Monday, April 30, 2012

So...Nathaniel Hawthorne was Sicilian?

I think the thing that made my day was when I discovered that Nathaniel Hawthorne used the word "inconceivable" in The Scarlet Letter.
We had a sub in English, and were assigned to read chapters 10 and 11.  Being the good, dutiful students that we are, my friends and I did the work.  We read in a happy reading circle: we sat criss-cross applesauce on the floor and switched off every sentence.

People looked at us strangely, which was the best part, but the sub pretended not to notice.  Then we came across the part with "inconceivable" and my friend shouted it, since we're all big Princess Bride fans.  The sub looks up and stares right at us, says "I do not think it means what you think it means."  Then she kept doing work like nothing had happened.

Made my day.

So, tonight, I have a presentation night for something called Humanities Scholar's Collaborative.  A bunch of students apply, and you get to be part of the group that meets with HSC groups at other schools, and goes to local colleges to hear professors talk about something in relation to the year's theme, which this year is "the family in America."  Tonight is the culminating night, in which each group performs a skit about the American family structure in an assigned decade.  We're doing the 1990s.

I get to play a neighborhood gossip woman.  I also get to wear a visor, scrunchie, and fanny pack - classic stereotypical suburban 90s mom.  This shall be exciting.

Finally, the only other noteworthy news is that Relay For Life was last Friday.  My friend and I set a goal to walk 100 laps - our track is 1/4 miles so that's 25 miles.  Originally, we actually wanted 105 laps so we could say we walked a marathon, but we ran out of time.  We actually had to sprint the last few laps so we could finish before they kicked everyone out at 6am.  We were sprinting after having walked 24 miles.

Yeah, I could hardly move my legs for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've started Pottermore-ing

Is that a word?  Now it is.

But before I can talk rationally and coherently discuss this new development, if you will please excuse the following:

*happy dance*

It's official, guys.  I mean, I have a Gryffindor patch on my backpack, and my penpal made me a Gryffindor bracelet, but now J.K. ROWLING has confirmed it!


I have regained my composure and would like to inform the world that I have joined Pottermore.  After not getting into the Beta testing in October and clicking back every week since then to see if it was finally open to the public yet.

And finally my labors were rewarded.

Friends, my name is NifflerCauldron2980 (add me as a friend!) and I am a Gryffindor!  My wand is cedar and unicorn hair, 11 inches, unbending.  And so far I have contributed a great 14 points to my House (but I'm not sure how I did that).

Basically, Pottermore is pretty cool.  My favorite part is reading J.K. Rowling's little notes and backstories about the characters and plotlines and how it all came together.  The extra stuff, where it lets you duel people and brew potions and things, is fun as well.

But, WOW brewing potions is hard.  And stressful.  All these thoughts were going through my head:

  • Which of these little bags of ingredients is snake fangs?  TELL ME NOW.
  • Where the freak is my wand??!
  • Who knew heating cauldrons to the right temperature was so hard? 
  • I'm really good at grinding bezoars.
  • What am I supposed to do for the three minutes that my potion brews?  Just stare at the screen and hope that I didn't add too many porcupine quills?
I have tried, and failed, to brew the Antidote to Common Poisons at least six times.  All of these failures are because I let my cauldron overheat while it is cooking for five seconds.

Potions are hard.  How was Lily so good at it??

Also, there's one, easily remedied issue that makes me sad:

However, all I see is:

Alas.  I shall stay with my friend-less-ness and continue to fail at brewing potions.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Colleges are pretty un-creative when it comes to photos

So I'm a junior in high school, who did reasonably well on the SATs.  So colleges are sending me things in the mail.  Also, I'm touring colleges, so I have a lot of brochures.

When I get these, I like to play a game called "Spot the Cliche College Photo."  Basically, I've noticed that the majority of pictures used in college brochures are variations on the same basic idea.  It's fun to go through and see them all.  All are actual photos from college websites or brochures.

I just find it really funny how all their pictures have the same theme.

