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This is the second installment of a series of blog posts that I plan to do between now and the end of May where I talk about things I remember from public school/high school. In this post, I am going to talk about my experience on the Science Olympiad team during the last six months. You can read the first post here.

It honestly doesn’t seem that much time between when I signed up for Science Olympiad in
October to now, the eve before our state competition. I want to write a little bit about it before I go to state because I need to organize my thoughts before I turn off the lights and lay awake in the dark where my mind finds the most horrible outcomes of a situation and turns them against me.

Before:

Even though we’ve only had two regional competitions, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I did procrastinate my studying quite a bit, but I picked it up before it was too late and I did better than I thought I was going to (as an individual, anyway, I wanted to rock everyone else’s socks off, but it didn’t happen that way). The thing about Science Olympiad was that it was less about the effort of a team and even less about the effort of a pair of people and more about what I could do on my own.

I learn things on my own well enough, I watch documentaries and read Wikipedia articles for
kicks, I just rarely learn anything overly useful without prompting. I honestly didn’t think I would do any studying for Science Olympiad. I’m just not a person who studies, but as my previous post will tell you, I’ve never done anything that really required me to apply myself (besides math, where I didn’t apply myself at all). The thing is, I’ve always loved science, even though it was a little upstaged by my passion for English. English was my main thing where I sat down and wrote words down on a page or typed them into a computer. Science has always been what I do when I’m sick of sitting down. English is something you learn, something you apply, but Science has always been something you do.

That may not make any grammatical sense, but for once, I don’t care. There’s always been a curiosity inside me that I can never quite satisfy. Perhaps I grew tired of my family always
questioning why things happened and never finding an answer. It may be one of the reasons why I hate rhetorical questions as well. With science, there are no unanswerable questions. You can experiment over and over to find the answer. It may not be a perfect answer and it may not even be the right answer, but at least we’re looking for it instead of throwing questions onto a page to think about but never engage.

The more I think about it, the more excited it makes me feel. I’ve never been an adrenaline
junky and I always try to cling to safety. English, to me, is a safety blanket. I understand what is going on with words and language and communication. I don’t need to think a whole lot about why the words do what they do, I just need to let them lead my thoughts into a place where theories are made and hypothetical situations reign.

Science is my risk. It’s hard and I always risk failing. There are things that I need to understand and there are lines and walls that will always remain impervious to prodding (unlike the english language, filled, as it is, with exceptions and accommodations  and can never be justified away.

Science makes me feel like I can take chances and do things that are hard, even though I’m a lazy person who is likely to give up. Science makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something that no number of finished novels, sitting on my harddrive, can make me feel.
As I talked about in my last post, achieving even a small amount of success in science gives
me the confidence and the audacity to try hard things. Hard things that I never even imagined myself doing. Science is my secret love affair.

Tomorrow morning, I will be on my way to my final competition, after months of independent
work. Work that I am proud of for having made myself focus on something that I would need to apply in the future. I’m horribly nervous, but I feel like I can keep my cool for this. I’ve always been a good test-taker.

After:

My love of Science persists and grows larger. In a second, I’m going to dive right in, but I’ll just say that State Science Olympiad was the exact opposite of what the Regional comps told me to expect.

We had to wake up early and drive for forever to get to The University of Utah, but the drive was not annoying at all. First of all, no one wanted shotgun because that meant you’d have to sit in the front seat with our coach and no one wants to do that, so I had no opposition in claiming shotgun. I hate riding in the back seat because I like to see where we’re going and the front seat is always much more comfortable. Everyone else in the vehicle fell asleep, but my coach and I had a series of conversations about television and heart attacks, which was fun. Teachers are the best conversationalists, I find, so it’s interesting that students don’t ever want to talk to them.

We arrived and were stationed in the Jon M. Huntsman Arena, which is just this massive circle. When I first walked in, I felt like I was standing at the edge of a cliff. We found the area we were supposed to sit in and then everyone who had an event time in the first round left for their events. I didn’t have an event at first, so I just sat in a seat and started next week’s AP Chemistry homework. When I left for my first event, I was completely lost. Unlike Westminster College and Weber State University, the sites for our Regional comps, The University of Utah is MASSIVE and not at all navigable

As a side note, the way people in Utah tell directions is by the mountains, which run north to south along pretty much the whole length of Utah. Whenever we leave Utah, we lose all sense of direction because we don’t have the mountains there. Unfortunately U of U is right on the side of the mountain, so it was like the mountain was surrounding us and I couldn’t get myself oriented. Fortunately, there were maps everywhere, so I reached the building I was supposed to be in within fifteen minutes of leaving “home base.”

I met my partner, Kayla, in the hallway outside the room we were supposed to be at and we sat for a little while talking about her first event. One of our test coordinators let us into the room so that we could get situated (and he also gave us pastries). The event was Anatomy and Physiology and our Region experience was not comforting at all. We had about 60 stations and we had, like, one minute to answer the questions. The State competition only had 10 stations and we had 6 minutes for each.

