30 June 2009

Attention Deficit

Before Michael Jackson died, the only story running on major television stations was the political unrest in Iran. As soon as the entertainer died, Iran dropped completely out of the public conscience. Youtube, which before had displayed a link to watch the latest videos from the country, became overloaded with videos about Michael Jackson. I haven't seen any more news concerning Iran and the elections, though if you browse on Youtube, you can find videos uploaded just hours ago.

Now, don't get me wrong - entertainment serves a good role in any society. But when news stations drop coverage of a very important event in the international politics to cover the death of one man, it sends the wrong message to the next generation of leaders.

It's a message that says politics in other countries don't affect us, so we shouldn't care about them. That a popular musician is more sensational and more worthwhile to pay attention too. In the end, it's all about this country, the USA. That current events in the world don't matter a month, even a few weeks after they occur.

In 2007, a bridge for I-35 W collapsed over the Mississippi river in Minnesota. At the time, the news was fresh, and most stations covered the disaster. Although 13 people died and 98 were treated in various hospitals for sustained injuries, the press quickly grew tired of covering the story, and it was soon forgotten. Unless one looked up the aftermath, the last one heard about the collapse was that people had died and everyone was rescued.

On June 1st, 2009, Air France jet flight 447 crashed into the sea from unknown causes. News outlets jumped at the story, and covered it in-depth for several days. The device known as a 'black box,' which contains information about the flight was talked about for several days as many nations searched for wreckage and survivors. About a week later, with no great news discovered, stations stopped covering the search. It has been 29 days since the crash, and while many bodies have been discovered, no major television stations have delivered the news about that tragedy. The public has moved on to more pressing matters, the death of a single entertainer.

I understand the need for news agencies to find fresh material, but ignoring important events - tragedies, revolutions and riots - and substituting something trivial like the life of one man is a petty way to increase a stations listeners. Even if the general public is not concerned, there are people who will not forget so easily the loss of family or friends. And it is dishonorable to those people to ignore them in favor of something more sensational, more new, more exciting.

Keep thinking,

28 June 2009

La la la la la

Did you know that we hear every moment of our lives? That, even while sleeping, our ears pick up information about the world around us? How we can tell the size of a room we've walked into by subconciously picking up the time-echo delay in a sound?

If you haven't, consider how important sound is to us. We can analyze spaces, detect 'intruders' and navigate our way through areas without even thinking about it. Sound is important to every day life. But praising mere sounds and noises is not the purpose of this point. I'm here to talk about something even more important: music.

Throughout the ages, various sages, philosophers, authors, and musicians have made observations about the impact music has on the soul. It has been said that God gave us music that we may pray without words. Victor Hugo once observed that "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." In other words, when there is an issue so important it must be voiced, but cannot be said, music makes it possible. And finally, Bono said that "Music can change the world because it can change people."

Combine the Bono quote with Hugo quote, and you get to the core of the issue. There is something inherent in music that connects - (or reaches a 'click point', as an old conductor said) - with human beings. What you listen to will define who you are. Since the music you listen to can and will change you as a person, it is imperative that we jealously guard our ears from the wrong music.

So, to finally state my thesis, music is dangerous. Whether it is the glory and splendor of the Classical composers (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven), or the wide range of genres in modern society, music is a strong, influencing factor in every person's life.

Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear.
For the Father up Above is looking down in love,
oh be careful little ears, what you hear.


14 June 2009

Actually, they can!

In my last post, you may recall that I played soccer and beat up my foot a lot. Well, the diagnosis is in!

The doctor now says that I have broken a toe, and the others are sore enough that I may have jammed them or something... Suffice to say, walking 2.5 miles down to town this week, not to mention standing/running on it for a couple hours a day later has not helped the healing process. I am now expected to be out of action until mid-to-late July. The doctor also has put what must be the most extreme torture device on the foot - tape. Now, my big toe and the one next to it are firmly attached to each other. It's driving me crazy, let me tell you.

This deterred me not today. After church, the family headed out for some fun, all around hiking, only to realize that hiking on broken toes wasn't quite such a good idea. Thus, we only walked for about 20 minutes before calling it a day and hitting the nearest ice cream parlor. All in all, it was a very satisfying day. :)

Keep thinking, and protect those digits!


10 June 2009

Can things get worse?

This past weekend, I went camping with a group of friends. It was a great time: staying up late, playing ultimate frisbee, going hiking, practicing odd speeches, beating up my left foot in a game of soccer... Everything was fun and games. Or so I thought. But reflecting on the weekend, now, a few days removed, I've come to an awkward realization: I've forgotten how to make friends. Can things possibly get worse than this?

