Blog Posts

◊ In the blog tab, I’ll post about current events, my adventures, and more! Check for updates! If there are topics you are curious about, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do a blog post about them. 

A Day in the Life Comics

These comics serve as humorous illustrative blog posts and are all created by me! Enjoy!

A Day in the Life No. 3

A Day in the Life No. 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life No. 1


Election Reflection 

Dear friends,

I can try to understand people who voted for Donald Trump, though I still don’t really see how a person who wants greater benefits for the working class can vote for a man who has never helped anyone but himself in his life. Someone who wouldn’t touch any of his supporters with a ten foot pole. Someone whose success in business is not consistent. Someone who essentially has no reason to help you and no history of doing so. Those who voted for him to support his party clearly do not see that he is a sign that you should disavow what the Republican party has become. Naturally many of his supporters backed him because they feel their country becoming more diverse and less white and feel like they are losing their handle on things. Like they are losing a country that was never theirs to begin with. Diversity is not a danger. It is an inevitability, and no one man can prevent it from happening. In any case, regardless of to what extent I can understand some Trump voters, I cannot forgive them. At least for quite a while. I cannot forgive them because their candidate’s election has increased hate crimes tremendously towards my muslim friends, they are discounting my female friends, they are ignoring and actively attacking my black friends, they are supporting those who have sexually harassed my friends, they are hoping my friends who may become pregnant have to keep the baby regardless of the danger to their health, they are making my transgender or questioning friends feel unsafe, they are putting a vice president in the white house who believes your religion gives you the right to turn away my gay friends, they are harming my planet, they are endorsing the mockery of my disabled friends. Worse yet, they are empowering those I know who believe it is acceptable to do these things in their own lives. No matter how much you say you don’t embrace hate, if you didn’t see the empowerment of hate groups following your choice candidate’s victory coming, you should probably get your eyesight checked out.

Many say we should at least respect our president. I believe we are not obligated to do this. The president is just another mortal man who I can have nothing to do with if I like. If a Donald Trump presidency does not make you feel nervous, then you must be lost in some utopian version of the 1950s. Enjoy your poodle skirts. I’ll be busy praying that environmental regulations aren’t completely scrapped.

Love always,

Hannah

What did I do this Summer?

As per usual, my summer on teensplaining comes to a close with a gallery full of photos from my summer activities. Once school starts I will probably update more regularly, though I’m sure sophomore year will keep me plenty busy! I will try my best to keep up. Also, hey! Tell me what you did this summer in the comments.

Personal Narrative: Xavier and Me and the Sparkly Fairy Glitter Glue Kit

You know how sometimes memories from long ago resurface and all of a sudden you remember how much they mean to you? That happened to me the other day. I remembered Xavier. When I was 8 years old and living in Kentucky, I was fairly well-liked by everyone at Coleridge Taylor Montessori School. In fact, everyone was fairly well-liked by each other. That is, except Xavier. I don’t remember if he was the new kid, if he came later in the year, or if it just seems like he was the new kid. The other kids didn’t like him. My friends, people I spent time with, weren’t kind to him at all. The other kids just weeded him out. He was overweight and he spoke with an accent and he sneezed a lot. They decided that he had cooties I guess. That if you said hi to him you also would get cooties. Maybe they stayed away from him because they thought that he and his dirty tissues were one and the same. In any case, throughout second grade, adjectives like “fat” and “gross” and “ugly” were hung around his neck like dog tags. But it didn’t make sense to me. I was so confused as to why the Golden Rule just didn’t apply to Xavier. So I talked to Xavier. I agreed to work with Xavier. Not because I was an angel, just because it didn’t make sense to me to behave in any other way. That is something I hang on to. No matter how my life plays out, I always want to be like that; I want to be the kid who is never cruel, regardless of the circumstances. I was Xavier’s only friend as far as I could tell, along with Seth, who stuck with Xavier because before Xavier was there Seth had been the one who was teased. The law of the pecking order mandated that they should be friends. Seth was that guy— the one who ran after all the girls during recess and tried to kiss them. And of course he never caught them. Once he asked if I would be his girlfriend. I said no and reminded him that we were 8 years old. So that was Seth. Later that year Xavier had a birthday party. Maybe he invited everyone. Maybe he only invited Seth and me. In any case, Seth and I were the only ones who showed. We all played arcade games while Xavier’s mom told my mom that she was thankful that Xavier had made friends. I have vague memories of my mom being thanked for bringing me to the party at all— two at a party is embarrassing, three is bearable. I never stood up to my friends, the ones who called Xavier names. I just partook in my silent protest because it made no sense to do otherwise. I didn’t take action; I just let things play out but I was totally resolved that I should be friends with him. It was simply illogical to not be friends with someone. I never wanted anything in return. I never expected anything in return. I’m not sure I even decided that I was doing something good. Just that it wasn’t any trouble to be friends with this kid. At the end of second grade I was about the same and Xavier was probably the worse for wear after being verbally pummeled 24/7. On the last day of school I was getting ready to go when Xavier came up to me and handed me a giant box. It was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen and maybe ever will see. A full pack of Tinkerbell and Friends Magic Fairy Glitter Glue. I mean this thing was freaking huge. Like 50 glitter glue tubes. And then he left. I was still staring at it in amazement long after he was gone. In the corner was a simple note. Maybe it was written by his mom. It probably was. He was 8 and his handwriting was likely illegible. It read “Thank you for being my friend. Have a great summer! — Xavier.”
And once again this didn’t make sense to me because no one is supposed to be thanked for being a friend. One just is a friend, one of many friends. But not for Xavier. For Xavier I was basically THE friend and so somehow I was deserving of a gift.
I moved away that summer.
I never saw him again.
I still have the glitter glue.
It’s almost gone but I still have some.
I really hope he made it okay.
I hope someone else decided to be his friend.
I hope he had lots of friends.
I hope there are lots of other people my age with glitter glue that is starting to dry up somewhere in their basement.

