Monthly Archives: August, 2003

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Thanks for more birthday wishes from Stephanie, Mykella, Rajni, and Mark. Grandma stopped by this afternoon with cards. Granddaddy gave me $17, but it wasn’t all in one dollar bills like last year. Papa and Bridgette came by later with a “gift certificate”, the kind you can spend anywhere (i.e., cash).

I did my math and Adkins homework after much procrastinating. (Hmm… I’m hungry. Oh, Grandma’s here. I never did see the end of the VMA’s. Or the post-show. And so on.) It was painless. I am dreading my first Adkins test, because until I figure out what works for me, I won’t know what is really best. I thank everyone for their suggestions, and hope profusely that they work, but until I see some results, I can’t come up with a concrete Not Fail Adkins plan. (I love how “Adkins” can be used as a noun for the teacher and an adjective for anything associated with the teacher. Yay for made-up grammar and lack of titles.)

The Ten Commandments of Harry Potter Fanfiction, by deleted LJ user meghanjinx (Spoilers)

1. If thou shalt write Harry/Draco, thou shalt not make it into a Romeo/Juliet scenario. Thou shalt not write of their tragic love, and their house differences making them forbidden lovers. It has been done. (And it ain’t that cute, ReeRee.) Or better yet, write Lucius/James and email it to Meghan.

2. Thou shalt not title thine story in a Latin name. It has been done to death, and the horse would like it if you would stop flogging it.

3. Thou shalt not write comedy about ‘fluffy pink bunnies’, ‘pink elephants’, ‘monkies’, ‘cheese’, ‘bunny slippers’, gender displacement, bodily displacement, or anything in regards to bunnies.

4. Thou shalt not make Lucius beat Draco, or Narcissa. Lucius is not abusive; and anyone who writes this shall either be smited, or Meghan shall arrange for Lucius to beat you.

5. Thou shalt not write anything in regards to Sirius Black being actually dead. Mr. Black is not dead; merely hiding.

6. Thou shalt not redeem the Slytherins; it is the Unforgivable Sin. There are other ways of making them likable.

7. Thou shalt not make Dean ghetto, or Seamus a queen. The only queen is Ernie Macmillan.

8. Thou shalt write Harry as the Dark!Harry that he was meant to be written as.

9. Thou shalt write MWPP as MWPP, and not make Remus and Wormtail extensions of James and Sirius.

10. If thou shalt write about a minor adult character’s school days, thou shalt not make he/she have Harry Potter-esque adventures. Some people had a normal childhood. Not everyone became a young famous seeker, and solved crime on the side. Same is true with MWPP; they had wild misadventures, but it wasn’t a bloody Scooby Doo episode.

I love the way random people think. Speaking of which (not really), I got a LiveJournal yesterday. Greg’s been offering me a code practically since he got his, so I finally took him up on it. Making layouts has given me a vast appreciation for the beauty of customization, though, and those opportunities on LJ are… almost nonexistent. Still. I like it. It gives me an excuse to spend forever reading about other random people’s lives in the name of “the community”. Hehe.

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Randomly: Parminder Nagra from Bend It Like Beckham is 28! Whoa. She’s almost thirty, and she can still play a totally convincing teenager. Girl’s got skills. Can’t wait to see her on ER.

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My birthday was pretty good. Emotionally, much better than last year.

I was greeted with “happy birthday” from all of my family, then my mom made Perfect Pancakes while she made the cake. Oddly enough, the Perfect Pancakes was one of my presents last year. I never did learn to use it properly, though. I took too long figuring out what to wear, and then I got makeup on it, so I was running late when Greg came to pick me up. We just went out to Henson Creek for a while, then came back to my house.

His present is gorgeous. It’s a matching set of earrings, a necklace, and bracelet; all silver with little purple flowers. They’re all so pretty, and the bracelet is small, so it fits better than most would. He is just so sweet sometimes. My family gave me giftcards for Old Navy (yay!) and Sam Goody/Suncoast, some yummy body spray and a relaxing CD, Hello Kitty pajamas, a light jacket, Bringing Down the House on DVD, and a Mudd purse. I’ve been looking for a new purse. That one is perfect, but it’s blue, and I usually go for neutral colors, so I’ll see if I can exchange it for a brown one.