Our first question wasn’t very encouraging, so we just guessed, and the second station wasn’t much better, but I knew a few elements of the question from watching that movie Hawking (the one about Stephen Hawking)(I tried to explain how I knew the information, but Kayla didn’t know who Stephen Hawking is… seriously, we’re at a SCIENCE Olympiad and she doesn’t know who Stephen Hawking is…). The next station made us as giddy as kindergartners. We got to look at the cross section of a REAL, HUMAN KIDNEY. The event coordinator even told us that we were allowed to touch if we wanted to… which we did… more than was probably necessary.

Next was a question that we surmised the answer to, even though we didn’t know anything about the filtration rate of blood. There was a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope sitting next to the station, so Kayla took my blood pressure while we were waiting to go to the next station. The event coordinators laughed so hard when they saw us.

The next station was about a disease and the treatments. Kayla’s CNA class helped with this one and we provided a pretty good answer, but I couldn’t help answering the question of treatment for the patient with “A hot shower and a good long nap” after Kayla was finished.

The next station was A REAL, HUMAN GI TRACT. We were allowed to see and touch the rugae in the stomach and stroke the small intestine, which was so amazing. We did the same with THE REAL, HUMAN HEAD…. well, it was half a head, but still. Some guy had donated his body to science and science had cut him up for our amusem…. uhh… education… We may or may not have poked his brain, tongue, and nasal cavity…. He also had a crazy eyebrow. They seriously just took a dead guy’s head, cut it in half, and stuck it in a container so that we could identify parts of the brain. It was the coolest thing ever and we were geeking out so hard, you have no idea.

My next event was Forensics, which didn’t really go well because we didn’t have time enough to get everything done and we didn’t really know which suspect to accuse, so we just accused two of them because of evidence found on both. My partner, Kendall, and I aren’t really sure we did all that well, but it was really fun, even if it was overwhelming. I feel like I would have had a blast if I were given enough time to methodically go over all the evidence and work in a lab that wasn’t filled with so many other people. My main thing was that I didn’t have to carry our forensics kit back up the hill. Kendall carried it for me and we chatted as we walked up the hill, even though my next event was way out of the way.

The only time I’ve ever talked to Kendall was when I needed to tell him about our event because he’s a sophomore and I’m a senior and we don’t run in the same circle of friends at all. Come to think of it, the only reason I know things about him at all are because his dad is my AP Chemistry teacher and our Science Olympiad coach  I doubt I’ll ever communicate with him again, even though we do have 3D Animation for fourth hour together, but he’s a pretty intelligent guy and he’s not so bad, even if he’s a squishy, squishy squashmore. Anyway, I digress.

My next event was Circuit Lab, an event that I’ve been preparing for for only three weeks. It’s funny because my partner, Jason, and I both decided to do the event because we both have dads who work as electricians. Unfortunately, our Region competition went horribly. We didn’t know how to build a circuit and we didn’t know enough to solve any of the theoretical problems. We did take 4th place out of 32 schools, but we didn’t know anything. So, for the three weeks I had, I studied like mad for this event. Unfortunately, Jason didn’t have time to study, so he wasn’t a whole lot more knowledgeable about the event this time.

I was totally ready, though. We finished everything we had to do in plenty of time and I knew how to answer all but two of the problems. I don’t think I got all of them right, but I feel like I have a chance of getting a majority of them right. Not to mention, I could build a circuit now and we were able to do more on our practical lab portion than draw pictures of bunnies and stick figures saying witty jokes about electricity.

Last of all, Jason and I walked across campus (yet again) to our Chemistry lab. We were so confident about it because our Region event went super smoothly. This time, however, none of the answers we got match the table we were supposed to be matching things to. We followed all the steps the way that the example problem told us and we titrated our basic solution correctly, but we just couldn’t make the numbers work. In the end, with five minutes left, we just guessed on every answer on our score sheet. There were probably ten multiple choice questions that I just circled random letters for and we identified the substances with the ones in the provided table without any evidence to support the answers. We’re probably going to place really low, but we feel like we still have a chance that we got all the answers correct by guessing.

We hitched a ride on a golf cart back up the hill to the Huntsman Arena and back to the rest of the team and then we went and got food.

It was so much fun and, even though I didn’t eat anything all day long until around 4:30 this afternoon (my hands are still shaking), I felt fantastic and I still love science, even though it has taken a lot out of me during the last six months. Now I have to focus on the AP Chem test that will take place in less than a month. I’m not freaking out yet, but I know I will. I just hope my teacher has a lot of materials for us to study, otherwise, I won’t know how to do anything. I’m also going to make him tell me how to figure out the titrations lab thing or else it’s going to bug me for forever.

I know that no one could possibly make it this far into a blog post, but I have over a hundred blog posts and almost no following at all and I keep blogging. I’m pretty sure that I do this for myself mostly. If you did happen to make it this far down without killing yourself because of my inability to write concisely, I applaud you, but I question your sanity if you can read through this and not quit.

Toodles.

P.S. If you want to know my event placings, you can go here.

Next episode in the series.

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Due to my insane desire to earn a “gold star” (fulfill the lettering requirements) in Orchestra, I found myself reflecting on my junior year of high school. The one that happened last school year. Mostly, I needed to remember all the music related activities I did because I can earn points for them. I thought of a bunch from my freshmen and sophomore years and, obviously, this year was easier to remember, but nothing stuck out to me about my junior year, which I thought was really odd. I have really loved high school and I figured I would remember more of it. So, I decided to go back through my Twitter feed to see if I’d posted anything useful. I tried Facebook first, but I have no informative posts on there, for some reason.