Why I Write

As many of you know, a lot of my time is spent writing. Sometimes when I tell people that writing is one of my hobbies, I am asked why I do it. The answer is simple: writing is the gift that keeps on giving…

When you are writing, you are given the gift of a whole new perspective. Often I find that new ideas will tumble out into my writing by accident; new levels of thought that I never intended to explore. I have to take a step back and say, “wait a minute. Wait just a minute. This is new. I could go somewhere with this.”

When you write, you are given the gift of meeting yourself, seeing the you from two years ago. Time and time again you’ll find yourself rereading dusty piles of paper or old files and thinking, oh I remember writing this one! Not bad. Not bad at all.

When someone else reads your writing, they are given the gift of knowing you in a different way. They can see the ideas that run around in your head come to life. They can guess at which character is maybe, just maybe, based off of them.

And when someone else reads your writing, you are given the gift of looking over their shoulder and hearing them say, “hey, this is actually pretty good.” 

The Sound of Silence 

As a few of you know, I attend a Quaker high school, and in the tradition of many Quaker schools, once a week we gather for forty-five minutes and sit in silence, which is occasionally punctuated with words from any students who are moved to stand up and speak about what is on their minds. And though forty-five minutes of almost continuous silence shared by five hundred people sounds uncomfortable to most when they hear about it, it’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The air is always heavy when Meeting begins, but not with awkwardness or dread. It’s the heavy mood that settles over a group of people with countless things on their minds, chests, or shoulders. Pleasant things, tragic things, blessings, or just unfathomable thoughts. Silence is, believe it or not, a cure-all for a lot of things — anger, hurt feelings, shot nerves, and confusion among them. Everyone in the room, no matter what their troubles, is healed a little bit.

My Summer in Pictures 

Hello, lovelies! Happy September! You may be wondering what I was doing during the summer and so I have for you a hodgepodge of my summer adventures! Enjoy!

Toronto Mourns for a Furry Friend

A dead raccoon (dubbed Conrad) recently became a bizarre internet sensation because the people of Toronto built a memorial for him after animal services did not get around to picking him up for over 12 hours (Washington Post). According to one Twitter post, Conrad’s death and memorial “brought people together”. Here are some pictures of the small yet meaningful memorial constructed over time in honor of Conrad:

🙂 R.I.P Conrad

 

Ways to Say I Love You           

There are many subtle ways that people can express their deep affection for you or vice versa. Here are a few:

“Why don’t you get some sleep?” 

“You’re a dork.”

“Be safe.” 

“Here, have my fries.” 

“It’s not your fault.” 

“You first.” 

“I drew you something.”

“Don’t worry.” 

“You’re gonna do great.”

“Miss you.”

Geography 

Whilst studying geography in school, I came across this:

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This is, in fact, how I imagined the United States before I had to study it and take a quiz on it. And this map got me thinking. About more maps. So let’s take a look at some cool maps, shall we?

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A Heartfelt Mothers’ Day Message

This Mother’s Day, I was struggling with what to put on the card I was going to give to my mother. It had to be kind and gracious, heartfelt and genuine. How was I to express my eternal love for the woman who gave birth to me (actually, I was genetically engineered in a lab, but I’ll save that story for another day)? I decided to be as genuine as it gets.

The card ended up saying something like this:

Mom, 

After much contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy being alive more than I would enjoy being dead, or rather, never born at all. Thus, thank you for making me possible.

Sincerely,

Hannah ♥

When (English) Words Fail…

Some languages include words that don’t have an English equivalent. Something that may take an English-speaker a few words to express might be worth only one in French. Here are a few hilarious words or short phrases from other languages that seem to put into word perfectly what can’t always say in brief:

Neidbau (German)– Something that is built just to frustrate your neighbor.
L’esprit d’escalier (French)– Thinking up a great comeback, but too late! 
Yutta-Hey (Cherokee) — Something said to express a complete contentment with life.  Means “it is a good day to die” or basically “I could die right now and that would be okay”. 
Chán (Chinese) — The feeling of wanting to eat when you aren’t actually hungry. 
Akihi (Hawaiian) — Forgetting directions right after hearing someone tell them to you. 

The Gift of Color

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Roughly 300 million in the world are colorblind. This means that from birth, colors were always dulled to them. However, a paint company and eyewear developers teamed up to bring color to the colorblind and show them a side of the spectrum they’d never seen. Can you imagine how it would feel to see color for  the first time?

Colorblind People See Color for the First Time!!!

Advice I Have Been Given 

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Here are a few helpful tips I have been provided with by coaches, teachers, friends, and family. Perhaps you can apply them to yourself as well:

“The secret to a good marriage is to leave the other person alone.” 

“You better get used to yourself, ’cause you’re gonna be stuck with you for the rest of your life.” 

“If you’re gonna take over the world, you have to be subtle.” 

“Random does not equal funny.” 

How Was School? 

How was school? Parents can’t seem to get a decent answer to this question. Some of the responses they frequently receive include:

  1. “Uh hu”
  2. “Good”
  3. “Fine”
  4. “Alright”
  5. “Nothing special” 
  6. “Okay” 

Why is this? Well, dear friends, everyone’s favorite teenager is about to reveal the answer to this mystifying question. Take a seat, parents. Prepare to be teensplained.

