Teachers: The Good and The Bad

Teachers: The Good and The Bad

Most teachers are incredible people who go out of their way to help children grow into the people they eventually will become. Of course, not all teachers are good. In fact, some are so bad that when I sit through their different classes each day throughout various years, I constantly feel the urge to bang my head against things like my desk…or a wall.
However, instead of going on a long-winded rant about teachers I’ve loved and teachers I’ve hated and why, I’m going to write about far more exciting things. As most of us have heard thousands of times, teachers are people too. Therefore, they have odd quirks just like everyone else. Personally, I love to find those quirks and laugh at my memories of them. So, here are five of the most amusing quirks I’ve seen in my teachers so far:
1) One of my former math teachers hated just about all of his classes except for mine. Pretty much everyday when our class started, he would go to the bathroom while we were doing bell work. In fact he went so often, that we started keeping track. Trust me when I say that by the end of the year, that number was probably high. He also told us that he called the cops on his neighbors for playing music too loudly; ate weird trail mix that looked disgusting; and kept an air freshener in his room because it smelled really weird.
2) Another one of my former teachers kept pet cockroaches (until they were traumatically killed after one of my friends knocked their cage onto the floor). These cockroaches weren’t your average sized roaches. Not even close. They were probably as large as most of my pointer finger, and they were the most distracting, horrifying things I’ve had to deal with in class. I vividly remember sitting near them for a time while I was taking the class, and they would crawl over each other and make hissing noises all the time. It was all I could do to stop watching their disturbing antics, and pay attention to the important information being discussed in the front of the room.
3) My math teacher this year has a little stuffed dinosaur in her room, and everyday we come in, it’s in a different place. Some of my friends and I have made it a game to find where the dinosaur is, and it makes the beginning of class more enjoyable. Who doesn’t like playing games? She also found some of the most entertaining math jokes in the world and posted them on a bulletin board near our graded papers–they’re probably there to boost morale before we see those papers.
4) Another teacher I have this year is slightly obsessed with a personality test. We all had to take it at the beginning of the year, and I’ve been told the results come up for the rest of the year. So far, that has proven to be true…
5) My history teacher wins the award for greatest quirk influence. He has an affinity for using the word “norms”, and now that he’s our principle, that word is spreading like a disease. Students and teachers alike keep accidentally using it, and it’s going to be nearly impossible to get everyone to stop.
There you have it, teachers are [weird] people too!
End of book quote: “They went to sleep.” —The Secret of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Girls Are So Ungrateful

Girls Are So Ungrateful

I’m feeling a bit tired tonight, so I’m going to keep this short. My older brother showed this picture to me about a week ago, and I haven’t stopped laughing when I’ve come across it since. It’s just one of those ironic moments in life where something happens that you didn’t expect, but really should have, which makes it all the more entertaining.
Thank you, iwastesomuchtime.com, for stealing our lives away with your entertaining images!
End of book quote: “I’ve left my new torch in Narnia.” —Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

First Cross-Country Meet

First Cross Country Meet

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a runner. And when I say I’m a runner, I don’t mean I like to go for an occasional run or I just really love my team (even though I do). Nope. That’s not it at all. When I say I’m a runner, I am implying that I have a deep love for the activity itself and everything that comes with it; even the aches and pains. Running is hard. As in when you finish practices or races, you want to drop to the ground and vomit. That kind of hard. The thing is, running brings me joy like few other things can do. I’m willing to fight through injuries, exhaustion, and 100+ degree weather to continue pursuing that passion.
Why the display running love (verging on obsession) today? I’m glad you asked. My team’s first meet was today, and it was terrific! Personally, I ran a time I was more than happy with. My goal was to run a time of about twenty-four minutes, but I ended up finishing at 22:58. That is a little more than a minute more than my personal best, and for a first meet, I could not be happier! Not to mention the small fact that I am fighting not one but two injuries right now (hips and one of my calves). In other words, once I heal, I am going to be able to do even better. All that in the beginning of my cross-country season.
But onto the larger picture: our team result. The goal of my girl’s team this year is to improve at phenomenal rates, and, hopefully, take down the team that has dominated the state championship for over ten years. I am glad to say that we are off to a good start. The meet we ran at today wasn’t big, but we placed incredibly well, and easily took first place. I am so proud of all of my teammates, especially our new runners who ran competitively for the very first time–honestly, they were more impressive than our top runners! More importantly, we ran for the glory of God. The race itself, for me, was beautiful. The song lyrics going through my head throughout the beginning of the race were simple: “all for the glory of you”, and the words were perfect. There is no better way to run a race than when your focus is on praising God. However, after the race was amazing too. As we were warming down, my friends and I took turns praying and thanking God for the blessings he has given us, and even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face!
I will leave you all with this: my first cross-country meet was great!
End of book quote: “Then he turned into Lee avenue and was gone.” —The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Lockout

