Thursday, August 30, 2012

I will not shut up.

My mother keeps telling me not to argue with people I disagree with on the internet. She seems to think that I'm going to  get tracked down, or that it's not worth doing, or that they're not going to listen. And I just think, well, if nobody debated these things or was corrected IN A RESPECTFUL WAY (which I try to do, always, except with the douche on youtube who seems to think that it's okay to take my reasoning regarding spoilers on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (they're there, you can't do anything, it's unfortunate for some) is applicable to murder. Also that my grammar is terrible. I may not have impeccable grammar 24/7, but my grammar is great, and I don't think it's self centered to think that at all. Plus the grammar they called me out on was something you'd only worry about in an email to the queen or some shit, and they kept misspelling basic words like officer and they kept trying to make me feel like some floundering idiot. Fucking douche-nozzle. They deserve that name, trust me).
Anyway, I feel like if I don't challenge people, they may never look outside of their own point of view. And yes I'm aware that I need to do that sometimes, but I prefer it from literate people who put thought into their answers, not trolls on youtube with replies I can't even read. And when people are deliberately wrong (NOT THE CASE WITH MY LAST POST. That was just me trying to explain why I'm an atheist) I feel like I have to correct them. Of course some people don't want to hear it, like the people who think aspartame destroys your DNA (if it did, I'd be dead, and I'm not, and I ingest plenty of aspartame, so clearly that has no basis in fact. Either that or I'm magical, which would be pretty awesome). But my mom seems to think it's a worthless pursuit that's going to get me into trouble.
To which I reply:
I will not shut up. I will continually try to debate people, to try and get them to debate me. I will continually try to get people to be more open-minded, and will try and listen to what others have to say. The internet is an awesome tool for communication, and I intend to try and use it for that.
yer pal,
swegan :)

Another reason I'm an atheist.

Think about the development of a person. No, not physical, and I'm not getting into some evolution-y thing here. Just, you as a person. Do you have the same preferences and tastes you did five years ago? Ten years ago? Do you have the same goals? Probably not- I know I don't, and I consider myself normal. Ten years ago I was six and thought that by this age I'd be super-cool, like the teenagers on TV, and have a cell phone and a boyfriend and lots of friends that I called on the phone all the time. I also thought I'd be able to swim underwater by the time I was ten. That didn't happen until I was about twelve, and by the time I got to being fifteen, I realized that while yes, having a boyfriend and a cell phone can be nice, sometimes boyfriends act shitty and cell phones are distracting. Then I turned sixteen and suddenly realized there are no teenagers on TV, just kids and people who are older than 20. Teenagers actually don't exist on TV, at all, and if they do, they're never sixteen. They might be twelve, or eighteen, but never the middle.

What I`m getting at is that I've changed. I'm not the same person, and it would really have sucked if I'd had to set all my goals and personality traits when I was six because I'd be severely unhappy with them now. You have to accept that you change and grow and that what you think is true about yourself at one point maybe isn't true later, but that's exciting! You're learning more about yourself! (And yes, it's important to think about others too, but that's not the point I'm getting at so hush).

That's why I like science. If a new belief comes along to challenge our current understanding, science says (and has always said): "Really? What's your proof, can you explain that to me?" and if it turns out the other belief is right, science says: "Oh, wow, that's so cool! I'm so glad I understand better now, thank you! The universe makes more sense!" and if it turns out the other belief is wrong, science says: "Oh well, you tried, keep trying. Maybe you were close to something, maybe you just made a little error." But if a new belief comes along to challenge religion, religion used to say (and be able to say): "What are you talking about? That's not what's written here, so it must be wrong, because this was written a long time ago and it was also written first, so shut up, you're obviously wrong." If the belief is right, religion used to hide it and cover it up, burn the heretic, all that. If it was wrong, religion still burned the heretic.

What I'm getting at now, with that slightly dramatized and over-exaggerated last point there, is that science is accepting of new ideas, of change, because it just means a better understanding. Science hopes people will correct it; it thrives on new ideas, new understandings. Religion is completely written in stone and you can't change it at all.

People are not written in stone and unable to change. People can change. Science changes, it changes all the time. Religion does not. Personal opinion time: it was invented a long time ago when people couldn't explain the world as the first explanation of how things worked, but rather than accept that they might be wrong, the people who came up with the theory stuck to it and got enough power to keep it strong and silence all those who disagreed with them or suggested changes. Thus religion is a several-thousand-year old idea, and a thousand years ago, we really didn't know that much. So why would I trust something from several thousand years ago to explain the world today? That to me just doesn't make logical sense.

Therefore science is more like people than religion, and I am a person. Science seems more reasonable to me for the (slightly selfish) reason that it's similar to me. Science changes, I change.

And I know, someone will find something legitimately wrong in this. Please do, I want to make my argument stronger; also, I do love a good internet-argument with someone, provided they are respectful. If you respect me, I will do likewise. If you personally attack me, I will probably do likewise for a little while and then stop. However, your argument must be based on sound logic and evidence and yadda yadda yadda, not "science doesn't explain everything" and "but old people are wise so why shouldn't something that's old be wise?". If you try and argue that, then you missed my point.

