Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mainstream Music VS. Old Music

So sorry I haven't written in a while-- school has consumed much of my time.

My iPod is attached to my waist. We go everywhere together. My ear buds are clawed up because I've worn them so many times. And don't get me started on how bad my hearing is.

I never thought I would be such a music-addicted girl. When I was younger, the thing to have (besides Tamagatchis, of course, because those things were wicked awesome.) was an iPod. After using all of my birthday cash, I bought my very first one. I was obsessed with filling it with tunes because I thought that would make me sophisticated and urban. (I was a strange child.)

So, now that I have 672 songs that I listen to constantly, I have come to learn some things about music. Like the quality of music, for example.

My dad successfully got me into 70's and 80's rock music; for example, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Boston, Meat Loaf, Rush, all those guys flood my iPod. What really appealed to me about this type of music was that the lyrics were really poetic and meaningful. Like there's one The Who song about a man's morning commute. I mean, who writes that kind of lyrics these days? Not Ke$ha, to be sure.

These days, the music is only about guys cheating on their girlfriends (Whatcha Say), extreme parties in which you call the police the "po po" (Tik Tok--- jeez that girl writes bad songs AND isn't capable of spelling! Even though I like Bla Bla Bla, I cannot stand her), and songs that make my mother turn the radio station to preserve my brother's young ears. (Too many examples to count.)

My father would always complain on car trips when we were listening to Rihanna or something that "the music these days-- agh you guys like this stuff?" (Actual quote, my friends.) I would always think that he was a lunatic for not liking "Disturbia" or whatever we were listening too- I mean, nothing compares to Rihanna, right? But now that I have listened to songs with actual meaning and literal cleverness, I can see past the iTunes Top Ten list.

PROS OF MAINSTREAM MUSIC (was new music, but some new music is good-- thanks fledgling!!)

  • Always catchy and fun to dance to.
  • Almost all "young people" can bond over it, because the words are so easy to memorize.

CONS OF MAINSTREAM MUSIC

  • The lyrics suck.
  • The lyrics are a horrible influence on the world.
  • The lyrics really suck.
  • There's no creativity or individuality or anything that's plain old ORIGINAL expressed.
  • The lyrics seriously suck.
  • The songs cost more on iTunes.
  • The. Lyrics. Suck.

Also, some of the singers themselves are bad influences. Like yesterday, Barrack Obama met with Shakira for goodness sake to talk about children's health! (Yes, you may remember her singing "Hips Don't Lie" years ago and "She Wolf" recently.) What would she know more about health than an actual doctor? It's like putting Jennifer Anniston on the St. Jude's Children's Hospital commercials; wrong, wrong, wrong.

The sad part is that the "in" type of music gets a lot of hype- the freebies, the front-row passes to fashion shows, the movies, etc. The people who write music as good as, or usually better than the pop music don't get the same amount of attention. And now we have the Internet to fuel this new idolization- Twitter updates, fan sites, you get the point. Maybe that's why pop music is so popular.

The pop music isn't bad; the lyrics are. The pop music crowd is. The Blacked Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga may not be bad influences, but my goodness, Ke$ha and Kayne West sure are.

What do you guys think? The scene in the UK may not be as bad as it is here.

EDIT: My little brother, Frankie, and my little cousin, MA, just got back into blogging. Check their bloggy blogs out in your free time!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boxing Out

In basketball, my coach always tells us to "box out" the other team. Like push them out but with your back so they can't get the rebound. None of the girls, including me, are capable of doing this. But they don't know that they can do it naturally at school dances.

Yeah, so I went to a school dance yesterday. The theme was Valentine's Day. On the dance floor (AKA the cafeteria) I made some observations...

At school dances, well at least at my school, the kids dance in circles. No, they're not spinning round and round. A group of kids get together and stand next to each other to form a circle, fist pumping and jumping together.

I am incapable of both of those things. The fist pumping and the jumping. No, I can jump, but not dance- jump. Otherwise I look like a frog.

Most kids are also insecure about their dancing abilities. Or most kids rather not take the stage. So Volia, that's why the circles are formed.

