Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Peace Labyrinth

About a year back my schools' art association put together a peace labyrinth to promote peace around the school. It's a nice place for students and teachers to go when they have time during their stressful or busy lives to help them keep calm and continue with their work.

I for one often visit and walk the labyrinth which some how finds a way to make me feel better when I finally finish walking it. I usually would sit there after Im done with after school activities while I wait for my bus so I'll have somewhere quiet to work at.

But for some reason now at my school, we aren't allowed to visit the peace labyrinth, what's up with that?

It's not like it's a place where students are going to go hide and do things that they shouldn't be doing, it's in plain sight. Now I would understand if a group kids were caught smoking over there a few times or if people skipped classes and hung out over there but no, instead they just decided we can't sit over there anymore.

Do they even understand how much we need something like this. Our school had and still have pretty much of a bad reputation and this labyrinth is suppose to help. It's a peace labyrinth, by telling us we can't visit, it's just like promoting fighting and war. What was the point of letting it be built if you won't let anyone use it?

Monday, September 26, 2011

From the Other Side of Time

Whenever you tackle centuries-old literature in an English classroom setting, there's a certain apathy towards dealing with the convoluted colloquialisms and talk of those times that the texts evoke in almost every student. The way of speaking that must have been considered completely normal some two, three hundred years ago is completely alien to the 21st century learner reading the 137th reprint of that same "timeless" tale. So while we can agree comfortably on the idea that old speak is difficult to  understand and harder to enjoy, can we as easily bear the possibility of our own speak being completely alien two to three hundred years from now?

It's a big "what-if" kinda question, but if you can get past the associated futility of such a question, the concern is one worth contemplating. How do we take such comfort in writing the way we do when we're not being considerate of the future? Much the same way that AP English students wish for these older authors to write stuff in simple sentences and with simple lingo, AP English students two to three hundred years from now - if the AP designation still exists, of course - might be yearning for the same clemency from us.

Of course, there's no way to predict how language will evolve over centuries. We consider the way present-time editorial and opinion column writers write as professional yet accessible technique, but who's to say that the inhabitants of colonial-age New England didn't find The Scarlet Letter to be an easy read? The only thing that would fix any future problem with our current writing style would be the conception of a universal ruler of simplicity: an imaginary set of guidelines that would judge a text's simplicity and true timelessness based on verb and noun use, syntax, diction, etc.

Certainly, someone has to have thought of something similar before. But should such a concern remain monopolized by the most involved of literary fanatics, or should it diffuse into the general population?

That is the question.

Pierce The Veil/Miss May I Co-headlining Tour

One show I'm really excited to seeing over any other show would have to be the Pierce The Veil/Miss May I Co-headlining Tour. The band Woe, Is Me is also on the tour with them, featuring their new clean vocalist that they have kept a secret for so long. No one knows much about him other than that his name is Hance Alligood. He is said to be an amazing vocalist, maybe even better than their former vocalist, Tyler Carter. Tyler has brought this band up so high, and left to do a project of his own, leaving the band in the hands of Hance Alligood. To the left is a picture I took of Miss May I at Warped Tour this year. Pierce the Veil and Miss May I never dissappoint, so it'll be great to see them, and see how the new Woe, Is Me is :-)

PAN AM Takes Off

The new ABC series PAN AM debuted last night with a great first episode.

The series is about stewardesses of the PAN AM 1960s airline, their stories, and their journeys on and off the job.

A lot of the things in the series actually happened in real life all those years ago. Many old PAN AM stewardesses recall having to go through countless weigh-ins and measurements before being picked to be stewardesses on the planes

Critics had already been raving about it, their comments appearing on countless trailers and teasers from ABC.

In my opinion, it was fabulous. An honest modern American soap opera filled with everything a girl would dream of watching in a show. There is romance, espionage, and comedy. All set in a vintage 1960s setting that is too cute to be true.

And already the plot has begun to unfold.....

Watch PAN AM Sundays at 10 pm on ABC, especially if you're a girl who appreciates a good soap opera, it won't disappoint.

The Way of MySpace?

The recent changes to Facebook has been, as changes to Facebook usually are, almost universally reviled by Facebook's user base. People can't agree on politics, or music, or religion, but everyone can seem to agree – leave Facebook alone.

Why, then, has Facebook not experienced anything more than good-natured complaining? Other social networking options like the much-hyped Google+ have sprung up, and Facebook's own usurption of Myspace's users proves the transient nature of popularity on the Internet. Yet Facebook remains a juggernaut; with more users by the day, it remains the top social networking site on the Internet.