TO SUM UP MY POINT: I agree with eternal questioning of accepted beliefs and knowledge, not eternal acceptance of accepted beliefs and knowledge in addition to the eternal shunning of any different beliefs.

yer pal,
swegan :)

A Basic Knowledge of Everything.

School exists to educate us. Imagine that!

I mean, you have to have an educated society, and the easiest way to do that is to have a system in place to educate people. It is easiest for people to learn when their brains are developing-namely, childhood.
You need an educated society because an educated society works better. An educated society understands more, invents more, fixes more, helps more.
The reason we learn so much of everything, I'm thinking, is so that you can get an idea of where your interests are while still having a reasonable education in other areas. For example, I have discovered in high school that I really like science- not physics, though it's interesting, but more chemistry and biology. I have also known all my life that I like English- I love to read and write. But if you just let me study what I wanted, I would be a total idiot in the areas of math and history (and as we know, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, or something along those lines). While I may never use calculus again, I found it fun. While someone else might hate math all the years they take it, at least you took it, at least now you know your way around an equation a little bit better, at least you understand at least a little bit how numbers work. At least now I know more about how the world today came to be how it is because I've taken history, at least now I know who all these famous historical people are (people like Napoleon Bonaparte and John Locke), and the contributions they made to history.
And the thing is, people might take an interest in different things, but you don't know what they are, so my opinion is that the education system tries to be vague. We learn so many different things that one of them is bound to catch our interest and perhaps we'll make an advancement in that field later in our life. Maybe the kid sitting next to me will develop a way to live on the moon, or build a better rocket, in which case it's a good thing we had a physics class for them to take. Maybe the kid behind me will discover some new piece of history or a new way of looking at it, one that drastically alters the view of the time, in which case it's a good thing we had a history class for them to take, and an English class to communicate it. Maybe the kid in the back corner will be a garbage truck driver, in which case it's a good thing that he at least has some basic knowledge.
Isn't it better to have a society full of citizens who have a basic knowledge of everything?

Then again, I'm assuming other people enjoy learning. This is not always the case. But I think that's another thing about school- it tries to teach us to like learning, or at least, how to learn. We learn critical thinking skills, we learn analysis skills, we learn how to learn. We learn how to study, how to present our knowledge, how to research, how to play sports at a basic level (or a more advanced one, if you choose to join a team or club). School is awesome because it's the opportunity to get a basic knowledge of everything.

Then, if you're like me, you pick the one area in all that basic knowledge that you like and continue on in it (hopefully dabbling and learning in other areas that interested you less, but that you still liked learning about), continuing to narrow it down until you've got one thing you do, and then you try and find a way to get paid for that.

But without that basic knowledge of everything, I really wouldn't be able to decide what I liked learning about the best. I choose science, because I want to be a scientist and an astronaut (though the latter dream seems farther and farther away every day... I don't want to learn to speak Russian for nothing. Perhaps I could go to Russia for a trip or something?) just because that honestly sounds like fun. I like English, but I don't think I can make a stable career out of writing novels, I hate journalism, and I don't want to be a professor of writing or literature. To be honest with you my World Literature IB class sounds like a big pile of awful, and I don't want to write another IA. But I will, because it adds to my nice little repertoire of A Basic Knowledge of Everything. Maybe I'll drop IB History, maybe I won't. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

The only problem with this idea of an education system that I have is in the country due south of mine, the education system for the general public is quite a sad excuse for a public education system. I've seen examples of people who lack knowledge of what seem like basic things to me, such as:
-what a vowel is
-who Neil Armstrong is
-what the Titanic was
-how to spell
-basic grammar skills
And I've seen kids in my school like this too, don't get me wrong.

I'm sure the parents have something to do with it also; I come from the home of two university graduates who have always instilled in me that it is important to be smart and knowledgeable because the world needs people like that, because it's fun to learn and read, and because it's better to be that than dumb. I have grown up in a house full of books and my parents constantly being able to answer all my questions, be they in math, science, history, english, or otherwise (that is, until I got to grade 12 math and my parents couldn't remember it). They have also challenged me to think for myself- for example, whenever I pose a math question to my dad (something basic and having to do not with math, as in not from my textbook), he helps me through it or tells me to do it myself instead of just answering me. And he could-- my dad is one of those people who's just good at basic mental math stuff.
Then I think, some of these kids come from homes where the parents maybe aren't educated, or don't care about their kids, or tell them that different things are more important (like connections or looks) than knowledge. Maybe their parents tell them god has all the answers (quite different, in my opinion, from believing in a god and praying to that god when you're in need of help or comfort, and going to church once a week or whatever) and that everything and everyone else is wrong. Maybe their parents have dead-end jobs of minimum wage and have instilled it into their kids that they'll never do any better.

