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28 February 2006

Being Watched

Nobody really knew it until it was almost done. But nevertheless, it was happening. We were being watched.

Laurel alerted me to this fact about a week ago. College students from Alberta, Canada have been reading her blog, and Jay's, too.

Professor Robert Runté of the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, gave the following assignment to his Social Context class this semester, worth 20% of their grade:

Blogs provide us with a unique opportunity to unobtrusively observe the private lives of a selection of (articulate) students. Links to a selection of adolescent blogs is provided in WebCT. Choose one set of ten blogs and read them regularly over the term and analyze their content. Your analysis should answer the following questions:

  • How important is school in the lives of these students (as reported in their blogs)?
  • What is their view of teachers and school? Positive? Negative?
  • What is their view of your major (i.e., sports or languages)?
  • What is the dominant theme of their blogs? (Dating? Annoying parents? Sibling conflict? Sports? Shopping? Travel? Drugs? Teenage Angst? Joy? Humour?)
  • What are some of the minor themes that you could identify?
  • How would you characterize these students' self-images? What role is the blog
    serving in the development of the student's identity?
  • Are there any patterns that you have observed in your sample of blogs? Do you notice anything about language usage among these students? Any gender differences? You may organize your analysis as you see fit – e.g., by blog, by theme, by age, etc.
Please note that you are NOT to contact any of these student blog writers.
Wow. That's amazing. Jay and Laurel being selected to be a part of Set 7 just for being, well, normal teenagers!

Granted, this could be considered an invasion of privacy, a concern that one of Laurel's acquaintances brought up. However, these blogs are public, so I guess they took that risk.

Nevertheless, Laurel's blog's traffic jumped in the second half of February as a result. In fact, she only found out by investigating the referring URLs to her blog from Canada. I mean, wouldn't you wan't to investigate how random Canadians were getting to your blog?

All I know is I only got one Albertan hit from this whole lousy hit (22 February 20:44 ET). They came through Jay's blog, and only visited my homepage. Oh, well. I guess I'm not a normal teenager. But then again, we all knew that.


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17 February 2006

Friday the Seventeenth

Well, Friday the Seventeenth came and went, and nothing major happened. Yay.

Maybe it was because I didn't have any school?


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16 February 2006

Falling Off the Face of the Earth

When I went to my Google personalized homepage this morning, I was shocked to see the weather module as shown to the left. Apparently, while Bradford and Pittsburgh are going to have chilly weather on Saturday, Girard is simply going to fall off the face of the earth.

So, I guess I'm moving. Somewhere. I don't know where yet, but since Bradford and Pittsburgh are safe, I guess I'll go there.

Maybe the same sort of thing happened to Los Angeles, home of Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Their main site,, hasn't had a word of the day since Tuesday. They say that the new one is posted at 00:00 PT each day (03:00 ET). We're now approaching afternoon and there isn't even one for yesterday yet. Oh, well.

Actually, the whole reason for the Google glitch was because they're forecasting a chance of snow showers for Girard on Saturday, with a high of 21° and a low of 11°. Apparently, because it was the only one of my three selected cities with a double-digit forecasted low, it was too big to fit in the module (just by a little bit). Google, being "smart," decided to leave off the entire day rather than cut off the low temperature.

You'd think it would just leave off Saturday altogether...


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10 February 2006

Day 100

Yesterday was the 100th day of school here at Girard High, which means one thing: only 80 left! And it's not even really 80 because that figure includes parent-teacher conferences and all half-days as if they were whole.

Oh, yeah, and yesterday was also my cousin Laurel's birthday. Happy birthday.


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08 February 2006

District Band Reflections

This post is a bit overdue, but you know why.

PMEA District 2 Band 2006 was held 18-21 January in Saegertown; I went with two of my friends and, of course, Mr. Dearbeck (good old Dearbeck). I got fourth chair trumpet, placing high enough to advance to Region II Band in Punxsutawney, 01-04 March, as did both my classmates. But that’s not what this post is about; this post is about revenge, sweet revenge!

Well, not quite.

The culmination of each PMEA festival (which the exception of the obvious concert) is the banquet on Saturday afternoon, where we eat “PMEA Chicken” (what else?). At this particular festival, the banquet was served cafeteria style: the people at each table got up and, in turn, went through the school’s cafeteria line to get their plate (and the PMEA Chicken, of course). Obviously, the various band directors were seated at the front of the room, and obviously they went through the lines first.

