Things and Whatnots
Oct 30, 2009
I submitted a poem to my university's literary magazine today.
I'm vaguely terrified. No one except my mother (whom I can never seem to keep from telling anything) has ever seen my poetry before, and so I don't know if pretentious undergraduate literary types will scorn it. The editors are nice people; I don't think they'd be like that--but we'll see.
We just had six weeks of term, and now we have a week break before we have six more weeks of term (followed by a two-week break and then exams, and then it's time for a new term). It's the busiest, most labor-intensive time of year, because whereas final papers and exams are spread out over a two-and-a-half week period when classes don't meet, midterm papers and exams all occur in one week on top of regular class meetings and reading. I had three papers (political theory, American studies, American literature) this week, and one exam (biological anthropology). (My other class is on the history of biography and autobiography, and our midterm paper is due after the break.) As you can see, in America we take lots of classes outside our area of study (my grad-student friend here who went to university in Britain thinks this is very odd), but most of my classes are still in my general area of interest, American and British literary and cultural history.
Because tonight is the last night before the holiday, the university is celebrating Halloween now. Most everyone is out in costumes, and at parties, but I'm very tired and don't feel much like partying anyway. I've been sitting here in the window seat in my room (I sacrificed about 20 square feet for the sake of a window seat) since after dinner, paging through old diary entries and reading the internet and watching a little YouTube. Term-time is so busy, this is the first opportunity I've had to simply let my thoughts wander since this summer. I feel a little melancholy, but a little happy at the same time, which is probably why I feel the need to rant in this text box. Odd, isn't it? Somehow I needed an audience, and out of all the text boxes in the world, this seemed like the right one.
It's strange that I feel melancholy, because this semester my life has been consistently the happiest it's been since I was a fairly small child. When I pass people on the paths that wind through campus and they ask me how I am, I say "great!" and I mean it. When people asked me a year ago, I might have said "good" or "fine," but I would have been lying.
I've begun to move away from journalism and into creative writing. I read a lot of books by Edmund White this summer; he's a novelist and memoirist and he teaches fiction-writing here. I'm longing to take a class with him, because his sort of autobiographical writing is something I would really love to learn how to do properly. The Washington politics world is so frustrating that I seize the opportunities to work on other projects, but it's hard to break away, since that's been the focus of my writing efforts for years now.
On the other hand, it's not too difficult when my academic work is always calling, since that has to take priority. In addition to doing my work for this semester, I'm thinking about the classes I'm going to take this spring and next fall, when I'll finally be a proper member of the history department and the American studies program. I'm starting to look at possibilities for what to do this summer: I'm thinking about doing a French course in Montreal, because there's funding I can apply for through school and because if I spend the summer in Montreal I expect a lot of my friends will want to come visit me. (Before university, I never had friends who would come visit me anywhere.) I'm keeping an eye on the process for applying to do two terms at Oxford in spring 2011--it's a bit early, but the application is quite complicated so I've got to keep on top of things. And I'm even getting the gears turning on my senior thesis, 100 pages of original research I'll be starting to write two years from now. It's going to be about gay men at my university between 1945 and 1973 (we went coed in '69), and because of the lack of written sources about that topic I've got to keep my eyes out for clues where I can. I'm keeping a file of names of former students and professors to interview; I'm hoping that enough people from that period are still alive and/or that there's some written sources. It's going to be a challenge, but I think it's a significant project that could contribute to historical scholarship (for a then-22-year-old, anyway) so I'm very, very excited.
I suppose I ought to stop rambling and go to bed--it's after 1am and this post has gone on for quite long enough. Bravo if you got down to the bottom. Love the new ; I'm still lurking in everyone's journals when I have time. Right, I suppose I'll retreat back to Facebook now....
Campaign to win posthumous apology for Alan Turing
Aug 18, 2009
Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians and computer scientists of the 20th century (who, as it happens, got his PhD at Princeton in 1938), committed suicide in 1954 by eating an apple poisoned with cyanide. This was after being convicted of gross indecency two years earlier, under the same statute that sentenced Oscar Wilde to two years' hard labor. Because this was the modern 1950s, Turing was instead given the option of submitting to a hormonal treatment that would chemically castrate him. He did so, but he lost his security clearance; his career was destroyed. And so he killed himself.
There's a petition on the 10 Downing St website calling for "the Prime Minister to apologize for the prosecution of Alan Turing that led to his untimely death." I can't sign it because I'm not a British citizen, but I'm sure some of you are, and while I'm not sure whether these petitions ever do any good, it can't hurt.
I know there's been something of a back-and-forth recently between Labour and the Conservatives about who's homophobic and who isn't, and wouldn't this be a nice way for Labour to demonstrate that it's on the right side with regard to LGBT issues?
Jul 28, 2009
The entry on 'Hello World' I wrote in April 2008 (A32016692) reappeared on the FP today. I'd forgotten that Brian Kernighan, who's credited with the invention of 'Hello World,' played such a large part in my entry--I took his computer-science-for-humanities-kids class last fall at university, and it was very fun. The class was a little easy for me, since I already had some CS background, but he's a truly talented and devoted teacher, not just a smart guy, which is a rarity in professors.