That's why education is so important- if I ever have kids, they're far less likely to grow up and lack basic skills and knowledge, just because I have those basic skills and knowledge and thus am also likely to have children with someone similar. Education spreads, and when parents are educated, I think it gives the kids a better chance.

Don't get me wrong, none of this is absolute. some kids grow up in great homes and don't ever work and turn out to be nothings, some kids come from terrible homes and grow up to be brilliant. Some kids try to absorb their education, but there isn't enough of it there, or it's too challenging, or not challenging enough. But I think my observations are fairly true in many cases. Not always in all- fairly in many.

So, that's my little school rant. Yes I hate doing homework, yes I hate not being able to get enough sleep because of it, yes I really don't like learning about some of the things we learn about, yes there are still questions my parents can't answer. I'm not some kid who just loooves school. I'm just some kid who sees the value in it, even if it does suck a lot sometimes. Education is what will get you ahead in the world- not only is it personally satisfying to be knowledgeable, it also opens up many more doors and increases the chances that you'll contribute something great to the world, be it a medicine, a play, a new law, or a computer program. But those chances increase so much with a lovely and sometimes a pain-in-the-ass-to-obtain Basic Knowledge of Everything.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What the eff just happened?

Random number calls. caller ID is some random string of letters and numbers. And look, it's a hotel company, saying we've stayed with them frequently in the past and have earned a free 9-day vacation.

What?

so I listened to this guy tell us about where we'd be going and etc etc etc and the "catch" which was that we had to book cars through them or something, and then he handed me off to some other guy, who admitted that of course I must not think this was legitimate and that of course I must have doubts... then, Freckles, who had been filling dad in via my phone, told me that he had said to tell them no thanks and hang up. So I told him actually, I just got word from my parents and we're not interested, and then he started talking more about how we might not think it's legit, and then I was looking for an excuse, a reason we had to hang up, and then Freckles was like "just hang up, come on, just hang up!" and so eventually I just put the phone down. I felt really rude about it- because he was mid-sentence. I'd hate someone if they hung up on me mid-sentence.

And so now, I'm just like... was that a scam artist, or the actual company? And why would they call using the phone, surely they've heard about scam artists and telemarketers and stuff. Why not just send a letter or some shit? Why not put this in the mail? Or email? Honestly, if it'd come in the mail I'd be more likely to believe them.

Either way, I'm pretty sure my hangup just canceled the deal. Probably for the best, seeing as the places he told us we were going weren't places I had really desperately wanted to visit ever at all. Nothing sketchy, just a personal thing.

But okay, that was weird. And he knew where we lived and asked if we'd been to hawaii and the bahamas and where we were going on trips in the future. I was like "I'm not exactly comfortable telling you that..." and then five seconds later I hung up.

What the f**k just happened to me?

yer pal,
swegan :/

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Superheroes.

I keep watching this video because it's awesome. And every time I get strangely depressed, it lifts my spirits a little.

And I've been thinking. Yes, there's only one female avenger at the moment, and it's true that there aren't a lot of super-popular female superheroes, but, well, watching Iron Man kind of makes me want to learn more computer-y stuff. I know it wouldn't be anything at all like that but it'd be cool to know those things. Or maybe I could be an engineer and build myself a flying suit. IN REAL LIFE.

Or maybe I just like Iron Man because a) the symbol for Iron is "Fe" and a man is a male, therefore a synonym is "Fe male", which is strangely awesome, and 2) out of all the superheroes, that one seems the most plausible. I mean, sure, you could become a super assassin like Hawkeye (whom I still have a massive, fangirl-esque crush on) or Black Widow (who is awesome because she kicks ass), but we all know that the ideas of Thor and Captain America and especially the Hulk are so made up, they could never actually happen in real life (though I suppose if you worked out enough you could kind of pull off the Cap thing) (I say "especially the Hulk" because exposure to gamma radiation would kill you, not turn you into a super-strong-enormous-green-superhero-type-person). I know that obviously the whole arc reactor thing is probably not possible, but still... you could reasonably build a flying suit (maybe not one that looks as cool until far into the future, but you get the idea). Or at least a suit of iron... or a gold-titanium alloy, whatever you want. Though "Gold-Titanium Alloy Man" doesn't have the same ring as "Iron Man".

One last thing- Iron Man wouldn't be able to do shit if it wasn't for Pepper handling all the little things, because if she wasn't there he'd be running around dealing with all the things she does and probably doing a very poor job. Therefore, I view her as probably one of the main reasons that Iron Man exists. And I do so because THERE'S SO FEW FEMALE SUPERHEROES, so we have to find girls that are awesome and necessary to the plot somewhere. Without Pepper, Iron Man wouldn't have enough time to be nearly as cool. IMO she makes the cool possible.

yer (still superhero-obsessed pal who is probably now going to watch Iron Man 2 for the eighth time this summer or something) pal,
swegan :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Goddamn frogs and the trouble with being the big sister.

My sister is sleeping in my room tonight. Fucking hell.