Facebook's initial advantage that gave it the edge over the doomed Myspace was its accessibility and streamlined setup; it was easier, more linked together, and gave more options. Yet the new changes to Facebook, in which you can see your friends' recent activity on the right side of the page, seem only to clutter the setup; and the universally hated new chat, in which Facebook tells you who's online based on who it thinks you want to talk to most, does the same. The main question remains, then, why Facebook has managed to hold its crown. People certainly aren't scared to leave one social network for another en masse.

Facebook had better watch out. Google has an astounding track record in terms of success in different types of Internet services, and anyone who's seen their takeover of web browsing and e-mail wouldn't underestimate their ability to dominate social networking as well. If people see Google+ as doing to Facebook what Facebook once did to Myspace--providing an easier and simpler alternative—Mark Zuckerberg's reign as the top dog in the social networking world may come to an end.

I'm Not a Cook, Or am I...?

As you can see from the title, I'm not a cook. I've never had the knack for it, let alone the opportunity to really learn how to cook. Not that I'm a bad cook. I'm just not a cook.
Time and time again, I'd help my mom around the kitchen, asking a million questions for literally every instruction she'd give me. I picture myself being extremely annoying when I can't stop finding a million different ways just to ask how to crack an egg.
"Mom, do I crack the egg on the bowl or the counter?"
Every. Single. Time. I. Cook. With. Her.
But then my boyfriend's birthday came along and I faced the realization that I am a senior in high school and I don't even know how to bake a cake. I refused to let this stop me from my desperate attempts to make him a birthday cake. But I didn't want any help making this cake; I wanted to make it all on my own.
So I scavenged the grocery store for my ingredients to the cheesecake I was preparing. As I searched for cheesecake crust, I came across a recipe on the box, or container, or whatever you'd like to call it.
The picture just looked so delicious and I knew I had to try making it! That cake was the one! I just knew it!
So all on my own, I prepared and baked this raspberry swirl cheesecake pie. And let me tell you... that turned out delicious, especially for someone just beginning cooking,
I may not be a chef, but I have become determined to make a plentiful more of delightful foods! Wish me luck on my endeavor, and for whoever thinks they can't cook, TRY MAKING THE TYPE OF CHEESECAKE I MADE. Who knows, maybe it'll change your mind and make you want to cook.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Art Gallery!

CREEP CINEMA is an art gallery happening at TATE'S Comic Book store on 4566 North University Drive, Lauderhill. The TATE'S Comic Book store is hosting this event from October 1 - November 12, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

School Daze

It's the fifth week of school and I already can't wait for summer to come. I'm already loaded with tons of work. Maybe taking four AP classes wan't the best choice. I'm overwhelmed trying to balance the excessive homework with Volleyball. I've decided to do Volleyball this year but it's conflicting with me doing my homework since I come home tired from or late from a game. I think I bit off more than I can chew but I'm doing my best trying to balance. School is all a DAZE right now and I hope as the year goes on I'm able to get everything under control.

Summer out, school in.

As much as we try to hold on to the feeling of summer, it slowly slips away, until we fall back into the swing of school and anticipate our next break.
Today I got my progress report for the first marking period, and it finally sunk in that summer isn't coming back anytime soon, no matter how much we all wish it would.
It's hard getting back into the rhythm of school - early mornings, long days, late nights - but it has to happen sooner or later.
Hopefully the school day will feel more regular soon; right now it's still hard to go to bed early enough to get up at the ungodly hour necessary to get to school on time.
Summer habits, go away - I need to focus on getting an education now.

Chromeo Concert - The Fillmore, Miami Beach

There are a few things that never fail to make me happy. Some include reading a good book on a Sunday morning, watching a movie i've already seen a million times, and sitting by the tree during holiday season, admiring the sparkling lights and sipping on a hot chocolate. Another thing, though, which doesn't happy often to me, is going to a concert.
My sister won tickets to the Chromeo concert tomorrow at The Fillmore at Miami Beach. I was beyond stoked when she asked me to come with her. I was so ready to dance the night away and enjoy music with people who enjoy it just as much as me. Of course, you can't really compare it to a hot cup of chocolate, or a good book, but being at a concert is a sort of adrenaline rush for me; it's like concerts give me an energy I can only find there. It's an awesome feeling, and I'm super excited to go to the concert. Maybe if you're like me, you know the concert-going-adrenaline-rush feeling i get when I go to one. If you do, you probably are already reminiscing about the last concert you went to!