The journalism internship I'm doing in Washington, DC this summer has caused me to become quite certain that I don't want to be a Washington journalist. And so I've been distracting myself by planning my academic career in myopic detail, shaping a sense of "what I do" as far as the study of history is concerned. I've been thinking about the programs I can apply to and courses I can take at school that will help me do this, and I've also started to plan my independent work. At my university, every student has to write two junior papers (about 30 pages each) and a senior thesis (about 80-100 pages), consisting of original work in one's respective field of study. It's years before I have to have topics for these (particularly the thesis), but it's fun to do some reading and some planning and some thinking--and I've also figured out that if I do a thesis involving Europe to some extent in addition to America, I'll have a much better chance of getting funding to travel to Europe so that I can do research, which sounds like an awesome deal to me.
I often feel very insignificant in the fast-paced and very insular Washington progressive journalism/blogging world, and jealous of the other people my age who are making better inroads into this world than I am. It's good to have this "what I do" in the back of my head to remind myself that I have something I'm good at and am passionate about, and that some people care about things that aren't very fine points of American policy or politics.
May 16, 2009
As I was thinking over my evening, I thought of this place. Because I was at my friends' apartment, and one of my friends is from England, and we got to talking about our favorite BBC program(me)s. We enthused about Simon Amstell and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but I'm a much bigger fan of QI than he is. We lamented that you can't get much of the iPlayer content in the US. We discussed how Stephen Fry is taking over Humphrey Lyttleton's (sp?) role in the new series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. My friend seemed genuinely delighted that there was someone in this country with whom he could talk about things like that.
But, you know, there's no better way to learn a language than cultural immersion. I was an Anglophile when I came to h2g2, but in the same way that a lot of Americans are--I'd had an exposure to Monty Python and that was about it (well, granted, I was 14 at the time; I had been on one two-week family vacation to the UK, and it's not as if I'd had much other opportunity to absorb British culture). When you live among people, you learn to speak their language, you learn their cultural benchmarks, and you learn to talk about what they're talking about. Folks on h2g2 talked about British politics, so I started reading the Guardian, and even calling it the Grauniad. They talked about certain celebrities and broadcasters, so I listened to Radio 4 and caught what BBC and ITV program(me)s I could on YouTube. Essentially, spending a lot of time on h2g2 is not too different from the conversational experience of studying abroad in the UK (well, I haven't done that, but I'm guessing). You have a lot of conversations with people who have a very different set of cultural standards to yours, but you figure things out, and you start being able to use them too. Then you bring them back to your home country, and people think you're really weird--I'm still traumatized by the time in my grade 9 history class when everyone made fun of me for talking about the Cuban Miss-aisle Crisis (the Americans say Miss-ull).
Now I live in the real world, more or less, so I largely function in American idioms, since I live here--though I've played translator many times when Americans don't know what a British or Irish or Australian or South African or South Asian or European/Middle-Eastern, British-schooled or even Canadian person is talking about. But this first year of university, in many ways, has been as much about revisiting old aspects of my life and my interests as much as it has been about discovering new things. I think my friends here--like the friend I was talking about Buzzcocks and QI with--are a lot closer to how I've always been, basically just a nerdy Anglophile. I suppressed that part of me in high school, because people just didn't get it, but it's okay to do that now because I can have conversations about British television shows with my RL friends. I've not just been listening to Radio 4 again, I've been coming back to the nerdy folk music I was into in 9th grade or so, and the books I used to read over and over again, and all sorts of other things. I remember how delighted it was when someone on this site--I think it was Edward?--told me I must be the youngest Radio 4 listener, and how delighted I was. I don't think that's true anymore, if it ever was; I'm certainly a bit older now. But it makes me happy to think I've come full circle.
I'm going to apply for a study-abroad program(me) at Oxford for the spring of my third year. It's a very competitive program(me)--only a maximum of five students from the history department get placed each year--and even if I get in, I'm not entirely sure I want to go. There are good reasons to stay in the States to do with other aspects of my degree course and things I want to do while I'm at university. But if I do get into the program(me), and I do come across the pond, well, at least I'll have a little less culture shock. And I promise I'll make it to an h2g2 Meet.
Apologies for this ramble--it's late, and I've had a little --you can do that at university, you know, even when the drinking age is slightly higher than mine. But I like this, as a forum for reflection; I'm so non-anonymous now on the Internet that it's refreshing to be able to say things to a virtual space full of pseudonyms whom I've always known as pseudonyms, and who I still feel as if I know as well as anyone on my Facebook friends list. I still don't know whether I'm going to dive back into hootoo life--I haven't the time to even think about writing entries!--but I think this is as good a way as any to start dipping my toe back in.
I can't believe h2g2 is 10.
Apr 22, 2009
I feel old. When I joined up, the place was half that age. It's strange how one can feel old at 19, but I was 14 when I started here. Holy shit, man, things change (can you still say "shit" here?).