As a not-so-good point in the day, my hair totally wilted, so I gave up and pushed my bangs to the side. I just didn’t feel like fighting today. And my cake fell apart! I was so disappointed. My mom made my favorite, fudge marble with chocolate icing (which Greg says reflects my characteristic indecisiveness), but either she didn’t prepare the pan right or her bundt pan is too old, because as she was frosting it, it just started to crumble. She salvaged one chunk long enough to stick some candles in it, but then that piece fell apart, too, so we just ate it in pieces like that. It was still delicious. I’ve been waiting, like, all month for that cake.

Many thanks to Danelle (who called my cell), Hope, Sims, and Andra for their sweet birthday wishes. (Papa and Bridgette called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me, and my grandma didn’t sing, but she did call. And I got an email from uJournal… weirdness.) Don’t ask me what it feels like to finally be seventeen. (Though, come to think of it, most of you already know!) It feels just like it did to be sixteen yesterday. The only real difference is that I can see R-rated movies in the theater when I feel like it — and not wonder if I’ll get carded. I look older than I am, so I wasn’t carded all both of the times I went to an R-rated movie, but still. It’s less illicit now. One less thing I have to worry about, you know?

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1. Are you going to school this year?
Yes. I’m a senior this year.

2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
Back to high school for one last year. Then I’m off to college (or so I hope).

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
I’ve always loved English, because I’m good at it without much effort, which leaves me more time to absorb the knowledge, you know. And I love to read. I also love studying European medieval history.

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
Math and science. It’s kind of ironic, since I’m in the Science and Tech program. Both subjects are just too concrete for me. In math, if you don’t get a certain answer, you’re wrong. There’s no leeway. And science is so solid. I like flexibility.

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
I have favorites among my current teachers, and they always change. But if anyone asks, it’s my first grade teacher, who married and became Mrs. Drago. She was the first person who saw something in my writing, and really encouraged it. I haven’t stopped since, and I thank her immensely for that faith in me.

Just because I could (even though I really couldn’t), I watched the MTV Video Awards last night. That opening number… holy. At first it was kind of cool, seeing Britney and Christina mimic Madonna’s performance at the first VMAs. And then Madonna herself showed up, and the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (which I never watch) started freaking out. The performance itself was cool, but… I don’t want to see Madonna kissing Britney and Christina. I get that it was carrying on the whole wedding scenario, but that was too much.

Chris Rock’s opening monologue was great. “There’s so much tension. You can’t put 50 near Ja, you can’t put Jay-Z near Nas. The Olsen twins are right there, so you gotta put R. Kelly waaaaaaaay up there.” “I’m not gonna say nothing about Eminem, cause too many words rhyme with ‘rock’.” Smart man. And talking about how Justin sounded “all white” when Ashton Kutcher got him on Punk’d, and when he found out it was a joke, he “got black again.” Rajni pointed out that Justin didn’t once mention *NSync in all his awards speeches — if he breaks up that band, I will never forgive him. They function best as a quintet, a little bit of everything. And Lance will never go solo, so I might never hear that fabulous bass voice again!

I was trying to study, talk to Greg, and watch at the same time, and then it was getting late, so I didn’t get to finish watching the show. However, MTV is the land of reruns, so I’ll probably run across it — pre-show and all — within the next week or so.

I got my math book today. Oh, the injustice. It’s so heavy. It won’t matter as much, soon, ’cause I’ll have a locker to shove it in. It’ll be murder on my back for the trip home, though. I know my Adkins book will get much wear from being carted back and forth, so there goes the good days last year when I didn’t have to take any books home. Sigh. I almost missed a discussion point, but I read that part of the book during RP, so I wasn’t totally lost. He hasn’t charged into the material; we only have four discussion points at a time, and he gave us four for the whole holiday weekend. He’d have been perfectly justified in giving us eight.

I got an 82 on the Pride and Prejudice test. I knew it was supposed to be objective, but whoa. There was some really insignificant, obscure stuff on that test. A lot of people got C’s, though, and I wasn’t far from there, so I can’t complain. I think I did worse on the Lord of the Flies test, though. There are so many boys, I started to forget who did what and who said what. As if starting off the English year with a heavy summer assignment, two tests, and a quiz wasn’t bad enough, I may not have up-to-par grades on them. Argh, man.