We all know how I like to stay up until about 3 AM, and Freckles is not that sort of person at all.

Ten minutes ago, I heard her freak out. Then, she comes into my room, says "there's a frog in my room, and it just landed on my shoulder!" and of course she's too fucking chicken to deal with it. Not that I was particularly eager to deal with a frog at 1:30 AM either. My parents were like "well we're not getting out of bed to deal with a frog now, Freckles, so just close the door" but of course that won't work, the frog will just go under the door. And we don't want to kill it, just want to put it outside.
So when it hops out from its nice little hiding place under her sidetable, I tell her to run and get a bowl. She comes back with a glass bowl- we have laminate floors. So I say, "no, I meant like a plastic bowl" so that we won't have to deal with broken glass on top of a frog in the cabin. Once I get the bowl over the frog, I realize I need to move it. So, put something under the bowl! But a piece of paper isn't sturdy enough and I don't want to get a book dirty. So I use a piece of construction paper from Freckles' craft closet and slide it under the bowl, making sure not to hurt the frog (he was quite willing to comply at this point). Then, once I got him on the paper, I grabbed one of those wire-bound Klutz craft books from her closet and got the frog onto the cardboard backing by sliding the paper on. I then picked up the book and held the bowl on top, turned on the lights outside, carried him a good distance away from the cabin, and lifted up the bowl. Away he hopped.

And then now Freckles comes into my room and is like "can i sleep in your room?" which just pisses me off. Nighttime is my alone time and now that's gone, so fuck that. Though I did inform her that I will be staying up as late as I'll be staying up, meaning "if you want peace and quiet you can go back to your room because I got rid of the fucking frog". I'm not altering my schedule for her. Unfortunately, she said that's fine. Fuck!

I know it's selfish or whatever but really nighttime is the only time I can justify spending hours on my computer. And with Freckles here, that's not justified, because now I am not alone.

I just want to be alone for fucks' sake, in my room, in my bed.

Sometimes I hate being a big sister because Freckles plays the role of baby sister to a T. If this frog had been a spider or a moth, she'd still be in here. I can't play the scaredy-cat role because there's not an older sibling at home to help me out.

I could have said no, but she probably would have cried, appealed to mom and dad, and then I'd just be in more trouble. But, like I said, the one thing I can do is not treat her like a guest. If you're going to be in here, the light's going to be on until 3, and I'm going to by typing, which isn't quiet. No complaining about farts. You don't like it, go sleep in your own bed.

Sadly I'm now paranoid she's reading over my shoulder even though she's probably just waiting for her friends to like her pics of the frog on Instagram. But the paranoia's there.

I suppose I could go sleep in her room, but that just... no. She's the one who's scared of the frog, not me. I'm not budging.

I just want to be left the fuck alone for a few hours, is that too much to ask?

ARGH.

yer extremely disappointed and frustrated pal,
swegan :(

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things I think about... (This is rambles).

Well, for one thing, the ads that coated the internet in a layer of grime and pandering yesterday are gone, thank goodness. Also I'm pretty sure I have a new follower- Amy Pike- so, hello. I'm not sure what brought you here, but whatever it is, glad to have you on board.
Another thing- we're at the cabin and we have some friends from Saskatchewan out, and they have two daughters. One a couple years younger than Freckles, one a couple years younger than me (so about a year or so older than Freckles) (just in case the nicknames were getting confusing and I often wonder if they are, Freckles is my little sister, nicknamed thus because she has plenty of freckles). The older one, whose nickname will be "Ludo" since that's Latin for "sport" according to Google translate and she's quite athletic, stayed up with Freckles and I on the couch in the living room and we talked from ten, when everyone else went to bed, until about an hour ago. It was really fun- I always love long conversations that drift from topic to topic. We went from driving, to high school, to people, to boys, to crazy dreams... it was fun. Anyway, I don't remember why I typed all that now, but I think the point was that at one point my sister happened to mention how Celery (the person (nicknamed), not the food) totally looks like Robert Pattison. Which, of course, is odd, considering that Celery is black (and in my opinion, very good looking). And I know I've said that here before but now I'm thinking about it again.
I'm sure the story's not that exciting- we were friends when we were little kids in Montessori preschool together (our parents all knew each other from there, I think) and so the last time I saw him, I was ten. And he has three younger brothers, the youngest of which was a baby the last time I saw him. Then we had them out at our cabin two years ago, and HOLY CRAP GUYS CELERY GOT TALL, and his littlest brother was walking and talking and that was just... it was a shock, after remembering him as a little baby. Anyway, Celery earned his nickname because at the time of this I was finishing Camp Lame-o and at the fire one night I think I randomly asked how fire-roasted celery would taste (a prank from the novel that I never tested the validity of, but assumed was awful). Later, somehow Celery informed me that he (and probably his brothers) had tried the celery the way I'd described, and that it tasted pretty awful. Or maybe his brothers tried it and it was awful. I don't even remember. Either way, I appreciated the gesture, however odd. The last time I saw him was this past winter; his parents had some sort of party and we were invited, except mom was out of town and we ended up leaving early. I distinctly remember Celery coming upstairs to say bye and all that (like his parents were doing) and to this day it bothers me that I have no idea if he just did that for everyone or not, because we were the first to go.
Obviously this isn't really that pressing of an issue, but when you're living in a first-world country and on vacation, you let your brain drift to trivial matters. Like, for example, how particularly embarrassing your father has been lately, especially when he embarrassed you at the dinner table a few nights ago (thankfully, not in the presence of anyone beyond immediate family) by asking if you were going to wait until the kid at the cabin next door who's maybe eleven and who you once commented had a likeness to a certain actor you have a bit of a crush on grew up and looked like that actor, so you could date them or whatever. Seriously, dad? That's almost worse than when he stated (quite falsely) to the dinner table that included my grandparents and brother that I "totally loved Justin Beiber". Urgh.