I was talking to some people at a dinner for a famous writer at my university last month. I got invited through friends of friends. There were a lot of literary types there, people whose names you might recognize, who are well-known in the writing world. Towards the end of the dinner, most people had left, and a small group of us were talking, I can't remember what about. The issue of British vs. American grammar/style came up, and I spoke authoritatively on some point about the distinction, a point that even a British person there wasn't aware of. The assembled masses expressed surprise that I knew whatever it was. "Well," I said, "I got my start writing and editing on a BBC-owned website; I was what they call a sub-editor there for three years, so I got good at British style and going back and forth." "But... you're only a college freshman..." they said. "Yeah," I said, "this was when I was in high school, like between the ages of 14 and 17." "Wow," they said.
Thanks, h2g2. Everything that went on to help me in the writing and editing world, now that I have professional writing jobs, I learned from you. And what's more, you'll always have a special place in my heart.
Right. Back to university-land.
Oct 31, 2008
Just logged on for the first time since, apparently, June. It's not like I want to get back into working for h2g2 (though I did just do an Aviators project for Rich), but what's happened in my absence? The site still in its dying throes or whatever?
If you need me, I can be reached at echomromeo at gmail, or on Facebook (you'd need to know my real name, but it's on my emails).
May 18, 2008
What better thing to do when you're ill and your mind isn't really functioning properly and you haven't actually been on h2g2 in about two weeks than to natter on about your life in a journal entry?
I've got less than four weeks to go until I'm done with school FOREVER! It's tremendously exciting. There are a ton of activities piled on top of each other right now as we get closer to the end, plus papers and projects and exams to finish up. In the next two weeks, I'm doing some technical theater work, helping to light the final school play of the year, the advanced drama class's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. Next weekend, however, I'm also making a trip to Dallas for an annual national quizbowl tournament. This year I'm the only girl on my team, and there are only five of us going. This is my fourth (and last) time on the quizbowl trip, so I really want to do well at the tournament.
The following weekend is the school prom, the formal dance at the end of the year for seniors (final year of high school). Non-seniors can only come as the guests of seniors. In the past, I've been very adamantly against school dances, and I am proud to say that I wrote the h2g2 entry on American High School Dances without ever having been to one. I was set to maintain this record until I started feeling very depressed that every single person at school was talking about prom and I wasn't going. I began to think it actually might be fun, and regretted that I didn't have a date to go with. But a few days ago a friend of mine who's in his first year at university asked if I wanted to go with him, and so we're going with two other friends of ours, one of whom is in my year and the other of whom is also in university. It should actually be fun, and I'm very excited.
The following week are the commencement exercises, where I wear a cap and gown and sit in a university stadium for two hours while 503 names are called - that's the size of my graduating class. I'm glad that the alphabetical order places me next to one of my friends, though, so that I'll have someone to make sarcastic remarks to.
Right after school is out, I need to start work, to help pay my university tuition. My financial aid package from Princeton asks that I contribute a certain amount from my summer earnings, so I'll be working minimum wage at the movie theater. I'm told it's a terrible job, in fact, but I have one friend who's working there and you do get free movie tickets. I'm also (more excitingly) working for a blog called Pushback, which is launching in June. It's a venture of the organization http://campusprogress.org and it's a fairly big deal for me. It's a proper journalism gig and will hopefully provide me with a lot of experience and opportunities - in fact, I'll be going to a conference in Washington, DC in July that's sponsored by the organization.
Other highlights of the summer include a couple concerts, San Diego Comic-Con, and hopefully spending a lot of time with my friends, before I leave for Princeton on September 5 to begin my new life. I can't quite believe that my transition to independence is starting to occur, and that in only 25 days I'll be out of my high school, that disgusting prison.
I *am* going to university!
Mar 24, 2008
Last Wednesday I received my first decision from any of the seven universities I applied to. I was accepted to the Class of 2012 at the University of Chicago. Now it isn't all speculation and pipe dreams - in September, I really will be living in a totally different place, going to university.
I don't know if that place will be UChicago, though, the private university on Chicago's South Side without the reputation but with all of the merit of an Ivy League school. It wasn't my first choice, but in the past few days I've quickly fell in love with it as a place I could spend the next four years. UChicago's applicants are a self-selecting bunch, primarily because of its famous "Uncommon Application", with its unconventional application essay prompts - it's chatting with these kids on the forum that UChicago set up that's convinced me I could be a really good fit at the place.
However, I'm still waiting on six schools: Swarthmore College and Haverford College, small liberal-arts colleges in Pennsylvania with a Quaker history and a wickedly intellectual atmosphere; Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey) and Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), which hardly need introduction; University of California-Berkeley, the flagship of my state's public university system; and McGill University (Montreal, Quebec), the flagship of Canada's public university system. Since I'm a dual Canada-US citizen, I can benefit from the great Canadian tuition rates at McGill.