I grouped these based on the major categories I usually find.  Some fall into multiple categories.  There are a lot of other groups that I didn't include, like "Students with Face Paint in the School Colors" or "Students Standing in Front of a Blackboard With Complicated Equations Written On It."  Let me know what ones you notice!

For example:

The "Smart Kids Wearing Lab Coats"
(this category may also contain "Students Looking Through a Microscope" or "Students Waering Safety Glasses" or "Students Holding Up a Test Tube and Peering Into It")

The "Students having Fun on the Quad"

The "Students Working Together, Because We Are All One Big Happy Community"

The "Students Doing Things With Complex-Looking Mechanical Items"

The "Our Students Have School Spirit!"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trust me, I have an excuse

Once again, I'm doing my "Friday" 56 on a Saturday.  But wait!  It's okay!  I have an excuse!  I spent the day getting stitches.  Yeah.  Feel sorry for me.

I have this freaking epic scar on the side of my lip now.  Why, you ask?  Oh, I was just practicing my French kissing.  With a shark.

Kidding.  I was in a knife fight.

So I took the ACT this morning (running on very little sleep, having spent Thursday night in the ER).  I'm hoping i did okay.  I forgot my calculator, so I did the whole thing using just a four-function calculator that they loaned me.  Ick.  I've mentioned my rampant love for my scientific calculator in the past, so leaving it behind for this important test was kind of depressing.

But anyways, on to the Friday 56.  You guys are going to be kind of disappointed this week.  I have two books sitting in front of me, and I'm too lazy to go find another one at the moment.  I have my AP Psychology textbook, and Webster's New French Dictionary (does that mean that they have words in New French, as opposed to Old French, or that it's a New dictionary?).  And for a double-whammy, I'll give you a sentence (or, in the dictionary's case, a word) from each!  Think of all the things you'll learn about Psychology and French!

"Tens of billions of neurons, each communicating with thousands of other neurons, yield an ever-changing wiring diagram that dwarfs a powerful computer."
--"Psychology" Ninth Edition by David G, Myers

"Cantankerous [kæn'tæɳkərs] adj acariâtre"
--"Webster's New French Dictionary"

There you have it.  Now you know how to call someone cantankerous, in French!  Use this knowledge well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday 56: It's actually on a Friday this time! Be proud of me

1) Grab any book
2) Turn to page 56
3) Find an interesting sentence
4) Post it
5) Add your post URL to Freda's Voice

"Girls think they're only allowed to wear dresses on formal occasions, but I like a woman who says, you know, I'm going over to see a boy who is having a nervous breakdown, a boy whose connection to the sense of sight itself is tenuous, and gosh dang it, I am going to wear a dress for him."
-- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Monday, April 2, 2012

There has been too much action in reaction to political scandals. Please write to your congressman to repeal Newton's third law.

Ahh, physics.

So, I have a physics project that I have to do.  It's meant to help us learn about torque.  Basically, we have to make a mobile.  You know, those things with sticks and objects hanging from them, most often seen above baby cribs?  We have to use the laws of torque to create a mobile out of any objects we want, and make sure that it balances.

So originally, my friend and I planned to use fuzzy dice (those things people hang from their rearview mirrors) as our hanging objects, because fuzzy dice are sort of a running inside joke in our physics class.  But I told my circus teacher (yeah, I take circus classes) about the project, and he suggested that I make my mobile out of people.

It was great.  We had these 20-foot metal Chinese poles lying around, and we weighed everyone, and did the calculations, and spliced ropes, and constructed this enormous mobile.  And we put people on it.  The surprising part was that it actually balanced, and we didn't all die.

But yeah.  I wasn't sure how my teacher would react to my, erm, creative project. (Especially since the assignment sheet said a) that the mobile should be less than 100 cm tall and b) you should not use fragile or valuable objects.  I'm honestly not sure whether humans count as valuable or fragile.) But I showed him the video and he freaking loved it.

Here it is.  I'm the one in yellow, though I'm sure you didn't need me to tell you that.  It's obvious that I'm the awesome one.

That's all, folks.  May the mass times acceleration be with you.

I'm a sucker for nerd jokes.