I'll probably end up telling Fex about the kid next door. I told her about Celery once. I'd probably date Celery, if I got to see him more than once every year or six, and he was actually interested in me. As it is, having any sort of a crush on Celery is sort of like having a celebrity crush on someone who isn't a celebrity: never going to happen because you never get to see that person, aside from the occasional occasion (in the celebrity case, perhaps a movie they're in. In the Celery case, because our families don't get together often).

The only downside to my little crush? Celery's family is totally religious. Then again, so is about 99% of the population of the city I live in, so I really can't say I'm surprised. Not that religious people are bad, or anything, but... I'd just prefer someone who has similar beliefs on the subject to me (as in, who thinks religion is a total crockpot of lies made up by people who couldn't understand the world a zillion years ago that has never been proven and has consistently oppressed people for being different in the past, and still to this day. Someone who is a devout atheist, ha ha ha).

yer pal,
swegan

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EFF YOU INTERNET

FUCKING PORN OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL.

Stupid stats! I keep wanting to know where my pageviews come from and it's definitely a site that's COVERED in penises. Good fucking god what the hell did I just not try to see.
One thing's for sure, if I don't recognize the link that's supposedly directing traffic here, I ain't clicking on it again.

Fuck sometimes I hate the internet.

This scares me.

Okay. Let's look at all the reasons the French people had to revolt in 1789:
-Corrupt government that wasted a lot of money
-HUGE DEBTS
-in addition to said debts, fighting wars they couldn't afford
-Church tax exempt
-nobility tax exempt
-people mostly poor and starving
-little respect for women (though that was probably one of the lesser motivators based on the context of the time)
-people were largely uneducated
-nothing much was done to fix the financial mess
-shitty weather
-highly influential to the rest of the world (which at that time was considered to be just Europe) and still seen as a great power

Now tell me one of those isn't present in some modern-day way in the US. Right now. Right this minute.

What did the French people do? They revolted, which led to the Terror, then Napoleon, then another king. They made the same mistakes over and over again and that is why History was so frustrating to learn this semester. Lots of people died. There were radical changes. Countries everywhere (aside from North America, anyway) were affected severely.

So, the questions I pose today are:
What are the people of the US going to do?
How is it going to affect Canada?
How is it going to affect the rest of the world (particularly the economy)?
Are they going to keep going?
Are they going to rise up all at once?
Are they going to be like the French, and repeatedly make the same mistakes?
What other world power will rise up to take their place? China? Japan?

And this, my friends, is why sometimes the idea of the future scares the shit out of me.

yer pal,
swegan.h

What the F happened to the internet while I was away?

I'm not able to access a computer for four days and when I come back there's ads being displayed at the top of my blog and that stupid "text enhance" thing over random words? What the hell happened here? As if there wasn't enough advertising around already?

