May 29, 2008

Confuzzled.

As the school year comes to a close (even though I still have five major projects to finish...), we start the business of scheduling our courses for next year. Picking electives comes on Friday, I believe, so I'll see what my options are then.

The one decision that I'm having a hard time making is my internship.

This year I was in an intern at 1812 Productions, an all-comedy theater company. It was pretty awesome. I stuffed envelopes and labeled things, and sometimes even got to alphabetize and chronologize thing !! You may think this is sarcasm, but sadly, it is not. I love to alphabetize. The JKL sequence is tricky. It's hard to remember the order of those three letters...

The people at 1812 are wonderful. Monica and Kate and Tyler are hilarious. It was an office, but a fun one. I went (past tense o.O) once a week for three hours. Supposedly around 100 hours total.

Yesterday was my last day there. They got me a cake (:O) - with strawberries! Twas quite yummy :) I'm sad to go :(

But, now I have to choose what to do next year. I know that I want to start another language, but which one? Ah, that is the question. I have narrowed it down to two choices: Russian or Hebrew. Now I just have to pick between the two. And it's causing me quite some trouble.

Here's my chart:

What am I missing? Any opinions?
Blogged with the Flock Browser

May 22, 2008

Kashrut

There is a difference between faith and religion. Your faith is what you believe, your personal code of conduct, your morals. Your religion is how you practice your faith, how you please your god. Something like that.

My personal faith is fairly solid, but I'm not going into that. I've been thinking about religion.

I am Jewish, I belong to a synagogue, and I have been bat-mitzvah-ed. My synagogue is conservative with reconstructionist leanings. However, I've been raised fairly secular. The Hewbrew school I attended to prepare for my bat mitzvah was held at a Jewish Community Center (JCC), the class for all the Jewish kids who didn't actually belong to any synagogue (we didn't at the time). It was quite relaxed, and I was one of about two kids who managed to leave knowing the entire Hebrew alphabet. We were accomplished by comparison.

This year I decided to attend confirmation classes at my synagogue. Jewish confirmation exists (who knew?), and is called prozdor (I have no idea...). I am going to be confirmed on June 8th. Surprisingly, I am one of the more religious students in my class. I keep strictly kosher for Passover, and fast on Yom Kippur. I am quite lacking in my knowledge of prayers and Jewish values, however. But that's not what I want to talk about either.

In July, my second-cousin (as in the daughter of my father's cousin) is getting married. She's twenty. She's Orthodox. That whole branch of the family is. I made a friend not too long ago who is extremely Conservative, but not quite Orthodox. I had dinner a couple nights ago at an Orthodox family's house. I rather like the Orthodox traditions.

I think that as I get older, I will become more religious. I don't predict my faith changing much, but religious practices. Right now, I'm contemplating starting to keep kosher/kashrut. This would entail not eating pork or shellfish, and separating meat and dairy, waiting a certain amount of time before eating one after the other. Traditionally, separate dishes and utensils and cookware are used as well, one set for meat, another for dairy. I think that is overkill. Washing is enough. Soap and water can take care of the "meat" label after eating some cow on that plate. Wash it, and arrange some cheese and crackers. Fine by me.

I'm not sure how I feel about the preparation. Do I feel the need to get my meat from a kosher butcher, or will any beef do? I'm not really sure. Will everything I eat need to be certified? I'm not sure how picky I want to get. I do feel like since I'm not worrying about kashering (making kosher) dishes, I should be more strict with the food itself.

I am a huge fan of self-discipline. That's the reason that I already fast on Yom Kippur and such. I like to prove to myself that I can. However, there are reasons beyond that for why I am doing this.

Judaism is all about community. We pray together, singing out in unison. We schmooze at Oneg Shabbat. We celebrate holidays with extended families and friends. Following Jewish traditions makes me feel more a part of the community. It is something shared. I know that when I long for some challah at Passover instead of horrible dry matzo, someone else is thinking the exact same thing. It's a nice feeling.


Just cause:

May 20, 2008

I'm bored....