Like the Back of Your Hand

As my senior year community service/creative project, I drafted an incomplete curriculum for first-year high school journalism students. My plan was to lead a series of short seminar-like sessions, during the regularly scheduled television production courses at my school, that would introduce these freshmen to the core concepts of journalism, with an emphasis on their connection to television production and cinematography.

While the plans themselves were never fully completed (much like a teacher that finalizes only half the curriculum and develops the rest based on how the first half of the school year goes), I was still granted the opportunity - both by the administration at my school and by my television production instructor - to carry on with the project.

So far, it's been going absolutely great. The group of students in the class is a good one, a lot of them know each other from middle school, and they're a very open and accepting group when it comes to learning the material. Having been a student of the broadcasting program for three years already, it pleases me to see a completely new set of kids being so interested in learning about what goes on behind and in front of the cameras.

It's also got me thinking. Today, when I was doing a brief lecture on the do's and dont's of a film shoot, I realized how I've internalized so many concepts of video production. I did the entire lecture with nothing but one-word headers describing each topic I wanted to talk about - the actual examples and descriptions came from me, on the spot, with barely any premeditation or accompanying handout.

My broadcasting teacher - rather, the one before the teacher currently leading the program - used to do the same thing. He would write chicken scratch on a 3 x 5 index card and that was his outline. The rest came from his own knowledge, his own experiences.

When I arrived at the topic of music in movies during today's lecture, I thought of an example off the top of my head - as I was explaining the concept, mind you - that directly applied to what I was talking about. I used it, and it worked! It made the kids better understand what I was trying to say. And that moment was perhaps the highlight of my day.

I'm not lauding myself for being such an A/V geek. In fact, this is not a self-congratulatory speech at all. What it is is an homage to the program, to the art of television and film, to my program instructor - both the former and the current - and to all that in between. To come to the sweet realization that I've come to know all these concepts like the back of my hand, to be able to instill my knowledge through the spoken word into kids that are completely new to the whole enterprise, is intrinsically rewarding.

It's reminded me why I drafted the curriculum in the first place. And since the year's only barely begun, the project's only got one direction to go. Up.


Hello junior year! The past few weeks have been filled with stress due to school and the amount of homework I have. It's insane. Atleast 4 hours of homework a night. I need to get back to my work. xo

Surviving High School: The Balancing Act

So, my first year of high school has started off with a bang.


Iv'e gotten tons of homework right off the bat, from trying to memorize sixty-something words for AP Human Geography, to learning about the fats in our body for Biology. It's all fun and games in the class room, but once your stuck inside your room with piles of assignments due- now that's a problem.

I'm getting used to the drastic change from a rinky dink charter middle school to a hugely populated high school, but the workload I'm semi-familiar with.

Here are some of my tips for handling loads of homework, and preparing for tests and still being able to see friends on the weekend.

First of all, study every night. Even if it's only for 15 minutes, as long as you get the concept.

Get the easy stuff done first. You'll be thankful when your assigned a huge project, and you got everything else out of the way.

Make flash cards. Yes, it may seem a bit nerdy, but reading your vocab terms every night before going to bed will help you prepare for that big test.

Lastly, try to get weekend homework over with on Friday. The whole "waiting till Sunday night" thing isn't gonna cut it anymore. If you get your work over with early, it will give you more time to chill with friends for the rest of the weekend.

Sweets of the Week

Last week I baked a delicious Pumpkin Spice Bread which was gone within thirty minutes. It tasted like gingerbread cookies and banana bread. Yes i know sounds amazing. I also baked chocolate chocolate chip brownies with marshmallows, my personal favorite.

This past Sunday I tried a yogurt place in Miami Beach. I mixed Red Velvet and Vanilla frozen yogurt with mini M&Ms and chocolate chips.

It was a great week filled with lots of sugar.


Chemistry; An Atomic Bomb

I don't know what it is about chemistry honors, but I somehow just don't understand it. My brain just refuses to accept any information in the class. Maybe it's because I ended up with the teacher who shoves notes in your face then expects you to understand the material, or I just suck at something involving math (my worse subject). Or maybe it's the fact that simple problems involving converting from an unknown ammount of ammonia to 45 moles of nitrogen then all the way to 6.02 x 10^23 grams of hydrogen mess with my brain. Some kids in my class are amazing at it, they can do a ten-step problem in less then 5 minutes, whereas it takes me half an hour. If I could, I'd switch from the class into a marine-biology class, floating my way to an A. Unfortunately, most 4-year colleges demand seeing chemistry as a course taken in high school in order for acceptance.

Guess I need to get my atoms together. Get it?