They're all great schools - I expect to get into Berkeley and McGill, but even with the better education UChicago would probably offer me, it would still hurt to say goodbye to either of them. I'm really hoping for an acceptance to Haverford or Swarthmore, though, as I think I can really benefit from the smaller environment without the padding of graduate students (liberal-arts colleges only offer undergraduate programs).
What's amazing, though, was that my first acceptance was from a school I didn't expect to get into. It's enormously validating, especially given the high levels of competition in university admissions these days, and it makes everything scarily and excitingly real. I'm scoping out the dorms at UChicago, reading all the literature they sent me, and talking to the other admittees - and thinking that here is my future laid out in front of me, and I have so many choices and opportunities.
Help me out please?
Dec 12, 2007
Go to http://www.youthnoise.com/rtl/view.php?msg_id=1102 and read the story what I wrote. Then rate it according to the 5-star system they've got, and vote early and often. I need 20 votes before I'm eligible to be considered in the contest this is for - the winners get to go to Sacramento and read their essays to Governor Schwarzenegger. Theoretically this is going to solve the problems in California's education system.
Dec 11, 2007
Tonight, I went to a screening of a documentary about Pete Seeger, hosted by my local PBS station and the ACLU.
Do you know who Pete Seeger is? He is the greatest folk musician who ever lived. You may laugh (folk music? What the hell?), but Pete Seeger has been responsible for inspiring maybe two or three generations of people - from Joan Baez to Martin Luther King - with his music. He travelled with Woody Guthrie in the 1930s, he was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, he led student protests and the Newport Folk Festival in the 1960s, he launched a campaign to clean up the Hudson River in the 1980s, and today he is 88 years old, still energetic and agile, living in the country in upstate New York. Pete Seeger wrote songs like "If I Had a Hammer", "We Shall Overcome", "Little Boxes" and "Turn, Turn, Turn". He wrote more overtly political songs, too, like "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" and "Bring 'Em Home".
It's difficult for me to explain what's so wonderful about Pete Seeger. I think I lack the vocabulary. But he has united so many people through his music and promoted peace and understanding in this country and around the world. You just have to listen to (and sing!) a Pete Seeger song to know what I mean. After all, the greatest thing about Pete's music is that he never thought it complete unless the entire audience was singing with him.
That's why I'd ask you to do two things (after you've listened to a song or two, and I can definitely recommend some good ones): first, sign the petition at http://www.nobelprize4pete.org/ to nominate Pete Seeger for a Nobel Peace Prize. I can't think of anyone living on this earth who deserves it more than him. Secondly, on an unspecified day in January (I haven't decided yet), I'm going to stand on the street corner with a friend or two and sing Pete's song "Bring 'Em Home". I'd urge you, wherever you live, to sing with me in spirit, and encourage your friends to do the same. Maybe we can apply the lessons of last generation to this one and usher in a new era of peace and understanding with the power of song.
Well, who knows? It sounds nice, anyway.
I Am Thankful For:
Nov 23, 2007
It was the American Thanksgiving holiday today, and it's something of a tradition to announce what you're thankful for. I thought I'd list a few things, assuming that the usual business about having food and shelter and loved ones has been said:
Having friends who are more than superficial.
The ability to express myself verbally.
Life experience - whether it be travelling around the world or taking summer intensive Latin or all that "teenage stuff".
People who read my journal posts.
The inspiration and mental purity that accompany the wee hours of the night.
The ability to bullshit successfully, and the ability to tell the difference between bullshit and honesty.
Times when I'm taken seriously.
The women's liberation movement.
Things that make me feel validated.
People who will listen to me pontificate about "TMI" topics.
School teachers who have given me hope and someone to talk to and somewhere to go at lunch.
My own personal drummer with his distinctive beat.
What are you thankful for?
Interested in opinions about society's perception of bisexuality
Oct 26, 2007
Hey folks, I've suddenly developed an interest in trying to do a bit of mini-research about bisexuality and how it's perceived in western, particularly American, society - whether that be mainstream society or the LGBT community. It was occurring to me today that while gay and lesbian folks are becoming increasingly accepted socially and legally, and while that acceptance in turn has engendered a movement to gain acceptance for transgender folks, bisexuals seem to be largely left out of this mix. For example: the University of California offers scholarships that you can apply for if you are gay or lesbian - not "LGBT," just "gay or lesbian" - and just today I noticed an advertisement for a blog that discussed financial issues for "gay, lesbian and transgender" people - no mention of bisexuals there either.
I was thinking this might have something to do with the fact that bisexuals can easily be "normalized" because sometimes they find themselves in straight relationships, or in other similarly ... what's the word... heteronormative? situations. Another thing to consider is that "bisexual" is probably the least encompassing of the orientations in the four-letter acronym (yes, I know there are other acronyms that might include other words that might be more inclusive). In my experience I've encountered multiple people who choose the "bisexual" label because it's the best option available, but not because it's the perfect label for them. Could this lead to a lack of cohesiveness in any sort of bisexual community, which might lead to a lack of recognition for bisexuals? Also, a lot of people - queer and straight alike - seem fairly uninformed about bisexuality, some to the extent of "not believing in it," which could also be a factor.