I have nothing to do at lunch right now, so here's "If Your Life Was A Movie, What Would The Soundtrack Be?", care of Julia. The songs I got should all have been shifted down one place. It would have made more sense that way.

Here's how it works:
1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every section, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie.

I linked to lyrics, if anyone wants them.

OPENING CREDITS: "James Bond", Scouting for Girls I've never listened to this song before....ever.....
WAKING UP: "Act of Remembrance", The Proclaimers This is a nice song to wake up to.
FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL: "Altísimo", Hector Buitrago I love this song <3 And I like the first day of school.
FALLING IN LOVE: "Foghar Nan Eilein", Runrig Couldn't find the lyrics for this one, sorry.
FIGHT SONG: "Forgotten Works", the Klaxons Never actually listened to this before either...
BREAKING UP: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?", from The Lion King Hee hee
PROM: "ABC", Jackson Five
LIFE: "Hideaway", Olivia Tremor Control
MENTAL BREAKDOWN: "Don't Ask Me to Explain", Of Montreal
DRIVING: "No Me Llores", Sierra Maestra Maybe I shouldn't drive.
FLASHBACK: "Let's Get Married", The Proclaimers Down one, anyone?
WEDDING: "Clifton Bridge", Mark Olson
BIRTH OF A CHILD: "My First Wedding", The Wombats Never listened.
FINAL BATTLE: "The March", Astra Heights Can't find lyrics :(
DEATH SCENE: "Big My Secret", Michael Nyman (from The Piano) It's instrumental. It's sad. It's amazing. Go out and buy the Piano soundtrack. Now.
FUNERAL SONG: "Heal", Ambient Music Therapy Haha. I think I'm dead already though...
END CREDIT: "If I Had A Hammer", Peter, Paul, and Mary

The Dangers of the Internet [aka my daily routine]

Oh, internet, how you give us all ADD. I start in the morning when I get to school with my email and then mosey on over to my rss feeds. From there, I go invariably to one blog, then perhaps another. After that solid fifteen minutes, I refresh Twitterrific, and lo and behold, a link! I will obey and follow. On to del.icio.us. Why thank you, Mr. Matt, for a NYTimes article…hmm…wow, I never thought of that... Ooh, I had something I wanted to look up! Why thank you, Wikipedia, for the speedy response. Wait, what does that term mean? *Click* Ohh. Ooh, that sounds interesting…. *time lapse, twenty minutes* Right, I got my answer…. Well, I’m not doing much, I’ll just go see if there are any unanswered Mosio questions. *five to ten minutes of obsessive refreshing later* And back to Twitter. Nothing interesting in those last few tweets… On to Youth Twitter. Goodness, these kids do love to advertise their tumbl-logs. Ok, ok, I’ll read it. Who is this kid? Perhaps I’ll click over to his blog…. Back to Youth Twitter. Any new Space submissions? Ooh, a poem! On to tumblr and google docs. Google docs has new updates? Cool features… I wonder if the Almighty School District has unblocked Ning yet. Nope. Oh well. Perhaps it’s for the better. Keep me from getting distracted. I’ll just go to Moodle. On to SLA Talk. Goodness, 47 unread posts on the chat forums! Better bring that down to zero… Ugh, I guess I’ll check my SLA mail…this system is so horrible. Nope, nothing new. Back to Moodle. Back to email. Refresh email. Refresh email. To google reader. Refresh google reader. Refresh google reader. Sigh.

“Hey Hannah, you realize that class is over in fifteen minutes?”

“What??” Back to Moodle. On to class page; go directly to current in-class assignment. Do work. Re-pack backpack. On to next class.

**DISCLAIMER: This is not every class. This is just first period. Usually.**

May 13, 2008

Musically Minded

First period today was not good. For unnamed reasons, I was pissed. So, what did I do? I put on some music.

The song I played is It’s Gonna Rain, by the Four Shadow. It is timeless. It’s an a cappella piece, and it’s on my IC ning playlist. I really can’t describe what it does, so just go listen to it. Please.

There are myriad genres of music, all with different moods. My two favorite types are complete opposites: folk and electronic.