Asking a child (or teenager) how their day at school was is like asking a married man or woman how their day at marriage was. Older children or teens have most likely going to school for many years, and after a while, school is routine, often mundane, and includes many different aspects  experiences. It is difficult to properly reply with all aspects and experiences of the day in mind, so “okay” is the best way we can encompass everything. Also, school, while it is not torture, is tiring. After-school time at home is a time to wind down and relax for a little while before getting back into the swing of things. So it’s no wonder no one is thrilled when the subject of school is brought up in conversation outside of school hours. And there you have it. So, a few alternative questions parents could ask on occasion if they want a more lengthy answer include:

  1. “Did anything interesting happen today at school?”
  2. “How are your friends these days? Do you have classes with them?” 
  3. “You look tired. Was school hard today?”
  4. “You look happy. Good day at school today?” 
  5. “How was the bus ride?” 
  6. “Do you have much homework?” 

10 (Somewhat) Believable Conspiracy Theories 

1, 2, 8, and 10 are theories of my own creation. All others were taken from my dear friend the Internet.

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch is a lizard. One day, mark my words, it will be revealed to the public.

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2. Everyone on Earth is being watched by all the other intelligent life in the universe. In fact, this planet was cultivated for the rest of the universe’s entertainment. Earthlings are watched on TV by aliens in “The Earth Show”. So somewhere there is an alien wearing a shirt with my face on it because I’m his favorite character from The Earth Show. 

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3. Mirrors are portals to parallel universes. That’s not your reflection looking at you, that’s yourself in another universe. 

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4. We don’t really need water to survive—an addictive ingredient has been added to our water so that we keep buying it. 

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5. The Earth is hollow, and a secret civilization lives under the crust. 

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6. Paul McCartney is really dead. However, the U.K. paid a random person to be Paul McCartney because another dead Beatle would lower the morale of British citizens to a dangerous extent. 

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7. Wallabies aren’t real. They’re just dwarf kangaroos. 

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8. All leafy greens are exactly the same food. They just all have different names. 

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9. John Wilkes Booth was not a Southern sympathizer. He just really, really hated tall hats and thought they were distasteful. That is why, in the picture below, he is seen wearing a short hat. 

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10. This  website is a figment of your imagination. 

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Did You Know? Explaining Sleeptalking and Sleepwalking 

You’ve probably known someone who has sleepwalked/talked at some point–and you may be wondering: what causes sleeptalking/walking? Well, same here. So, these are the facts for the curious among us:

  • Sleepwalking, aka somnambulism, is a parasomnia that occurs during the first half or first third of the sleep period. It consists of a series of behaviors that take place while the sleepwalker is in a state of consciousness with impaired judgement.
  • Sleepwalkers can often be difficult to awaken. In some cases, the sleepwalker wakes up on their own in strange places (e.g. the bathtub), and in other instances the sleepwalker simply returns to bed without being aware of what has happened.
  • Sleepwalkers may walk out of a house or even climb out the window or try to drive.
  • Sleepwalking can caused, among other things, by sleep deprivation, a stroke, alcohol, or stress.
  • Parasomnias often occur in perfectly healthy people.
  • Sleeptalking (somniloquy) is a very common sleep disorder, especially in young children, that can arise during any stage of sleeping. The sleeptalker tends to be unaware of their actions.
  • What is said during a sleeptalking episode will not hold up as evidence in court!
  • Sleeptalking is caused by stress, depression, fever, sleep deprivation, day-time drowsiness, and alcohol. 

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If Wurds Wur Spelld Lyk Thay Sownd–Fo-netic Eenglish 

If yu can uhnderstand th fahlowing parahgraf, good fur yu. If wurds wur spelld lyk thay sownd, Eenglish myt bee eeseer tu lern. Juhst a thowt. Owr lanegooaj is weerd. How due “ph” mayk an “f” sownd? I dunoh. I dihdunt cree-ate th lanegooaj. I juhst speek it. Wehl, I hoep yu enjoyd this shohrt, fuhn blagh pohst. Shehr yur thahts on mye ahlternuhtiv, fo-netic Eenglish—leev ah cahment beloe. Yu kan gett boh-nuss poynts iff yu wryet yur cahment in this funy, fo-netic Eenglish.

Why New Years is my Favorite Holiday 

I’m sure a lot of you out there have a favorite holiday. Maybe it’s Christmas (because of presents!) or Halloween (because candy!), maybe even St. Patricks Day (because you’re Irish!). However, for me, the celebration of New Years is one of my favorite seasonal festivities. Why? The reason is simple. New Years is a holiday that you don’t have to have any special qualifications to find meaningful. It’s not a holiday that has its origins in any particular religion and everyone can participate in New Years’ traditions without having to believe in anything, really. The celebration originated in ancient Babylon as a way to commemorate the Rite of Spring, and as the calendar changed, so did the date of New Years day. A simple holiday with a simple “target audience”. It’s a celebration for the whole of the human race, no exceptions.

So–what about you? What’s your favorite holiday and why? Share your opinion in the comments below. 

What Christmas Means to Me

I recently posed this question to some of my friends:

Q. Obviously, Christmas is considered the main, most celebrated winter holiday. There’s a lot of Chrismas-mania everywhere, e.g. commercials for Christmas presents. How do those of you who are of a faith other than Christianity, or of no faith at all, experience this Christmasified time of year? Is all the Christmas-ness obnoxious? Do you wish Hanukkah got more recognition? Do you just ignore all of it?