The Presidential Meat Grinder

No one ever said being the President would be easy, but was it always this hard? Barack Obama's approval ratings have been sinking lower and lower recently, currently hovering around 40 percent. Reelection looks increasingly unlikely. This wouldn't be as significant if George Bush, Obama's predecessor, hadn't been similarly destroyed by the end of his presidency, leaving office at an astoundingly low 22 percent and hovering in the 20s through much of his presidency.

In other words, no matter what your opinion of either leader is, it's hard to deny that the American people turned on both in huge numbers. Though both Bush and Obama have made their mistakes, it begs the question if, in today's dangerous political climate, any president could be viewed as successful.

The creation of the system that destroyed America's economy and created the political wrestling match that's occupied Washington for years now was not created by any one man. Likewise, no one man has the power to end it. The American people seem to expect their president to be able to wave a magic wand and fix problems that have been developing for decades – or follow through on the campaign promises they were forced to make to get elected. In today's system, in which Congress is burdened with filibusters and red tape, it's borderline impossible for anyone to do the drastic things that need to be done to pull America out of its tailspin.

The presidency, then, has become a meat grinder. Charismatic, promising men go in and defeated, scorned ones come out. No one can instantly fix America's myriad problems, yet this is what the American people expect without fail.

It's not a sure thing that Obama will lose in 2012, low approval ratings aside. But if he does, whatever Republican succeeds him had better watch his back. If recent history applies, anything other than instantaneous results will result in him falling to the same fate as his predecessors.

Green Teen

Coral Reefs in Miami will be Destroyed
One of the biggest worries that environmentalists in Miami face right now is the planned port expansion that Miami will execute that is expected to destroy coral reefs across the bay.
Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals that provide home to 25% of all marine species in the world, though they only take up one-tenth percent of the ocean floor. They are important to the delicate marine ecosystem and are fragile themselves, being sensitive to temperature, and over the past 25 years, global warming, storms, last year's cold blast, diseases and human waste have caused their populations to decline sharply.
Planned dredging will blast the Miami port to make room for superfreighters, causing damage and loss of many different coral reefs, especially one known as the elkhorn, which is on the endangered species list.
Environmentalists are trying to fight this, but it is a losing battle. According to director for water resource management at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, they are causing the minimum amount of damage necessary in order to complete the process.
In order to make up for the damage they are causing, the company conducting the project (the Army Corps of Engineers) are to transplant much of the coarl to a trough between two reefs--stony coral larger than inches will be chiseled out and moved to the trough, while soft coral larger than 10 inches will be transplanted as well.
Even with all this, nearly eight acres of sea grass will be damaged, which is why the corps is required to seed 25 acres in a large underwater hole designed for this, a little farther up north.
Many concerns were voiced whether or not the damage caused to the corals will even be worth it, as there is a chance the project will not bring the "economic windfall" that is expected.

Pro-athletes set a mediocre example

More than half of the 41 arrests made in the past year in one very specific area were attributed to assault, disorderly conduct in public and driving under the influence. Sounds like the bad rap characteristic of an inner city. Or the more unruly portion of the National Football League.

It’s astounding that avid fans across the country rally behind their favorite football players like cheerleaders, don their jerseys and spew their stats in conversation while their wayward idols- players like Jermaine Phillips, Braylon Edwards and the notorious Michael Vick- gad about in their expensive cars, swigging alcohol from a bottle in one hand and placing bets on illegal dog-fights with the other.

Phillips, Tampa Bay buccaneers safety, was accused of domestic violence by strangulation, an appalling third degree felony in January.

Edwards was arrested on September 21, 2010 for a DUI in Manhattan. He was pulled over and asked to take a breathalyzer, and the dazed football player registered twice the legal limit of intoxication while operating a motor vehicle.

Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Mark Fields was arrested in August after a brutal altercation with his daughter’s mother. Despite a restraining order, Fields confronted the woman, threw her to the ground after choking her and threatened to kill her.

And the list goes on.

What kind of example are professional athletes setting for students? High school athletes strive to run, tackle, score and win with as much skill, determination and bravado as the pros. They model their moves on the field after the most esteemed players, watching every game with enthusiasm and concentration so they can ape their tactics and strategies. So understandably, the negative aspects of professionals’ lives-their bad drinking habits, violent tendencies, disregard for the law and disrespect for “little people” are somehow included in their idealized athletic persona. What can we possibly learn from them?