We had another storm tonight. That makes three in as many days. And they’re not baby storms, either; they’re the big kind with thunder that makes you jump and rain that’ll soak you in seconds.

Part of me wants to spend ages online, like I did at the beginning of the summer. The other part reminds me that I have work to do. It reminds me what a horrible mood I’m always in when I procrastinate. So I have to keep it short. But I miss my marathon sessions. The times when people would mouseover my AIM name and see “online time: 6 hours”. That’s the stuff strained eyes are made of. Also, yay for Greg not being able to make fun of me (as of tomorrow) when we go to R-rated movies (which has been a total of twice).

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Happy birthday, Alanna (if you even still read this)!

Calm down, Rajni. I’m reading. I learn visually, so I believe reading the textbook will help. For now, I’m just doing the best I can. Everything has been mentioned before, so it’s just a matter of digging back into my often-unreliable memory, adding that to what I’m learning now, and remembering it all come test time. And my lovely swarm of Adkins vets is always there to give me tips. :) As a side note: Can you imagine if I did a video of like, just me, and half a dozen of his former students? He’d be having serious deja vu.

We were almost on time this morning! So close! The bus was pulling up to the school entrance at 9:30 on the dot, but then there was a line of buses and cars waiting to get in, so we got held up for about five minutes. Better than usual, though. There were a lot of cars, I presume driven by seniors. (Grr…) When I get to drive to school, I’m coming early on purpose.

I finally met Ms. O’Neal this morning. Is it just me, or do she, Ms. Niebuhr, and Ms. Soraci look enough alike to get them confused? It’s like Mr. Single’s replacement, Mr. Bentley (like the car). The resemblance isn’t much, but still. We did SAT math practice. I swear, if I never hear those letters again, I’ll be quite happy.

It is wonderful to be able to sit through a lecture and not space out once. Especially when it’s a subject I don’t really like. Mr. Adkins is just like that. He teaches through the break between periods, but no one minds. And so far, he hasn’t plowed through the material like former students thought he might, now that he’s got double periods to work with. We watch videos. I’m waiting for this to get hopelessly difficult, as it’s only the first week of school, and there are many weeks ahead. I just want to take it one step at a time, to test the waters myself. I may need help though, but I know all you formers will help me if I ask.

I think the thing I like least about Ms. Sim is the way she talks. Her sentences are broken, which makes her harder to follow, but when I make an effort to listen and think about what she’s saying, I get it. I see what she’s trying to say. She’s a little too enthusiastic, I think, but at least she cares. So many teachers don’t.

Still no plans for Saturday. What is it with me? You’d think I’d have so many ideas, I’d have a hard time picking one. Instead, I have nothing. As is the norm. Argh. It would just be altogether depressing to do nothing, you know?

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Mykella: Yep. It says so in the application fine print, and in the application itself. You really can learn stuff from the type you need a magnifying glass to read. :)

I got to school almost on time this morning. If they’d just change my bus time back to 8:30am, like it was, I’d be fine. At this point, I’d settle for 8:45. At least we’d be on time.

Ms. O’Neal’s sub had pre-tests in PreCal this morning. It was just algebra, though. All stuff I can pretty much still do. I’ve forgotten how to divide polynomials, it seems. I think you’re supposed to factor them first, but those trinomials did not want to be factored. I just moved on. I didn’t quite finish, but in my defense, I got started late.

I’ve given up complaining that I could (or should) be in a higher-level math class. Dr. Wheatley’s placement for me sophomore year resulted in me not having to give up lunch this year. Had I done what I wanted, I’d be in AP Calc this year. I am not a pleasant person when I don’t get to eat. If some teacher needs a hand fourth period — and will let me eat — I’m all for it, but for now, I’m good. It’s good for my sanity to have a break, anyway.

I forget if I mentioned it yesterday, but I found a mentor. She’s an organic chemist at PG Community College, which will fit beautifully with my project. I added that to my RP cover sheet this morning, with a note that I only found her yesterday, so that’s not part of the paper.