The answers I got surprised and touched me. Here are some of them:

A. Even though my family is agnostic, we celebrate Christmas. We just leave out everything about Jesus or Christianity. We do this because it’s fun! Getting gifts, feeling love, and other things that Christmas carols talk about are what Christmas means to me.  — E.R.S. 
A. Hello Hannah. I was required to attend Protestant church as a young child, but was luckily given my own choice later on as some events in my life complicated the situation. I have since excluded religion from my life, simply because I did not feel passion nor understanding (at the time) for others’ interpretation a greater being (i.e. God). The moment after Halloween ends (or even before), I see the stores decked with nothing except Christmas decorations and merchandise. Yes, I find it very irritating, but not in a religious sense. Winter holidays are a time when all religions with a holiday in said season can generally feel joy, generosity, appreciation for family, and basic happiness, more so than the rest of their usually cookie-cutter (hah) year. Although there’s an undeniable aim towards Christmas in the Winter advertisements considering Christianity is the majority religion in America, I see all the hype as more of a seasonal thing than a force-religion-down-your-throat kind of thing. No matter your religion, you should be feeling jolly with the rest of the nation as the collective holidays approach. I find it infuriating how people can get mad over the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas!” when it is just a term to express your joy, and you mean no harm or offense towards those who are not Christian! It’s even more infuriating when Christians get mad over the phrase “Happy Holidays!” considering that this is a nation of diversity, and we should be able to put down a childish my-religion-is-better argument while we spend time and give to the ones we love! It’s no fun if you take a religion other than Christianity to an extreme (or are strictly biblical with your Christian beliefs) and put in futile complaints to the store clerk about the use of Santa or seasonal songs. 
What I’m saying in the end is; it shouldn’t what religion you are, just that you can be happy for December.
And yes, I wish Hanukkah got more recognition, considering it’s the other major religion in America, and the only “Hanukkah movie” I can think of amongst the million and one Christmas movies is a poorly made Adam Sandler movie. Even Ramadan for that matter I wish we could at least talk more about in school, the only reason I know anything about it is from learning from some well-educated neighbors. — Devon G. 

A Short History of Swearing

I recently saw an interesting YouTube video by Vsauce on the history of swearing. So I thought I’d share some info on this fascinating topic with you. Swear words make up about 0.7% percent of the average english speaker’s daily diction. How did these words become found so often in our vocab? Well, since the birth of mankind we’ve had some sort of vocal expletives. To find out how this progressed, we need look no further than the media. The first swear word to be used in film was the ‘d-word’ and was present in film in 1939 at the earliest. By 1967, the average swear words used per movie was 10. By the early 2000s, it was 40. In 2013, there were 798 swear words used in one movie. In England, the lower class, who often spoke a Germanic tongue, came up with crude words for unpleasant things. So a lot of our swear words came from the Germanic language. Many researches believe that swearing is located in the same place in the brain as emotions. And here’s a fun fact: the symbols used to cover up swear words are called grawlixes (sounds like a Pokemon, doesn’t it?). The word “grawlix” was first used in 1909 by Mort Walker,  the Beetle Bailey cartoonist.

Also, here’s a fun diagram showing which states had the most residents that swore during recorded phone conversations with businesses with the U.S. Looks like VA’s in the clear.

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They Knock at Your Door, Demand Food, and Wear Masks Disguising Their Identities. Who are They? 

They are…trick-or-treaters. Halloween has always seemed to me a pretty awesome holiday. Although it began long ago as a Celtic Harvest festival and turned into a Christian holiday where believers ridicule death and demons with costumes mocking evil, nowadays it has become on the one hand, a cavity-fest, and on the other hand, an imaginative holiday. Halloween provides the opportunity to be whoever you want no matter who’s really under that mask. You’re a run-of-the-mill human the other 364 days, why not be a unicorn, a ghost, Rainbow Dash, Doctor Who, a detective, or a lemur this time? Or just hand out candy. That’s the most fun 🙂

 Second Grade Students Eat a Seven Course Meal! (and still prefer macaroni & cheese) 

As a feature in the New York Times Fall Food Issue, second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn were treated to a meal at Daniel, an acclaimed French restaurant in New York. They were served seven small “tasting courses”, which included Smoked Paprika Cured Hamachi, a dish totally foreign to them. Some of their favorite courses were the Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye, dessert (of course!!!) and their nonalcoholic cocktails. The meal normally costs $220 per person but these 2nd graders got a unique experience with fine cuisine free of cost! They were happy to give their true opinions about the food. Take a look at this hilarious video below: 

BLOG UPDATE: The latest news is that all those who were in contact with ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan (except the nurses) have been cleared of ebola, and their quarantine has ended. 

Stopping the Spread: The U.S. and South Korea Take Precautions Against Ebola

Yesterday, the first person diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, died in a hospital in Dallas, Texas. Medical officials believe he caught the fever virus in Liberia, one of the African countries affected by the spreading disease. No other person in the U.S. has been diagnosed with the sickness, but U.S. airports aren’t taking chances. Anyone passing through the 5 major U.S. airports from Ebola-stricken nations can have their temperatures taken and are given questionnaires. South Korean Air has canceled all flights in and out of Kenya and are screening passengers’ body temperatures to catch signs of the fever early. I don’t know about you, but my neighborhood and school is abuzz with news of this sickness. Kids spread rumors about how “Ebola is the apocalypse and we’re ALL GOING TO DIE,” and making themselves sick with worry. But what exactly is Ebola? It is a virus transmitted by body fluids that both humans and animals can contract. The affected person begins to experience symptoms two days after they become infected. Headaches, stomach aches, muscle pain, and sore throat are common. Then the symptoms elevate to rashes and vomiting.  Organs begin to fail and external bleeding starts to occur. The infected person usually dies within two weeks of organ failure. No specific cure has been discovered, which is what makes the virus more of a threat. The good news is that the University of Utah may be making a breakthrough in terms of a cure. As long as you’re not planning a trip to West Africa, rest assured you’ll be fine.

