Monday, September 24, 2012

How It Feels to NOT Have a Smartphone

Sometimes, I feel very lonely.

I look around during lunch at school, and almost everyone has their eyes glued to a screen.

I could ignore them, and think of myself as original, someone who didn't hop onto the Steve Jobs is a genius, I should buy all of his products bandwagon. Someone who has better things to worry about then who tweeted this or who Instagrammed that.

Or, I could crawl into a corner and wonder why life is so horrible, and how I could be asking Siri where the best pizza place is instead of wallowing in the darkness.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic.

But you get my point.

Looking on the bright side, it's not like iPhones were always around. People lived happy lives without them. (You would be lying if you said you've never heard your parents tell you the "Back in My Day" spiel).

Sadly, the way Apple is moving, it doesn't look like iPhones will loose popularity any time soon.

In the mean time, I'll wait for someone to invent a time machine, so I can go back to the prehistoric era and be amongst my fellow dinosaurs.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

College: The Pros, the Cons, and What to Expect


By Karam Atli

The thought of college lingers in the back of the mind of most high school students (I can relate since I’m a sophomore getting ready to take the SAT’s next year) ; especially those of juniors and seniors. Many of you may be wondering what exactly college life is like, how it feels to be a college student, and what to expect when taking your first steps into college. So that’s why I’m here today to tell you about my experiences as a college student living the college life.

Many of you might be thinking right now, Wait a second… didn’t she just say she’s a sophomore? What does she know about college? Well, you see, I do not go to just any ordinary high school. I attend Florida Atlantic University High School. In this school, we complete all four years of high school curriculum in our freshman year on the high school campus, which is located within the A.D. Henderson school grounds. However, once we become sophomores, we officially become college students. So as a sophomore, I am studying on the Florida Atlantic University campus as an actual college student, taking actual university classes, and yes alongside actual university students which are approximately 4-5 years older than me.

So sit back, get comfortable, and take some notes as I share my experiences in college and describe to you the pros, the cons, and what to expect when you become a college freshman.

The Pros:
1.       Making your schedule: This is by far one of the best things about college. Since we started school as a child, our class schedules have been created by school administrators. However, once you become a college student, this all changes. You now wield the majestic, mystical, and unknown power to create your very own schedule.  This way you can plan your class times around your own personal schedule.
2.       Less homework: One great thing about college is that there is significantly less homework for the classes in comparison to high school. However this can be both a good thing and also a bad thing. Good thing is that you have more time on your hands. However, the bad thing is that this will provide you will less opportunity to practice and remember the skills and lessons you learned in class. Instead, you must become more responsible and manage your time well by making use of it efficiently by studying.
3.       Fewer Exams: Just like the less homework pro, this can be both a good and a bad thing. Although you will have more time between exams, these exams will mostly likely count as more, have a greater impact on your final grade in the course, and also cover more material. Therefore, make a smart use of this in-between and minimalize that partying to save time for studying.
4.       Each Course Only Lasts One Semester: This means if you have to take a course that you despise and dread, it will only last one semester, HALF the time it would usually take in high school. So hip-hip-hooray for that!
The Cons:
  1. 1. Less Caring Teachers: The big difference between high school teachers and college ones is not just the name change to professor, but also the fact that college professors usually care less for individual students than high school teachers do. It’s not that they are cold-hearted; it is because of the sheer number of students they teach as a whole. Some teachers teach up to a couple thousand students per week. This makes it difficult for the professor to answer individual questions from each student that may be confused on the lesson. Instead, a better way to answer your questions may be to ask your TA (teacher’s assistant) for assistant and clarification or even on campus tutors or supplemental instruction leaders.
  2. 2.       Being Absent Can Be a Big Deal: In high school, being absent for a few days when you are sick or just can’t make it, was not a big deal. You would have days to make up missed exams or homework. However, college is a whole different playing field. Missing a day or two can really create a big dent in your grade. Losing valuable in-class participation points can be like giving up an easy A. Also, there are no make-up days for exams in college. Once you miss an exam, you will indeed receive a 0. So get your flu shots and take your vitamins everyone!



My Experiences:
We FAU High students usually conceal our high school identities from both our professors and our college peers. We do this not because we want to, but because some professors and students are not comfortable with the fact that high school students are in their class. In fact, when people ask me how old I am, I do not say I am 15, instead I say I am 17.

Sometimes, when Boca High dual-enrolled students march over advertising they are high school students, the college students are bewildered and shocked. However, they do not realize that there are many other high school students (FAU High) in their class as well. We FAU High kids sometimes laugh at the thought of the college students realizing that they are surrounded by high school students.

Other than that, college life has been a wonderful experience for me, and I really do enjoy it. It provides me with more of a sense of freedom and responsibility. Transitioning into a college lifestyle was not too difficult. Once you get the hang of commuting from one side of the campus to the other, the professor’s style of teaching, and your new schedule, you will do fine.

Funny Short Story:
My Biodiversity professor poked fun at the high school students by saying that the students who receive the high grades in his class are usually in high school. He explained that when you are 15, you still have to listen to and obey your parents; however, if a college student’s parents asked them if they finished their homework, the student would just roll their eyes and stare at them like they have problems.

So now that I have given all the advice I could give in this article, I just want to say to all the high school students out there, work hard and keep up those good grades everyone! It will all be worth it once you get accepted into your dream university! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homecoming Week is Almost Upon Us!


In the midst of stressful classes, difficult tests, and boring lessons (*cough* chemistry *cough*), Homecoming Week is the time to relax a bit, dress up, and have fun with friends.

At West Broward, us Bobcats always go all out when it comes to Homecoming Week. Last year, each grade level decorated a hallway with the theme "Let the Games Begin" in mind, there were crazy pep rallies and there was a video game character everywhere you looked.

This year, our theme is "Under the Sea", and our homecoming activities will be filled with the same Bobcat Spirit as last year.

On Monday, students will be decked out in the color that represents their grade.

On Tuesday, Bobcats will voyage to school as either pirates or sailors.

On Thursday, students will group up with friends and wear matching outfits.

On Friday, Bobcats will show their school spirit, covered in Carolina Blue, silver, and black

Last but not least, Saturday the 29th is the Homecoming Dance. I am so excited, because I can't wait to just spend time with my friends, dancing and having an awesome night.

If one thing's for sure, West Broward knows how to have a good time.






Monday, September 17, 2012

The Girl Effect?

So during my AP Psychology class, my teacher decided to show us a video of a program called the Girl Effect. The 3 minute video was enough to make me understand what was really going on in the world and the difference that we can all make.
The Girl Effect is a project started for girls to actually get a chance to be someone important in their country. The funds go to girls in poverty-stricken areas so that they may get a chance at education, stay HIV negative, and basically raises the standard of living for themselves and their family. The project helps girls in  different areas such as India, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. The entire motive for the project is to make sure that every girl gets a chance to learn and become a real part of the changing world. The idea is to help  50 million girls out of poverty and help them help others create a better world.
The website is girleffect.org, check it out if you want to learn more!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Jonas Brothers are Back!

So, I'm not going to lie- I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers when I was younger. Starting from fourth grade to the sixth, my room was covered in all things Nick, Joe and Kevin. I listened to their songs religiously, and they were, of course, the first concert I ever attended.

File:Jonas Brothers 2009.jpg

When I found out that they are currently working on a new album, I had a mini heart attack, as any former Jo Bro fanatic would do, naturally.

I for one, am very excited, since this amazing band of brothers haven't completed an album together since Lines, Vines and Trying Times (2009).