I won’t know how I’m handling Adkins until we have a test. He gave his first lecture today. I’d heard from Rajni that it’s important to listen more in class than to read, so I intentionally paid more attention to him that I might have otherwise. It’s usually easy for me to tune out history lectures. If it’s not medieval, I’m not interested. But I don’t think I spaced out once today. He went off on this long spiel about the Spanish monarchs fighting the Moors, and I was thinking, “Okay… I know there’s a point here somewhere…,” because it doesn’t feel like note-taking if I don’t write something, but he cut it off eventually. My outlook so far is positive.

Nothing big in English today. Ms. Sim put two and two together, so now she’s picking on Thomas (“Alanna’s young man”) as much as she does Greg and me. The Pride and Prejudice test wasn’t bad. There were a few questions that confused me, especially in the “identify the speaker of this quote” part. Until I reviewed last night, I’d totally forgotten who Mrs. Phillips was. I guess she didn’t contribute as much to the drama of the story. Also, I hate it when the last few multiple-choice options are combos, like “A and C” or “none of the above”. That just makes it seem like she ran out of specific questions to ask or fake answers to write. That bothers me. Takiyah switched out, so now I have an actual desk (behind Sarah). What a relief.

It’s Ac was okay. Some days I play really well, and some days I suck. Today resembled the latter. I’m still warming up, though, and even on my good days, I’m not that great.

I still don’t know what I want to do on Saturday. That’s a perpetual problem. I want to do something interesting, but I don’t know what. Why am I so indecisive?

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The bus came around 9:15 this morning. That made me five minutes or so earlier to school today than I was yesterday, but still late. I hear that Ms. O’Neal is a stickler for tardiness, but she won’t be in until later in the week, and it’s honestly not my fault. It is my fault that I have to take the bus in the first place, but that’s beside the point. (To stay beside the point, when my parents and I mention the bus’s lateness, they don’t hesitate to remind me that I shouldn’t have to take the bus at all. I could have my license by now. I know that. I hate that. I truly hate it, and I don’t hate much. It does not make me feel better to have that fact pounded into my head at every available second. It makes me feel worse. Lazy. Ignorant, even, but not much.)

Hope will be leaving lunch to aide Dr. J soon, so I’ll be left with only Jarred to talk to at lunch. No offense to him, but I really don’t think that’s going to work. It just… won’t. Okay, so I don’t want to let it. But still. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to be able to handle Adkins. His class will challenge me, especially since I have this thing about forgetting dates and having a bad memory. Yeah. That’s been getting better lately. Omg, I was talking to Stephanie on the bus home, and she was trying to remember the Columbus rhyme, but she said 1782 instead of 1492. I guess the rhyme only works if you know; you can’t just pick a year ending in a two so it rhymes with “blue”.

Oh, Ms. Sim. I still feel so wronged for being put seated at the front table, but I understand that she had to do it. The class is too full. She keeps mentioning that she’s used to small classes, but the fact is that we probably won’t get any smaller, and she has to live with that. I firmly believe in giving people second chances, so I didn’t say a word about how she offended Greg and me yesterday. She didn’t do it again. Though, she did call April “relatively bright”, which I would take as an insult, and pick on Ian for being the sarcastic biting cynic that he is. Despite his unfavorable personality traits, he’s an okay guy. I can get along with him; I have to for It’s Ac, and for my own sanity. I also have that handy capability of being able to throw almost-insults right back at him. Like last year, when we met with Ms. Anderson for It’s Ac after school, we were waiting to start, and someone (maybe Greg) mentioned me being a stalker. I was like, “Well, yeah, but I don’t know where Ian lives. That makes it kinda hard.” He laughed. I find more cynical guys appreciate running into a girl that can, more or less, play the same game.

The buses left school late again today. No earlier than 4:30. Had we left on time, we might have avoided the storm entirely. We were coming down Allentown Way onto Old Branch Ave., and we noticed that it was getting really dark and windy. We panicked and put up all the windows on the bus. Just as Megan and Stephanie got off at their stop, it started pouring. I had my umbrella, so my hair and books stayed mostly dry, but my clothes were soaked. And to think, just this morning, I was telling the rugrats that “I don’t have to change clothes when I get home.” (They wear uniforms.) I hate it when things come back like that.

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I survived my last first day of school. (In college, it will be the first day of “class.”) It didn’t start out too well. I was running a bit late getting ready. Then, my bus didn’t show until 9:20. It’s supposed to be here at 8:55, which is late anyway, because we’ll get to school at 9:20, which leaves me ten minutes leeway on a perfect day. And I didn’t get to see Greg until the end of the day.