Source of information about airline screening: CNN Student News

Why Steve Jobs Put Limits on His Kids’ Electronics Use

It may surprise you to know that Steve Jobs’ house does not have walls covered in giant iPads. In fact, the former Apple CEO was restrictive about his kids’ use of electronics. Jobs was careful never to give his kids too much access to screens –children are especially vulnerable to become hooked on electronic devices. Also, when researchers at the University of California conducted a study, they found that when children abstained from electronic devices, their social skills improved dramatically. The average American child spends more than 7 1/2 hours a day on screens! So, before you pick up your iPhone to check your Instagram, take a tip from the phone’s creator: it can wait.

 

Shakin’ It Off 

Taylor Swift has a new song and music video out: Shake it Off. The song has a catchy beat and tells about shaking off the criticism and “haters” of the world. The video really show’s Taylor’s confident style with a touch of humor. It’s a fun, full-fledged pop song but it doesn’t seem out of character for her. Apparently the dance moves she does are completely improv. She didn’t use choreographed moves. How cool is that!  Take a look for yourself and share your opinion in the comments below:

And the lyrics:

That’s what people say mmm, that’s what people say mm
I go on too many dates, but I can’t make ’em stay
At least that’s what people say mmm, that’s what people say mmm

But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my body and it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I’ll never miss a beat, I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see mmm, that’s what they don’t see mmm
I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own), I’ll make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that’s what they don’t know mmm, that’s what they don’t know mmm

But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music in my body saying it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey, just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats in the world you could have been getting down to this sick beat

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like “oh my God”, but I’m just gonna shake it
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby, we can shake, shake, shake

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

The Pretty Ugly Truth

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I was recently intrigued and saddened by a New York Times article about a new generation of teens using the internet to ask questions about their appearances. A lot of teenagers, especially girls, upload videos all over the internet- especially on Youtube with titles like, “Am I Pretty or Ugly?”, relying on those who comment to tell them whether they look attractive or not. Over the course of my thirteen years, I’ve seen people grow more confident and comfortable with their appearance, and I’ve seen others grow more insecure. Though there is an increased effort to stop bullying and remove some of the emphasis placed on looks, the internet has stepped into the spotlight- making it possible for teens to ask total strangers- people who have never met them, never gotten to know their personalities- whether they are “hot or not”. I looked on YouTube hoping that this overlooked issue wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be– but it was. There are “Am I Pretty” videos littered all over Youtube- some girls in the videos looked as young as 9! I didn’t want to watch any- because I knew it would break my heart- but all of the girls really were beautiful in my opinion. Yet there are commenters who are harsh to them, “Go tell it to someone who cares.” Well, if you don’t care, why did you watch this video? Looks like the only truly ugly thing here is our definition of what beauty is. These videos are a new form of self-harm, maybe even more painful than physical self-inflicted injuries. 🙁 .  If you care about this cause, spread the word! You never know, people close to you may feel just as insecure.

In case you’re curious, here’s the web address of the  ny times article that inspired me to post this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/fashion/am-i-pretty-videos-posed-to-the-internet-raise-questions.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3As%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A12%22%7D&_r=0

Depression: The Real Deal 

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After the terrible death of one of one of my favor actors of all time, Robin Williams, by alleged suicide recently, I started wondering about depression and its effects. Williams was a brilliant actor who was in many great movies, including the movie that came the closest out of all the movies I’ve seen to making me cry, The Dead Poets Society. His death shocked and saddened me. Depression is not just a form of super-sadness- it’s a fascinating and terrible psychological condition. I wanted to find out more about it. After some research, I found an amazingly well done (and humourous) post by a great blogger who had experienced depression herself:

http://www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-10-02T14:53:00-06:00&max-results=10

I hope you find it informative!

Google Knows All

According to a collection of recent studies about Google search data, 21st century parents are turning to google to ask questions about their children’s intelligence and beauty. But there is something more interesting being implied by these searches. It’s two and a half times more likely for parents to ask “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” Also, “Is my daughter overweight” is googled about twice as much as “Is my son overweight” even though 30% of girls are overweight while 33% of boys are overweight. Parents also more frequently google whether there daughters are “beautiful” or “ugly” than they do concerning sons. How would Google know whether your child is beautiful, depressed, or ugly? I don’t know. 

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Adorable Animals

If I never post here again, it’s because I’ve just died of Overbearing Cuteness.

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CRAZILY CLOTHED CARS

These people sure have some out-of-this-world cars. If you had a car, how would you decorate it?

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11 SONGS YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO BEFORE YOU DIE

In no particular order of awesomeness, all of them are equally great. Make your own suggestions in the comments section and I will add them to the list.

1. Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michaelson

2. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s

3. Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

4. Angel – Sarah McLachlan

5. The Greatest Man I Never Knew – Reba McEntire

6. Switzerland -The Last Bison

7. Piano Man-Billy Joel

8. Eleanor Rigsby-The Beatles

9. Fire and Rain James Taylor

10. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For– U2

11. She’s Always a Woman to Me-Billy Joel

Justin Bieber: To be deported or not to be deported?

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According to an article I found online from The Daily Cougar, “According to the White House website, it has “no comment” on a January petition to deport Bieber and revoke his green card, which received 273,968 signatures. The petition was created in response to his arrest in January on charges of DUI and drag racing, according to the Huffington Post.” I don’t really see the point in deporting him, his career is going to fall apart anyway, as no one wants to be associated with him anymore. Perhaps we should ship him off to a rehab center and allow him to get some sense knocked into him. Goodness knows he needs it.

What Would Happen if Everybody in the World Jumped at the Same Time?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Dying to know the answer? If everyone in the world stood shoulder to shoulder, we would all fit in the city of Los Angeles. Crazy, right? If we all jumped at the same time…nothing would happen. At least, not much. The earth is so large, it would only be enough force to move the earth by a length the hundredth of a hydrogen atom! It’s hard to believe that we are so insignificant, but it just puts everything in perspective. To find out more, visit this site:

Practice Makes Perfect- What Makes us Good at Stuff?