The circles are very tight. It takes much aggression to get into one. And if you're like me, most times you get "boxed out" of the circle.

The chain of events:

  1. The friends leave their posts sitting down and hop on over to the dance floor. They form a large circle and sing along to the song.
  2. The chorus of the song starts. Everyone in the room starts jumping up and down like a wave. It's impossible to hear the singer's voice because the hoarse voices of the kids are louder. This is when the boxing out begins. Everyone moves in closer to the center of the circle mid dance. Some kids get pushed out.
  3. The circle is tight as the second chorus begins. The friends who were "boxed out" try to make their move back in. But they are casually boxed out again.
  4. The song is almost over. The rejected kids retire to their seats.

I have never been good at the whole pushing-people-out-of-the-way thing. Like when I walk with a group of girls I am usually the one at the end. If I push somebody I would daintily say "I'm sorry" because that's my "good girl" instinct, but by then I have been compromised and the mission has failed.

Most boxing out is done accidentally. It's natural instinct, survival of the fittest. Nobody means anything mean by it. When I along with the girls on my basketball team say boxing out is hard, it's the truth. Boxing out is hard. I still wind up being the one outside of the circle. (Actually, last night at the dance, I wasn't boxed out much. Personally I don't like dancing in those circles because it's too squishy. I like it because of the safety.) But when I and the girls say that they don't know how to box out, we're lying. Not on purpose, but because we don't know that we do know how to box out.

So here's some advice: If you're getting pushed hard, push back hard. If it's a hard push most likely it means that somebody is trying to box you out purposely. But that's not usually at a dance, but when you're walking to class or somewhere else. At a dance it may just mean that that person needs more space to move. If it's a light push, push back lightly. It means that you're aware that you had been pushed and you're not going to put up with it. The pusher will probably back off once they know that you're not a dainty little thing.

But remember one thing: never box somebody out on purpose. It's rude. It's like, do you not want that person in your "circle"? Seriously. It's a jerky move. And it's aggressive. What about the whole "hands to yourself" rule?

There is only one more basketball game left this season and I hope to apply my new skills to the game.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

OH MY GOODNESS AN AWARD!!!! love ya Dolly!!!

It's so pretty isn't it?!!! Thank you so much Dolly!!

When I saw this on her blog a couple of minutes ago I could not stop smiling-- not like normal smiling, but my-face-is-glued-in-this-position-because-I-am-so-happy!!! My cheeks completely flushed and turned into little fleshy orbs which blocked my eye sight... ahh, thanks so much again Dolly!!

So, there are a couple of questions that go along with the award that I have to answer:

Question 1. Would you describe yourself as a preppy doll, a classic doll, or a kooky doll? (Not necessarily in that order.)

Answer: I am by far a classic doll for several reasons: I would feel like a Groovy Girl as a kooky doll and an Ambercrombie action figure as a preppy doll.
Okay, I know that the question doesn't necessarily mean doll, but I still would be a classic one. I love the whole English trench coat look that makes you look like you have somewhere really important to go and something really important to do. But I like it most because it reminds me of journalists in the 40's. And FYI, being a journalist is my dream job.

Q 2. Why did you get into blogging?

A: I got into blogging because I love to write and my theatre teacher, Mr. A (who is amazing and awesome) encouraged me to. I had just started reading Teen Vogue at the time, which I immediately fell in love with. There was a piece on girls who were "famous" because they always were photographed in street style blogs. They mentioned Tavi's blog so I Googled it, and BANG I had fallen in love with the idea of blogging. After pointing out all the good attributes blogging had to my parents and I got their ok, I started.

Q 3. Your favourite hobby? (I had to keep the British spelling of "favorite". I try to get away with spelling words in their English form in school.)

A: This may sound cheesy because it's all I ever talk about, but writing. This is probably cheesier but writing makes me feel good. End of story. A close second/third would be reading or listening to my ipod.

Q 4. What is a fashion item that you would love to own?