On August 17th, Ryan Seacrest announced on his radio show that the fabulous three will have a reunion concert at Radio City Musical Hall in New York on October 11th.

Kevin (the oldest Jonas brother, far right) now has his own reality show with his wife Danielle on E! called "Married to Jonas", which will focus on the couple's relationship and *squeal* will document the brothers as they record their new album. 

I just can't wait for the Jonas Brothers to fall back into the swing of things, because, hey, One Direction just can't hog up all of the boy band glory, right?  



 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I was five when it dawned on me - presumably over a coloring book or a carton of animal crackers - that my lifelong ambition of becoming a princess would probably never be fulfilled.

It was a disheartening revelation; I reacted by wailing deep, animalistic sobs and flinging crayons at a wall with an iron resolve. Iron, that is, until my mom intervened with the promise of ice cream, and I promptly forgot all about my shattered dreams. I blame Disney - it instilled me with delusions of yellow taffeta ball gowns and unattainably handsome princes.

Anyway, upon realizing my prospects of  a royal lineage were decidedly scant, I harbored many aspirations, all in quick succession of each other:  to be a scientist, a film director, a zookeeper, before lingering permanently on the most improbable one of all -  a writer.

Ever since, I’ve regarded the world with a sense of possibility. Heck, I can be a royal, scientific, film-directing, zoo-keeping writer. I can be anything.

All I have to do is kiss a few frogs.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Bookshelf is a Time Machine

My bookshelf is a melting pot of memorabilia. From my beloved Harry Potter books, to the softball trophies I received in second grade, it's the glue that's holding parts of my childhood together.

Looking at the snow globes I've collected (on the second to top shelf) reminds me of the places I've visited with my family over the years, from Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West to the Grand Canyon.

I have quite a few books on these shelves, which I've gathered through out my life. A lot of them, sadly, I haven't read. Others I've read countless times, like The Chocolate War. I spotted books that make me smile, like my Lizzie McGuire collection, and my Kim Possible books.

On the very top is my old magic kit, which entertained me for hours. Next to it is my Rose from Titanic collectible Barbie doll, which is still fresh in the box.

Everything on my bookshelf has meaning to me, whether it be my first Vogue magazine to the gold necklace my parents gave me.

I know I should of cleaned my bookshelf out long ago, but I don't think I ever will.




Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Summer of Contentment

As a tribute to a summer heaving its final breaths, I've blasted Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" on an infinite loop (much to the chagrin of my parents). But even the lilting loll of Billie Joe Armstrong does precious little to console me - the school years spells out, in no uncertain terms, the end of my capering and cavorting, the end of azure beaches and sun-kissed summer adventures.

It's the end of an era - and the advent of one, too. Cue in the speckled scan-trons, groggy morning bus rides,  and homework finished begrudgingly into the wee hours of the night. Even as I write this blog, a more responsible inner voice admonishes me, telling me my time is better spent wrestling math problems or dotting the "i's" on a research paper.

I wish I could sprinkle stardust on all my assignments and have my Pinnacle effortlessly agleam with A's. Each year seems to have a recurring theme from which I can glean something new - last year, as a freshman, I dealt with inhibitions of high school, the anonymity I felt in its hallowed hallways. Now, sophomore year has presented me with an arithmetic lesson:  seven classes' worth of homework by 180 days of school divided by six hours of sleep per day minus the square root of negative infinity plus the amount of hairs I've just pulled out of my head.

Oh, and don't forget to multiply that exponentially. That's junior year, I'm told. And that's just beyond the horizon.

Admittedly, I can't pretend to hate school for a second. I'm engaged in my classes, buoyed by the fact a free public education provides such an opportunity for intellectual galvanization. I'm determined to make the most of the 4,860,600 seconds of school wedged between me and my summer vacation.

But who's counting?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is It Weird That I Kind of Enjoy AP World History?

I've been dreading it all summer, and now that it's here, well, it's not that bad... to be honest.

Sure, it can get boring at times ( agriculture, blah blah blah...) but it's actually quite interesting.

I think it's fascinating reading about how other people lived long ago. History has always enticed me, and learning about how people lived thousands of years in the past, all around the world, is going to be rigorous- don't get me wrong- but, I think it's going to be a somewhat enjoyable experience.

I absolutely love my teacher, and we all know that having a great teacher helps us understand the topics more.

All in all, I think this year will be a successful one. I'm pretty pumped for this class (however, I am dreading having to write three five (!) paragraph essays in two hours).

Let's hope my sophomore year goes great!   

 

Monday, August 20, 2012

College Visit Tips

After visiting quite a few college campuses this summer, I’ve put together a list of tips to help you on your own college visits! 1) Ask questions. Here’s a list of some good questions to ask in case they’re not covered on the tour: -Ask about interviews. Does this college conduct interviews? If so, are they conducted locally or on campus? Are they recommended? -Ask about testing scores. Do they take the ACT or the SAT? Do they look at all three parts of the SAT, or just math and reading? What are the college’s median SAT scores? -Ask about recommendation letters. How many recommendation letters are they looking for? TIP: colleges usually don’t want any more than three recommendation letters. They don’t really like sifting through a ton of paper and a bunch of recommendation letters can actually take away from your individuality as a student. On my Notre Dame tour over Spring Break, the admissions officer said that they once received an application from a girl with eighty recommendation letters! She was rejected. -Ask about housing. Does the college provide housing for all four years? Do most students stay on campus for all four years? -Ask about internships. Do students typically participate in internships off campus? Does the college have a program to help students find internships? -Ask about study abroad. Does the college offer study abroad programs? If so, are they required? How much do the programs cost? 2) Dress comfortably. Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re doing a campus tour, you’re probably going to be walking a lot and the last thing you want is sore feet as you’re struggling to keep up with the group. 3) Stay at the front of the tour! On a campus tour, you might end up with a quiet talker or fast walker as your guide. By staying at the front of the line, you won’t miss anything and you can even chat with the guide. Ask him/her why they chose this school. You’ll have a chance to have a one-on-one conversation with an actual student. Ask them if they have any tips about the application process. 4) Bring a notebook and a pen. Take notes during the information session. Usually, the speaker will tell you about the application process, financial aid and college life that you might want to jot down. 5) Ask for the card of the admissions officer in your region. Admissions officers are assigned to certain regions of the country. If you’re having trouble with a part of the application, or you just want tips, call up your admissions officer. I’m not saying that you should call constantly, but it will help them remember your name if the two of you have actually had a conversation. Plus, it’s less intimidating to know that there’s going to be a real person reading your application. 6) Look for the “lightning bolt”. The lightning bolt hits you when you’re touring the campus or listening to the information speech. All of a sudden, you can picture yourself at this school. The campus seems familiar and you know at once that this is the place for you. If you’re not feeling the bolt at a certain college, then maybe it’s not a good fit. It’s all about what school is right for you and where, at the end of the day, you’re going to be happy

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's That Time of the Year Again!

