Tuesday, September 30, 2008


My post today is in honor of my watch. For those of you who have known me in the last couple years, you will undoubtedly remember the watch around my wrist, which always caused so much curiosity, debate, and random observations. Alas, that little purple mirror of time has ticked its last. When I woke up after a good night's rest, and wanted to see just how much time I had left before I needed to be well . . . doing things, I realized that my charismatic little companion was faceless. Needless to say, it has been hard looking down at my wrist only to feel the absence of my little purple friend, held in place by two never-been-used-on-hair pony tail holders (also purple), which reflected time on its glossy mirror.

Some tell me it is only the battery that needs to be changed. But, even so, I wonder if I will ever actually get around to changing said battery, instead of just buying a new watch (it is pretty wasted, after more than 5 years of daily use. A couple broken bands here and there, to be sure!). Only time will tell. Ah, the cruel irony!

Ok, I am done, I am good, and the sniffing will stop any time now. But... whoever will beep my sorry self out of bed in the morning, with its obnoxious, high-pitched beeping which seems to penetrate your entire skull, and resonate from within? And then, after those dreaded 20 seconds are spent fumbling at the buttons on the side, trying to get it to STOP, it chirps merrily one last time, and the echo dies down, and you completely forget about its annoyingness until the next morning. *sigh* Good, fond memories. Cheerio~

Friday, September 26, 2008

AP Bio: Evolution and pond scum

Seeing as APBio now fills almost my every waking moment, it is only logical that all of that information should leek in to and infect my blogging content. For one thing, the past few and the next couple chapters that I am doing deal with the theory of evolution. This is the first time I have experienced and realized the depth of some Christian brainwashing (to make it clear, I am still a follower of Christ, don't get me wrong. I just believe that a lot of Christianity and its institutions nowadays have been altered, and almost corrupted in a way. More on this later. Just know that, I am not TRYING to be an anarchist, per se.).

Any good Christian (according to my observations) would leap and howl and ruthlessly condemn at the mere mention of evolution. Don't get me wrong--why do I have the feeling that I am going to be mentioning that phrase a lot this post?--I believe that the basic foundations of the theory of evolution (which, sadly enough, has also been corrupted into the concept of Evolution) are... almost illogical (when in correlation with the Big Bang theory most especially). Nothing comes from nothing. Spontaneous generation has been proven both false and almost ludicrous. But, if we can laugh at how "naive" and "ingenuous" people were until relatively recently, then why are we trying to push the same concepts? For example, my book claims that, in the beginning, all of the mass of the universe was all clumped up, and, suddenly, it exploded. Now, I will play the inquisitive kindergartener: "Why?", "Where did that stuff come from?" "You have to have something there if it going to go 'Boom!'."

So, basically, and fundamentally, I disagree with it. God created the world, and everything in it, and everything around it, and so on. There had to be a "beginning" not just a "boom" of something that was already there. Now, what I do think makes logical sense is a form of evolution and natural selection. If a population moves or lands in a new environment, then there characteristics will gradually change. The ones with certain traits that make them the most able to adapt will leave more offspring than the others that are not suited to the new environment (because they won't be dead so soon, for one thing). This continues until reproductive barriers form. Then, they are a new species. Fascinating stuff, although I don't have time to go into detail.

You have most likely heard the infamous, sarcastic rebuttal "Right, so, we all come from monkeys, who came from pond scum?" If I wasn't a Christian and firmly, undeniably believed that God created man as "man", I could definitely see how they could trace human roots back, and find a common ancestor with other species (such as chimpanzees). Molecular technology nowadays is astounding. All this thinking makes me want to go an research it even more.

But, I must cover the "pond scum" concept first. Have you ever seriously studied cellular slime mold? I had never even realized that it EXISTED before today. Do you even know what it is? If you are just guessing, please, google it. So, I now have yet another path to track down and research, and figure out just what slime mold does. But, from what I have seen and concluded through careful analysis and observation, slime mold is a strange, almost communal "being" with a sort of primitive intelligence, and the ability to change shape, its cell structure, and modify and specify cell function, etc. I will discuss it with you when I have read more. You know me, I would rather offer a lecture when I truly KNOW than pointlessly speculate beforehand. Take care! Must sign off for today! Why? To do more APBio, of course.