A: There was one beautiful necklace featured in an issue of Lucky once that I immediately fell in love with. It had a silver chain with a dark gold/bronze snake with emerald eyes curling around it. It was so beautiful. I must have stared at that page for 15 minutes straight, imagining myself parading with it around my neck in the hallways at school. Oh, the way people would look at it! Okay I'm just kidding but the necklace was gorgeous. I really like ancient-ish jewelry. I'm planning on buying a couple cheap-o's when I go to Rome in... (aghhh math) 22 days!!! I'm so excited.

So now I have to pass this award on to another blogger who I consider to be a doll. And the doll-i-est one of you is... APG!!

APG is definitely a doll. She blogs about her two coon hounds, Gus and Dixie. (Hence the name of her blog.) She is so sincere and sweet. The way she lovingly gushes about her dogs makes me feel like I know them too!! A couple of days ago she questioned whether or not she should stop blogging, but she pushed through and came out a better blogger than she ever was before. I love ya, APG!!
So this is how it works: You answer the questions that I answered, put the cute picture up on the post, and pass the award on to a blogger who you consider to be a doll. No award-backs!!

I had a post planned for, I don't know, sometime, but as much as I love writing, it's getting late (by my parent's standards, at least) and I still have to pack my costume for dress-up-like-an-ancient-Roman-day tomorrow for Latin class, so farewell for now!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BOOM!! CRASH!!! CAPS LOCK!!!!!








Hmm, I didn't realize that I put two of the same pictures up. My bad.
But, I have been meaning to write/post pictures of this for a while.

So...

It was two days after Christmas. My family and I were driving through Trenton, New Jersey, because my grandma lives near there and my mom was desperate to visit the Old Trenton War Barracks because she is fascinated by the American Revolution.

So there we are, in our little SUV, driving through the streets of urban Trenton, when we hear BANG! and BANG!!!! "What was that?" we mumbled.

We ignored it, until we heard it again, more of it, and louder. Of course my mom said, "It sounds like a cannon."

We were at a red light when my mom demanded my dad to make a left instead of going straight ahead to the Barracks.
The street in front of us opened like a deep gash to reveal a park crammed with people with cameras standing on a ledge looking down on to what I assumed was a grassy park.

Then BANG!!! and smoke, tons of smoke, filled the sky. My mom cheered joyfully. "PULL OVER!!!!!!" she screamed.
And so we banged up against the curb and leaped out of the car, leaving our giant Snoodle (poodle and schnauzer mix) Lucky barking his head off and drooling on the cushions in the car. I grabbed my trusty recorder and digital camera and jumped out of the car and on to the sidewalk.

Volia, there were bearded men wearing 1700's uniforms carrying very old guns that exploded without bullets and were pointing them at each other.

In plain words, it was a Battle at Trenton war reenactment.

For those of you out there who don't live in the U.S., Trenton was where one of the major battles against the British took place. My mother would be better suited to explain this, but I'm going to give it a go. So it was Christmas 1776. Back then it was acknowledged but not written down or outlawed that in war you don't fight during the winter. George Washington, who at the time was the General of the Continental Army (the Americans), and along with the rest of the Patriots, were desperate for a win. It had been a hard year since the signing of the Declaration in July. We. Were. Losing.

So good ole' Georgie devised a plan: Surprise the British in Trenton. The British had taken Trenton and this would be a good way to win it back. The Americans had retreated on the other side of the Delaware river (Thus the famous crossing of the Delaware.) so they would have to sail across unnoticed, which means they would have to sail at night.

There were ice chunks in the river, not just little flimsy pieces that people break for good luck. The Americans used all their might though and made it across.

The hardest part of the whole battle although was making it to the British camp. Once the Americans reached land they still had to travel on foot to the camp. Their clothes were damp because they weren't wearing any water proof nylon (Because they couldn't afford any not because it wasn't invented yet... mmm-hmmm, yeah totally...) and it was absolutly freezing that two men froze and died on the walk. Luckily, they were the only men to perish during the whole attack.

The British and their Hessian soilders they hired from Germany were completely surprised. It was Christmas, so they were celebrating, drinking, etc. Let's just say that the Americans completely wiped them out.