As all the public school students rush into their respective campuses to pick up their schedules this week, they are met with mixed feelings on the impending end of their summer vacation. Each year, as August comes to its close, students are preparing to enter their new grades. The education received in school is what provides the building blocks of a future career, and whatever success that may lead to. New Year's resolutions are well known, but New Grade resolutions are less common. Starting off a new grade with a set of goals can be beneficial in many ways, from making you improve in school, to just making the school year more bearable. Here are some possible goals for the start of the school year:

  • Studying harder: This may be an obvious one, but several student tell themselves they will study harder, and end up procrastinating just weeks into the school year. Keeping up with your school work can only benefit you.
  • Being more social: It's never too late to make new friends, and starting off a new grade is the perfect time to do so. 
  • Join a new club: Schools nowadays offer so many clubs to students that the options can seem endless.  Joining a new club can introduce you to a hobby you may not have known you'd enjoy.
  • Take up a sport: Similar to clubs, sports are excellent ways to discover hidden talents, and they also keep you fit! It's also a great way to meet new people.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering at your school or in a community organization is an excellent way to give back, as well as accumulate service hours. 

Bath & Body Works Products = Liptastic!


I had read about Bath & Body Works Liplicious and C.O. Bigelow lip gloss lines in magazines, but until today I'd never tried them - in the past, I had only admired the glossy (and expensive) tubes of shimmering color as I stood in line to check out. Today, I decided to splurge, and to my surprise found out that B&B was having a buy 2 get the third 1 free sale. I tried out a few colors and scents before making my final decision and dancing excitedly out of the store, ready to try my new purchases out.

The Liplicious products come in a variety of fun flavors and scents, including Dazzling Daiquiri, Sparkling White Grape, Fruit Punch, Watermelon Sorbet, and many more. The glosses do genuinely smell like their titles and have a sweet, instead of a plastic-y, taste. They aren't as thick as other glosses I've tried. It was so hard to choose between all of the adorable flavors!

The C.O. Bigelow products also come in a variety of flavors and scents, and most are infused with mint to keep your breath fresh. I'm currently wearing Lemon Lip Cream by C.O. Bigelow, which smells like  fresh lemon meringue pie.

I love both of these product lines because there's a variety of cute flavors and scents to choose from, and my flyaway hairs don't get stuck in my lipgloss. Try some out before the sale ends! :)


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Maccabia Games



    I am leaving tomorrow morning for a week of athletic competition with athletes from all over the country. I will be competing in the  JCC Maccabia Games for soccer. I am very excited to represent our county as one of the 93 delegates in over 30 different sports, including basketball, tennis, baseball, swimming, and lacrosse. I will be staying with a host family in Memphis, Tennessee where the games will be played. 

     I know I love the game of soccer, but this gives me an opportunity to compete against players from all over the United States. The timing is very exciting because it is at the same time as the Olympics in London. I am really look forward to meeting many new people and hopefully bringing home the Gold!
 
     One of the challenges I will face is having to live with a family who is not mine and people who I do not know. I have talked to my host mom on the phone, while she sounds very nice, it won't be the same without my mom there. There is always that nervous feeling before you go. "What if she doesn't like me? "What kind of food will she give me?" "Where will I sleep?" These are questions that I have thought about for these last couple days. I feel comfortable in knowing that I will be staying with another girl from my team and from what I have heard, my host family sounds super welcoming and nice. 

     If you have any fears or anxiety about trying something new, I encourage you to go in with an open mind and an attitude that it will be a great experience. At first I was so nervous with the thought of staying with strange people I didn't know and playing in a state that I'd never been to, but after speaking with my host family and talking to some friends, I am confident that this will be a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Dad's 52nd Birthday


Today is my dad’s 52nd birthday, or as he likes to say his 30th (again).  He is such an amazing person and I love him more than anything, but he is the most difficult person to shop for. My dad is the kind of person that if he sees something he likes, he buys it right then and there. He isn’t one to tell you something he would like for his birthday. Heck! He doesn’t even like acknowledging his birthday at all. About a month ago, I began thinking about things to get him. He already has enough tools and plenty of shirts. He doesn’t wear ties and hockey season hasn’t started yet. So instead of wasting money on useless items, I came up with a few things that I could do that he would like.

1) A Little Note

Since it’s just another Friday to him, he got up for work with a little surprise. Before I went to sleep last night I wrote a cute little note to him. I taped it on the mirror in his bathroom, where he gets ready in the morning, so I can be sure that he sees it. It was just a short and sweet note with no more than, “Good Morning, Daddy! Don’t work too hard on your birthday! I love you so much! Love, Katie.” Just a little gesture that put a smile on his face.

2) Wash The Truck

My dad is a police officer, so he usually has his police car or motorcycle, leaving his truck to sit in the driveway collecting dust, dirt, and leaves all over. So while he was at work today, I washed his car. Not just a normal hose down with a little soap here and there, but an extreme cleaning. I scrubbed the outside of the car to get every little piece of dirt off. I didn’t stop until every last speck was gone. The exterior was the easy part though. The interior of the car was a challenge. The windows had finger prints, dust covered the dashboard, and the floor mats were filthy. Nevertheless, once I was finished with it, the whole truck shined. I don’t think it has ever been this clean since the day he drove it off the lot seven years ago. Extreme cleaning his car was something that he has always been meaning to do, but somehow it always gets put off. I can see why. It definitely wasn’t a quick task.

3) A Scrapbook Page

Something that I know my dad cherishes is pictures and something I really enjoy doing is scrapbooking. A year or so ago, I started a scrapbook for him. It started off with just a blank scrapbook and one scrapbook page. Each occasion that typically requires a gift, he got another scrapbook page to add to his growing scrapbook. This year I took one of our most memorable moments from our trip to Germany a couple weeks ago. He hasn’t received it yet, but I know for a fact he’s going to love it.

My dad isn’t a very materialistic guy. I know it sounds cliché, but for him, it truly is the thought that counts. Little things like these make him happier than any fancy pen, tie, or any other useless shenanigans that people typically get their dads for his birthday.  

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

College Stress

           The application to your future opens in a week.
           Yes, it is that time of year again. The beginning of a season for seniors' stress, anticipation, and more. Common App opens on August 1st, thus in comes the questions:
Which College?
           Why?
              Which essay?
                     Why?
                         How do I write my essay?

There is no easy way to answer these questions without hours of research and brainstorming.
But this simple solution of setting aside time may not be easily done for the League of Procrastinators (of which I am a senior member-ha)
And so, I pray that you (and myself) set aside time for this. Sure, it may not be a fun time spending the precious days of summer left for this, but if not now, when? As the shoe company, Nike so advertised, "Just Do It".

For me, the best way is to answer these questions is in the most relaxing way possible for myself: going to a bookstore and reading up on college books while drinking a cup of tea.

But you don't have to do it my nerdy way. There's always the trusty internet to surf.

Happy Summer.                        

Monday, July 23, 2012

Seaweed. It's everywhere.

      It's summer and the typical thing to do is head out and go to the beach. But some dislike the beach because of the sand, seeing how it gets everywhere, or the water, seeing how it makes everything stick to you. But I blame seaweed.
      Even though it provides life, it's annoying to swim in waters infested by it. But no one really knows how seaweed is such a big part of our lives.
      I mean apart from swimming with it or getting a crab on you because of it, seaweed is everywhere. Look at the ingredients of your toothpaste or even your cookies, it's there.
     Seaweed doesn't only provide life, it provides products. So next time you say, "I wish seaweed didn't exist," think about it. Are you prepared to accept the consequences? I think not. We should start to appreciate seaweed a bit more.
     Because like they say, "we don't realize what we have until it's gone."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Trip to Change My Life (One that I didn't even want to take)

Sometimes, there's this time in life when you feel like it's time to change. And here I am. 

I've always been a person to serve too much on my plate and then scramble to finish it.

Now, I'm stuck in one of Florida's northern cities, Ocala, taking a college course (not my idea). And oddly enough, it's been a self-realization trip.