It's true; everyone makes mistakes, and everyone is entitled to. But those who are in the public eye, placed on pedestals and serve as an "inspiration" for youth should be more careful than everyone else. They are admired by the most susceptible portion of society; teenagers. Our fallible minds are in the middle of development; we're currently forging our identities and becoming the people we will be for the rest of our lives. Rather than idolizing politicians, law enforcement officers, doctors and teachers, the real movers and shakers of this world, we go all starry-eyed before irresponsible, over-paid football players. We sincerely admire them. The question is: Will be become like them?

2011 Hollywood Latin Festival

The soft sounds of crashing waves, the "caws" of the seagulls, the warm rays of sunlight caressing your face, along with the crisp salty scent of the ocean make up your average day at the beach.

But today, September 18, 2011 was no average day at the Hollywood Beach.

Today Latinos and Latinas all over South Florida gathered to attend the Latin Festival on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk.

Latin culture was celebrated with music and performances by Latin singers and dancers.

Funny thing is, the dancers were not the only people dancing, even random people on the joined in the celebration.

The smells of BBQ chicken, deep fried pork, mozzarepas, and plantains wafted through the air and mixed with the salty smell of the ocean.

This created a mouth-watering array of scents that appealed to the senses.

In addition to the main dishes, there were a wide variety of tropical fruit juices to choose from.

The minute you waled into the Latin festival, it was like walking into a Latin American conference.

Most of the people attending the festival wore clothing that had their country’s name or flag on it.

In fact, one of the vendors were selling flags and shirts for that purpose.

Some of the people even wore the flag as a shirt or hat. Men, women, and children wore flag-themed bathing suits.

Either way, most people we wearing something that identified their “home” country.

Overall, the Latin festival was a wonderful experience and very entertaining to attend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Terrible Day at the DMV

I have been counting down the days until I get my license since I was 12. The independence, freedom, and of course, the red convertible Barbie car (which has changed, I promise.)

So when I had only minutes before getting in a car and performing the three point turn, parking, and quick stop, I was ecstatic. Sure, I was nervous, okay VERY nervous, but I was going to ace it, I just knew.

Then comes the examiner, a very nice guy who carried polite "small talk" until we got into the car. Soon, this nice examiner turned vicious.

I understand that it's the examiner's job to be strict, it is a test. But, the unnecessarily mean comments were uncalled for.

For instance:
1. When I did a quick stop, and actually stopped quick.
I am so sorry sir, you told me to do a quick stop, I apologize for stopping too QUICK.

2. When we were nearing a stop sign, and I still had NO clue which way to turn my blinker, I ever so kindly asked, "Excuse me, which way would you like to go?"
I am so sorry examiner, it's kind of sort of LAW to turn on your blinkers, just saying.

3. Finally, after going through a fifteen minute period of the examiner yelling at me after performing each and every maneuver, the examiner has the nerve to tell my father, "SHE DID A SPLENDID JOB. YOUR DAUGHTER IS AN AMAZING DRIVER. SHE PASSED."
Really? Was I an amazing driver when I did the quick stop too quick for your taste? HUH?

As you can see, I had a very frustrating time.

BUT I PASSED! It only took twenty minutes in a car with a mean guy.

So mean, that I cried.

I know, how horrible.

Poor girl who passes her license test on the first try cries and has a nervous breakdown in the DMV.

I know, how embarrassing.

But after crying for twenty minutes in front of 50 people I didn't know. I actually started to feel better.

My advice to you, never take the driving test. Just kidding! Just hope you get a nice examiner (as you can see, they can be vicious.)

Side Note: Thank God they took my picture BEFORE I took the test. They probably do that on purpose because half the kids who take the test end up coming back a slobbering mess.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Phones: Oh So Useful for Showtimes

Instead of waiting in line at the movie theater and hoping that the movie you want to see is playing at that same time, why not use your phone beforehand?

Moviefone and Fandango are great apps to have on your phone to see showtimes and even get tickets to movies before even getting to the theater!

Not to mention that they're free!

And now even popular movie theater chains have their own apps, so you can have an app for your favorite theater.

These apps also give you a synopsis of the movie, reviews and ratings from viewers and critics, and some even let you watch short clips of the movies, or trailers.

I use these apps all the time on my iPhone, and I also know they are available for many other smartphones including on the Android market.

These are great free, and useful apps that you'll be sure to be constantly using if you're a movie buff like I am.