Thankfully the four days were awesome. We did some back-to-school shopping in the states (because everything's cheaper and there's more selection, which is great when you're as tiny as I am and have to look for XS in everything) AND I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THE BOURNE LEGACY. Well, most of it. I didn't get the chance to pee beforehand because someone was taking their sweet time getting ready to go and so we had ten minutes to get to the theatre and buy tickets and so I ducked out with my mother (who didn't want to let me leave the theatre alone in a foreign country) after that long-ass motorcycle chase scene and missed the last minute or so (dad filled us in later). If I'd known they spent so long on those stupid motorcycles I would've gone to the bathroom then. I would not have missed much.
However it was a great movie and I actually understood what was going on (a rarity for me with action movies). Of course later my dad bugged me about Jeremy Renner again but I'm getting used to that by now (it's better to be teased about an actor I actually like as opposed to someone I don't like, like Justin Beiber (although I'd rather he bugged me about Michael Buble)).
A couple of nights later, dad found the first Iron Man movie on TV (my family's seen the second, because it's on Canadian Netflix, but not the first, because for some reason it isn't on Canadian Netflix, which is yet another reason why Canadian Netflix SUCKS) and we watched the last half of it. But then the channel just played the same movie again! It was awesome! So now I have seen both Iron Man movies (and I do love them. I love the idea of engineering, designing, and building my own flying suit of armor with lots of bells and whistles), and the second one makes a lot more sense.
 I also got a new book, which of course I finished already. My dad also bought physics-related books, so at the moment, I'm reading "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard Feynman, and "On Writing" by Stephen King. I never read books this serious. What is happening to me?
But seriously, they're really good.
There was also this amazing restaurant in the hotel we stayed in that had seriously amazing and delicious food. And they didn't give you big heaping servings, either... oh, man, to be able to eat like that every day. Seriously some of the best food I've ever had in my life, so that was great.
Oh yeah, and there were occupy protesters outside of the mall we were at one day! (Albeit, there were like four of them and they were gone the next morning, their chalk drawings completely gone) I just found it exciting, because it's sort of hard to believe people do things like that until you see it for yourself. Anywhoo, they were claiming that the states was "in a state of martial law" and "a police state". I was like, I don't think so. You think you'd be allowed to do this in North Korea? That's a police state. And the definition of martial law is that the army has direct control over everything. That is definitely not true in the US. It was true during the Pan-Slav congress in Prague in 1848, that the hated prince Windershgratz (you never forget a name like that) enforced martial law to supress the slavs who so badly wanted a voice, just a little autonomy. It is not true today. From my point of view, yes you have been treated like shit, but you can either sit around and complain about it or you can get a job and complain about it occasionally. I know finding a job in America is hard right now but drawing on the sidewalk with chalk isn't making it any easier.

Anyway, just thought I'd post an update. Also say: I'm soooooo freakin' glad I live here, and NOT in the states. It is so much more secular in Canada, so much less discriminatory, so much... politer. Being in the states still scares me just a little. People just... I heard more people shouting on the streets there than I ever do in say, Calgary, or Edmonton.

AWESOME MOMENT OF THE DAY: We were driving back to the border. We are on I-90. We pass a car, it's on the right hand side, and I'm staring out the back right window. The girl staring out of the back left window of the passing car looks at me and sticks her tongue out. I stick mine out back, and the last image I get of her is her excitedly gesturing to her brother that I responded. When else do you get to have that much fun with a stranger in just 5 seconds in two separate cars? It was awesome.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oh and I have to brag-

I got three clean RNA samples from frozen rat brains on the first try. AWWWW YEAH!

yer pal,
swegan :)

P.S. have you ever tried pipetting 0.1 microlitres of rat brain RNA mixed into water onto a tiny metal protrusion on a fancy something-chromo-meter hooked up to a computer? It's really hard. 0.1 microlitres is not a lot of fluid AT ALL. It's like a tenth of an average drop of water, if even that.

Those things you just can't know...

until you've had that one experience. Novel-writing edition.
Until you have written one novel (it does not have to be good, it can be utter bullshit), you don't know what it's like to write a novel. You don't know what it's like to watch your characters take off. You don't know what it's like to realize that the plot you initially had planned out isn't quite how the story happened. You don't know what it's like to hate your characters and love them all at the same time. You don't know what it's like to get a a plot hole- the utter disappointment. You don't know how lazy you feel because you don't want to go back and fix the plot hole because it's just too much thinking. You don't know the joy of finally finishing after writing for a couple of years, on and off. You don't know what it's like to be able to read your own work later on, a few months after you've finished. You don't know what it's like to have people constantly asking to read it. You don't know what it's like for them not to understand what you mean when you say "It's not finished" even when you've finished writing the first draft. You don't know what it's like to wish your characters were real people at times because you want to be able to be friends with them and have your friends really meet them.
In my case, I'm defensive of my characters, like a helicopter parents, only I'm a helicopter author. This has to do mainly with the realm of fan fiction. DON'T FUCKING USE MY CHARACTERS IN FAN FICTION.  They are not yours and they don't need to be abused like that, although chances are the way you'll write them will cause a new character, one that is very similar to one of  mine but not quite the same, because no one will ever quite understand my characters the way I do. We've been through novels together, pages and pages of dialogue and describing actions. Even after reading my writing, you won't know them on the level I do. I know that sounds self-centered and frankly, just mean and a horrible thing to say, but it's true and you're just going to have to deal with it.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Documentary time!