College countdown?

Well, since we began contacting colleges last year, I feel like there is a sort of pre-separation weaning going on. My parents are slowly and gradually coming to terms with the fact that I will not be... here. With them. At home. Eating their food and making cookies or cakes. It is a very odd feeling, to be honest. I mean, seriously! Why not turn the "you'll be gone in a year anyways" into a "you'll be gone in a year, so let's enjoy the time we still do have." Perhaps that is merely my own wishful thinking. I believe that, although they all will miss me--yes, J, you too, will miss me, even though you are loathe to admit it--my Dad will most likely have the hardest time after I am gone. Let me rephrase that: my Dad will the the one to openly make a big deal of it. Mom will miss me, and then try to contact me somehow. Dad will miss me, complain about it, and then resume whatever he was doing, only to mumble about it again later. Joseph will... find it eerily quiet, and that there is a lack of commotion and random comments flowing about, I predict.

I will most definitely miss them all, but I do not feel like forcefully separating myself from them emotionally because of that. Instead, I am more of a "enjoy every day to the fullest" kind of girl. And, that is just as well, because, with this strange type of memory that I have, every adventure and conversation remains vivid in my head if I feel like recalling it. So, the more adventures we embark on now, the more memories I will have to console myself with when I need to.

Yes, memories, like perfecting the art of sushi (although, I made that by myself at 1am, and I unknowingly tried to poison my parents with raw shrimp. You mean, you have to COOK frozen shrimp, not just defrost them? Oh, boy.)
Just a random thought and commentary on my life :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Hi, my name is..."

At times like introductions, I wish I could be as random and spontaneous as I am afterward. Unfortunately, I am usually not. I sound stiff and formal and utterly boring. For example, in my Shakespeare class, I stumbled into class after an excruciating half hour of technical problems. As every first class, it was introduction time. "What is your name? Where do you live? How many years have you been at (name of school)? What is one interesting thing about yourself?"

Bright child that I am, I mumble on about my name, where I live, and that I've been with the school for 4 years. Let me reproduce my moment of glory for you:

"As for an interesting fact... well, I like to do a little bit of everything. For one thing, err... I like to cook... and bake... and I never seem to follow the recipe... but er... it always turns out great, so hey."

Talk about a lame introduction. About 5 minutes later it dawned on me: interesting fact? I guess being able to read and write in hieroglyphics is not all that common, eh? But, at that moment, it did not even occur to me that it was out of the ordinary, because it is an essential part of me that I think of as, "Duh, of course I can read Middle Egypytian. Can't you? *blushes* Oh right, my bad."

So there you have it, my pitiful introduction, and my brilliant afterthought. No matter where you are introducing yourself, never forget that, even if you feel like an idiot saying something boring or simple, you are a lot more complex, interesting, and amusing than that! That's my little word of advice and encouragement to you today! Take care!

Classes begin

I know, I know! My title is just a LITTLE too thrilling for most of you to handle. Never fear, I will somehow keep it from becoming a post full of massive adrenaline rushes and fluttering heartbeats. Somehow ;)

I had my first class online this Wednesday (Advanced Algebra, *tries to sound convinging* yay! *realizes that she failed* *sigh*). Like last year, my curriculum consists of two different online schools: one with you're-on-your-own classes, and the other with live, synchronous classes (all the students log on to the same virtual classroom, at the same time, and the teacher proceeds to teach us, using our screen as a whiteboard/blackboard, for the next two hours). Although my Algebra syllabus looks disappointingly similar to my math class two years ago, I feel that it will be a good change for me. Just think of it: I will learn the same things, but this time around, with a nice, caring, helpful, fun teacher who actually believes in TEACHING. For some of you, it might come as a shock that *gasp* most all of my teachers were complete jerks that only show up in the classroom because they get paid each month. Even so, they are pretty far from professional, just like the students lack respect: shouting matches between students, between teachers, or between student/s and teacher/s (the whole class against one teacher is a truly blood-chilling experience), and insults abound, just as much as academic material lacks.