Apparently, 10,000 hours of dedicated practice will make you master a skill.  But, can people also be born with talent? Or is it just the environment they’re raised in that makes it seem like they’ve inherited skills from their parents or other relatives. For instance, Miley Cyrus’ dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, is also a singer, but do you think he licks hammers? Probably not. Genes don’t usually account for talent. The environment that Miley grew up in would foster her interest in the arts. Athletic abilities, though, often heavily rely on metabolism and body shape, which are traits inherited from your parents. So, if you can’t rely on your relatives’ skills, what’s the best way to practice? Suggest your own methods below. One pointer that will never fail is this: it’s not how long you practice, but if you are practicing the right material with determination and a sense of purpose.

Show Business: Behind the Red Carpet

You may think celebrities have it good, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. You may not really know your celebrities. Here’s a mini-quiz to see how much you really know about the people behind the makeup and fame:

Ke$ha has an IQ of ___

a) 20

b) 100

c) 76

d) 140

Answer: d  

Walt Disney was ___

a) left-handed

b) afraid of mice

c) illiterate

d) scared of the dark

Answer: b

Nicole Kidman is scared of __

a) butterflies

b) spiders

c) the ocean

d) rabbits

Answer: a

Sandra Bullock is allergic to ____

a) cats

b) dogs

c) horses

d) plastic

Answer: c

Hey, looks like they’re human after all!

 

Most Valuable Possesions

Imagine your house is burning down, you and your family are outside, and you can run back in to get ONE thing before the roof collapses. What would you grab? What is your most valuable possessions. As part of a photo gallery/project, families around the world were asked what they considered their most valuable possessions? A poor family living in a  third world country said that their most valuable item was a bike, their only mode of transportation. An American family said that their most treasured token was a family album, others said the bible, some said their wedding ring matters most to them. What is your most valuable possession? A pet? A book? A stuffed animal? A gift? List yours below in the comments.

Poker Face?

Have you every lied to someone? In a survey, 60% of the people asked said that they lied within 5 to 10 minutes of meeting someone. YIKES! You probably have lied , or at least fibbed. The expression “poker face” refers to the face poker players make- a blank face. The other players watch your face when you look at your hand of cards, because your expression may indicate whether the cards you were dealed were bad or good. When someone lies, an area of the brain is active, and working overtime. It’s hard work to lie! Your brain has to remember not to reveal the truth, it has to recall the actual truth, and the fabricated lie. When people lie, they may sweat, or bite their lip, or smile, or shake a little,  or hold their breath. To how a person reacts when they are lying, ask them a question where they would normally respond “Yes”, like, “are you wearing pants?” Ask them to say “no”.  What do they do after they say this? A widely-believed falsehood is that a person’s eyes reveal whether they are telling the truth. However, after many tests, scientists have determined that there is no connection!

 

Pussy Riot?

You may have been hearing about a big event happening in Russia, it’s not the olympics, it’s not the Ukraine rebels, it’s the prison release of a… band? Pussy riot is not just any band. They are a Russian feminist punk rock protest band. Whoa, right? Pussy Riot does totally random performances in public spaces to protest Vladimir Putin, who they consider a dictator, sexism, and other social issues. Many members have been arrested for “hooliganism”, and three members of the band were recently freed. Now that they are free, Pussy Riot’s previously jailed three members, Masha, Yekaterina, and Nadia, are now trying to improve prison conditions and improve the political system.  Intrigued? Go to www.freepussyriot.org to find out more.

Spring Cleaning!

It’s spring, and you know what that means? It’s in the air… dust. It’s also under the couch, coincidentally, and on the floor, and on the tabletop. For a long time, you may have swept your dust under the rug. Moral dust. Emotional dust. Relationship dust. Self-imgae dust. And then there’s good old classic dust, which isn’t as hard to get rid of.  The other dust can’t be swept away back in the corners of your soul. This dust needs to be analyzed and then burned forever! Spring is a time of renewal, and if you can shovel out the snow, you can shovel yourself of the storm, too. So, when you sweep your dust into the dustpan, sweep out the soul dust too. Some self-cleaning can make as much of a difference as house cleaning.  #souldust

-Hannah 😀

Groundhog, Shmoundhog

Okay, so they take the rodent out of the hole, it’s see’s it’s shadow or not, and predicts the weather for the next six weeks with amazing accuracy. Well, personally, I think spring will start on March 21st. That is what my calendar says, and when you have to decide whether you’d pick a packet of paper or a groundhog to predict your weather, you know that the great America you once new is now gone. Very gone. Very very gone. Very very very really truly gone (actually I knew this long before anyone, when Hostess was no longer selling twinkles, but more on that later.) Anyway, we are gathered here today, on this website, to explore the history of groundhog day. Ahem. It all started long ago when the Romans were busy conquering the world. Roman legend has it that on Candlemas Day (Feb. 2nd, the Christian festival of lights), it you picked up a hedgehog, and the sun was out (thus the shadow), the “second winter” was on it’s way. So when the Germans came to Pennsylvania, the found the groundhogs (which resemble European Hedgehogs) were intelligent animals and would go back to bed once they new that another six weeks of cold was on the way. So, thanks to the Germans and the Romans, this tradition continues. Just another useless fact from teensplaining to brighten your day!! Now you can go to school and brag about how you know the origins of groundhog day, and how your so smart. Oh, and if some kid named Chester gives you a swirly for being obnoxious, it’s not my fault. Sincerely, Hannah 😀