I see the simplicity code the locals live by, and I'm in awe. 

They are extremely kind and helpful, selling products off their own farm on their front porch, rocking in their rocking chairs and smiling as you pass by them.

It's country feel and warmth wraps me up and has inspired me with new ideas, goals, and dreams.

If you don't know, I'm always volunteering at almost every place in my community you can think of. 

But this time I wanna get out and travel the world, help those most in need, and settle down in a place where I can still be of help.

I want to help others around the world just like neighbors up here help each other. And hopefully when I settle down and start my own family it'll be deep in the country, down those back roads I love to explore and which my kids will love as well.

I've learned to love myself a little more as well, and at the same time be confident in myself. I feel like that's helped me mature even more.

My passions still remain the same, helping others and being a journalist. But my values have changed from thosed of a big city girl rubbing elbows with the "populars", to those of a backwoods country girl's southern hospitality.

I wish South Florida were this way. That way I wouldn't be pulling out my hair every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How the gym became my new best friend

Lets start off by saying that I am the laziest person you will ever meet. There is no doubt about. I am the kind of person who loves to stay home and just watch movies and TV shows off Netflix all night. But this summer I wanted to change that.

Last summer, I got a personal trainer and I would go to her home gym about 3 times a week. It was great! I loved it. She was an awesome trainer and I saw a lot of progress. I lost 30 pounds by the time summer was over. Then everything started to fall apart. Once school started, it got harder for me to find a ride, or even find the time between newspaper and studying to go for training. I would get angry text messages from my trainer about cancelling last minute and I couldn't handle the emotional stress she was putting on me so I knew I couldn't stay there any longer. In the end,  it was a tough breakup that needed to happen.

Now this summer, I have gotten another personal trainer that works at LA Fitness. Michael, my trainer is a little older then me and he's a great trainer that I see twice a week. He knows when he is pushing limits and I can see the weight shedding off me as the days go by. It doesn't hurt that he looks like Captain America because that just makes you want to come back for another training session.

I have been going to the gym so often that I see the employees more often then my own friends. I go every morning and then sometimes run on the treadmill at my house at night. Before, I hated going to the gym because I felt it was so boring. But now, with the perfect playlist of Taking Back Sunday and Rise Against, the gym is my second home and my new best friend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What do YOU have to say about Independence Day?

Parades, impressive pyrotechnics, and family barbeques. While these elements are seemingly random and unrelated, each one is united by the nationwide urge to celebrate one all-important historical event: July 4, 1776. On this day in history, delegates from the 13 colonies rallied in Philadelphia to secure the passage of a carefully crafted document that was to free the colonists of Britain's tyranny and - most importantly - declare America's independence. This momentous occasion in American history was welcomed with tears, cheers, and fireworks by the colonists of the day; astonishingly, this patriotic spirit holds true with American citizens 236 years later! 

How can this national holiday be celebrated with unrelenting gusto year after year, you ask? For an inquisitive journalist such as myself, this question can only be answered by asking ordinary Floridians another one: what does Independence Day mean to you? 

For Pat Reynolds, a 37 year old orthodonist from Coconut Grove, Independence Day is the perfect time to appreciate and celebrate the freedoms granted to every American. "We are so blessed to live in the greatest country in the world," Reynolds said. "It's hard not to appreciate the genius of our founding fathers, who put together a system of government that gave power to the people. We may be a young country, but we are envied by all others."

Every time the fourth of July rolls around, 42 year old Ryan Murphy finds himself overwhelmed by emotion. "Independence Day turns me into such a cry baby," said Murphy, "But the endurance of the American spirit is so moving. For me, it produces an emotion that is both humbling and sentimental."

7 year old Kristen Corban offers a more lighthearted view of the national holiday. "The Fourth of July is special to me," Corban said, "Because I get to wear my sparkly red headband and dance with sparklers."

After serving three years in Vietnam in 1968, self-proclaimed patriot David Russo finds special motivation in America's birthday. "Eat, drink, and celebrate... but don't get complacent," Russo said. "The Fourth of July reminds us of everything we risked for independence, and everything we could lose if we don't protect America's name. It motivates me to take no freedom for granted."

For 17 year old Joseph Marshall, the beauty of Independence Day lies in its unique ability to unite every family in the country. "When I watch the fireworks from the top of my building," Marshall said, "I can see them being set off for miles and create a blanket of colorful sparks across the sky. I then realize that millions of Americans are with their families, all celebrating the day we declared our independence. On this day, we are all united."


While these perspectives are all very different, one thing is clear: Independence Day holds a very special place in the heart of every American. A day that unites, motivates, and prompts clever accessorizing, the Fourth of July has endured for 236 years and will endure until the end of time. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fighters and Fireworks

All I have I have because of my parents.

They were the ones that naturally ingrained a deep-rooted appreciation for the U.S. in me, which is annually rekindled as July's sizzle rolls around again. Because come Independence Day - along with apple pie, baseball,  picnics, fireworks and all other quintessentially American hallmarks of tradition- my patriotic fervor reawakens.

Their accents alone discern Mama and Papa from their anthem-chanting, flag-toting neighbors. Both were daunted by squalor and Socialism in their motherlands, and they fled to the United States in search of prosperity. Now, as recently naturalized citizens (conveniently in time for the impending Presidential elections), they are captivated by the abounding American Dream.

Had it not been for them, maybe I would have neglected to realize the splendor of this country. Maybe each sweltering Fourth of July would not have evoked such emotion for me. Maybe I would have suppressed the very notions that define me as an American, as the very first in my family to be born and bred in the U.S.

Tomorrow commemorates 236 years of the enduring American spirit of liberty. Fireworks will alight the sky- and my head and heart and soul. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Went to the University of Florida Today...

What better way to spend summer then investing in your future?

Today, at about 8:30 in the morning, my family and I embarked on a journey to UF, the college of my dreams. And let me tell you, I'm making my dream a reality if it kills me.

 Once we got there, we took a tour of the College of Journalism and Communications (It was so amazing, I was trying not to hyperventilate) and I couldn't stop imagining myself being a Gator. I felt like I belonged there. 

Once that tour was over, we took a lunch break at the food court in Reitz Union, which made me feel like I was in a mall. (Hey, they need to feed 50,000 students.) I munched on Subway, eagerly wanting to see the rest of the school. I kept seeing so many bright faces, I couldn't help feeling that everyone one in this school is incredibly nice and friendly.

After lunch, we stopped at the bookstore (which has much more than books) then headed down to the Welcome Center for a tour of the whole school.

During the tour of the whole school, we were lead by two chipper students who happily led us through the school, and we saw everything from The Swamp to dorm rooms.

By the end of the tour, everyone was sweating bullets (that Florida summer heat just doesn't stop!) so we headed back to the car and checked out some of the Fraternities.

As we drove back home to my grandparents house near Orlando, I couldn't help feeling a tinge of sadness. But, if I work hard in school, I'll get in, and I won't have to leave as soon!     

    

Monday, June 25, 2012

Scoliosis Surgery... Day-by-day in the hospital.


[June 12th] - Night before the surgery
   Today is the day I was admitted to the hospital for my scoliosis surgery. My family and I realized surgery was necessary in October 2011 when we got a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon at this very hospital. I was diagnosed with a case of mild scoliosis when I was 8 1/2 years old by my pediatrician. Now, I'm patiently awaiting my surgery in the hospital room I will be staying in for the next week... but it doesn't even begin until tomorrow morning.

