehow removing myself from what I’ve written. I feel like I’m just passing along a meaningless block of text that no one cares about anyway.

But it’s not like I am being impersonal; I’ve really put some thought and consideration into what I’ve written. It’s just that it seems too easy to write an email at night, save it to a disk and simply paste and send when I get to school the next morning. I feel like I’m missing the actual act of typing what I’ve sent, even though I’m not because I’ve already done it.

As for blogging, I don’t really care. With other websites I’ve run (and continue to run), I do everything offline and just upload it all at once. For a website, even a blog, it just seems natural to do it offline. It’s just for email that I feel I should be more active in actually typing my messages right before I send them. Maybe it has to do with the timeliness of the whole thing. I don’t know. All I know is my days of pasting and publishing are all but over.

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21 May 2005

Polished Lips and Inflatable Zeros

Last night was the prom and all was good, but the night wasn't without its glitches. At 16:05 I arrived at my date's house, flowers in hand, ready for the night to begin. Everything was perfect, except she wasn't home. Every time I knocked on her door, her dog went crazier (and barked louder). I waited there for a good 10 minutes, wondering if she was just running a little late (I hear it's a girl thing). Finally, I decided to go home and call her friend's house; I knew that was where she would be if she were anywhere other than her home.

At 16:20, I got home and ran to the phone. I asked if anyone knew the whereabouts of my date. Yes, they did. She was right there, frantically trying to get nail polish off of her lips (what?). Apparently, they were making some last-minute final touches when they picked up a tube, thinking it was lipstick, and started painting her lips. It was the younger sister who, before things got worse, duly noted that the tube in fact contained nail polish.

After the impromptu delay, the night went on. It began with myriad pictures in front of the weeping willow tree in my backyard (say "cheese"). We went to the school to see the Prom Queen be crowned and then went to my great-grandmother's house on the lake for even more pictures. Our party rendezvoused at a restaurant where we ate (obviously) then stepped into our limousine, which until Thursday was not part of our plans.

We arrived at the prom itself at 20:00 (fashionably late), and one of the first things we saw there was a wonderful ice sculpture that had "Prom 2005" carved out. I took a picture of it. Inside the ballroom on either side of the deejay were a "zero" balloon and a "five" balloon (how appropriate). We started talking and got off on random tangents about the conservation of inflatable zeros and how the Prom Committee should save the zero to use for future proms. Unfortunately, by the end of the evening, the zero's helium was not as it had been and the once upright zero was sulking its zero-head away from the merriment of the dance floor (amazingly interpretive, but depressing and kind of weird).

My date looked so different from her norm that all throughout the night various people passed by her without noticing who she was. One of my friends even looked right at her and asked me if she was a long-distance girlfriend or something. No, it wasn't. Many people tried to get us to dance, but the closest we got was cooperative swaying. We also "square" danced in which we each formed square out of our index fingers and thumbs, held it up, and jumped vertically to the music (we're a silly crew).

I took pictures throughout the event of people I knew (and their dates, of course). Since my dad gave me a film camera, though, I have to go through the pain and agony of waiting for them to be developed (ugh!). I didn't have to wait, however, for our instant key chain portraits. My date and I got our professional pictures taken around 20:45 and by 21:30 I was looking at the picture wondering why it looked odd. I then realized that I had little red dots for pupils and that she had big red dots for pupils (so red, it almost covered her entire eye). I hope the picture people will eliminate that when they print the package.

As exciting as the evening was, by 23:00 we were all tired and ready to go home. I took another picture of the now melted ice sculpture. We all got back into the limousine and drove back toward home. I don't know that I shall ever see my date so dressed up again, but at least now there's proof—and for years to come, we'll have fond memories her polished lips.


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20 May 2005

Caffeine Starts Bear of a Day

Caffeine is all that's keeping me up now. It's what got me up to eMail my homework to my History teacher because my printer's broken, and it's what will keep me up right through 'til prom, which is tonight! On top of that, I've got lots more to do before the week is through.

My prom date and I were just asked yesterday if we wanted to join a group in their dinner reservations and limo. Sure. We'll modify our plans to fit a limo in.

The bus is coming soon, so I've got to go and actually start this bear of a day.


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18 May 2005

Losing the Phone Book

This is a very busy week. Two concerts, a prom, and a party, with homework (and trying to start up a decent blog) on the side. It doesn't work; something's gotta give.

One of my old friends since preschool (who has since moved to Virginia) was in town Sunday. I was told she'd be up at about 14:30 at her best friend's house; she would call me when she came. Well, by 15:30 I still hadn't gotten called. Maybe she was running late. So I took a nice, long nap, eagerly awaiting the phone call.

Knock, knock. It was 18:30 and my parents were at my door. She was at my house. Where had she been? At her friend's house for three and a half hours! Apparently, she couldn't find my phone number (or maybe she just lost the phone book). So, my friend was rushing back to her sister's house and I was on the way. Yay. Three and a half minutes isn't three and a half hours, though. And I wasn't even doing anything important (who needs sleep?). Oh, well. I'm a little disappointed, but hey, we're all human.

Gotta go—the spring concert is tomorrow night, and I can't be zonking out during my solos (or is it "soli"?)! But, of course, certain people will be zonking out anyways—the new Star Wars movie comes out in less than an hour.


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14 May 2005

My First Post

Welcome to Randomness, my first blog and current personal website.

I hope you will enjoy all that I will be posting in the coming months, even though it may seem like it has nothing to do with anything.


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