But I'm not sure - this could be just me looking to complain about being a marginalized bisexual - pissed off that I couldn't check the box for an extra scholarship on the UC application, sick of people telling me "Oh, you're bisexual? I don't really believe in bisexuality," and confused myself as to whether that's the best label that history and the current LGBT community could pick to describe people like me.
So. I'd like your opinions please; I don't particularly care what you call yourself - though it would be nice to have a representative sample of straight folks, bisexual folks and queer folks who aren't bisexual, though that might just be wishful thinking on my part. You can post here or send me an email at echomromeo AT gmail DOT com - though I'm sorry I don't have a more anonymous way of allowing comments to be submitted.
If there's any "safe" places you think I could cross-post this on h2g2, too, please let me know. I was a little leery of posting in Ask because who knows what random trolls this topic would engender.
I just remembered
Sep 25, 2007
And it was only after reading Mina's journal about her eight years... but today is the day that marks the three-year anniversary of my involvement with h2g2.
I was fourteen, lo these many years ago, when, after reading about "h2g2.com" in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, I decided to check it out. Now, three years isn't a long time to most people, but to a teenager that time is astronomical. Now I'm over halfway through my seventeenth year and so mch has happened to me that it's quite impossible to list it all.
h2g2 has been responsible for a great deal of my adolescent emotional development - problem is, I'm sort of moving from adolescence into young adulthood, and I'm starting to find other ways to spend my time. But h2g2 always will have a special place in my heart, because the friends I've made here and everything that's happened ... I dunno. I can't explain it so articulately except to say that I'm proud to be celebrating three years. And despite the fact that I still haven't finished my sub-editing batch, I'm not exactly gone yet.
I just unsubbed from Peer Review
Sep 18, 2007
I feel like a low and dirty human being... but there just wasn't any point to those conversations I no longer read.
Computers and College
Jul 1, 2007
Well... university to you all. As you may have guessed, I'm back from the wilds of BC - I love that province, but my oh my is it nice to be reunited with my computers.
Speaking of my computers, in the attempt to rig up my little harem better, I need to make a trip to the electronics store as soon as possible - it's one of those warehouse-type stores where you can find everything, but it's across town on the freeway so I don't know if my parents will let me drive there. But the object is to get two of the computers running faster so that they'll better support their systems (and so that one will support its system at all), set up a switch so that the two desktop computers only need one monitor, keyboard and mouse between them, and get internet going into the second desktop (since neither of my desktops has PC card slots, and so can't easily connect to the wireless network in my house, I've been routing the connection through one of my laptops via ethernet). Once I get all that done, I can install Solaris on the newest desktop, in the interests of erasing Windows from that hard drive ASAP. I'm really looking forward to checking out Solaris - the DVD came in the mail the other day.
The other major part of my life right now is starting the enormous university applications process. For competitive students in the States it's a huge undertaking. I was pleased to finally get my results back on all the entrance exams (that's more or less what the SATs are) and they were all very good, except for one math score which was sort of average. I was very surprised by how well I did, actually. In any case, these are the universities, as of right now, to which I will be applying:
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
McGill University (Montreal, QC, Canada)
University of California-Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)
Reed College (Portland, OR)
Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
University of California-Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
That's more or less in order of preference, though McGill and Berkeley are kind of tied, as are the three colleges.
The next step (and the largest one) is the actual filling-in of the application forms, writing essays, getting letters of recommendation, submitting financial aid requests, etc. Princeton, Swarthmore, Reed and Middlebury all use the "Common Application", a form that's accepted by a number of private universities and colleges across the US. That was the first of the four applications I need to fill in to be available - at midnight last night - so I started putting in the easy things, like my own information, my parents' information, my school's information, and my test scores and my schedule of classes for next year. I kind of enjoy filling in forms, but I'm just starting to realise what an enormous process it is. The sheer volume of essays and "personal statements" to write is astonishing. It's a good thing I'm starting early.
I start university Latin tomorrow, which is my summer activity, I made good money yesterday playing a wedding with a string quartet, and summer is really fun when you have friends. So life is really good right now.
Any thoughts on computers, colleges, etc?
Jun 20, 2007
For 10 days this time, to a rural area of Canada with no Internet. Just letting you know that's why I'm ignoring you, particularly if you're Leo and the New Yorker uni project, or if you are a contributor to . Hum. Anyway... I got a "new" computer, by which I mean an eight-year-old computer running Windows NT. I mean to install Solaris, but I need to buy some parts and wait for my Solaris DVDs to arrive (because I don't have the disk space for a 10 GB download on any of my computers), so until then I've been playing Spelling Jungle, my favourite game from when I was 6.
I've also decided that I have two new career options to explore: lighting technician at a rock concert or one of those people who catches criminals and terrorists and things online. I read an article about it in the paper and decided it was a pretty glamorous job.
Anyway, see you all on 29 June.
Je suis nerveuse
May 6, 2007
I expect this will probably get yikesed pretty soon. So unlike everywhere else that I've said it, here I'm including a translation.