[June 13th] - Day of surgery
   I got up around 5:30 in the morning, showered with a special antibiotic solution, and waited for another few hours until a hospital bed on wheels rolled by my door to take me to the surgery room. I drank a horrible purple liquid called versed which made me fall asleep almost instantly. Before I knew it, I was in the recovery room attached to a machine via multiple IVs taped to my hands. I was so out of it that I didn't mind much. I relaxed for the rest of the day, met my new nurses, and pressed my trusty morphine pump whenever needed.

[June 14th] - 1st day after surgery
   Today was surprisingly not as bad as I expected, but still pretty painful. My nurse came in to teach me some lung strengthening techniques and I got to walk from my bed to the door with physical therapy, which made me feel a bit better. It was also the day I realized I had grown two inches, from about 5'6" to 5'8"! I could hardly believe it! 
   
[June 15th] - 2nd day after surgery
   Today was pretty tough... I was nauseous all day and could barely eat or move. My IVs began to make my hands swell and the doctor began prescribing me nausea medicine and calming medicine. The pains from swelling began to envelop my whole body and, as everything began to escalate, I knew that the worst was yet to come. 

[June 16th] - 3rd day after surgery
   I was sleeping on-and-off throughout the night. I woke up to the sound of the nurse coming in to check my vital signs and prick my finger, both of which have become uniform for me. Today they took the IVs out and I had to take pills instead. After, I got up with physical therapy and took a shower, which made me feel loads better. But because I could no longer press the morphine pump to get relief, my back pains grew even worse. My family came to visit for a little bit but I was in so much pain that I could barely speak to them. I slept most of the day away and woke up periodically, my back stinging. 

[June 17th] - 4th day after surgery
   Today I woke up to the doctor telling me to roll over onto my side, because he had to remove the dressing on my back and the staples.That caused me agony, but I was used to that by now. I was wheeled down to the x-ray room a few hours later and got that over with. My grandma and grandpa came to visit and told me how confident and aligned I looked as opposed to how I looked prior to the surgery.

[June 18th] - 5th day after surgery... day I go home!
   My surgeon came in that morning and said I had the all-clear to go home. My dad and sister came to pick us up and I sat in a reclined passenger seat with a pillow behind me. I had just taken my pain medicine, which made me feel better. This surgery caused me the most pain I have ever had to experience, but I knew it was necessary. On the ride home, I became aware of the fact that I was finally on the road to recovery. :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Facing Your Fears 101

Fear. Everyone has their own. Whether be it fear of judgment , spiders, or even Two days ago, one of my very own fear was of roller coasters. Two days ago my school hosted a end-of-the-year to Islands of Adventure in Universal. I've gone to Islands before, in addition to other theme parks, however, every single time I would not face my fear of roller coasters... Always saying to myself, "Next time." However, THIS time I was absolutely determined to confront my fear upfront. I even arranged for several friends to literally drag me on if they had to, if I were to chicken out last minute. Thankfully, I did not chicken out, and the very first ride that we went on upon arriving universal was the notorious Hulk... One of my worst fears. Waiting in line was the most terrible part of the roller coaster; it raised my anxiousness and suspense level to the max. The ride itself was, in a word, Breathtaking. I was pushed against the seat as we shot off at 40 miles per hour in a mere two seconds. The dips, turns, and loops brought adrenaline pumping through my veins. If felt like as if I were flying! For a little over a minute I felt as free as a bird. After the ride ended, I could barely register what had just occurred. I left feeling dizzy, pumped, and wanting to go ride more coasters! I am so glad that I faced fear. Without me suspecting it, my fear had morphed into a pleasure. I am now a roller-coaster fanatic, and cannot wait until the next time I have the opportunity to ride more. All you who have read this, I implore you to at your next opportunity, face your own fear. You never w=know until you experience it. So, be yourself, stand up to those spiders, and ride the roller coaster. It is always better to try and know how you truly feel about something, than to spend your time wondering what it would be like. <3 , Karam

Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer 2012

It seems like just yesterday it was August 22, 2011. A new school year was just beginning, and everybody still had cobwebs in their brains from an amazing, yet unproductive summer. Crazy to think how fast the year flew by, with only 16 school days left. I have been planning this summer since winter break, so naturally my close friends and I couldn't be more stoked. It will be also bittersweet, as many friends of mine are going to different countries to visit, 3-week camps, and visiting family in other states. I won't be lonely though, because many people I know will be at home just as bored as me. I am pretty sure there will be plenty of company to spread around. From going to Disney, helping out at the local YMCA, going to Jamaica on a mission trip, to stalking me and my best friends' favorite band, One Direction when they're in town, (July 1st!) I am nothing but positive that this summer is going to be an absolute blast.

Monday, May 7, 2012

AP Studying Tips

With AP exams fast approaching, studying is vital to ensure success. While we may have forgotten some stuff from the beginning of the school year, it's not too late to start studying now!

1.Start a study group: 2 heads are definitely better than one! Get a group of friends together and quiz each other about different topics. You can exchange different ideas and also learn new ways to remember the information. Plus, you can have more fun studying with your friends than all by yourself.

2. Review your notes: While you may be an expert on the current topics you have studied, you may have forgotten something you learned back in October. So, go through your old notes, tests, and homework, because they're bound to help you succeed.

3. Attend tutoring sessions: Some teachers offer tutoring before or after school as exams come closer. Take advantage of this and try going to a few of them. Learning from your teacher and peers might help you retain information better and will come in handy during the exam.

4. Flash cards: Make some flash cards with vocabulary words, terms, or ideas on them. For example, if you're taking AP Psychology, you can write down the theory of a psychologist and quiz yourself on it. By making cards, you can study basically any where from the cafeteria to your home. You can help your friends too with convenient flash cards.

5. Relax!: Studying will help you do great on the AP but you have to remember to relax. Don't get nervous, because if you have learned and understood the information then you'll do fine! Just try your best and you will see a positive result.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Get A Taste of Your Career by Volunteering

I bet you need the hours, and probably have little plans this summer. Perfect. These hours are needed for graduation, and even more are required for those looking to gain community service-related scholarships and awards.

Some of you may even already have a good idea of what you will do in the future career-wise. So why not mix both? Here are some career-related places and opportunities who welcome volunteers:

1. Hospitals
      -This is by far the place that is most varied in volunteering options. And it's perfect for those seeking medical careers since you can get familiarized with how it would be like to work in a hospital. You have the choice of department to work in, and you schedule the days of the week you choose to help out. Departments include: Maternity, ER, Nurses Stations, Information Desk, and Discharge Lounge. Recommended hospitals: Memorial Hospital West, and Memorial Hospital Miramar. Personally go to the front desk to acquire more information on volunteering at that specific hospital (some hospitals have waiting lists, so fill out an application well before you plan to actually start volunteering).

2. Cultural Art Centers / Performing Centers
      -This one is for you performers, directors, costume designers, set designers, etc. out there. By serving as ushers during performances you get to stay for the show and enjoy the spectacle. You will get to see plays, concerts, art shows, and much more all while gaining volunteer hours when you help out the visitors get to where they need to go. Recommended cultural art and performing centers: Miramar Cultural Center, and Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

3. Museums
      -Historians anywhere? History is something learned with time and dedication, it is not a skill. So it'd be a great opportunity to surround yourself with a great opportunity to gain knowledge for your career and to obtain your volunteer hours at the same time. You can listen in to tour guides when they pass by or when you are helping them with large groups. Volunteering here would let you direct visitors to specific exhibits, maybe guide a tour, and watch over the artifacts so they aren't accidentally ruined by careless visitors. Recommended museums: Young at Art children's Art Museum, and Museum Of Discovery and Science/IMAX Theatre.