The Redland | A Slice of True Americana

A lot of inner city folk, like me, aren’t used to seeing much nature. So on Saturday, I went off in search of rural Americana - rolling pastures, never-ending farmland, old houses and shacks, maybe a couple of horses along the way – and to my surprise, I found it pretty easily. In fact, it was just a bus ride away.
   I figured the closest bit of pure nature would be found further down South. So after a light breakfast and a bicycle ride to the local bus station, I began my quest about a hundred or so blocks from Florida City.
     I stumbled upon one of the most rural areas in South Florida: the Redland. I first toured Cauley Square, the antique equivalent to modern commercial centers like Cocowalk and Lincoln Road. Little more than a block or two in size, this hidden shopping center features vintage shops offering anything from tasty food at the Village Chalet restaurant and the Tea Room to exotic birds at The Aviary.

              My adventure was just getting started, however. As I left Cauley Square, I initially saw large, suburban family homes: a common South Florida sight. But after I crossed SW 127 Ave, Burr Road, going east, real “backwoods” began to appear. I stumbled upon a trail that led out towards a riverbank, where I stopped for a sip of water. The spot would’ve felt completely earthy had it not been for a man driving a golf cart on the opposite side of the bank.

I began to feel like an adventurer as I turned onto Hainlin Mill Road, cycling on the rightmost side of a two-lane style street with trucks and SUVs whizzing past. The heat was rising, and after about thirty minutes, I entered the Redland Agricultural Area, and here’s where stuff became unusual.

Initially, I saw a lot wholesale florists and seed shops, but as I progressed, I finally found what I was looking for: rolling greens, fruit trees, more backwood trails, acres of undeveloped land … the feeling was delightful. I realized that rural America, at least here in South Florida, is alive and well, thought to be nonexistent by some (including myself) only because it’s hidden behind six-lane highways and too many commercial centers.

Continuing on Silver Palm Drive, I crossed the central intersection of the Silver Palm Historical District, host to decades-old Anderson’s Warehouse. It was amazing to see such an old commercial building still standing, but it was also somewhat disappointing to see that the culture has progressed while the buildings have remained. Right next to Anderson’s Warehouse, I entered a cafeteria and expected to find English-speaking natives and an American cuisine, but instead I found Spanish-speaking Hispanics and a menu boasting pan con lechon for $1.50. Nothing wrong with that, but it felt a little too much like home.

I continued. Although it was daytime and I’d brought my own food, I thought about how, after cycling for miles and miles, I hadn’t seen a single streetlight, bus stop, supermarket, library, main public school, gas station … from the adventurer’s perspective, it was thrilling. But I kept thinking about it all from the resident’s perspective. What must it be like to live here? To eat and sleep and watch TV in as much societal isolation as South Florida can possibly provide? I mean, sure, if you’ve got a car, some gas, and a knowledge of which street goes where, you can connect pretty quickly to Old Dixie Highway and the rest of “civilization”. But the feeling of being distant from it all, still remains.

I reached the end of my adventure at SW 187 Ave and 344 St, where I took bus route 38 all the way back to the Dadeland South Metrorail Station. I spent a wonderful morning in an odd place, where history was preserved in more ways than just old buildings and signs kept in good shape. The spirit of the backwoods somehow manages to stay alive amidst townhouses and expensive cars and pan con lechon. It’s a beautiful thing.

Watercolor Painting: An Easy And Fun Hobby

Watercolor painting is an easy hobby to pick up that's fun for everyone. In my free time I love painting, it's a good way to get your thoughts in order and only takes about 30 minutes to do. All I use when I paint is a set of 18 watercolor paints, watercolor paper and a paintbrush. All of it can be found at any local arts and crafts store. I recommend it for anyone, because it's so easy to do and there's so many things you can do with watercolors. There's no mistakes in watercolor painting, anything can be fixed if you add water and smear it across the page. You can create any color you desire just by adding a little of each and mixing it together. So, if you're looking for a new hobby or have always been interested in painting but never tried it, give it a try!

A Eulogy

9/11 was the sort of cataclysmic event that's impossible to look at fairly and objectively at first. Emotions ran high immediately in the aftermath (of course), images were plastered everywhere – it loomed over the immediate aftermath like nothing else.

But ten years later, now that we can gain perspective on the tragedy, the event takes on new, saddening dimensions. Because as bad as 9/11 was, the things that it begat were even worse. It was a turning point, a spiraling downward.

However one leans politically, it's hard to deny that the American war in the Middle East has been awful. 2,000 people died in 9/11, but 4,459 American soldiers have been killed in the war. Over 50,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed, with some estimating the count at as high as 90,000.

Moreover, the brief aftermath of togetherness and unity created by 9/11 has been followed by ten years of relentless partisan bickering in the American political arena. Two presidents, one after another, have been relentlessly criticized and destroyed by the media. The economy crashed (although 9/11 can't be necessarily blamed for that).