Avant je commence d'écrire cette note, je suis sûre que j'ai fait déjà beaucoup des erreurs.
Au lundi (en moins de 2 jours) je passerai l'examen AP du français. Je ne sais pas un mot de cette langue, et un ami a me dit comment dire celle phrase correctement. Au lundi je passerai un examen qu'évalue ma proficiencie avec cette langue -- je m'assoie (?) avec une dictionaire et je ne sais pas combien des erreurs je faisais. Si je reçevois un "2", ce serai un miracle.
Aussi je dois passer les examens de l'histoire americaine, de la biologie, de l'anglais. Le dernier est le seul examen qui je crois que je reussirai (ce n'est pas le mot correct...). J'étudiais l'histoire et j'ai connu peut-être une moitié des termes j'étudiais.
J'invente autant des mots.
À l'autre main (une traduction literale pour vous), j'ai gagné mon permis de conduire. Seulement j'espère qu'il est un présage bon regardant les deux semaines prochaines.
Before I begin to write this note, I'm sure that I've already made lots of mistakes.
On Monday (in less than two days) I will take the AP [Advanced Placement] French exam. I don't know a word of this language, and a friend told me how to say that phrase correctly. On Monday I will take an exam that evaluates my proficiency with this language - I am sitting with a dictionary and I don't know how many errors I've been making. If I receive a "2" [a "3" is a passing score] it will be a miracle.
I also have to take the American history, biology and English exams. The latter is the only exam that I think I'll pass. I was studying history and I knew perhaps half of the terms I was studying.
I'm inventing so many words.
On the other hand (a literal translation for you), I "won" (bad translation English-French there) my driver's license. I only hope that it's a good omen for the next two weeks [when I'm taking the exams].
Personal identity stuff
Apr 28, 2007
h2g2, I find, tends to be the best place for explaining myself, both to myself and to the world. When one considers that the way I choose to figure out who I am is by writing about it, I honestly can't think of a better place than h2g2 - especially since here I'm at least partly divorced from the anchors of the "real world" and the people I deal with there.
On that note, I'd just like to explain that I wrote the entry A17692112, "Memories of My Head", about five months ago, in a user account I created specifically for that purpose. It is rawly written, exactly as I thought it in my head, with no attempt at structure. It is exactly how I felt shortly before the 26th of November, 2006, when it was written. It has not been revised since then.
Five months ago, I was very nervous about articulating anything sexual under my own name, something which has carried over into real life and my real-life blog, as well. I'd like to change that, and to change the aura of guilt and confession that has come to surround my sense of adolescent sexual exploration. Prompted slightly by a writing contest about sexual taboos on a sex-ed site for teenagers, I have now written A22159244, "Too Much Information". I hope it's a more realistic and mature expression of myself, five months along in a serious attempt to understand myself and the world into which I fit.
So where is all this going? Part of writing this journal entry is just to explain that I wrote the first entry, because I loathe being duplicitous or dishonest about myself and I don't like there to be any secrets. Part of it, though, is to invite comment. I am fully cognizant of the strangeness inherent in asking adults I've met over the internet to comment on my writings about my sexual identity - but I'm asking you to consider me not as a person, but as a writer, and I'm asking you this not as random adults, but as my friends (and not all of you are adults, anyway!).
Anyway, I just wanted to say, the same way I posted a journal a year ago when I decided I was bi, that this is who I am.
Regular programming will now resume.
I'm feeling pretty technically capable
Apr 6, 2007
I'm proud to say that I'm writing this journal entry from Lynx (a text-only browser) on an ancient PC running FreeBSD, a Unix-based open-source operating system. I don't have a desktop environment yet because I'm not *that* clued in to technology... but I'm just proud I can do things from a command prompt. It's an underappreciated skill in today's world.
Anyway, just wanted to brag.
Mar 10, 2007
Warning: this is going to be a very long journal entry.
Yesterday and today, my school indoctrinated us against drinking and driving. We knew something like this was going to happen ahead of time, because we were having two special assembly periods allotted for it. But this is what happened.
Yesterday, we went out to the parking lot, where there was a re-enactment of a car crash caused by a drunk driver. I couldn't see or hear very well: I was in the next-to-last row, everyone was standing up in front of me and the mics weren't very loud. It was much better to talk to the people around me than to watch, as well-known students from my school pretended to be a drunk driver and the girls in the other car who were injured and killed. The local media — from the school newspaper to the local branch of Fox News — swarmed the scene, and then the entire emergency response crew of the city, seemingly, including two police cars, an ambulance, a fire truck and a fire department helicopter, arrived in the parking lot, as they made to extricate the "wounded" girls from their car. It was ridiculously overdone and really rather dull, as I couldn't even see anything. As I remarked to my friends, what if there had been a real emergency, but the entire fire department was in the school parking lot? All-round, we agreed it was a waste of time, and I said so in class and to my friends: the people who were most emotionally affected by the dramatization are the people who do not drink and who aren't likely to make the choice to abuse alcohol. The people who already do don't care, and wouldn't care about the assembly. What's more, it's not as if not drinking and driving is a conscious decision you can really make ahead of time: if you're drunk your judgement is impaired, and deciding to get into the car then is a spur-of-the-moment thing that won't necessarily be dissuaded by you suddenly remembering something that was scared into you at a school assembly.