They traveled back across the Delaware and the end.
There was a second battle at Trenton a couple days after that one that didn't end as well for the Americans. Even though it is modern day, "reenacting" tons of row boats crossing the Delaware with the "reeanactors" only wearing 1700's fabrics, that would be pretty hard to pull off. Without a giant green screen in the background. So that's why the first battle wasn't reenacted.

Well, as I found out that day but my genius I-know-everything-about-the-rev.-war mother already knew, there were two battles. Thus two reenactments.

And because this was a once in a life time opportunity, we stayed at the Barracks for three extra hours until the next one started instead of driving home to Connecticut. Which I don't think was a waste.
It was pretty neat. The way the smoke billowed up into the sky... but what really startled me was the way they fought back then. I mean, it was so stupid. The lined up in rows, and once that row got shot down the next one went up, and again, and again, and all it was was a death cycle. Horrible, horrible, horrible.
It's so much unlike what I'm learning now in history class, which is World War Two. Just think, on December 25th 1776 the Americans planned a battle that became the turning point of the war, but only 168 years later (Yep, I actually did the math for the sake of this post) on June 6th the biggest invasion to date happened! Insanity.

Anyway, the first picture is a bit ironic for a medley of reasons.

1. It's 1776, isn't it?

2. I don't think Cannon was around in 1776. Cannon the big metal thing, yes; Cannon the shiny/flashy/tiny things, no.
P.S. The reason I'm here writing in the middle of a weekday instead of going to school is because we had a snow day today-- another storm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adorable vs. Beautiful

So, I started thinking about this after reading a post Dolly wrote. (I am so proud of myself for making that hyperlink!)

It's funny how sometimes you remember really random but sometimes relevant stuff people say to you. Here's some phrases I remember people saying:
"If you thought New Jersey made a lot of computers, California will blow your mind!"
"You're a very good translator."
"It looks like you have a mustache!"
"This isn't the B team Jen, this is the A team. We don't lose."

I remember once I asked my friends if they would rather be adorable or beautiful. And then I remembered harder.
It was last fall. My school requires you to play a sport every season, so I chose soccer, which turned out to be a huge mistake because let me tell you, soccer is so not my strong suit. (At least most of my friends played soccer.) Thus I was on the "B" team, like the junior varsity team. The A team was always calling themselves the awesome team, the amazing team, bla bla you get the point. Us B-teamers retorted back with the blessed team, the ballistic team, the balsamic team (which if you ask me didn't make a lot of sense because we were playing soccer not making salads), and finally, by me, the beautiful team. One of my friends, a fellow B team girl, said "Yeah, but they can be the adorable team."
"But wouldn't you want to be beautiful than adorable?" I protested.

The whole B team got into the conversation. "No way."
So I turned it into a Would-You-Rather game. (For more information read The Clique.) When I asked them if they would rather be adorable than beautiful, all of them said yes, well, except for yours truly.

But even afterwards it didn't sit right with me. In my world/mind, adorable always meant a button nose, a basket full of puppies (can you see I that I like puppies?), and a cheek that great-aunts always felt the urge to squeeze and coo over. Beautiful was a whole different thing. Beautiful was to have good posture, to be at ease, to have goddess-like hair...

Okay, minus the hair thing, I still think that's close to what beautiful is. I really can't put it into words. But when I hear the word beautiful I think of Beyonce, my mom, and, for no definite reason, the ocean. And a summer rain storm.

I still can't understand why people would choose to be adorable over beautiful. But I think I know why. Adorable is a synonym to cute, and, sorry to say, if you're cute in middle school, the guys will like you. Sometimes they will like you for you, the good way to be liked, like one of my good friends is, but that's RARE in middle school. End of story.
I have never considered myself cute and I never will. In plain words I don't see myself as cute because I don't want to be. If being "cute" will get me the guys, and not by my personality, I don't want it.

Adorable is gilded. What you see is what you get. But being beautiful is different. It's ever lasting. It stays with you wherever you go. The thing about beauty is, is that it's not always noticeable the first time you see somebody.