4. Schools
      -Seeking a job in education or child services? Schools are a great way to get closer to that. You might end up assisting a teacher with lesson plans after school or on teacher planning days, letting you learn more about the responsibilities of an educator and the hard work that needs to be done when they aren't teaching during the school day. Even helping out in the office helps. Recommended schools: Somerset Academy Central, Somerset Academy Chapel Trail, Somerset Academy Miramar, Coral Cove Elementary, Coconut Palm Elementary, and Dolphin Bay Elementary.

5. Animal Fostering
      -Animal lovers will love this one. Anyone who wants to work with animals will be excited to get to be a part of this magnificent opportunity. Not only do you get to take care of an animal (usually cats or dogs), but you get to take them home until someone adopts them. You may foster an animal for weeks or months, or however long it takes for them to find a more permanent home. Recommended organizations to contact for animal fostering opportunities: Adopt a Stray.

6. Farms / Ranches
      -Another opportunity for those who want to care for animals. This is a chance to be around bigger animals such as horses, not just cats and dogs. You can set up when you want to help on a flexible schedule and you might even get a chance to get some free horse riding lessons after your help when there is some free time. Recommended farm/ranch: HAPPI Farm.

7. Animal Shelters
      -Yet another animal caring opportunity. This one lets you come in to help care for stray and abused cats and dogs. Many shelters have many volunteer requests though, so they might only let you help for a few weeks at a time to let all their applicants have a chance to spend time caring for the animals. Recommended animal shelters: Broward Humane Society, and Miami Dade Humane Society.


Monday, April 23, 2012

EOCs

Wow. This year practically flew by. I can't believe I'm going to be a sophomore next year. Well, freshman year has gone somewhat smoothly (so far). I've managed to steer clear of drama (for the most part) and get good grades. But now, the road to summer gets a little bumpier.

The EOCs are just around the corner (I take the Geometry next Monday), and I can practically smell the stress in the air. I'm not as worried about the math as I am the Biology EOC, and don't even get my started on the AP exam. Summer is so close, but yet so far.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

CT Special Forces Review - Part 2



Part 2 of 2 of a review of an old trilogy of action/arcade games on the PS1 and Gameboy Advance, the CT Special Forces series. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's FCAT time

Sigh.... another year has passed, and it is that time of year again.

What time of year, you may ask?

Well why don't you take a guess?

It's our favorite test, it usually takes days to complete, and our teachers train us all year to do well on it.

That's right!

It's FCAT time!

I know, you're thinking "Ewww", but the FCAT is just something we can't go around.

Everybody has to take it.

So don't panic, get a good night's sleep, eat breakfast, and don't forget your number two pencils.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hungry for the Hunger Games?

Last Saturday evening I was invited to see the new movie, The Hunger Games, by my friend.

I had heard how popular the movie was.

In fact, many of my friends had already seen it twice or three times within the first few days after it came out in theaters.

However, I simply did not expect the movie to be so wonderful.

It was an action filled, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat type of movie.

I almost never say this, however, i believe that the movie was just as great as the book was.

It truly is worthwhile to see this movie, especially in theaters, where the lighting and sound is better.

So are you hungry for the Hunger Games?

Did you like the movie?

Comment away!

RHCP Concert!

So, in about 3 hours I will be sitting about 20 feet away from the amazing Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of my favorite bands. I am so beyond excited, I have been counting down for months now. It will be a new experience for me, since the last concert I went to was the Jonas Brothers in 6th grade, and I was way in the back. But now, I'll be up close! I can't wait to hear Anthony, the lead singer, belt out their amazing songs.

Friday, March 30, 2012

AP Econ Review | (under 12 mins) | based on MLEC Review



A brief outline of the items discussed in the AP Macroeconomics Review at Miami Lakes Educational Center in March. Based on the lectures by Eric Krause (mrkrause.weebly.com)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Summer seems far away...

In a way, it's really close. I mean, March is almost over, then it's just a few more months and we're out of school. But, it seems like the closer I am to summer vacation, the more stressed I become. I've had a ton of work lately, and with EOCs coming up, I doubt my homework load will get any lighter. Weekends -which used to be two whole days of fun and no work- are now filled with studying and worried about upcoming tests. For now I'll just have to envision a sunny day at the beach to keep me motivated.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring Break!

It's that same time of year again.

That awkward one week holiday set in the middle of nowhere.

Yet that same awkward one week off, is the last long holiday we, student, receive before going onto summer break.

That's right, HAPPY SPRING BREAK EVERYONE!

Spring is the time for renewal and cleaning, hence spring cleaning.

So here I am to give a few tips to those on spring break right now.

Tip #1: Clean up and organize your room and work space. This is one of the most important things you can do because once you are more organized, you will become more concentrated. Think of it like this, if you had a bunch of papers and, pens, and books sprawled all over your desk, would you be able to concentrate as well as you would if it was tidy and clean. IT would be difficult for you to determine which paper was which when you are looking for a specific one.

Tip#2: Get Healthy. Get your 1 hour or more of exercise per day and I guarantee that you will feel more energized than you did before. Eating a balanced diet will also improve health, concentration, and skin.

Tip#3: Sleep: Don't over do it, but do try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. I can tell you this by personal experience, good amounts of sleep = healthy skin, energy, and better mood.

Tip#4: Renew and replenish your wardrobe. Spring is the time of blooming, so why not brighten up your old wardrobe with a splash of spring inspired colors such as bright re, blue, green, yellow, and pink.

Tip#5: Try to finish up as much work for school as possible, that way when you get back you don't need to be stressed.

That's it for now, but have a great rest of your spring break!

Lack of Warranty

With any iota of creativity comes a lack of warranty that that same creativity will produce good ideas. Whenever brainstorming sessions happen, whether they're group efforts or individual "stare at a wall until you get an idea" moments, their facility to produce thought after thought is unquestionable.

What is questionable is whether those thoughts, or even some of those thoughts, should mature into full-blown ideas.

Through my years of making movies, from documentaries to comedy shorts to small dramatic pieces, I've never known if the idea I had for a given piece is good or not. What's worse, for most pieces, you need to talk to lots of people in order to make it happen. You need to sell the idea to plausible actors, stage hands, camerapeople, boom operators; the works.

In essence, to see if the idea is worthy of execution, you need to sell it to people whilst unbeknownst to its appeal or feasibility. And that, I find, is the bane of any creator whose craft requires convincing others to follow through and along.

You're always guaranteed that your purpose is pure as dictated by your own drive and passion for it, but when it comes to whether the drive and passion behind the idea is worhty of it, you've got nothing but a lack of warranty.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

EXPRESS FARE | Update #2



Bus shoot canceled, waiting on further approval from Miami-Dade Transit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Night Owl: Update #1



Filming has now changed to a daytime shoot aboard Route 301, which travels from Florida City to Marathon, FL! Anyone interested now?

Night Owl: The Plans



Plans for a documentary-style production aboard one of Miami-Dade Transit's overnight routes, Route S.