And this is exactly what I said during English this morning. I argued that while this might have been seen as "positive" indoctrination, it was still indoctrination — scare tactics and overblown melodrama aren't the best way to make a difference, if it is even likely at all that a difference is made. And although I saw myself in the right, I was immediately jumped upon. There were all these girls who argued that "if it makes a difference to just one person, it's worth it." Did it even do that, I wonder? One girl, who's very involved in the school drama department, said that the demonstration was analogous to a stage show, and that if people were so much as talking about it, that's something. Perhaps this is precisely the problem: this issue shouldn't be a stage show. One boy said he found it unfortunate that they were trying to dramatize it instead of appealing to our reason, and then all the girls said that appealing to "everyone else's" reason won’t work, and that it's only my class of "gifted" students (essentially) who can be logical. Well, that's just as insulting to the other 2400 students at the school as it is to us.
I hate this, where I'm on the seemingly "insensitive" side, cause I don't want it to seem like I'm uncaring about what I certainly see as a pressing issue. But it does seem like it's being gone about in totally the wrong way. I talked to my history teacher, and he told me a story of a student he knew his first year at my school, who had gotten himself killed while in a car and drunk the night of graduation. He said — and I agreed — that instead of a re-enactment, we would do better to focus on real kids who had died, and to put their pictures up in the quad and eulogize them instead would have a more lasting effect. And I agreed.
Then in fourth period was probably the best part of the whole thing: a very well-edited video detailing the fictionalized story. The "dead" girls were certainly victimized ridiculously, but it was more "factually" (if this can at all be said to be factual) presented and well-done. But then — then was the weird part.
We all went to another assembly following the film, and then the thing started. I saw the kids who had been involved in the previous day's re-enactment, and I thought they were going to talk about their experiences and it would all be very dull and usual. Well, they did talk about their experiences — but not really the real ones. They were still in character. The kid, Eric, who had been the "drunk" one talked about being arrested, and being remorseful. One of the girls who was meant to be dead talked about being... well... dead, and being deprived of opportunities and not being able to say goodbye to her mother. Then her mother spoke, which was just creepy. She had written a praising letter to her "dead" daughter, eulogizing the girl who was really sitting right next to her. I must have commented on how weird this was to my friends sitting next to me at least five times. I just can't get over it still. She eulogized her dead daughter who was sitting right next to her. And crying, of course. So many people were crying — and this wasn't real. The father of one of the other "dead" girls spoke too, and then there were some more usual and actually probably better presentations, from a woman whose nephew had really been killed by a drunk driver, and the chief at the fire station, who told his experiences responding to such emergencies. But it was all very strange and very awkward, and then we went back to class. And I couldn't help thinking, what about the people who really die? Why aren't we hearing about them, instead of the people who... well, didn't?
Later that afternoon, in biology class, we learned even more. My bio teacher is the sponsor of the Students Against Drunk Driving club, and she told us that there was more that we didn't see, because Eric was actually taken to the police station and booked, and the dead girls were actually put in body bags and taken to the hospital and pronounced dead in front of their parents, and then were taken away. They spent the night at a camp in the mountains and my bio teacher chaperoned them there, but they didn't see their parents until the assembly this morning, and for all intents and purposes they were treated as dead.
It's terrifying. Not because I'm so concerned that this will happen to me or I'm so worried about incidents of drunk driving. Yeah, they're terrible, but I'm more disturbed by the fact that our emotions are being manipulated for a fake cause like this. It's sensationalism, the same sensationalism that makes reality television shows about accidents and murders and whatnot, the same sensationalism that Americans (and, I'm sure, people of other nationalities too) watch because they enjoy having their emotions toyed with. I'm the first person to admit that raw, emotional films and books and television programs (not reality tv, but the really well-done drama) can be very powerful. But not like this, and not without my consent.
In "life skills" programs over the years at school, they've talked about mostly two things. With the exception of the odd tutorial about how to put a condom on a banana, they teach us about substance abuse and they teach us about self-esteem and how to avoid depression. And is it right to teach about one at the expense of another? Is it right to scare kids about substance abuse by asking them to pretend to be dead? There are already enough teenagers who are actually dead, thank you very much, and many of them of their own volition. How many other emotionally impressionable young people do we want to encourage to volunteer to kick the bucket, whether for a story or for real? How can they conscionably do that to us, and to them, the "victims"?
And is all this, all this emotional tearing at heartstrings, going to do anything? Of course not. They made some people cry, sure, but that's hardly an accomplishment. How many of those of us who weren't crying came away with the notion that we should always have a designated driver? How many of us had an idea of practical ways to solve a tragic problem, and how many of us were just disgusted with a melodramatic and sensationalized waste of time? Because in the end, that's all that these two days of shock therapy were.