Naturally, my Twitter feed is pretty useless. Not to mention disjointed. It has reminded me of things that were happening a year ago, though. I remarked a lot about things that weren’t really interesting to me then, but have since become important to me.

One year ago, I was very sure about my future. I was going to major in English because that was the only thing I could conceivably be interested in long-term. Now, one year later, I am seriously considering changing my major to something related to Chemistry or at the very least do a double major with English. I’m realizing that I avoid thinking about my future as much as I can. I’ve never been the type of person to look at things with a long-term perspective.

I’ve always been what those in the NaNoWriMo circle call a “pantser.” I fly by the seat of my pants and just make things up as they come along. For some reason this has always worked well for me. Every English paper I need to write comes about in half an hour to an hour of sprint-writing. I usually get perfect grades (except for in English 1010…).

This year, however, I’ve involved myself in every extracurricular activity that I could that requires preparation and anticipation. It’s been horrible and amazing. For the most part, it just irritates my anxiety, but I wouldn’t be doing them if they weren’t immensely fun. I wasn’t going to go into detail, but now I feel like it, which means this post is going to be SUPER long and no one is going to get to the bottom. Actually, I’m going to make this a series of blog posts. It’s about time I get this out of my head.

The first thing I got myself into was AP Chemistry. I had a fantastic time in Chemistry my junior year and my teacher was one of my favorite people. He kept telling me I should do AP Chemistry, which I signed up for without hesitation. After all, I was finding AP Literature easy, so AP Chemistry couldn’t be that hard, right? Normal Chemistry was a cinch, so AP Chemistry couldn’t be too complicated, could it?

AP Chemistry was probably the first sign I had that I had been babied my whole public school experience. The work was so intensive that, if I weren’t so prideful, I would have quit after the first trimester. We started out with nine people in the class. Two were gone by the end of the first week and we lost another only halfway through the trimester. At the beginning of the second trimester, we lost another and one became the teacher’s assistant to avoid the work. There were four of us left. Quite honestly, I don’t remember a lot about that first trimester. I was just barely keeping it together and the other people in the class weren’t really interested in bonding.

During the second trimester, the four of us who remained became a strange brand of friends. I’m not really sure what kind of friends we are. Kayla and I are in Orchestra together. We were pretty good friends before AP Chem, so I think we would have been good friends anyway. There’s just something about all the hard work we’ve done together and being the only two girls from the beginning. We aren’t as smart as the boys, but we get by well enough. Edward runs with the same group of friends as I do, but we’ve never been… chummy. In AP Chem, though, we make nerd jokes that Kayla and Jason don’t really understand. Jason and I would not be more than acquaintances if not for AP Chem. He’s more of a popular guy. He’s into sports and things, but he’s also my partner for our Science Olympiad team and we’ve become closer friends through being both really good and really bad at our events.

The four of us and our teacher have a fantastic time in class, joking, finding science interesting, and teasing each other. The environment just helps me not be stressed about how much I truly suck at it. For once in my life, I’m not naturally good at the subject. It isn’t even like math where I just do not try at all. I try so hard to understand the concepts and I do, eventually, it just takes me a lot longer to get it than the others seem to. For once, I’m not the smart kid, I’m the one who gets the worst scores consistently. The thing is that… I just really like it. Things don’t usually hold my attention like Chemistry does. Not even English and I LOVE English.

It’s weird that this whole experience doesn’t seem disheartening to me. I think that’s what happened with me and math. I find math interesting, actually, but in ninth grade Geometry, I didn’t quite get it and everything just got harder and I got discouraged and gave up. I settled for B’s in math because those were the grades I could get without having to apply myself very much. That isn’t happening with Chemistry, though. The further we get into it, the more the stuff I didn’t understand before gets applied and I finally understand what it’s for. I’m still behind the other people because they can look at a problem and tell me how to get an answer and spout equations like none other and I just stare at the problem.

I’m really not sure how well I’m going to do on the AP Chem exam, but every time I express doubt, my teacher and classmates encourage me and I feel like I have some sort of a chance. Of course, I should be studying for said test right now instead of blogging, but I’m in a mood.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m standing outside a door that is beginning to open rather than like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff. I feel like AP Chemistry has propelled me to this pathway and I feel like I can do things. For my whole life, I thought I would grow up and only do the things that came naturally to me, but struggling through Chemistry has shown me that I can do anything I want to do. I can accomplish hard things if I want to and I’m finding that I want to.

People say that you can do anything you want all the time, and I knew that I could do anything, but I never thought I was motivated enough to do hard things. Now that I want to do the work and dive into the hard things, I feel like I have options. It’s a feeling that I can’t really describe. My randomly signing up for AP Chemistry gave this to me and I will never regret that, even if I fail the AP exam and end up a loser, alone with a crummy job that provides no challenge or interest to me, I won’t ever regret the things I’ve learned and I won’t forget the people it brought me close to.

Next in the series.