If you're a film or journalism or TV Production aficionado or student, high school level or higher, and you'd like to help out, please contact me at tomasatlarge@gmail.com!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday results will have a huge impact on the momentum of the GOP Primary Race, with 437 delegates across 10 states up for grabs. After the near win for Romney in Michigan (which Santorum interestingly denies because of the delegate count) and the landslide victory for Romney in Arizona largely due to the Mormon vote, tonight will tell if Romney's momentum will continue. Each state works differently, a process nicely explained by ABC News. (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/abc-news-comprehensive-guide-super-tuesday/story?id=15852514#.T1YvL9FWoto)

Tonight, both Romney and Gingrich will have advantages in their respective home states of Massachusetts and Georgia. Whether Romney will be able to swing votes away from Santorum in the more conservative states remains the eternal question. And of course, a crucial swing state for the general election, Ohio will give significant confidence to the winning candidate.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Romance in Journalism

HooHaa 52 -Television (Week 22)
I wonder what's romantic about Jon Stewart's job.

"HooHaa 52 -Television (Week 22) (Photo credit: Grizdave)"
I attended a journalism panel today with a couple of my colleagues from my TV Production class, and while some of the things the four panelists said were usual journalism lore - writing skills a must, worldliness and curiosity a requirement - but one thing stood out.

I asked a question regarding the relationships a journalist establishes with his sources. Not romantic relationships, simply the interactions one has to have with different people in order to interview them, to ask them questions and find out more about a story, etc.

I was delighted to find that the journalists on the panel saw things in essentially the same light as my question saw them. They too admitted to a certain level of romance in journalism. The same way you use words wisely and aesthetically when, let's say, flirting with a cute girl; you use your words and your presentation with sources in order to gain their trust and, objectively speaking, squeeze the most information you can out of them for your story.

The Flirtation
Essentially, these three country people might as well be journalists!

Image via Wikipedia
There's a sense of selfishness when you see it this way: you're just cajoling someone into giving you something you want. But, in a sense, isn't that kind of the way flirting and romantic ventures work, too? Sure, developed romances are mutually satisfactory unions that each constituent enjoys, but initial flirting or wooing is quite one-sided. When you approach a dainty female at a restaurant with the goal of taking her out to the movies the same night, you are subtly demanding something: her company, namely.

It's identical with sources. You demand information, but to attain it, you must present yourself as a respectful, honest, trustworthy person with nothing but the job in mind.

Quite romantic indeed, don't you think?
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Running for the Soul

I recently started running with a friend and I have to say, I've never felt better. The wind in my hair while I run mixed with the release of pent up anger helps me get through the hectic week. Running seems to help both physically and mentally because it gives people a break from homework, stress, or other undesirable feelings. When you run, it's like breaking free from all your anger, sadness, and overall motivates you to take that extra step. From a scientific point of view, running decreases body fat and helps to increase the production of HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind. Running also helps to decrease stress, give a better self-image, and releases endorphins that naturally make you happier. Running seems to be good for the mind and body and in my opinion, is way more fun than doing homework.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dumb Phobias: Riding the Bus


What's that? A giant, rectangular construction of steel and plastic ready to unleash evil and doom upon the world? A metal monster sent by the gods to wreak havoc upon organized society? Or, an electrically powered instrument of destruction bent on destroying all vehicles and people it encounters?

No, it's a public bus. Miami-Dade Transit Route L, to be exact, on an old hybrid bus.

Why am I talking about a bus? Well, here's a better question: why are you afraid of them?

Who am I talking to? People with a dumb phobia of riding the bus, or with a dumb phobia towards any other seemingly dangerous thing that really isn't.

I mean, I understand how phobias work. You have a really bad experience at an early age usually, it scars you terribly, and for all eternity thereafter - for no logical reason - you avoid the related circumstances like the plague.

I think that's what discourages some teens from using public transportation. Other teens may have parental blocks on usage of public transportation, but others (usually those who don't have such blocks) simply refuse to use it. Why?

Well, one of my friends fell on a bus when he was little and broke his ankle because he put no effort into breaking his fall properly. Another friend of mine took the wrong bus into the wrong neighborhood with her mom at age 9. All these "horror stories" (which really aren't) discouraged these kids from ever again utilizing a public bus.

It's irrational, but what's most inconvenient about it is that, unless you're a kid whose personal or family infrastructure allows them to get a car and full license at the age of 16 or shortly thereafter, you're bound to need to travel somewhere regardless. And, when your parents can't take you and you can't drive yourself; what, are you going to make up an excuse saying you're sick or something and avoid going at all? What if it's an important school event? A hot date? A good chance to hang out with your friends? A job? A career opportunity?

All these events would be insulted (if they could) if you were to pass them up just because you have an irrational fear of taking the bus to get somewhere. Public transportation forms the arteries of a society on the move, just like roads and cars do. What's special about public transit, though, is that it enables those who can't drive a car and would otherwise be unable to be part of that constantly moving society, to do so. Namely, the too young, the too old, the DUI'd, and the otherwise incapacitated.

It's a beautiful thing.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Mechanical Bull Riding!



It's saturday afternoon and I have hours of homework that needs to be done including a literary analysis on Wuthering Heights. My nine year old sister asks me if I would like to go to one of her friends birthday parties with her. A birthday party for a ten year old didn't seem too appetizing to me. But being the procrastinator that I am, I agreed to go with her.
That had to be one of the best desicions I made this month! We pulled up to the Miami Lakes mansion, and my sister was in awe. His house was gorgeous, I'm talking tennis court with a pool and a jacuzzi and a golf course for a back yard gorgeous! There were multiple bounce houses, cotton candy machines, snow cone machines, pop corn makers, go-karts...This dude had go-karts in his backyard!
But none of this compared to what I would find beside the pool as I further toured the yard. There, imbedded in a bouncy, cushioned platform lied a mechanical bull! I was amazed. It was beautiful. My stepmother and I found our way past all the excitement to the layout of tables for the guests to sit. We ate and played a few family games but all I could think about was that mechanical bull in the corner of my eye. It was as if it was staring at me, calling for me to feel the amazing adrenaline it was willing to offer.
"I can't." I told myself hundreds of times in my head. There were a whole bunch of nine and ten year olds riding on that thing, including my sister who'd probably rode it about ten times before she puked. It would be silly for a girl of age to go and dare to ride that bull.
Finally, about an hour after arriving I stood out of my chair and made my way to the bull. I could feel the eyes staring at me as I waited my turn to ride. Something told me to go back to my seat, but I refused. I was going to conquer this bull! I felt free, wild, and exhilerated while I held on for dear life to the tiny piece of string poked out of the bull's back. Less than a minute later, I found myself falling head first to the cushion below me. It didn't hurt at all. I rose to a thunderous clap and cheer from the audience of guests. I took my bow and headed back to my seat. I feel so accomplished, I can now check "ride a mechanical bull" off my bucket list!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Organized Closet...

It just seems like if you had an organized closet, life would be so much easier. Just today I was all grumpy because i could not find my favorite sweater. I looked through all of my drawers, even every hanger hanging in my closet. I could not find my sweater any where. It was at that moment that I decided to cancel my plans for the day and take on the mess that my closet had become. I grabbed a couple of black trash bags and began with the clothes. I threw away all those shirts and shorts I had not worn for over a year, and those jeans that are way to big and those cardigans that are way too small. I told my mom to send them off to Goodwill, because they were juts causing clutter in my life! Next, i attempted to sort through the stuff. You know how you have a ton of stuff you don't wan to see lying around your room anymore so you put it in the far corner of your closet? Yeah, well, I happen to do that a lot. I had dolls from elementary school, and even projects from the eighth grade that i'll next use again. I threw out all that junk and found some random stuff in my closet, like a soccer ball (who even puts a soccer ball in their closet?) and a whole ton of dust, but i guess that's expected. Finally, after cleaning everything out, I have a closet i can look at and not cringe! And, i finally found my sweater! I can't even begin to tell you where I found it! Let's just put it this way, it might as well have been hiding in Narnia!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Frankenstein + YouTube Video = Moment of Realization

One of my favorite things to do in my free time and that I always try to make time for is watching makeup tutorials and hair tutorials from my favorite YouTubers off of YouTube. Well as I was watching a bunch of videos from this one user, I came across a video she did in which she spoke about confidence just trying to give everyone out there watching a few tips to being a more confident person.