But this year, it looks brighter. I have Advanced Algebra in the middle of the week, as well as a Shakespeare class (with one of the teachers I had last year that I really enjoyed studying under, hurrah! Now that was a convinced cheer~) another evening. And, during the second semester I get to take Economics from 12:30 to 2am. I will be sure to tell you ALL about that when the time comes. Until then, I will simply put it from my mind, instead of dreading the after-effects of getting addicted to Pepsi...

And, with a new schoolyear come new experiences. New friends (mostly online, although some I will eventually meet), new places, and other novelties. The one that has occupied most of my time recently is actually that a good friend of mine just got her first boyfriend (who also happens to be a good friend of mine). Strange feelings, yet happy ones all around. It will be most interesting to see how this all plays out. For now, I can only cheer them on and ask them, as only selfish I can, to please not kiss in my presence. I am happy for them, but I think that might just send me into an emotional coma for a while. We shall see... :P Take care! Good luck with new classes!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fading with the sunflowers

One of my favorite parts of summers here in Spain would have to be the sunflowers. I did not get the chance to take any good shots of the fields and fields full this year, sadly, because I was out seeing the world while sunflowers back home were blooming. Even so, every now and then, we will stumble across a not-quite-faded sunflower patch next to the road. Even this small dabble of color can brighten the darkest of days.

With the sunflowers wilting away, I realize that my summer is also weaning away, soon to become nothing more than a beautiful, precious episode, safely preserved within the memories of my heart.

Of all of the things which I must tell you, dear Reader, about to keep you updated, working at the Expo in Zaragoza was an entirely new type of experience. I volunteered for a week at the Expo, helping out at the Evangelical pavilion every afternoon from 1:30 to 6:30. That is a long time to be on your feet, greeting people at the front door, keeping them happy and entertained while they wait to go in to see the video, explaining what each NGO (non-governmental organization) does and who they help, or getting the video room ready for each new wave of people. My less glory-ribboned tasks included stamping brochures and magazines with the "Agua Viva" logo (Agua Viva was the name of our pavilion), stuffing fliers, organizing boxes, and of course, chatting with the random people helping out. I made some very good friends that week, and finally was made aware of just how much work it takes to keep anything running, and then, just how many different people it takes cooperating to get that work done. My first fumble into the working world.

Another thing that I am particularly proud of, for some odd reason, is that I took my first long-distance train. Alone. 1 hour down to Barcelona, then, switching at a major train station (Sants = chaos), having them X-ray my luggage (I had never checked in through security for a train before. That was exciting, to say the least. I started to wonder if they had the same liquids-restrictions. PANIC. But, all was well), and then not only finding my train, but my car, and then my seat. Oh yeah, and lifting my big old bag (most of you know that I usually pack light. Except when I am traveling for a week across the borders of Catalunya and have to bring a big old light microscope. That adds both bulk and weight) onto the luggage racks up above the seats. Enter achievement here. I did it! I got that bag up on the racks with no help whatsoever, twice (Spaniards are only rarely inclined to help, and never when it looks strenuous or dangerous. Leave that to the petite blond with the flowered bag). Although, I will admit that I ASKED for help to get it down. I did not want to risk major injuries right before I started working at the Expo :P

The morning after I got home from the Expo, my mom whisked my whole family off to the beach for a few days of computer-free relaxing time. A much-needed break, which resulted in a nice tan and a bucketful of stories to tell. Someone remind me later on that seaweed, jellyfish, and boogie boards are all related. :)

I must go now, the real world calls, as does a painful amount of AP Bio work and preparing for my first synchronous class this afternoon! Advanced Algebra, yay, I suppose. Oh yes, and for those of you who do not know what synchronous means, I merely use it in reference to the online classes, where teachers and students alike log on to the same virtual classroom, at the same time, on a set date, and the teacher teaches in real-time, and the students grumble and fumble through equations and graphics and functions in real time. :) Take care everyone!