Abandoned Railroads

I don’t know if anyone else had a little brother who was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine/trains, but I spent a lot of time listening to my little brother watching it in another room. He used to wake up really early in the morning in order to watch it, which was aggravating beyond belief.

Anyway, there’s this movie, Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Of all the weird things about Thomas, this movie has got to be the epitome. Instead of stop-motion weirdness, they try live-action. I have so many problems with this movie that I won’t even try to describe them. However, there is one thing that this movie has going for it: an abandoned railroad.

I’m not sure what it is about abandoned railroads that seems so fascinating to me. It’s definitely not the train part. I hate trains. It’s the nostalgic aspect, more than likely. However, abandoned railroads don’t do the same thing for me as the ruins of castles or old forests (Ghost towns creep me out).

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that castles and forests have an element of home to them. People, animals, living things resided there. It’s easy to picture the life that once existed in a place and all the history that happened there. With an abandoned railroad,  it’s much different. Nothing ever lived or belonged there. It’s a new level of loneliness.  The only life that has anything to do with it is the people present when the track was laid.

If you think about that, it gets even lonelier. Think about a hundred and fifty years ago with the Transcontinental Railroad. Those people traveled along the work sight for such a long time. Every foot of rail is just the same as the one that came before it and the one after it. It isn’t likely that any of them is going to remember a specific length of rail. Not only is it not remembered initially, it is to be abandoned later.

Not to mention, trains are solitary as well. Everything about it is just sad.

Crap… I think I’m becoming a bit of a romantic. Trains, castles, forests. Not to mention I’ve been looking at way too many baby animal photos on the internet lately…

There are few things that I truly take seriously. Grammar, Virtual Villagers, Guitar Hero, among other things. I probably wouldn’t murder anyone over any of these things, but they often command my focus and effort completely.

Dating is not one of these things.

Obviously, I’ve dated so much that I can barely stand up straight without buckling underneath the weight of my immense knowledge. In other words, I’ve been on a total of five dates since I turned sixteen, a little more than two years ago, which sounds sad until you compare with my 22 year old “twin” brother, who hasn’t ever been on a date, or so he claims.

Because of my rather casual outlook on dating in my current situation, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to join a dating website (or two). At the time, I had recently(ish) turned eighteen, which is a requirement for most dating websites. I started this endeavor purely as a joke and wasn’t really expecting anything. After a few weeks, it turned into an experiment which has yielded some interesting results.

Being the highly scientific person that I am, we’ll do this properly.

Step one of the scientific method: Ask a question.

I guess the question sort of was, “Hey, why don’t I go on a dating site? It’ll be funny!” But the question really is, 1) Do guys on dating websites act differently than guys irl (if you’ll pardon my chatspeak) or on other social websites (in regard to myself)? and 2) Can I manage some sort of connection with people who are seemingly desperate for… something… I’m not sure what… without being sarcastic or offensive? I suppose the second question is just a sort of personal goal. If these people are truly desperate, then their hopes and dreams will be easily crushed. I don’t want  to be a dream crusher.

Step Two: Do background research.

This is where all those hours spent on the internet come in handy. I know how people interact on the internet outside of a dating website. I also know how they act irl… sort of.

Step Three: Construct a hypothesis.

My hypothesis is (or rather, was) that guys on dating websites would fall into two categories: extremely nice/polite, or extremely cocky. They are likely to be more open about their intentions and feelings and they will say many a cheesy cliche in order to impress me. My other hypothesis was that I, personally, would receive a lot of communications from these people because they are desperate and because they don’t know me, therefore they will prey upon me like something with teeth devours a tiny bunny… (Can you tell that I gave up on finding a clever metaphor)(If I were a bunny, I would be freaking awesome)

Step Four: Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.

Basically, the experiment was to make myself a profile on a few websites and then see what happened. For each site, my success is measured by amount of messages received. One of the sites had a way to track who viewed your profile, but there’s this system that randomly chooses people who may or may not have anything in common with you and show your their profile. There was also this questionnaire thing you can do that will let you know, via percentage, how much of a “match” you are with someone else. I figured that this was all way too complicated to factor in (being as lazy as I am).

Each user I received a message from is ranked according to length of message conversation and quality of that conversation. They are ranked on a scale from one to five, one being boring or creepy and five being compelling.

Step Five: Analyze your data.

Obviously I’m not going to share names or anything because this is the internet and there’s a very slim chance that someone who I’ve talked to on one of those websites could be reading this and that would just be awkward.

Anyway. Data.

Plenty of Fish:

8 message conversations total

2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 5 3, 5

The problem with the people that I talked to on this website, was that most of them either immediately wanted to go on a date with me, which I can’t because my mom said no and because I don’t really want to go on dates with guys seven billion years older than me, or they outright tried to pay me for sex which was more comical than anything else, though it took me some awkward explaining to get out of.

The exceptions (those two little fives) were actually very compelling, however. One shared some of my same philosophies and love of big words, while the other shared my passion for exchanging large amounts of random information in a rambly sort of way. Not to mention they had actual interests besides desperately wanting to take me on a date.