I told my mom my story and she told me the only new thing about drinking situations that I learned today, and in fact it was something that they've never told us in school. Mom told me that in her experience, students aren't getting drunk out of their minds every weekend because it's a recreational activity. They're doing it out of desperation because they have nothing else to do, no other way to live their lives. It's not the highlight of their weekend, it's a way to get through it. Yes, I know everyone has their reasons. But maybe these should be explored. Eric "killed" two girls and "wounded" one yesterday. But why? Did anyone ever ask that question these past two days? To be honest, I can't remember hearing it. Did anyone ever consider that Eric was depressed, that he was lonely, that he went to the fictional party because he could think of no other way to deal with his fictional problems than to drown them in drink? Maybe Eric really has problems, outside of this fantasy TV world of car crashes and deaths. But no one's ever going to know that, including maybe Eric himself, because it's not as if school exactly encourages us to talk about our problems. It's not as if guidance counselors are exactly people you can talk to. They're people who order your class schedule and people you're sent to if you screw up really bad in class. It's not as if the health teacher or the administration or any of these other figures are exactly approachable. If you have no friends and you hate your parents and there's nothing you can think but that your life sucks, you're not going to act rationally. You're not going to remember your public-school scare tactics about substance abuse, you're not going to remember the stuffed lion you won for a drug resistance program essay contest, you're not going to remember what driver's ed told you, what health class told you, what your school told you when they killed two girls to make a point. You're going to take that bottle of beer or wine or brandy or vodka and you're going to drink it, if you're that desperate. Maybe we should think about that.
In the end, isn't it a bit odd to think that what I'm proposing is radical? But it is. Talking to students instead of scaring them is a strange thing in my public high school, and I expect it is in many others' too. But until the people who run schools and their communities get over their fear of talking to the adolescents they baby-sit and actually consider interacting with them and (shock of shocks) educating them, it's never going to happen. And a problem that has been around since the advent of the automobile will (shock of shocks) never be solved.
Because self-promotion is *always* fun.
Feb 28, 2007
I've got a new website! (Yeah, we know how these things always go; they interest me for about a month and then they fall by the wayside.)
I swear this one won't, though - and particularly pay attention if you're between the ages of 13 and 19, cause then I need you!
The deal is I've got this website called http://worthlessdrivel.net and I'm aiming for it to be sort of a literary magazine kind of deal for teenagers. At least visit the link, just so that you can tell me you did. Thanks.
Feb 25, 2007
I posted one of these over on my other blog, but I liked it so much that I wanted to do it again, so sorry if you've seen it already, but I bet most of you haven't, with the possible exception of Wyatt, who successfully guessed half the answers.
Here's the deal: I put my music library on shuffle, and write down the first lines of the first 25 songs that come up. Based on those first lines, you guess the name of the song and the artist. We all have fun and I get to show off my music collection. And then you can all do this in your own journals and show off your music!
1. Look what's happening on the streets/Got a revolution, got a revolution!
2. You sit all night, you never buy/That's a lie, that's a lie...
3. Slow down, you move too fast/try to make the moment last...
4. We starve, look at one another/short of breath, walking proudly in our winter coats...
5. Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men?
6. All our times have come/Feared but now they're gone...
7. Donald's come up the hill, hard and hungry...
8. She asks me why/I'm just a hairy guy...
9. As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day...
10. There's something happening here/What it is ain't exactly clear...
11. I was skirtin' around at a place called the Jug, with a girl named Linda Lou...
12. And it's go, boys, go, they'll time your every breath...
13. Once again with the tide she slips her lines, turns her head and comes awake...
14. Ground control to Major Tom...
15. Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming, we're finally on our own...
16. Spanish songs in Andalucia, the shooting sites in the days of '39...
17. As soon as you're born, they make you feel small...
18. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, 525,600 moments, oh dear...
19. The Eastern world, it is exploding/violence flaring, and bullets loading...
20. Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio...
21. When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars...
22. When the truth is found to be lies/and all of the joy within you dies...
23. So, so you think you could tell/Heaven from Hell...
24. Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again...
25. You walked out when I asked you to stay/As usual, you'll get your way...
EMR makes her UG debut!
Feb 24, 2007
My Life As a Guy - A19631892
If you could perform an act of civil disobedience, what would it be?
Jan 30, 2007
Overcome by frustration at teenage apathy, I started asking this question of a few school friends. The survey blossomed and now I'm compiling a catalogue of responses from kids, teachers, family members and friends of all sorts. I'd really love to hear what you have to think. I might post some of your responses as anonymous quotations on another website, but mostly I really want to know what pisses you off so much that you would take a stand against it. If you comment on no other journal in my backlog, comment on this one!
Jan 17, 2007
I had a trivia quiz accepted and posted on FunTrivia, a pretty good trivia website for all that you have to pay to get most of the good services. You should play the quiz - it's here: http://www.funtrivia.com/trivia-qui...iterature/Olympia-Press-249669.html
As you can see from the URL, it's on Olympia Press, which you can read more about at A12737829.
There, wasn't listening to EMR brag fun?
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