The Perfect Pet

What is the perfect pet? What animal can be domesticated, is kind, affectionate, calm, quiet, adorable, and  easy to take care of all rolled into one? When it comes to pets, I am biased, and I can admit it. As you may have noticed in the About tab, I have a rabbit, Caramel (shown below), but I truly think the origin of happiness can be found in this living ball of fur. Rabbits are easy to clean up after, and their poop serves as an excellent fertilizer for gardens. They can be litter-box trained, and are very quiet. Rabbits are comical, adorable animals with a personality, and are very affectionate and tolerant. They can be house-trained, or can be live in an outdoor hutch, like Caramel, who enjoys being brought in when it gets cold to run around on my bed. Believe it or not, Rabbits can be walked on a harness, too. Also, bunnies are a stress reliever. Sometimes, I like to do homework around Caramel because he gives me a reason to take a break. Rabbits are amusing to watch and fun to play with. Sometimes, if you clap your hands, your rabbit will run to you, and you can engage in a game of tag. Caramel gets this funny puzzled look on his face if I jump over him, “She was there, and then she just disappeared!!!?” They do not need to be groomed, unless you have an Angora rabbit, and their supplies are inexpensive. Have any questions about rabbit care? Ask them in the Life Advice section, I’ll be more than happy to help. As mentioned above, this week’s post is an OPINIONATOR. What do you think is the perfect pet? Share your opinion below in the comments!

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Shop till ya drop!

I was talking to someone the other day and we somehow brought up the topic of shopping. I wondered, “Why do we like shopping so much?” In every teen realistic fiction book I read, there is a girl who goes to the mall with her friends, buys milkshakes, and stares at the boys in the sporting goods store for hours on end. It’s like a boy-blind, where you can see them but they can’t see you. However, in this case, you HOPE they see you. Anyway, as we were talking, I was beginning to think that maybe it had something to do with the wild animals humans once were. If you think about it, this makes sense. We love to pick out stuff that can be OURS. In primitive times, we wouldn’t get much stuff that was OURS, we would have to share with the group :(. Nowadays, we get our own stuff all the time, PERSONALIZED this, PERSONALIZED that, and we’re loving it. There is also a risk, a thrill involved, buyer’s remorse makes you spend hours on end in the shoe-store. Hey, we have a whole park devoted to risks and thrills. It’s called King’s Dominion.  See the trend? Also, shopping is a social activity, so we like that. Going to the mall is kind of like a right of passage. If you’re old enough, you get more privileges. We humans love privileges. What are your thoughts on my babble? Share them below

 

The Quest for a Dog

Right now, my family is going through the great debate that almost every family will/has gone through. The kids want a dog. The parents are…well…skeptical. However, a few nights ago, guess what I see on my dad’s laptop screen. A golden retriever puppy named Daisy. Wow. Nice, dad. The same dad who is infamous in our house as being opposed to the dog movement. I promised not to tell anyone. Yeah, fat chance. The parents have their reasons: 1.A dog will become our responsibility. 2.We are not ready for a dog. 3.They shed. Etc,etc. The kids’ counterargument: 1.We PROMISE to be SUPER responsible. Haven’t you noticed that our rooms aren’t really disastrous lately, they’re just disastrous? 2.We can get ready! 3. We can get a breed that doesn’t shed. We’ll get there-eventually.

MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: BE MORE ORGANIZED.

Hmmmm… now where did I put that essay on my New Year’s Resolution? Yeah, good luck with that, Hannah. Anyways, now that it’s the new year, I have pledged to myself to be a neat freak who is very responsible. Drama schedule? On the calendar. Birthday photos? Emailed to mom. Science project question? Emailed teacher. Blog? Updated. Neat freak transformation…beginning…downloading…request processing…bzzzrgggg…zeeepzeeep…loading… I will clean my room so fast every day it will look like no one lives in it. I will turn in this form, and that form, and write down everything on itsy-bitsy reminders that go up on a board. I will be on the honor roll, I will memorize lines for the play, I will keep up with this and that, and volunteer, and make appointments… and then pass out of exhaustion afterwards. Hopefully your resolutions won’t be potentially fatal. What are they? Post them in comments below!

 

Looking for last week’s blog post? Or the one before that? Check here 

DEBATE: SHOULD WE CHANGE THE NAME OF THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS?

No doubt you’ve heard the fiasco over the team’s name recently. In Virginia, the argument is especially heated. On one side stands the diehard Redskin’s fans who believe that the name is part of tradition and isn’t offensive. Joining them is Dan Snyder, coach of the Redskins, who seems to be obstinate in terms of changing the name. On the other side is the Oneida Indian Nation, other groups who back them up, and regular citizens who fight for their cause. They believe that the time has come to change the mascot, because the name poses a problem to them. The “R word” as it as known, is a slang term used to refer to someone of American Indian heritage. The issue, although stirred up this year, has been talked about for a loooong time.  Who do you think is right? If you’re in favor of the change, what name would you suggest? Warriors? Pigskins? Rockets? Post your opinion below.

 

POWER POSES: Does the way we move affect our views of ourselves?

Be prepared for something truly awesome. On the radio the other day, there was a Harvard professor talking about a study that she recently conducted. In the competitive world of Harvard business school, power is very important. What she discovered is that certain poses or positions that we out our bodies in makes us communicate with body language both to others and ourselves. For instance, when you do a “star pose” (hands and legs spread apart), you are telling yourself that you are powerful, that you are wonderful and successful. Why? It all lies in animal instincts. In the animal world, when you make yourself bigger, it tells predators, “Go away, I’m bigger and better than you, and I will eat you.” and it tells you, “You are powerful and great.” In other words, it makes you feel confident. Try it, and tell me how you feel. In charge? Good? Awesome? Successful? Leave your observations in the comments section. Another example is the “CEO pose,” where you put your feet up on your desk, lean back in your chair with your hands on the back of your head and your elbows out. It tells others, “I know what I’m doing, so don’t mess with me.” It tells you, “I’ve got this, I’m amazing.” When you put yourself in a subordinate position, rolled up in a ball, or hiding, or maybe if you bow your head and slump down, it communicates that you are scared, embarrassed, or unsure of yourself. You can be a scientist yourself. How does it feel when you make yourself small, or big?