Ok Cupid (I just feel it really weird to admit that I didn’t run screaming from these websites and their horrible names):

14 message conversations total

4, 2, 2, 5, 5, 1, 1, 1, 4, 5, 0, 4, 3, 5

I realize that a 0 is kind of against the parameters set, but SERIOUSLY. This goes beyond creepy. There are people who want to pay me for sex (though they were incredibly understanding about my refusal), and there are intensely desperate people…. and then there’s this guy. I literally feel unsafe, though he lives, like, 7000 miles away from me.

Anyway. I was much more pleased with this website than the other. The profiles were much more informative, the interface was easier to navigate, and the people were more awesome. It seems like there were more people with legitimately interesting personalities, though none of them really have exemplary grammar skills.  I’m not rushing off to marry any of them and I don’t think I’d be comfortable actually meeting them, but they are very nice people to talk to, though sometimes I find myself actually having to carry some weight in the conversation. I am not really very good at instigating conversation, but I’m okay at feeding the fire. The problem is that some of those people are brilliant conversation killers.

Step Six: Make a conclusion.

I was pretty much wrong, which isn’t a surprise. There were polite people and there were cocky people, but there were also interesting people and I can never have imagined them as individuals until I could see that they were.

I wasn’t really surprised about how many messages I got, though. The thing about the internet is that you can be pretty picky about what you show people and, though you may think you’re accurately portraying yourself, you can present yourself as a completely different person. I really hope that I portray myself accurately on the internet. As you can see, I always provide as much information as possible for the sake of clarity, but I still lack an appropriate mirror that I can use to describe myself accurately.

I don’t really know how other people see me, but I do know enough, by the way people treat me, to be able to tell the difference between the perceptions. In real life, because of my social status, because of my physical appearance and presence, because of my continuance, I know that I would never have come into contact with most of these people I have communicated with over the last month. The difference between judging a person based on a profile and judging a person based on what I listed above is that a profile contains information that is tailored toward making a person appealing, while the things apparent in real life are often subconscious and not totally controlled.

For different reasons, I have decided that making a deep connection with someone (not necessarily romantic) cannot be done easily on the internet. I won’t say it’s impossible because I’m sure someone out there has done it. A relationship can’t be built only on shared interests and ideas. There are many people I share such things with on those dating websites, but none of them really appeal to me in any way other than conversation buddies. A relationship is strengthened by communication and trust, but it’s built on sharing more than ideas.

It’s the sharing of activity and memories that makes a relationship. I’m not saying that if you spend all your time with your boyfriend or girlfriend you’ll suddenly have a fantastic relationship, but I know that I feel more strongly for people that I’ve shared experiences with than people that I’ve shared mere conversations with. Not only do I participate in planned activities with them, but I just spend time with them. We talk about things, yes, but it isn’t what we’re talking about that matters. It’s that we’re sharing something of ourselves. We’re giving more than just a few words on a screen.

We give something important to each other when we give our time and attention. It just seems more special to laugh about something with someone than it is to laugh at something someone wrote an hour ago.

What I’ve learned from this is that, while dating websites can be a useful way for people to start relationships, it’s in no one a place where one can build a relationship. It can be done, but only in ideal circumstances.

If you’ve read this far, then I congratulate you. This may be the longest blog post I’ve ever written, which is saying something. Basically, the advice I would give you if you want to use online dating is that if you want people to take a genuine interest in you, you need to have a good profile picture (because I judged the crap out of people just by their profile pictures) and you need to not sound like you’re trying to woo someone. Treat them like a person. Talk to them about things that you can both converse about or it’s going to be awkward, don’t be delusional about the nature of online relationships, and please don’t ask people questions about things that can be found on their profiles. Read the entire thing so that you don’t sound like a dork.

In my head, the title of this post had an entirely different set of implications than it does now that I see it on the screen. It reminds me of the Legend of Zelda games. No one really talks, they just make noises and occasionally laugh, but Link goes throughout the entire game never responding to anything with more than a nod or a confused look. I think the mood of the game would be entirely different if he did respond.

Anyway, I was going to start off talking about boredom. When it comes to just about every non-adult that I know, people get bored so easily that I’m surprised that there aren’t armies of hyper-motivated kids running about getting things done. I’m not really sure of what is going on in the brain when you’re bored, so I’m not even going to guess (though I may look up an article later, if I suddenly become motivated), but one of the things that couples with boredom is lethargy.

Now, I rarely get bored. I probably say that I’m bored, but I have a hard time actually feeling like I need to get up and do something or have something to do. I do, however, get lethargic. In fact, I am usually very lethargic. I’m a very passive learner. A lot of people are/claim to be hands-on learners, which is magnificent, but I would actually rather not get my hands on anything. When we do labs and such things in my science classes, I always imagine myself getting into the things and doing it well, but there’s always the moment when we’re actually standing in the lab with our stupid goggles on and I panic.

I know people who refuse to go on dates to a movie because of the decreased amount of interaction they can have with their date. People usually feel the same way about education. They need to interact with it and put forth physical effort in order to learn it, but I would much rather sit in a classroom and have a teacher lecture me about a subject or watch a documentary (which I do pretty often).

This need to be doing something in order to have gratification leads people to be bored, I believe. It’s probably the reason that I rarely get bored, coupled with the fact that I have a hard time keeping track of time.