I think it started in late 2007 and early 2008. I found that, during tournaments, I was making a much larger spectacle of myself than I wanted to. So I determined to change my personality, so that I would no longer be embarrassing myself every time I went out in public. Step one? Become more serious in public. Steps two and three followed quickly, in Summer 2008, when I stopped talking about my feelings and really receded into my music. Step four, a huge success, was to become shy. And so it proceeded, until I turned out a rather quiet, sarcastic person to people I don't know.

The change was a roaring success. To much of a success, in fact. I've gone from an if not extroverted, at least friendly individual to one whom strangers mistake for being depressed. Or emo. Or both.

This was a problem on the aforementioned camping trip. I was effectively isolated, and that didn't feel quite right.

So, if it wouldn't bother my readers too much, I have a question for you to answer: How does one go about making friends?

Comments would be greatly appreciated.

05 June 2009

The Year in Review

Well, faithful readers, my official school year is now over. The last co-op ended yesterday, and I cheerfully say "good riddance!" That, however, is not the purpose of this post. Today, I commemorate the year, the ups and downs, by reciting the whole of the events to a rather quiet, disinterested world. So, without further ado, let's look back into the rather interesting year.

In September, I started a new co-op, which I hated. I knew three people there, but I was only in a class with one of them. To add insult to injury, my first class of the day started at 8:30 in the morning. At this new co-op, I took Chemistry, Geometry, and Acting Fundamentals. In Chemistry, I was a rather quiet student, considering how early the class was, and my dislike of the whole situation. I talked a bit more in Geometry, but in both class pictures I'm standing in the back smirking or not smiling at all. In Acting, I was still the quiet one, but now the descriptor "mature" could be removed from my silence. :P

The other co-op, which started a few weeks earlier, was a more entertaining place. Most of my friends were at 'Co-op B.' There, I took my fourth year of Latin, an Apologetics class, and Intermediate Logic. Latin was a lot of fun, as was apologetics, but Logic was literally the stuff of my dreams. To be precise, my nightmares.
Now, I loved the subject of Logic, but my classmates were not what I was hoping for. As the only girl enrolled in the class, the small room felt like it was dripping with testosterone at the end of every class. There was one young man, in particular, who gave me the creeps, but that didn't come until later on.

I was also in the NCFCA - the National Christian Forensics and Communications Assosciation - a competitive homeschool speech and debate organization, and I was busily writing speeches before Christmas. I shall start my in depth chronicles around that time, since I consider it to be the 'real' year.

Shortly before Christmas break, I was so desperate for friends at the new co-op that I asked the young man I knew slightly to be my friend. He said 'yeah', and went back to eating his sandwich. This was one of the more amusing events at Co-op A. Also during this time, a specific young man in Logic class started paying me unwanted attention. He'd sit next to me, since it "looked like you don't have any friends. I'll be your friend!" and then would ask if I was depressed. Apparently, I gave that indication because I always sat next to the door, and looked at my wrist frequently to check the time.

Shortly after Christmas, speech and debate tournaments started up in earnest, and I was gone pretty much every three weeks or so. That was fun, because most of my friends are in the league, which meant that tournaments were very happy places. A recurring adventure at tournaments was my friend J and my adventures in the back hallways. We'd play spies, plot world domination, and work on J's extroversion in the more remote parts of a tournament. The extroversion bit came in because J was unhappy with her image, and was doing a total makeover (and very fetchingly it's turned out, too). At times, though, hanging out doing weird things in halls got us in to trouble. The event that comes to mind is a more-than-embarrassing one: J and I were playing spies at the Regionals' tournament, and one of our co-competitors from our state happened to come across us, startling us to no great ends. We ran off, hoping that the other competitor hadn't seen us, but said competitor followed, and proceeded to scare me rather badly a little down the hallway. O.o

During the whole, Co-op A was still a depressing little co-op. I always pick theme music to describe the year, and Tarja's I Walk Alone described Co-op A pretty well. Since Co-op A had a lot more school spirit than Co-op B, I enjoyed bucking the system on school spirit days. If we were supposed to wear pink and red for Valentines' Day, I wore black. If it were Dress-Like-A-Pirate Day, I dressed as a ninja. Small things like that, but it gave me something to occupy myself during the interminable day.

Also during this time, the young man in Logic grew a little more... persistent... shall we say. He was new to homeschooling, and hadn't quite fit into the homeschool social norms. Unfortunately, this lead to him asking some rather uncomfortable questions about various opinions about life, and I avoided him as best I could.

Everything resolved in the end, so that's good.

However, now the year is done, and I'm preparing for more school over the summer. I'm taking AP World History and Algebra II/Trig over the summer, so that come next spring, I'll have less homework to do. This summer, I'm planning to staff a local speech camp, as well as help out with a debate workshop for beginners. Worldview Academy is also in the plans, and my family hopes to meet up with my uncle sometime, who has terminal pancreatic cancer.

As for classes for next year, Rhetoric, Latin V, Biology, and Broadway Review, are the main ones that come to mind, though I'm sure there will be other school assignments.

Keep thinking!