So yes, I spend a lot of time on the computer. A good chunk of it is wasted and useless. But some of it really inspires me, like the documentary about space I watched on youtube, or the NaNoWriMo site, or the documentary I just watched, called Miss Representation. It focuses on how girls and women are portrayed so negatively by the media and how that affects everyday girls and women. And it was wonderful and brilliant and amazing.
I'm just glad that growing up my parents would always compliment me on my accomplishments (and occasionally, my appearance) like piano and spelling and school and dance. I grew up with a lot of "this is a great story, honey!" and "your piano is sounding so good now!" and "good job on that last spelling test!" and "you danced that wonderfully", even if I probably did a less than stellar job. I get complimented on my playing the piano every time I sit down and do it, even if I make a million mistakes. I get congratulated on doing piano exams and full IB. I got congratulated on winning medals in dance competitions.
I guess that's why it's important for kids to get involved in things. I was only involved in two extra curriculars, and for awhile, not very heavily. And look, I turned out alright, because I was always told I did well, that I was smart, that I was successful.
I am so very thankful for that, and I hope you all out there get congratulated on something you've accomplished regularly. It is truly a wonderful feeling to have self confidence and self worth and to feel strong enough to have an opinion, to have goals and aspirations and not feel ridiculous, and I want that feeling for everybody.
Sure it's alright to say "hey, you look nice today!" but if that's all you're ever saying, then... well, that sends the wrong message. In a world full of wrong messages, it's good to get the right one every now and then.

yer pal,
swegan :)
And this post and everything I said about it applies to both boys and girls. Both should be congratulated on their accomplishments. Both should have a sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Both should have dreams and goals and aspirations to be leaders and do great things for the world.

STATS 2

Okay, wtf? Why is a film hosting site someplace that apparently links to HERE?
And when I say film hosting site, I definitely mean a site that hosts films for free- and illegally. Pirated shit. It's got the Bourne Legacy right up at the top (no, I did not click on it, because it's FUCKING ILLEGAL). But... still, why is that linking to here?
My stats page is super interesting. I also found out that the top post that links people to here is the "sexist jokes aren't funny anymore" page, because apparently if you type in "sexist jokes aren't funny" into google, this blog pops up with that particular post. Interesting. The same thing happens when people search "blogging because it's what the cool kids do". Well. I see I titled my blog well, didn't I?

I'm going to google search those things now and see if they work.

yer (very confused) pal,
swegan :/

Sometimes I have to wonder if there's something wrong with my head.

As in, why the fuck did I leave all my EE/IA stuff until NOW, among other things...

Like is it normal for me to talk to nerd on skype, even if I'm just sending him messages and he's not responding because he's a nerd, but I keep sending them anyways just because I can?

I guess we'll never know.

Anyway. I hope everyone else's summer is going along just splendidly, with few problems or mishaps.

yer pal,
swegan :\

Thursday, August 9, 2012

STATS:

Apparently, my blog has been viewed second most by Canadians, and foremostly (by one pageview) by... LATVIANS!
So hello! I have no idea how you got here :P

yer pal,
swegan :)

3 awesome movies

My family got the whole "Telus TV package" or whatever a while back. It's pretty okay so far- if we've run into any glitches, my parents have surely complained about them to no end, but I don't see too much of anything wrong with it, which is really all you can ask of a technology. Anyway, they have that whole "video storefront" thing or whatever, where you can rent movies for two days for $5 (or $6 if you want HD, yo). And recently, my family has found some pretty amazing movies on there, and I just thought I'd share the titles with you, accompanied by a vague and useless description you will probably hate:
Flypaper-I'll be honest, I didn't want to watch this one at first and it took me a while to get into it. But once I did, it was fucking amazing. You start to wonder what's really going on halfway through the movie, and a couple of the bank robbers are pretty hilarious. In fact the whole movie is kind of hilarious, and it definitely leaves you guessing until the very end. (Synopsis: It's basically an odd tale of what happens when two different bank-robbing teams show up to rob a bank at the same day, and then one of the odd hostages starts talking all this "nonsense" about how some guy was shot on purpose, which then leads to a huge mystery and a hunt to find somebody before everybody dies. We tried to watch an apocalypse movie after and couldn't take it seriously. It's basically a funny mystery set at the scene of two bank robberies gone bad).
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen- So I'm not entirely sure if this one was ever widely watched by the general public (not the level of widely-watching associated with, say, The Avengers, but about half that, or maybe a quarter), but if it was and I sound like some idiot then just disregard this review.
Normally I wouldn't want to watch a movie with a title like that, but I guess I just thought the plot sounded good and the trailer looked pretty good and it had some big(gish)-name actors in it (Ewan Macgregor and Emily Blunt), so I guess that reeled me in (Ha. Pun totally intended). It's basically the story of a fish expert who is hired by a Yemeni sheik (is it Yemeni? God, I don't know anything about the middle east) through some fancy company to bring the sport of salmon fishing to a dam-supplied river in the country of Yemen. As you can imagine, this is initially thought impossible and so it was really inspiring to watch the movie unfold- through all of the setbacks and triumphs and awesome little moments. My parents didn't like it much, but I did- I thought it was unique and beautiful and so extremely well done. I would recommend it highly to anyone- it is a very well-done film.
Jesus Henry Christ- Again, probably something I wouldn't normally watch, but the cast of characters are unique without being weird, and you find yourself enjoying watching them. Synopsis: A "genius" kid sets out to find his father, who I guess was a sperm donor. That's really all I can say without giving away too much of the plot... it was just really fun to watch, to get to know this little oddball family that grows together despite the fact that they all seem not to want to. It was a neat idea and very different, but just... I don't even know, I just liked watching it so much, it was so much fun. It's one of those movies about family and yadda yadda yadda, but like I just said, it's fun.