Whenever I go to physical therapy, they have me lay on heat pads for fifteen minutes. They turn the lights off and close the door and I lay there staring at the ceiling. I have no way of telling time because my phone is usually in my pocket and I’m wearing one of those highly fashionable gown things that tie in the back and hang down past my knees, so I can’t get to my pocket. Most people would find this infuriating. There is nothing to do, though sometimes I can hear music playing in the waiting room or the therapist having some sort of conversation with someone else out in the hallway. I don’t find it boring, though. I really like just laying in the dark and not having to do anything.

Another example was yesterday while I was out with my parents buying my mother a new mini-van. I didn’t want to stay home with my little brother and sister because they’re annoying, so I opted to go with my parents, who are a little less annoying. We drove around a bunch and we ate lunch and then we drove around in a bunch of mini-vans before my mother had decided on one. This took several hours in which I just sat in the back  seat of whatever vehicles and half-listened to my father talk about car-buying. Then while my parents were inside this building thing with the old-guy salesman who flirted with me at one point (this actually happens to me a lot), I decided to stay out in the car.

First of all, I don’t like going into places where there are people and the van that my mom got is SUPER dark inside and I like the dark, so I sat in there for nearly an hour and a half. I didn’t have any music, though I could have used my phone, and I didn’t really want to do anything, so I just sat there thinking about whatever. I like doing that.

Now, I know that once you’ve turned 8 or 9 years old, it isn’t cool to have an imagination any more until you get to high school and they tell you to be an individual, which you do by having the same sorts of ideas as everyone else, BUT… I like to pretend. That’s what I do when other people are being occupied with boredom. It sounds pretty dumb and maybe it is, but I think it actually helps me with my ability to come up with a believable scenario with no major plot holes. Sometimes I think of the plot of a novel I want to write and run through it in my head, working out all the bits that don’t really make any sense.

Sometimes I talk to myself about things (this blog post is quickly becoming a confession of sorts, isn’t it?). In fact, the next blog post that I plan to write (on the topic of expectations), is a conversation that I’ve had with myself before. If I notice something about someone, sometimes I discuss it with myself until I’ve worked out a bunch of things about it. I don’t specifically remember all of them, but I think it helps me understand things better. I’m actually really bad at understanding things, so I spend all my extra time thinking about things so that I can understand them like people I know all seem to.

My thought processes can’t really be described as “adventures”, but it sounded like a good blog title in my head and I’m not changing it.

Beginnings

Yesterday I posted on Facebook a lot. I got very excited about the documentary series that I was watching and when I get excited about stuff i put it on Facebook/Twitter. One of the things I said had nothing to do with documentaries, however, but it was sort of related in that I was knitting a hat for someone whilst I was watching the documentaries. As amateur knitters will know, it’s hard to find a pattern online for something that you want to make because you have an image in your mind of what you want the thing to look like, but you don’t have the skill or knowledge to make it exactly like that and there usually isn’t a pattern exactly like what you want. Even if there is a good pattern, there is usually something wrong with it, such as it ends up looking different than the little pictures or that it takes circular or dpn needles (<– “dpn needles” is redundant, I realize, but I couldn’t figure out a different way to write it) and you only have straight needles (this is a big problem if you’re trying to make a hat or a glove).

I usually have a lot of these problems when I use patterns, but I think I’m getting to the point where I can manipulate a pattern to do what I want it to do.

My current project is for a former teacher(/friend) of mine. I’ve already blogged about this. It’s a bearded hat. I had many adventures trying to figure out the beard part (of course, now I have a beard and, like, seven mustaches, so I don’t really mind all that much), but that issue was resolved, thankfully. I saved the easy part of the project for last: the beanie. I’ve knitted a beanie before, so I figured that it wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, seeing as there are a million patterns on the internet for hats. I even found one for straight needles fairly quickly, to my amazement.

I had the yarn and the pattern and I had my documentaries and I was rather pleased with myself. It didn’t take me long to finish the hat (considering that I have a million problems of AP Chemistry homework at any given moment), unfortunately, the pattern that was supposed to fit an adult’s head barely fit on my own head. My head is far smaller than the person’s head that I’m making the hat for. Not that I’m calling his head big, but it is in relation to mine.

This isn’t that big of a deal, seeing as I’m used to having to do projects over in order to get the result I was going for. I adjusted the pattern so that it will hopefully fit the person’s head and then I began to cast on. As I complained about on Facebook, I hate the cast on and first row of knitting projects. The stitches are always really tight and there’s a ton of yarn-slack in between all the stitches and it’s really annoying. I put this general complaint in my Facebook status and made an attempt to connect with people who also knit. The first comment, however, was someone who didn’t knit, but understood that beginning something was usually the hardest part of the project.

I think most people would agree with that (except for over-thinkers who just like to disagree with every cliche’ ever…. *cough*), though there could be a reasonable argument against it. For example, life starts out pretty easy for us. We don’t have to feed ourselves or anything, we just lay there and cry. Actually, in the documentary I was watching, they were discussing all the things that babies do to bond with their caregivers and make sure that they do what they want them to do…

An example in favor of this idea was the month of August. August is the second month of CampNaNoWriMo and I was going to write the sequel to the novel that I had written in June. However, I was very tired from doing stuff the week before and when I sat down to start the novel, I got stuck after the first paragraph and just gave up. I’m notorious for giving up on things easily. It’s not that I’ll give up on anything that seems hard at the beginning, but I will give up on it if I don’t think it’s worth my effort. Granted, most things aren’t really worth the effort for me, but there are some things that I am passionate about and I put a lot of effort into them.