It's in the tiny details that, in my opinion, someone is beautiful, and not the overall effect. The tiny details are sometimes hard to find. You really have to know somebody well to see if they're beautiful.

And, of course, beauty isn't just on the outside, but in the inside. I'm too tired to preach about that right now, but it's 100% true.
What do you guys think? Adorable or beautiful?

P.S-. Thanks for all the comments everybody!!
P.P.S.- My name is Jen.
P.P.P.S- JRC, APG (see sidebar) and I are having a fashion show at school in May. Any advice? (Will write about it later.)
P.P.P.P.S- RIP Mcqueen

Monday, February 8, 2010

Murdering Puppies

Whoa. Suddenly I have all these comments!! This is amazing!! Thanks everybody!!

Now... back to the menacing-looking title I have up there. You deserve an explanation.

I had a tennis match yesterday. Which was Sunday. Yeah, I know, I was playing tennis during the Super Bowl. I must not have a life.

Any-who, I play on the 14 years old and younger team. The other teams we play are usually our age... but not our height.

Well this time, yesterday, our opponents were neither our height or age!! Wonderful, right? We played toddlers!! (At least they looked like toddlers.)

I first played a mixed doubles match with a partner who I didn't really know too well. Instead of flat out saying, "My goodness, we're playing toddlers!" like I would have normally, I just asked him if he knew how old they were. (Lately I've been trying to control my random and sometimes insolent outbursts.) He shrugged. I think he just wanted to get out of there and watch the Bowl.

I felt pretty bad when my partner crushed the little kids in a couple hundred lightning fast serves. But, of course, I was the one who lost a couple points because I was convinced the ball was going out. (You know, when little kids hit those arching shots that graze the ceiling it's impossible to tell if it's going out or not!)

So, it basically felt like I was murdering puppies.
There I was, the evil teenager, crushing heartlessly every tennis-related hope and dream that ever came out of those little-peanuts' brains. I was the bad guy!!!

Eventually I told myself to suck it up, because I'm sacrificing for the team. For our USTA rankings. For our reputation!!!

It was even worse when my partner and I started laughing.
Yep, I'm a heartless teenager. The type that all the moms glare at.

Dear God, I am never playing a tennis match against little kids again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Goodness, That MUST be Awakward...

I've been meaning to write about this for a while but I needed an example of it to refresh my memory.
SO, at my school, and probably in every school in the U.S., we have assemblies, usually weekly on Fridays. And if you keep track of the days of the week like most first-graders out there, you probably know that Friday was yesterday. Annnnnnd, if you read the first sentence of this paragraph, you must have realized that, at my school, we had an assembly yesterday.

Don't mind the pointlessness of that last paragraph, please. But anyway, we had an assembly yesterday. The high school seniors put together a couple acts for us critical middle school-ers. And that's the point. How teenagers critique everything.

You see, I would never in a million years jump onto a stage in front of teenagers. Reasons:
A)People would laugh (not with me)
B) People would divert their attention to their cell phones and
C) People would boo at me. I would probably jump onto a stage if the crowd wasn't only made of American teenagers and their teachers. Trust me, I have nightmares about this. (But that isn't saying much because I have nightmares about everything.)

I always feel so bad for the people who my school gets to do assemblies for us. Even though they're good acts and everything, there's always someone in the crowd who snickers. And because of the nature of snickering, the snickering spreads through the audience like a ripple on a still pool of water. And then the poor soul on the stage has to keep performing, but if they were like me, they would probably want to go run home and cry and curl up on the sofa with a bag of M and Ms and the TV playing a marathon of The Office. While wearing a Snuggie.

Like last semester or so: This mime came to perform for us. Well, I thought he was a mime, because he had a huge collection of freaky masks with him. Whenever he put a new mask on, he would change his character completely. I thought it was sort of neat. But hardly anybody else thought so.
Poor, poor mime.