My schedule turned out fine. I’ve never had to get a schedule change, so this wouldn’t have been a good time to start.

First Period: Pre-Calculus BC, O’Neal I was late. It didn’t matter. My teacher is out for a while (I think our sort-of sub said her father-in-law died), so I won’t get to decide about her for a while. I talked to Jarred and his friend, Tyrell. And briefly to Vicki. I totally forgot that advanced sophomores take PreCal.

Second Period: RP Biology, Comerford Ms. Comerford seems rather uptight. And not to sound rude, but there has to be a reason she wears that glove. I’m curious as to why. I only got RP Bio because I have to have it second period, but my RP project isn’t engineering, so I guess that works out. Speaking of which, I finally got a positive response from a potential mentor. An organist chemist, which is right along the lines of my project. Yay. The class seems like it’ll be ludicrously easy.

Third Period: Geology, Witko I didn’t know Mr. Witko was diabetic. That reminded me of my grandma. I miss her. From what I hear, this won’t be a hard class, either. Our in-class assignment was to find classmates with different characteristics: long hair, oldest, freckles, walks to school, takes music lessons, etc. I think we screwed it up a little, but hey. It’s the first day.

Fourth Period: Lunch Not bad. I sat with Hope, Jarred, and some other guy who I was introduced to but whose name I can’t remember. There are a lot of people there, but it’s not packed. And I think it’s a better time of day. I’m hungry, but not too much, and I don’t get hungry before the end of the day like I used to. At least, not so far.

Fifth/Sixth Period: AP US History, Adkins The ominous Mr. Adkins. Everything I’ve heard is true. Tears came out of my eyes once when I laughed. Just thinking about that story he told is making me laugh now. The course enrollment dropped like mad: 100+ to 45. Two double-period sections. He has good feelings about the double-period thing, as do I. Somehow, I’m not afraid that he’ll charge forward and leave everyone in his wake. We still have to know the material. Hopefully longer classes (and knowing tons of Adkins veterans!) will help me out in May. … Which is when we’ll get out of school… ’cause we’re seniors!!!

Seventh/Eighth Period: AP English Literature, Sim This was nice. Ms. Sim is a little eccentric, but I like her. And she seems to like me, without having had me as a student. Hell, she lent me her Shopaholic books last year — and offered to lend them to me again to finish. How blatantly nice is that? She seemed pleased with my summer reading notes. This one’s a really big class; so big that I, being the last person alphabetically, have been banished to the front table. That’s my seat for now. I really hope I get to move; I feel so conspicuous and paranoid up there. I also thought it was very rude when she called out Greg and me, our relationship, and his being “in love.” Yes, we’re a couple. Yes, everyone who care to know knows. No, we do not want to be called out on it. It would do well for her to respect that. No one’s going to ask publicly if she’s married, and if she isn’t, why not. Just because we’re students doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to respect us.

The new gym looks incredible. The walls are gorgeous, the entry doors are shiny and new, the windows are almost sparkly. And they replaced and widened the sidewalks. The only problem is that we still have the same run-down school. It looks worse now with the beautiful (not yet open) gym next to it. I heard they were adding more temporaries, but all my classes are inside this year, so I don’t know. (Cool, my umbrella will get much less wear and tear this year.)

Over two hundred freshmen are repeating this year. Two hundred. That’s ludicrous. (My word du jour. That and “ostentatious”.) Most of them are on the five-year plan because they didn’t go to class. What is wrong with them? I suppose most of them only attend school because they’re required by law, and if they don’t feel like going to class, they don’t. It’s sad, really. I know everyone deserves a chance at an education, especially since in this country, it’s free, but if we sifted out the apathetic, I truly believe there’d be fewer truancy problems.

I went through my enormous stack of college mail this afternoon. (I am such a pack rat sometimes.) I kept only a few interesting brochures, and all the applications (the important thing). I was inspired to do this weeding-out when I got applications today for College Park and UMBC, both of which I will keep. A pleasant surprise is that my fees will be waived for those schools because I am a Maryland Distinguished Scholar Honorable Mention recipient. Yes, as Mykella once put it, that’s a fancy way of saying I lost, but if it saves me fifty to one hundred dollars, I’m good.

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