I was sitting with my schoolmates at a table in the second row, just behind the directors’ tables, and because the students were instructed to go through the line starting from the back, we were to be the last table served. Sitting at the table directly in front of us were Mr. Dearbeck and his friend and colleague from our neighboring school district, Mr. Wheeler (who actually commented on this blog once because I asked him to).

Anyways, the two directors were at the table right next to the door, the first table to be served besides the head table. When they got up and left to get their food, we took advantage of the situation by stealing Dearbeck’s silverware. He came back, and realized he had no silverware, so he went back into the line to get some, leaving the other directors to their food.

While he was gone, we put his original silverware back, thus bringing Mr. Wheeler in on the prank. He soon realized what had transpired, and he just looked over at us and smiled. We rationalized this by saying that “we didn’t have any food, and [he] didn’t have any silverware.” What a coincidence!

Finally, after about another ten minutes of waiting for our turn, we got a bit impatient. It was technically another table’s turn to go up for their food, but they weren’t going, so we did. I knew that Dearbeck and Wheeler we going to retaliate in some way...I just didn’t know how. I indicated my premonition by signing to Dearbeck that I was watching him.

Apparently I didn’t watch closely enough.

There must have been a window of less than thirty seconds when we were all looking away, but at some point I turned around and saw Mr. Wheeler going out the door with a chair in each arm. I knew they had stolen our chairs. When my friends got back to our table, they knew just what to do: they stole the chairs from the table next to us. When they came back, they were totally clueless, so they stole chairs from the next able, and so on. I think it ended somewhere around the fourth table.

We thought this was the end of it, but no. They had to “one-up” us. After all the speeches, presentations, and awards, the host director had one final announcement before the students were dismissed: the students from Girard had graciously volunteered to help clean up the banquet. As everyone got up, Dearbeck left the room, laughing.

We actually did do a little bit of cleaning, but then we left; we weren’t about to stay there all day.

Ah, the escalation of harmless pranks!


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06 February 2006

Waitangi Day

Happy Waitangi Day everyone! I wish you this because the calendar hanging in my kitchen had a lot of weird holidays, and this was the first one. So, I did a little research.

Waitangi Day celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 06 February 1840. From the British point of view, the treaty justified making New Zealand a British colony. According to Wikipedia, it is today "considered the founding point of New Zealand as a nation."

So there. Happy Waitangi Day!


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So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Note: This is a bit more difficult to post after reading Andrea’s post of 29 January regarding her lack of ideas for her blog, but I came up with this idea before that, so I am posting it nonetheless. My heartfelt apologies go out to Andrea and here’s hoping more aspects of her life become blogworthy.

This is post number 33 on this blog. This post is simply to tell you that I have enough ideas for posts to take me straight to number 46. And of course, if I have another weird dream or I come across more difficult sites, those will get thrown in the mix as well. The only problem is, I don’t have enough time to write them or, in some cases, to do the little bits of work necessary for them to achieve full-post status. Nevertheless, here is a taste of what I have planned:

  • Mmm... bacon!
  • Soups the Greeks eat
  • Something dealing with “43383”
Obviously, this is not meant to replace your readership of this blog for the next few months. It’s just to let you know that I am thinking of posts, but between my busy schedule and personal struggles I’m having right now, I can’t get around to it much. So now you have something to look forward to. If you think you can figure any of these riddles out, go ahead and try. If you succeed in guessing one before it gets posted, you win a chunk of recognition, in a size to be determined.

If you would have asked me in October if I had any such ideas for this blog, I would have flatly said no. As I said then, nothing much worth blogging goes on in my life during fall term.

P.S.: There is a distinct possibility that this blog will practically fall off the face of the earth in March; between Region Band, Region Choir, two academic competitions, a three-hour math contest, and the Marching Band’s trip to Florida, I’ll be missing a lot of school. As such, I’ll have a lot of work to be catching up on. Regardless, my blogging should pick back up in April.


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How about those Steelers? I knew they could do it; I never had any doubts. Finally, a Super Bowl victory in my lifetime! Sorry Seahawks.

Steelers 21, Seahawks 10.


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Life can really suck sometimes. But it’s wonderful to know that there’s always someone there for you, often where you least expect it.

One year ago yesterday, 05 February 2005, was among the worst days of my life. My entire world was turned upside-down by the events of that day. This past Saturday, 04 February 2006, was among the best days since then, as I have finally found someone who is willing to help me through these tough times. To that person (he knows who he is), thank you; I am already feeling much better about things.


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