Electronic and dance music makes me happy. I like the sounds that these songs make; the synth sounds soft and comforting. Discotech, by Young Love, has a pulsating beat that matches the blood in my veins. Solta o Frango, by Bonde do Role, is another electronic song I like. Why, I’m not sure. Those two songs don’t have stories attached. I just plain like ‘em.

The a cappella music in my iTunes library has a story attached, yes. The three notable songs in this category are It’s Gonna Rain (the Four Shadow), Zamru (Pizmon), and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (Binghamton Crosbys version).

Like so many stories, it has to do with a guy. The short version is that we’re family friends, and I downloaded all of the songs on his iPod onto my computer. Those three are some of his favorites, for good reason. The harmonies are perfection. However, he lives in Boston, which is a full day’s drive from Philadelphia, so I don’t ever see him. When I listen to the music I got from him, it brings back good memories.

I pride myself on my open-mindedness, especially when it comes to music. Many people brand folk as soft and drug-induced before they ever listen to it, so I try to listen to music before dismissing it. Besides rap, pretty much the only genre I don’t like is reggae, or what I classify as reggae-like. I listen to music for the music itself, and while I can appreciate a resonating lyric, it’s not what I really pay attention to. So, Mr. Raisdana, while I’m sure Ben Harper’s lyrics speak volumes, I don’t like his music. I listened to some songs, and they’re tolerable, but the music bores me.

Then, I listened to a clip of the song you first mentioned, Walk Away. It reminded me of Amos Lee, an artist I heard at the Folk Festival a few years ago. The same slow guitar-picking, and unassuming singing. And I changed my mind. No, I don’t like Ben Harper’s music as whole. But, every so often you find a genre-jumping song that makes you smile.

[[Response to the Intrepid Classroom]]

May 7, 2008

Space


One day I was scrolling through twitter messages, and I clicked on a link from @tkidd132. This link happened to be Youth Twitter.

For those of you who don’t know, Youth Twitter (YT) is like regular Twitter, a microblogging site, except that it’s for, well, youth. I had been on YT for only a small amount of time before notices began popping up about Space, a literary magazine put together by YT members. Needless to say, I was curious.

Space gathers submissions from middle school students, members of YT, plus a few errant high schoolers. It showcases a wide range of mediums, from traditional stories and poems, to original songs, animations, hypertext stories, and voicethreads. The second edition recently came out, and a third is currently accepting submissions.

If you’re interested, just go to Space to read the current edition. If you want to submit, click here to learn how.

I hope to see you there!

May 5, 2008

the Mile-Long Petition

If you have visited my blog recently, you may have noticed a new widget in the sidebar: the mile-long petition. You can read about the specific issue at Appalachian Voices, but I'll summarize for you here.

Coal mining is dirty. The method in which most coal is mined in the US is horrendous: mountaintop removal strip mining. Basically, coal companies blow up an entire mountain to get at the coal, and then dump the waste into nearby valleys and streams. That's the main problem. Those streams feed water into peoples' homes. That water is polluted; it runs brown. More about the evils of coal mining can be found at my school blog, which is in the blogroll.

This petition calls for a planned coal mine for Virginia to not be built. They are hoping for 50,000 signatures, so it can be one mile (5,280 feet) long. Please click on the widget and sign the petition!

Book Mode

I just finished reading a book. I'm in book mode. To those close to me, I don't need to explain any further as to why I'm unusually quiet, or spacey, or just plain unresponsive.

After I read a book, I need time to let it settle. Just to think about it, and see if anything pops into my head. I don't like to actively think about themes or morals. I let the lessons and ideas seep into my head by osmosis.

For me, reading is an escape mechanism. I don't like to bring myself into the books. That would defy my purpose in reading. Because of that, I can't tell you what I learned from which book. But, I can tell you that my principles stem from my ideas, my ideas that pop into my head when I'm in book mode.

Book mode is a trance. I try not to talk. I just observe, and process. I try not to force my thoughts. I just think, and remember.

It lasts perhaps a day or two after I read an interesting, applicable, thought-provoking book. It's an enjoyable time.