Her reasoning for making this video is because she caught a few guys teasing this one girl based upon how she was dressed and they were loud and clear enough for the girl to hear. The YouTuber proceeded to explain how it's wrong for people to treat others so horribly and those are the kind of people you need to stay away from.

Of course, being in AP Literature, I automatically thought of a reference to Frankenstein. The creature in the story is completely cast aside for his appearance although he originally starts out so pure at heart. This novel definitely harshly portrays the cruelty of mankind in society and how the way you treat someone can especially bring them up to be a different person than they started out to be.

For instance, the creature started out so kind and pure with a passion to learn. But by his constant letdowns with everyone casting him aside, he became enraged with humankind and began to do things that we would consider "inhumane" although the most humanly possible thing is causing him to do these acts.

So this is when I had a realization moment that we can all have our moments where we look at someone and automatically make judgments about them and usually we act based upon that quick glance of judgment. So while in the process of reading this novel and watching this video, I am appalled at how people act and although I have always known people act that way, I feel that now I understand the concept so much more. So let me cut to the chase. Next time you see someone and their looks begin to determine your opinion about the person, stop that train of thought and try getting to know them. This may be a cliche but there is a reason cliches exist. It's what is on the inside that counts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Vow

During Valentine's day it was a sold out movie, and even after, the rage about The Vow is still going on.

Last Friday, a couple of my friends and I decided to go and see The Vow.

IT was, all things considered quite a heartwarming story, not to mention that the tale was based on a true story.

It was not however, a real tearjerker for me.

On the other hand, some of my friends started to cry the minute the movie started.

Besides that, I genuinely recommend watching this movie because it displays the strength of love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Now THESE are Valentine's Day Presents for GUYS!

Walking through the mess of the not-well-stocked Target in search for a present for my boyfriend tomorrow led me to across this....



Now THESE are perfect for 99% of those guys in our lives that are star wars fanatics!
FYI: No, I did not buy any of these for my own valentine, if you were wondering.

You Don't Need a Boyfriend for Valentine's Day!

So, we all know what tomorrow is... Valentine's Day. The day that couples proclaim their love for each other with small tokens of their appreciation; on the flip side, it's also the day when single people mope around and act all depressed about being forever alone.

However, it doesn't have to be that way! Who cares if you don't have a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Just because it's Valentine's Day, doesn't mean you have to have a significant other. Isn't Valentine's Day about celebrating your love for someone else? Who says that someone else has to be a bf/gf? I say, you should celebrate with friends and family, since you love them too.






Local Talents #01: Crescendo


For the first installment of Local Talents, we feature an Interview with Crescendo , aka Yero Lopez, a recently debuted rapper from South Miami Senior High that's been inspired by other local artists from the school and is now trying to enter the rap game himself.

Gaming #9 | SEGA GAME GEAR

Gaming #9. Thanks to Classic Game Room, AVGN, IGN and other Youtube users for the videos.

I actually do own a SEGA GAME GEAR, but my friend had it for the weekend so I couldn't film mine :/ ENJOY!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston died from addiction...

It's crazy to hear that a legend has died. Her talent was taken away from something so harmful... Her addiction.
I still remember seeing her on the Oprah show saying, "Crack is whack!" so what exactly killed her??

So many people have been dying from things that could've been avoided.. For instance, drinking and driving, addiction, fighting, and others. My question is, what happened to the traditional dying from old age??

All over Facebook people are judging others for saying their respects to Whitney.. But what's the big deal? Yes, she might not have known us. But I would appreciate it if something showed their respects to me even I'd I didn't know them!

Whitney Houston will always be remembered for her wonderful voice! In a way, her music has touched every single one of us.. If not now, then later.

R.I.P. Whitney Houston and all the other celebrities who died.. You will be missed!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Confused about controversy

Just so we're clear, America. It's okay for a dancer dressed like a teenage girl to strike multiple provocative poses on national television during a family-friendly program. But it's NOT okay for a singer to stick her middle finger up.
This can't be right.
For as long as I've been alive, and for centuries before, sex has been more taboo than attitude. Suddenly, sex has become a dinner-table discussion topic and the focus of entertainment. Superbowl XLVI was no exception. Madonna's elaborate halftime show showcased a gallery of Roman (or vaguely Egyptian?) inspired costumes and props, infused with a contrasting high school sports/cheerleader theme. The 53 year-old blonde, perpetually attractive singer had her own celebrity pep-squad in Nicki Minaj and rapper M.I.A, both notorious for their own unique styles of music and fashion. It could be because M.I.A. was disgruntled at having to be Madonna's back-up dancer, or she was merely seeking press before the release of her upcoming album, but the singer with a history of naughty behavior flashed cameras her middle finger, before censors could catch it. Indeed, before many viewers could catch it, distracted by the glitz and gold of Madonna's Skyrim cos play-like outfit and her bedazzled dancers.
So M.I.A. probably should have kept her cool and turned her "swag" down a little. But the gesture is far from national uproar-worthy. What I'm more concerned about is the conduct of the other dancers surrounding Madonna. In tiny red skirts and waving gold pom-poms more seductively than I ever thought imaginable, these girls seriously demoralized themselves and the image of teenage cheerleaders everywhere. Pretty, popular and showy= trashy? Sure, Madonna is no stranger to controversy. But there is a point when an attempt to "make a show" looks downright foolish.
The entire halftime show was a huge publicity stunt and nothing more. Madonna's new album, MDNA, M.I.A.'s single Bad Girls is out, and now the two are all headlines. There was never a more opportune moment in business. These artists have lost sight of the music, clearly. And all of America is falling for it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Discrimination against President Obama

During the recent Presidential primaries, there has been a lot of negative media about President Obama. Many have said that he's just president because of his image.

A week ago, in the Newsmax Newspaper, a writer wrote that Mr. Obama has done more bad things for our economy rather than good. For instance, gas prices have gone up drastically from 2008. Also, jobs have been declining rapidly.

I believe that everyone is started to point out the negatives, instead of praising him for the good that he's been doing. According to recent data, unemployment rates have gone done since September of 2011. Also, one of the most major accomplishments occurred during the reign of President Obama... Osama Bin Laden was finally killed.

Instead of bringing the president down, I would love to see the positive achievements Barack Obama has completed!

New Fashion Trend in Eyewear?

While enjoying my birthday this past December in Disney World here in Orlando, Florida, I was surprised by a new glasses fashion trend. Many foreigners, Canadians especially, had been strolling along the parks with glasses with an MP3 and headphones attached to them.

They explained it's all the rage in their countries, much like the iPod is for America. And as they were tourists, they used their new glasses more than usual when shading their eyes from our tropical sunshine and keeping themselves entertained at the same time. they also don't run the risk of getting their MP3 stolen when they aren't paying attention, as most of us do with our iPods, because they are constantly wearing their glasses and they will therefore never be out of sight!

I came across these glasses again at a mall cart/booth in Pembroke Lakes Mall and they run between $50-$60. So go check them out!