So yes, I know, I am a terrible movie reviewer due to my only experience reviewing movies being an assignment in ninth-grade English class (one that I didn't do very well on, at least in my opinion).

Only three more days until my theory exam, when I'll be done theory/harmony FOREVER! I'm so looking forward to that. Not that you all care, but hey, it IS my blog.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In a dramatic change from the last post:

I just found out they filmed part of a new movie I'm excited about near where I live, but I can't tell you which one because otherwise that gives away which province I live in, and as I am struggling to remain this veil of anonymity I can't tell you. But let's just say, I got pretty freakin' excited when I read that.

Anyway, I fear I've said too much already. If you are smart little internet detectives (who are oddly curious about where I live), you could probably go back through past posts, make a few inferences, and figure it out, but since you all probably don't care and are reading this and thinking "huh. cool." then I figure I'm okay.

Still. SO FUCKING COOL! Although I'm not entirely sure that my excitement over this is rational... no, it probably isn't, to think that some actor whose films I enjoy was in the province that I call home for a brief period of time. Ah, well. I'M EXCITED ABOUT IT ANYWAY.

yer pal,
swegan :)

There is nothing quite so beautiful as this.

As everything. As the universe. As space.
I'm watching the documentary "Journey to the Edge of the Universe" (even though the universe has no edge), and it is absolutely beautiful. The animation is glorious and perfect and awesome. Alec Baldwin does a great job of narrating.
In short, it has reminded me again of why I love space, from the bottom of my heart, and why I so badly want to be an astronaut.
It's seeing all the planets and nebulas, all the stars and comets. How the universe is everything but is composed of large amounts of nothing. How terrifying it is to be close to a star, yet how important that star is for life. It's the eerie idea that there could be another planet out there with life, intelligent life, that is also wondering if they are alone in the universe. It's the idea that in all this vastness, we might really be alone. That the voyager probes are doomed to wander forever, never landing, never being heard again by anyone or anything.
I love that the universe is expanding and yet is everything all at the same time. I love that it takes something like 65 light years just to get out of our galaxy. I love that knowing all we do about the universe we are in makes us both special and insignificant at the same time: a tiny, but life sustaining, planet, adrift in nothing and everything.
There is nothing that inspires and terrifies me quite like space, nowhere I want to go more and want to stay away from more. No place more severe, and yet no place more fascinating. It is incredible to think of how much information we know about our solar system and our universe, but also to think of how that's barely scratching the surface.
It's so amazing how humans have developed this curiousity. It's so amazing that we've sent probes to the planets nearest to us (the curiousity rover can take video, guys. We can watch videos of Mars, how amazing is that?) and also sent probes out into the great beyond. It's incredible that a little piece of humanity is almost out of the solar system- two pieces, actually.
The universe also reaffirms my faith in the fact that there is no god. It just doesn't make logical sense. How could some being possibly control that much stuff? Could have the imagination to make all that? It doesn't add up to me. There is no other explanation for me other than that the universe is completely random, and that is what makes it so terrifying and exciting, so beautiful and dangerous, so exciting and vast.
Nothing inspires me like space does, and nothing ever will, nothing ever can. Space is the most beautiful thing there is, as far as I'm concerned, and yet it is still such a mystery. Perhaps, though, that is the beauty of it- or maybe, with time, more knowledge will only make it greater.
Either way, I'm in love.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Conflicted

SO, my August novel for Camp NaNo is Captain Thunderham. The basic idea behind this was that a kindergarten teacher starts telling a story about a man named captain thunderham to her kindergarten class just before christmas. It starts on a date, and then Cap T is called away on urgent business, leaving behind his love on a park bench (rather dramatically, might I add). He promises to return but takes for-freaking-ever so the girl just up and leaves. And then something happens from there.... that's as far as Freckles and I got when we attempted to make that a movie with the dolls. I have an idea of where it could go from there, but then I stopped and thought- do I really want to write this novel this way? The guy is ALWAYS the superhero. Why can't the girl be the superhero this time around, leaving the guy to be the kindergarten teacher forlorn about lost love? And then I thought, well, Cap T is a guy. He always has been. A bumbling hero of sorts with a heart of gold. At the end of the novel the kindergarten teacher was supposed to pull out the "thunderham signal" (which she somehow had) and use it forlornly (I don't know whether it was a horn or a light or whatever) and then Cap T would suddenly come running through the door and they'd be reunited in a big cheesy moment of cheesy love.

But still. Why can't the girl be the superhero? I almost feel bad wanting to write Cap T as a dude.
But I guess no one said I had to write the novel that way. I'm not trying to say all girls will pine over lost love like that (for the record, I'm pretty sure Cap T misses her like hell also) or teach kindergarten.
I guess I'm just trying to tell a story and what I'm saying is that I hope it doesn't get lost in translation.

yer pal,
swegan