Another way to cope with things being hard at the beginning is procrastination. I’ve written about this already, as well, here. I also procrastinate doing things that will be hard, even if I enjoy doing them. I actually enjoy sitting down and doing my homework because I usually think that the topic is interesting (unless it’s math)(Okay, some math is compelling, I just don’t like doing things I’m not good at). Unfortunately, I have been far too exposed to the negative connotations that accompany homework and therefore I procrastinate on it. The problem is that, while I’m procrastinating something that I really should do, it sort of feels…. good? I mean, finishing things and not having things to do feels nice (albeit weird), but when I’m not doing something that I dread doing, I feel like I’m resting.

There are some people (my father) who can’t stand to lay in bed once they’ve initially awakened. I love it, however. Instead of having boring things to think about (I never have boring thoughts), your thought-process is half-way in a dream and I LOVE dreaming. I like how it feels to be dreaming. Even when it’s a scary dream. It feels nostalgic. Also, I feel like when I wake up and have to deal with being awake, it’ll be terrible, so I don’t want to start the day. Not that I get to sleep in very often. when I do, however, i use the incentive that when i wake up I get to eat food and I like eating food even more than I like sleeping or eating.

So, if you were expecting some inspirational end to this blog-post wherein I tell you how important it is to begin things and try things and whatnot, I’m not going to. Stop being so passive and make your own list of reasons why it’s important to start things. I’m too lazy.

This is where I fill up the first part of the post with meaningless stuff (I mean more meaningless than what I normally write) so that people on Facebook can’t tell what I’m going to say just by looking at the little preview that shows up with the link when I post this there. Of course it’s not likely that anyone will be compelled into reading it just because I refuse to let them know what it’s about, but whatever.

Anyway, the events of this weekend have served to make me feel lighter (and not just because I lost five pounds yesterday)(Yeah, I lost five pounds yesterday from laughing and singing and sitting in the sun all day long)(I’m not sure how this works out, seeing as I drank like five bottles full of water…). At risk of letting the internet know where I live (*gasp*)(I guess it’s a good thing no one reads these then), yesterday/today was an important day for our community. Yesterday we had a cultural celebration with the youth in our part of Northern Utah for the dedication of the LDS temple in Brigham City.

I was in the choir for the celebration and basically we sang a bunch of songs, people danced, and those of us who didn’t use sunscreen got sunburned. We were out on a football (American) field from 8:30 (for the choir)(the dancers were there at 6:30) in the morning to about 8:30 that evening. It was a lot of fun.

I know a lot of the kids who had to dance would disagree with me because… well, it was extremely hot out there and they were running all over the place and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that much either, which is why I elected to be in the choir. The music we got to sing was really awesome and the dances that the people did look really fun (I actually find dancing to be very enjoyable as long as it is choreographed and not too terribly aerobic) and I just generally like being a part of productions and things because I feel like I’m accomplishing something.

Not to mention that I got to hang out all day with most of my closest friends, which was fun despite how many times they stole my ribbon-flag thingy and poked me and attacked me when I was taking a nap, effectively scaring the crap out of me. I also got a fabulous t-shirt that uses the same colors as the cover of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The first time I saw a group of people wearing the blue t-shirts (the other t-shirts were green and yellow), I thought they were all wearing TFiOs shirts, but then I realized that they were pictures of the temple and not clouds.

Going to shows is nice and going to shows with friends is even more nice, but there’s something about being a part of a show with people that you like a lot that makes it feel like you’re being hugged. I don’t generally like being hugged because it makes me feel claustrophobic at times, but I understand what it is that makes people like being hugged. It feels safe and when you’re me, you learn to appreciate feeling safe and I feel safe when I’m doing something that means something with people that mean a lot to me. I even wrote a poem about hugs yesterday for this contest thing. It was good. Believe me.

Understanding hugs is important because people hug me all the time and want me to hug them, which I’m trying to get used to just a little bit. On a sociological level, hugs fascinate me a lot, actually. I just have a hard time knowing how to react to them. Sometimes, if I’m given enough warning, I’m okay, like if someone is going around the circle hugging everyone, but if people just hug me out of nowhere or if I’m not expecting it, I get confused. My incredibly heightened self-preservation instincts kick in and I go into defense mode (my non-violent defense mode)(I don’t usually use my violent defense mode. In fact, I try not to be violent at all. One of the things that annoys me the most is when people hit other people for no reason. Like when guys tease girls playfully and the girls hit the guys. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever, I mean, yes the guy is using a sort of verbal abuse that translates into affection for some weird reason, but why would you want to respond to affection with pain? You’d think it would psychologically train the men not to show affection. OH, WAIT, IT IS HARD FOR GUYS TO SHOW AFFECTIONS SOMETIMES. Is it because girls train them not to? Then they complain about it, but it’s probably their fault)(violence is stupid and pointless violence is even more stupid, so just don’t be violent, people).