Unrelated note: My cousin S jetted off to Orlando yesterday for her dance competition!!! Wish her luck!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stereotypes of the girl and the boy


Well, today, I felt the need to put a picture of a school bus on this here blog....
NOT!!!
The sports building at my school is not really at my school, if you get my drift. It's two streets away.
Thus we have to take a bus to get there. Although I was early to get to the locker room at the school, my friends and I walked aimlessly around like sheep blabbing "Can't we just change at the sports building??" like the gulls in Finding Nemo. Eventually we had to change there, though.
So I was late to get to the bus, and I had to sit in the back with all the rowdy eighth grade boys and watch them punch each other and whatever else boys do...
...Until a couple rows up one kid got a bloody nose. He was an eighth grade boy who must have been prone to nose bleeds, because it the girl in front of him gently fake-punched him. (She felt HORRIBLE about it.) The boy sitting across from me burst into hysterical laughter. "He just got punched by a girl!" he said.
Well, I wanted to punch him.
I hate it when people make such a big deal out of that. Like, whoa, a girl slapped you, you must be a loser then! It's not like girls are incapable of slapping or punching.
I hate that when boys fight it's practically honorable, and when girls fight it's a cat fight. I hate that girls feel like they have to say "Um" or "I think" or "This probably is stupid, but..." and etc before they say something smart. That's what Libba Bray wrote in the interview-with-the-author section in the back of her novel, Rebel Angels, and I've been abiding by it ever since. Because it's absolutely stupid that people think that.
Women are strong, beautiful inside, and wise. We don't always need muscles to make a point. Like one of my favorite sayings, "The pen is mightier than the sword." Just because men might be physically stronger than us, doesn't mean that they're smarter at all. Because FYI, it mostly comes down to the women who are the ones to save the world from another war or help the needy or WHATEVER. It absolutely TICKS ME OFF that boys think they're "so much better". It also ticks me off that we haven't had a woman president of the U.S. yet while the British had a woman prime minister in the seventies. But that's another matter for another time.
So, if you hate these stereotypes and you're a girl, stop saying "Um" and all that stupid stuff before you say something SMART to a boy. Really.
EDIT: Just because all the boys beat me and my twig-equivalent zero muscle arms in arm wrestling during C period DOES NOT mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wow, I'm so bad at keeping vows, because this is a basketball post...

So pretty much by day unfolded like this.

  • 8:00 am: I'm on top of the world and skipping around the hallway like a freak because I'm going to play in an A team basketball game later.
  • 11:30: Salad for lunch with Dani, APG and Marg. I wish I got steak fries, because MY SCHOOL NEVER SERVES STEAK FRIES and this is an RARE OCCURRENCE.
  • Sports study hall, where we "do homework" before the game. I'm so nervous because FYI, on the girl's A middle school basketball team, all the eighth graders play. So, thanks to the stupid "Better Binder" edging on my stupid Staples "Better Binder" binder which is covered with rubber, I accidentally scrapped the rubber part on my desk which made a fart noise. Not just any fart noise. More like a fart like there's no tomorrow fart. And the eighth grade girls laughed.
  • The coach had a sports bag filled with the girls' uniforms. Everyone found their number quick, while of course I didn't have one, so I took an extra one, and of course, I was the last one to back it to the locker room to change, and of course, I was stuck holding the sports bag, extra Gatorade, my sports bag, my backpack... and at this time I was beginning to realize that THIS IS GOING TO SUCK.
  • 2:00: The bus to our game. Jos and I were talking and laughing so I was happy. Wow that was a primitive sentence.
  • Arrival at the other school. It was a public school, so there were about a thousand girls on their team. At that point I had already messed up two warm up drills. But the worst part was: I knew these warm up drills. We did them on my team. But all the A team hype made everything seem like a foreign language. No, scratch that, it made everything seem like Chinese. Fast-talking Chinese with hula music in the background mixed with Ke$ha. And with somebody scratching nails on a chalkboard.
  • We began playing. And wow, thanks to some weird twist of fate and my coach's intuition, I PLAYED THE FIRST QUARTER!!!! I'm elated and PEOPLE HAVE FAITH IN ME!!! (I think.)

It was a good day. The eighth graders were nice and funny. I was happy. Happy= good. Good= confidence. So it was a good day.