BORED TEEN RANTS ABOUT COLD WEATHER

I feel bad for the people in Miami, chillin’ by the beach, lemonade in hand, soaking in the sun.  It’s 83° there right now! They’ll never see snow. Bwahhahhahhahhahhahhahhahh! Meanwhile we gaze out at our very own magical winter wonderland here in VA, sipping hot cocoa by the fire and trying to think up some way to make sure we don’t get another ugly elf sweater for Christmas from Aunt Helga, who’s living in Seattle all by herself and going senile. Anyway, we sure do have it good! We get to sled and ski in the pillow of white sparkling beauty that lays before us. We have SNOWBALL FIGHTS while they sweat. Hahaha. Mid-Atlantic weather for the win! We have snowstorms and snow days, and they have boardwalks! If they could only see us now. They walk along licking their ice cream cones, and building sand castles, and we… um.. well we skid on ice with our cars and get snow in our hair, and…uh…freeze to death while they enjoy their beach weather. Yup. *sigh*. I want my summer weather baaaahhck!

Holidays…

The ads, the plastic packaging, the mad doorbuster stampede. What happened to sitting by the fire sipping cocoa?! Well, I, personally, am on the hunt for a simpler holiday. Our most valuable resource today is time. So, instead of throwing cash around during a mad midnight scramble, make a present. Knit something or make a cute and useful craft. Perhaps you could bake cookies for your cousins. Or support local small businesses and shop small. This year, ask for things that you need, or small things. Maybe even an experience instead of a present. A trip to the movies or an aquarium. Memories last, they don’t get shoved up behind your brother’s skis in the attic.  To get you going, here are some adorable ideas for great presents that will put smiles on faces.

Christmas Wreath Ornament

What you need:

A shower curtain ring or something similar, green yarn, a little bell, and some ribbon.

How to make it: 1. Wrap the green yarn around the shower curtain ring tightly. Glue if necessary. 2. Tie a bow in the ribbon and glue it to the top of your “wreath”. 3. Tie the bells from the top of the wreath with ribbon. 4. Create loop with string or ribbon to hang it up. Blog 1

Holiday Pretzels

What you need:

A bag of mini pretzels

A bag of m&ms (you can get red and green or blue and white if you celebrate hanukkah)

A bag of Hershey’s kisses

How to make it: Lay out the pretzels on a traditional cookie sheet and place one kiss on each. Bake until kisses get that glossy look, which means they’re soft. Pull out and place an  m&m on each kiss, pressing down. Then cool until the chocolate is hard. Look at the following link to see a picture.

500 × 331 – onceamomalwaysacook.blogspot.com

 

What Was the Government Shutdown, Anyway?

Okay, for those of us who don’t follow the news, when the government is shut down, it means that the government cannot operate in many areas. Fun Fact: the shutdown cost America 24 billion dollars. So, why did it close in the first place? The Republican party does not like Obamacare, a healthcare policy that the Democratic Party, in general supports. This year, when Congress needed to decide what health care program to fund, the Republicans decided that they were willing to do anything to keep it from passing. So, they  basically said that they would shutdown the government until the bill was repealed. More or less, they kidnapped the government. The ransom: repeal Obamacare. Following me so far? Good. Now the Democrats were in a pickle. The government couldn’t run for very long without  money coming in and working the system. So, they held out as long as possible, which cost us 24 billion dollars in waste and lost income to the country, until the Republicans agreed to compromise. While the government was shut down, many programs weren’t funded, many of them were early learning centers for kids. Many workers worked for days without any pay coming in. So, who do we blame this on? Some think that the Republicans made the right move. Others think that the Republicans were afraid that Obamacare would work, and that the Democrats would prove them wrong.  Politics, politics. We need you but hate you. As for what Obamacare is (Affordable Care Act) and the basic disagreements between Republicans and Democrats, tune in (or type in) to my next blog! Feel free to post comments and questions.

History of the Nerd

You may notice a recent trend in “nerd-loving”. It’s now the fashion to wear giant glasses and wear shirts that blatantly say NERD on the front. Wait… wasn’t the word ‘nerd’ originally meant as an insult? The word was first used to mean what we know it for today in a 1951 edition of Newsweek, where it was used as slang to refer to someone who was socially awkward or behind on the latest trends.  In the 1970s, it became popular on TV sitcoms and was used mostly as an insult, meaning an uninteresting or boring person. However, in the 1990s, nerd pride began to develop, and nerds were seen as successful. Bill Gates considers himself a nerd, and Steve Jobs is definitely up there. A  2010 study indicated that most people think of people of Asian origin as the nerdiest, however, this is a stereotype due to the importance of education to many Asian cultures, and the fact that Chinese cities are often home to good Universities. I think everyone has a little nerd tucked inside them somewhere. Hey, look, I watch nature documentaries for fun on Friday nights, don’t judge me. 😀

 

 

12 thoughts on “Blog Posts

  1. I personally thought Shake it Off was well-done. Taylor added the element of humor, which I really enjoyed. Especially the end of the video, where Taylor is the “ungraceful ballerina”.

  2. Let’s go with the Skins (as in Pigskin) and change the logo to a football. It’s time to make a change in name, not just coach and quarterback.

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