Lockout

For anyone out there who hasn’t heard of the movie Lockout, let me enlighten you. The plot, according to starpulse.com, goes something like this “The U.S. government strong-arms a man accused of treason into rescuing the president’s daughter from a maximum-security space prison that’s been taken over by the inmates in a brutal riot.” All things considered, it’s a pretty decent sounding plot.
So, the perks of the movie:
1) Who doesn’t like a good main character? Marian (spoiler alert: he doesn’t reveal his name until the end of the movie) Snow is a cynical, incredibly entertaining guy with some kick-butt moves. He was easily the best part of the entire film.
2) A story is nothing without good villains, and the directors of the movie seemed to grasp that. The main villains (besides all the other loose convicts) were two Scottish brothers who were heading up the prison breakout. One was clever and calculating, and determined to have unquestioned authority. The other was simply a lunatic–creepy and perfect for a movie about escaped, insane space prisoners!
3) The basic plot is interesting.
And now to the downsides of the movie:
1) The president’s daughter, Emilie, is incredibly obnoxious. For some odd reason, she decides immediately that she doesn’t approve of Snow and fights everything he does to try to get her to safety. One scene involved him having to hold her down to cut and dye her hair a different color so she wouldn’t be recognized, and she was outraged because she wanted to keep looking pretty. Honestly, I’m pretty sure survival would be more important to most than the color and length of their hair.
2) There were far too many subplots. The movie begins with Snow being arrested for treason, which he wasn’t actually guilty of. At first, it looks like the treason is only in the movie at all to find some reason to convince him to go on a suicide mission to rescue the president’s daughter, but it is brought back at the end for a poorly done resolution. In other words, there is an unoriginal moment where one of the good guys turns out to be the one who actually committed treason; efficiently clearing Snow’s name and leaving him an opening to date Emilie. It had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story.
3) Lockout broke so many basic laws of nature that I could list them for hours, but I’ll only name a few:
A) There is scene where Snow manages to bring Emilie safely to an escape pod, but there’s only one seat, which he kindly gives to her. He watches the door shut with her inside and the air lock come on, but she gets out of the sealed escape pod. Whether she phased through the wall or not, it is far from possible that she could have gotten out of that seat.
B) There is also the small problem that, randomly, in the middle of their escape, the entire space station crashes into a satellite because the controls of the station were unmanned for maybe an hour. That wouldn’t have been the biggest deal in the world except that every single one of them acted shocked that a satellite could ram into the station at all. My question is, how would no one notice a satellite coming towards the prison in the first place? It’s not like satellites are particularly small or don’t show up on advanced, futuristic radars.
C) This last example makes me cringe a little every time I think about it. At the final point of their escape, the producers seem to have run out of money and/or the creativity needed to make the effects of the climax good. Snow and Emilie literally fall safely from the space station onto a road in about five seconds, after Snow loses his space suit so high up in the atmosphere that he should have died. That was their escape. They jumped out of a space station…and landed gently on a nicely padded road.
Basically, Lockout is not a quality film, and will be winning no awards any time soon. Granted, there were some entertaining moments, but those moments didn’t last long. Thank goodness the movie was only an hour and a half!
End of book quote: “She wrote all night, her words reviving the distant days when she still knew nothing of the joys and sorrows of the world, and bringing back to life all who had accompanied her on her fabulous journey.” —The Princetta by Anne-Laure Bondoux

My Take On Football

My Take On Football

I hear about one thing all the time without understanding most of it. That thing is football. As a cross-country and track runner, I’ve never understood the appeal of playing football. Contact sports have never really been my thing; I’m not nearly aggressive enough. Besides, why willingly submit yourself to numerous injuries caused by other people when you could cause injury to yourself more easily? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. However, as I am a girl, my lack of any desire to play football competitively has not been a problem. But my dislike doesn’t stop there. I don’t even enjoy watching football. It just doesn’t interest me to watch boys in tight pants tackle each other or almost get into fights (not that I really go out of my way to watch other sports either). With this in mind, I was incredibly surprised to have had a good interaction playing football a few days ago.
Yesterday, my high school returned from retreat–three days in the beginning of every year designed to bring us closer together. The freshmen and sophomores go to one place while juniors and seniors go to another, which actually works out well. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun (despite the bed bugs that forced all the girls to move into different rooms), and I did grow closer to some people I didn’t start off knowing well at all. So, on that level, it was definitely a success.
Enough explanation, I’ll explain my miraculously good experience with football. On the second day of our get away, we (the juniors and seniors) had the chance to verse each other in flag football. Basically, the girls and boys from each grade verse each other while everyone else watches, creating some serious competition. This year the girls ended up going first, but, as very few of the girls in my class know how to play football, our guys had to step in as our coaches (which was sweet, but not overly helpful because there were a lot of them telling us different things to do and using foreign football terms without explaining them at all). Sadly, we (the juniors) ended up losing to our opponents (the seniors), but that was nothing unexpected. Thankfully, what we lacked in skill was made up by enjoyment. I acted as a substitute and had the most fun I’ve ever had in an activity with my classmates. As an added bonus, the flag football was actually pretty exciting (even though I did get slammed into rather hard by some of the senior girls).
Maybe I was wrong, and football isn’t so bad after all (though I’ll still probably never take any pleasure in watching other people play it).
End of book quote: “The kind that you’ve always known.” —Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Calvin And Hobbes