Anyway, enough about hugs. This weekend was better than most. That was the point. I hope you all (all two of you) find something to be a part of.

 

Goal-Setting

Up until I passed my 100th post, every time I posted, there would be a little line telling me how many posts I had and giving me a small goal to reach, but after I passed 100, it stopped giving me goals to reach and then rewarding me when I reached them. I found this very annoying until it stopped. Now I am disappointed that I don’t have a goal to work toward.

I’m not really one for making goals because I don’t really care about them and I find them ridiculous. I know people that need to have goals to accomplish or else they don’t feel like they’re doing anything productive, whereas I feel productive when I do anything at all. I know that it’s important to set goals so that they motivate you to reach them, but I don’t feel like we should decide what the line is that we can reach to feel good about ourselves. Life seems like it would be so much more than just a bazillion different little lines or marks that we need to pass, like the mile markers on roads.

Our family went on a trip to California last summer. We drove all the way from Utah. I’m not sure how many miles that is, but it took us ten hours(ish) to get there. The entire time we were driving, I was either sleeping or watching the mile markers. Mile markers fascinate me, for some reason, especially the ones that we saw on our trip, seeing as the little markers look different depending on what state you’re in. In California, the mile markers didn’t just have the number of the mile you were at, they had a whole bunch of things on the sign (also, they were white with black writing instead of green with white writing, like they are in Utah). It took me a week of staring at them with hypnotic fascination to figure out that they stated the mile, the highway/name of the road, and the county that you were driving in.

The point is that my father kept giving us the number of miles to where we were going, seeing as he had no idea how long it would take us to get there, so I kept staring at the signs, keeping track of how many miles we had gone so that I would know when we would arrive. This probably kept me from seeing a lot of things on our trip. I’m sure there were cool things to see, but I missed them because I was staring at the same part of the side of the road, waiting for the next mile marker. I do this whenever we drive anywhere. I like knowing how many miles we’ve gone. This is where I tie the story in with what I was talking about:

Little goals can sometimes be like mile markers. If we keep obsessing over them, we’re going to miss some stuff. Now that I think about it, little goals are also like pennies. Maybe they are more like pennies than mile markers. When I walk down the hallway at school, I keep my eyes glued to the ground, number one, so that I don’t fall over, and number two, so that if I see any stray coins, I can snatch them up. It’s rewarding (sort of), but if I actually payed (is it payed or paid? I’m never sure…) attention to what was going on around me, I may get to see people and wave at them or talk to them or something else.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have goals, I’m just saying that people shouldn’t obsess about goals. They also shouldn’t be so obsessive about productivity. You can contribute to people’s lives even if you aren’t being productive.

For example, during the month of November (and occasionally during the months of June and August), I write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I set specific goals (big and small) and then I make a detailed plan of everything I do to make sure that I finish the novel in the time I am allotted and to make sure that my story-line isn’t just one big plot hole. Fortunately, after November is over, I have written a novel that I’m usually quite proud of (at least for a while until I realize how horrible it is). Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on my school work or I have neglected some other aspect of my life (There aren’t really all that many aspects in my life, but whatever).

It’s nice to feel like I’m being productive and writing a novel is SUPER fun, but afterwards I’m glad I’m not in the middle of NaNoWriMo because it’s stressful and I am particularly prone to stress. People are always wondering why their lives are so stressful, but it’s really not all that hard to figure out. People think that getting organized will help with the stress (and it may very well do that), but a better way to decrease stress is to stop doing so much stuff. Stop setting such horrific goals, stop worrying so much about how far you’ve come and start enjoying where you’re going.

Unless, of course, you don’t like where you’re going, then that’s going to be stressful, so just make sure you’re going someplace nice… like a castle… or a forest. Forests are nice.

Favorite Friendship:

Ten and Donna Noble. Nice and platonic. Plenty of shouting. Lots of geeking out. Just the right amount of understanding.

Actually, it has come to my attention that many people do not like Donna. This distresses me because sometimes I feel like Donna, though that may just be me in my head, saying sarcastic things and yelling when people are ridiculous. I wouldn’t say that it’s because I’m not a bold person, but it’s because I’m a passive person most of the time. I’m just really too lazy to be an angry person. I don’t get angry at people very often. It’s too much work.

 

Favorite Actor:

I’m assuming that this means favorite actor within Doctor Who, otherwise, I might have to put a little more thought into the question. My favorite actor is probably David Tennant or Matt Smith. I can’t really decide just like I can’t decide who my favorite Doctor is. I don’t really have favorites. I have things or people that I like and things or people that I don’t like and then I just call them all my favorite.

My friends who spend any small amount of time with me can attest to this.

“Such-and-such teacher? He’s my favorite!”

“So-and-so in Orchestra class? She’s my favorite!”

“Crime and Punishment/The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Warriors/Pride and Prejudice/Artemis Fowl/books by John Green/Redwall books/The Bartimaeus Trilogy? THAT’S MY FAVORITE BOOK EVVVVERRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

I really am surprised that people don’t get more annoyed with me about this…

Anyway, favorite actor… I pretty much like them all.