If this all sounds overly negative, that's because it is. With all the 9/11 memorial, a memorial for the American spirit of confidence that it shattered might be in short order as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exotic Fruits

Star Fruit

Dragon Fruit

I was inspired to by these weird fruits because they looked very appealing and I wondered how they tasted. I was familiar with Star Fruit but not with Dragon Fruit. I was at Yogurtland and saw that they had dragon fruit as a topping. I have never seen it before that day so I went on a search to buy and try this exotic fruit. It has a tart flavor and taste really good with vanilla or mango frozen yogurt from Yogurtland.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to Watch Movies in 2011

Cypress Bay High School

The art of the film has expanded from a short series of still images to major motion pictures. Along with this change came the transformation in how audiences watch movies.
Today, virtually any film ever created is available through a few clicks. Movies that once could only be watched in a theater can now be enjoyed from a variety of mobile devices or through physical renting. The choice is yours:
Blockbuster popularized video/DVD renting and the idea of "borrowing" movies. The company, now in the process of declaring bankruptcy, pioneered the system of low rates and late fees for customers missing return deadlines. Stores around the nation are quickly closing, but those that have survived the financial problems continue to provide a fairly extensive selection of movies. The company recently expanded to include standalone kiosks and DVD-by-mail methods of renting with Blockbuster.
For a $1 a night, Redbox provides recent releases through standalone kiosks located in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. With more red-colored machines showing up all through out the country, Redbox is proving itself to be a major competitor in the rental business due its convenience.
Netflix took out one step from the classic renting process by allowing movie deliveries through the mail. The introduction of a catalog of movies and plans entirely on the Internet allowed customers to choose the exact movie renting experience they wished for in the comfort of their own home. They eliminated late fees and launched instant streaming capabilities, partnering up with companies like Playstation and Nintendo. Netflix users can stream movies from their gaming consoles or other entertainment devices. iPhone and iPad apps are also available.
iTunes/Vudu/On Demand
At varying prices, these services allow instant download of nearly any movie directly to your TV. Customers can choose visual/audio quality of download and with corresponding rates.
"Other" Methods
Illegal downloading...

Teenlink readers, how do you rent and watch your movies?

The Woes of Influenza

This morning, as I woke up to complete an assignment for my Advanced Placement Psychology class, I felt it. My throat was tight and dry. My nose was congested and numb. I got the chills every five seconds. Oh, no, I thought to myself, not this week. I can't be sick this week.

It grew worse as the day progressed. I started violently sneezing and coughing, and my head throbbed to a steady beat. By fourth period, I had to face it: early in the school year as it may be, I had somehow managed to succumb to the infamous 'cold and flu season', falling (and sneezing) helpless against its germy malice.

Since it seems to be too late for me, I felt as though this would be a perfect topic to base my blog on this week. I'd like to prevent any of you from becoming infected with the school bug. It turns out that there are some simple ways to safeguard yourself against classroom-borne illnesses. Here goes:

1.) Wash your hands! Those sinks and soap dispensers aren't there in the bathrooms just for decoration, you know. :) Washing your hands is a simple and effective way to prevent bacteria from touching you.

2.) Catch some 'z's. Sleeping is actually a great way to prevent getting sick when you first feel it coming on. In fact, if you look here, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/health/22real.html?_r=1,
you can see the science to back it up. Basically, the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to catch a cold.

4.) Be a little selfish. It's true that our mothers taught us the phrase "sharing is caring", but in the case of colds and flus, being a little selfish wouldn't hurt. Don't share your water bottles or utensils with your buds at lunch! Even if it seems as though your friends aren't harboring a secret illness, they may be in the process of coming down with something or could, at the very least, have tons of bacteria on their hands or mouth. Yuck!

5.) Ditch your homies like the plague (get it?!). Yeah, I said it. When your friends are sick, they tend to be very clingy and want extra attention. This is only natural; people want attention when they're sick. Listen to me now, don't give it to them! Getting all touchy-feely with your classmates while they're under the weather can only mean bad things for your own immune system. In short, your friends are going to have to deal with some 'positive vibes' from you...across the room. :)

All in all, it's not too hard to maintain a healthy immune system. Maybe next time around I'll listen to my own advice. Until then, I'll have to suffer through this thing. (I feel a sneeze coming on...)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Freddie Mercury's 65th Birthday


Today, September 5, 2011, would have been Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. The late frontman of band Queen and beloved English rock star is being remembered by countless celebrities for his creativity and originality in his music.

Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946, Mercury went on to become one of the world's most recognized rock legends to ever grace the stage. His premature death of AIDS in 1991 was mourned by all whom his music touched.

His career as the lead singer of Queen as well as his years as a solo artist continues to influence people today. Mercury's unmistakable voice is considered one of the best since the birth of music, landing the number 18 spot on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Even pop princess Katy Perry cites Mercury's vocals in Queen's song "Killer Queen" as the beginning of her fascination in pursuing music.

From his stage persona to his controversial sexual preferences, Freddie Mercury pushed the envelope musically and changed the world in general. He combined flashy vocals with larger-than-life performances that revolutionized the music industry. He will forever be missed, forever known as a rock icon, forever the true definition of a legend.

Green Teen

So, recently, I've been getting really into being eco-friendly and I learned there are so many things in the world of going green that people are unaware of.

For example, for my fashionistas out there, there was a show during Miami Swim Week called "Haute Natured" that had an eco-friendly bikini--and it was cute! The bikini was biodegradable--it could either be worn again, or thrown away; where it would, in time, disintegrate. Another bikini was shown in another fashion show that was solar powered and could charge small electronic devices.

For the guys, scientists are currently working on making cars run on recycled paper.

A project last year, called Desertec, planned on installing a bunch of solar panels in the Sahara desert to supply energy to parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The president of Virgin Mobile, Richard Branson, planned to give an island to lemurs to save them from dying out in Madagascar, their one and only habitat that is being destroyed because of deforestation and loss of habitat.

There are so many things happening in the world to make it more eco-friendly that sometimes it seems confusing as to what a regular teen can do to help. But, I decided, that along with a blog about eco-news, I'm going to help you guys by giving tiny eco-tips; things we can all do to conserve some energy.

Eco-tip #1: Turn off and unplug all electronics when not in use. Simple enough, but saves a load of energy. Even chargers, or lamps. Unplug them when you're not using them.

Wanting A Sport

My ideal sport? Mountain biking.
©2008-2009 Sports Desktop Wallpaper
There's a world I've yet to visit, and it's been right next to me all these years. It's the world of public school sports.

My "sport" has been the same one for far too long: a now trite pursuit of academic excellence. I always strove to get good grades, to please my teachers ... but you can only do the same one thing for so many years.

That's where a true, physical challenge - usually called a sport - should've come in. One of the strengths of most American public high schools is their ability to offer free sports programs, with some schools offering greater variety than others: mine for example, offers everything from football to bowling and all those sports in between.

Yet it's only now that I realize how much joining a sport can do for you, how much it can mean to you.

It's not just my parents or friends urging me to get fit or stay healthy.

It's not something tangible like that.

There's just something inexplicably alluring, unintelligibly pleasing, and absolutely magical about participating in a public school sport: things like practice after school, the camaraderie and friendships that come of it, the actual thrill of competing, the physical workout, the knowledge that you're doing something worthwhile, and the respite it provides from an unrelenting stream of academic obstacles.

The social, the mental functions are what I seek above all else. Participating in such a thing provides a worthwhile distraction from an occasionally uninspiring life of academia. It pleases you on completely different levels. It's exciting, it's difficult, it's fun. And best of all it almost guarantees close friendships - people who sweat together can usually relate to one another, don't you think?

And I know the sports world is a world of its own because it comes with all the things necessary for a world: its own people, its own rules and regulations, its own distinct culture and character, its own requirements for entry and success.

I just can't believe I've never gone to visit.

3D Movies, Worth the Extra Bucks?

I wasn't too thrilled about being dragged to the movies and paying $6 more than my usual fee for the film being in 3D.

We watched Captain America, and although I told her that there is nothing special about a 3D movie, my friend was dying to watch it because she thought it would make Chris Evans' muscles pop out. Yeah right, I knew that wouldn't happen.

I like seeing Chris Evans shirtless on the big screen as much as most girls out there, but paying $6 extra, didn't seem worthwhile to me.

Although after the movie my friends kept saying it was "so worth it" to watch it in 3D, I didn't get what the big deal was. It basically looked like it was in HD, yes a better picture quality, but nothing popped out, nothing worth paying almost double to see.

I've honestly seen better 3D quality at theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios. The IMAX Experience is also good, but the regular 3D most theaters are showing isn't impressive.

I don't know about other people out there, but at least to me, the current 3D quality that is being offered isn't something I would spend my time or money on again.

So...3D Movies, Worth the Extra Bucks?
I don't think so.