Calvin And Hobbes

A quick post for today because I’m feeling a bit under the weather: I’ve always loved reading Calvin and Hobbes, comics written by Bill Watterson. I love the satire, the irony, and most of all, the extremely lovable characters. After all, who wouldn’t want to try to explain things to Calvin or try to trick Hobbes or be insulted repeatedly by Susie at school? Watterson does a fantastic job of making his fictional characters come to life, and reminds us all of those times when we acted terribly at age six.
End of book quote: “When I take you on board the Witch, it’s going to be for keeps.” —The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series for two reasons. The first was that my family members make references to the books all the time, and not understanding references grows old very quickly. The second was that I gave the series to my friend for his birthday and we had a competition to see who would finish first (I lost…miserably), so I felt that I should see the books through to their end so I would understand any references that he, too, might decide to make in the future.
The first book, unsurprisingly titled The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, was everything I was told the series would be—clever, funny, and satirical. But then I read the second book…and the third…and the fourth…and eventually the fifth, and my excitement over the story line slowly died out. The characters gets old, the story line (or should I say lack thereof) gets old, the comedy loses most of its brilliance (though I admit there were a few hilarious scenes in each book), and everything becomes predictable (more or less. As I said before, the plot line is on the ridiculous side). And to top off my frustration, the last book didn’t even end well. Spoiler alert: the world gets blown up (for the second time) and everyone dies. Everyone, except the aliens who blew it up. That’s it. That’s how Mostly Harmless ends. No resolution; plenty of unresolved issues; and a strong sense of stupidity. Either Douglas Adams got tired of writing the increasingly repetitive stories or he just wanted to laugh maliciously in the face of enraged readers (like me) and gloat about his ability to so powerfully irritate everybody.
End of series quote: “He put on a little light music instead.” –Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams. May I just point out that the “he” in question here was the one who blew up all the characters. He was disappointed because he could no longer watch television, hence the light music.

Stardust

Stardust

One of my uncles is a great connoisseur of movies. Because of this, I have been exposed to many titles that I would never have even heard of otherwise. His choices are never dependently good or bad; there are plenty of both to go around.
A few nights before we returned home from our vacation in Mexico, he suggested that we (meaning himself, my brothers, and I) watch Stardust. I’d heard him talk about Stardust many times, and I very cheerfully agreed that his idea was a good one. The movie was inserted into the computer, and someone hit play. A few hours later, the movie ended and I decided that this time he had chosen a movie in the “good” category. Stardust is absolutely brilliant! According to Wikipedia’s description, it’s a “British romantic comedy fantasy film”. May I just say, those Brits sure know how to make quality shows!
The basic plot of Stardust is something like this: a young man named Dunstan Thorn goes through a magical barrier (which happens to just be a wall) and finds himself in the town of Stormhold. An enslaved princess offers him a charmed flower in exchange for a kiss. He stays with her for the rest of the day, and returns to his home in the village of Wall (which is a super cool name). Nine months later, a baby named Tristan is delivered to him, and he is left on his own to raise him.
The story picks up eighteen years later, and Tristan’s got problems of his own. He is infatuated by a wealthy, beautiful girl named Victoria Forester, but he doesn’t really stand a chance of getting her to love him because she’s more interested in a wealthy man named Humphrey than she is in him. However, a week before her birthday (the day she knew Humphrey was going to propose to her), Victoria agrees to go on an outing with Tristan. While there, he tries to convince her of his love, but she doesn’t change her opinion. As he speaks with her, a star falls out of the sky, and he promises to retrieve it and bring it to her as a birthday present.
Turns out, the star that fell is a woman named Yvaine who is being hunted by multiple people for a variety of reasons. However, Tristan is able to find her first, which sets them both up for an unexpected adventure.
I won’t say any more about the plot for fear of spoiling something, but I will say again that it is a fantastic movie! The characters are all interesting, convincing, and hilarious. To make things even better, the main antagonist of the story, a witch-queen named Lamia, is not only entertaining but makes a phenomenal villain. I’d definitely have to say that my movie recommendation for the day is without a doubt Stardust.
End of book quote: “Three words whispered menacingly in his ear: “Good-bye, Mr. Hunter.” —Black by Ted Dekker

Walking And Reading

Walking And Reading

I’ve never understood how people can walk and read at the same time. It seems to be a far-fetched dream of book lovers that anyone would be able to multitask so efficiently. Unfortunately, while I like the idea, I just don’t see how it is possible.
There just aren’t many examples that I can look to for evidence. Sure, there are scenes in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Pride & Prejudice of the heroines successfully walking and reading at the same time, but those aren’t real occasions. Belle can’t prove if anything is possible because she’s an animated character, and the creators of the movie easily made it so that she could attempt such a strenuous task without running into anyone. I’m afraid Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t prove much either. She had the benefit of being an actress; therefore I can conclude that she probably was not truly reading the book she is shown to be scrutinizing in the opening scenes of the Keira Knightley version of the movie.
However, I can now say that I have seen a person read and walk in real life. My cross-country team meets for practice early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at a park about fifteen minutes away from my house. On occasion, we end up exiting the park by the back way as part of our various runs. The back entrance leads out onto a pretty calm street about a quarter of a mile long. That same street is where I first saw a lady walking and reading at the same time. My friend and I have noticed her two or three times now: she is always going towards the park on the side of the road with a book in hand, and so far, she seems to have gotten by pretty well. How she’s managed that, I have absolutely no idea. Personally, I would be worried that a passing car would run over me or a snake that went unnoticed would bite me or some other tragic event would occur; but as far as I know, the superhuman lady has gone unharmed.
The only way I can find out for sure if walking and reading at the same time is possible is to try doing it myself; but as I mentioned before, I am afraid of being ran over or eaten. Maybe the answer to my question is like the one in the Tootsie Pop commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhjb4P_jnKk&feature=related): “the world may never know”.
Before I post this, I want to give a shout out to Letizia and her blog “readinginterrupted” for inspiring me to blog about this in the first place. http://readinginterrupted.com/2012/07/19/library-to-go/
Also, a special happy birthday to my mom!
End of book quote: “But she smiled to herself.” —The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

One Day Book Challenge

There I was last night, sitting on my bed and browsing through some interesting blogs, and I happened to stumble across a blog called “b00kends” (http://b00kends.wordpress.com/). The author of b00kends was in the middle of a Thirty Day Book Challenge, and I was inspired! The thing is, I don’t really want to take thirty days to have continuous short posts about a whole lot of books, so I’ve decided to make the Thirty Day Book Challenge a One Day Book Challenge. Woo! So, without further ado, here I go*:
Day 1: Favorite book: The King of Attolia (and the other three books in the series) by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 2: Least favorite book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (I’ve never understood why it’s a classic.)
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud: All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Day 4: Book that makes you cry: The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in: Hm, that’s a hard one. I’m going to have to go with The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
Day 6: Favorite young adult book: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Day 8: Book that scares you: Adam by Ted Dekker
Day 9: Book that makes you sick: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Day 10: Book that changed your life: Is it cheating to say The Bible?
Day 11: Book from your favorite author: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (can you tell that I love her?)
Day 12: Favorite male character: Eugenides from The Queen’s Thief series by (you guessed it!) Megan Whalen Turner
Day 13: Favorite female character: This is a hard one, but I think I’m going to go with Macey McHenry from the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter simply to give that series a mention on this list
Day 14: A book you used to love, but don’t anymore: the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child: anything from The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read: The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read: But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Day 18: Favorite classic book: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Day 19: A book you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (the first half killed me, but the second half was really good)
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood: Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
Day 22: Book you plan to read next: The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
Day 23: Book you never finished: The (Unabridged) Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Day 25: Favorite book you read in school: Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Day 26: Favorite nonfiction book: Stalin: A Biography by Robert Service
Day 27: Favorite fiction book: see day 1, but to mix things up a little bit, I’ll add The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Day 28: Last book you read: So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading: Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Day 30: Book you’re excited to read in the near future: A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears by Jules Feiffer

*I took the liberty of changing “days” 12-14, 18-19, 23, and 30 because I didn’t have answers to the original questions.

That was much harder to do than I expected it to be. Well, there you have it! My list of many things book related. Take that, One Day Book Challenge, you have been conquered!
End of book quote: “But not the armadillo.” —But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton