Monday, December 31, 2007

Gen-i-us

I like books. Okay, just kidding. Scratch that. I LOVE books. But not just books-books either. I like actual novels. Any brain-missing nerdigan can write a book. It takes a true artist to write a novel.

Louisa May wrote a novel (several, actually). J.K. Rowling writes novels. Harper Lee wrote a novel. L.M. Montgomery wrote a novel. Shakespeare wrote plays, which are also art. Mark Twain wrote some dang good novels. William Golding wrote "Lord of the Flies," which is an amazing novel.

I won't name the people who write such trash that it should be considered a federal offense to publish it and so pollute the minds of the young, impressionable teenagers and children. They know who they are.

But do you know who has written some truly great works of art? Scott Westerfeld. (I know; he's probably thrilled that some extra "kicked" him.) I got "Uglies" and "Pretties" for Christmas last year and said, "Oh. Thanks. These look.... great." And for a minute I thought they were just another stupid series that was filled with the lamentings of a stupid teenage girl who didn't feel pretty or accepted or didn't get asked to the prom or whose boyfriend broke up with her and was now dating the head cheerleader. Buh-arf. Heaven spare us from such books.

I was dead wrong. After having nothing else to do, I buckled and started reading "Uglies": "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." I grinned. It couldn't be too bad if that was how it started. So I kept reading. And reading. And reading. And reading.

I don't know where my family was during all this, but I didn't surface for hours. The plot was intense with lifelike characters who could be sweet one moment and sour the next. Romance, but not so much you wanted the characters in love to die because they were so sappy. And hoverboards. I loved watching "Johnny Quest" when I was a littlie and always wanted a hoverboard. The other technology (almost AI rooms, instant food, hovercars) is also very cool and makes me wish it was the future already.

And the IDEA! The idea was so very innovative. The story is a little dash of "Fahrenheit 451" (Ray Bradbury; also a good read) and "The Giver" (Lois Lowry; again, good novel). Let me break it down for you: Tally Youngblood is the main character. She lives in a city where you're ugly until you get an operation when you're sixteen that makes you pretty. (Big eyes, gorgeous features, etc.) Her only ambition is to be a pretty (and go live in Pretty Town across the river), but then Shay comes along and plants some seeds in her head that the whole operation may not be so fantastic after all.

I'm not going to tell you any more because it'll spoil the ending. Just know that it's ingenious.

So, I bought the fourth book to the trilogy (hahahaha) a couple days ago called "Extras." Like Scott Westerfeld's other novels, it is just plain smart. It deals with your face-rank, which is basically how much people talk about you (fame, basically). There's also people called kickers who have live feeds all the time and are always posting (stories) things on the city interface. (Sound familiar at all?) Some people will do anything to up their face rank, including Aya Fuse, who is willing to sell basically anyone out.

After I read those novels, I always come away with a feeling of "Holy crap, am I letting society dictate my thoughts, actions, or opinions?" And the answer is usually yes. Which is why I don't generally like blogging. It's too.... not bubbly. I'd rather be doing something icy, like changing the world. Blogging is so brain-missing and random.

....

Did I mention that it also adds hilarious terms to my vocabulary?


Other novels by Scott Westerfeld include the trilogy "The Midnighters" (with likable characters that make you both cringe and laugh), "So Yesterday" (also full of innovative ideas about innovaters), and "Peeps" (it's an amazing take on vampires *thumbs nose at stupid "Twilight" fans* but the main character is horny like nobody's business. ick.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blogging in general

So, I haven't been very good at keeping up on my blog.

I know, I know; "What gives?!"

First of all, only like 3 people in the entire world are reading it.

Second of all, my writing is like my children. Creepy, but true. You wouldn't want pictures of your kids exposed and bare on the Internet, would you? It's the same thing with my writing. I write things for ME, and when I'm ready for other people to read them, I'll give ya a holler.

Third of all, freaking everyone has a blog. It's not one of those individualistic things anymore. It doesn't make me cool or make me stick out from the crowd.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not going to terminate the blog entirely, but I'll only be updating it sporadically. So :P

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Self-Evaluation

I am armed and dangerous. Some days I wonder why I feel so evil, sarcastic, and mean. And then I remember... "Oh, yeah. Ms. Throatgrab gets me all riled up." (although is it moral of me to blame her for the worst of me bursting out of its ugly bombshell? that's for a later entry.)

So, today I decided that if I switch to Paradigm for no other reason than to finally get a good literature/writing teacher, it'd be good enough for me. In my "language arts" class, we finished watching Remember the Titans (still a good, good movie) and took a test on To Kill a Mockingbird, in which she asked for stupid little minutia and repeated herself a couple times. (for example: "What is Jem's favorite sport?" and "What is Jem's sport of preference?" and "What is the name of the dog with rabies?")

Afterwards, she had us do a self-evaluation on how the novel had changed our prejudices.

Um.................................................................what?

Do you know how many kids actually read the novel? Including myself, maybe half. Maybe. But we never discussed, so what was the point of reading? According to Throatgrab, nothing in the novel was worth discussing, so what was the point of reading?

One girl was talking to me before class and asked, "Hey, Jo? Why is it called To Kill a Mockingbird?" It was a genuine question, and I knew that she really did want to know, so I answered it. A light of comprehension flashed in her eyes and she said, "Oh! That's really cool! Why didn't Throatgrab explain that? It only took you like thirty seconds."

Because thirty seconds explaining an enlightening, mind-broadening idea is thirty seconds we could be using to answer "Who is Zeebo?" Moronic woman...

ANYway, so, the evaluation was the stupidest thing I've ever read. I used all of my sarcasm and irony and splashed it onto the page. They were okay questions, but I refused to give her the answers that she wanted. The final question was "Do you stand up for people who can't stand up for themselves?" Of course I do. If the person can't defend themselves for whatever reason, I lash out at their attacker like Gracie Hart on Miss Texas.

But then there was a follow-up question. "How can you benefit from standing up for others?" Um, if I wanted benefits, what sort of altruist would I be? I'm not doing it for me; I'm doing it for them. Any benefit I get isn't important to me. So I threw out, "Warm fuzzies and an army of sycophants at my command."

Way to kill a warm fuzzy moment, eh?

I wonder if she even knows what sycophants are. She certainly doesn't have any...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What does a redneck man call a dead possum lyin' in the middle of the road?

Probably sushi!

I don't think a lot of things are laugh-loud-enough-that-people-ask-what's-wrong funny. At most, you get a smile or a little chuckle coupled with "Ha. That's funny." Some things like my hilarious friend Korinne or Terysa or me and Amy doing our blonde routine can make me laugh so hard that I drool. Others, like knock-knock jokes or any other kind of written/performed joke, are only kind of funny.

But do you know what never fails to make me laugh like I'm hopped up on morphine?

Redneck jokes.

They can be jokes making fun of rednecks, told by rednecks, or telling about the lives of rednecks. If it's told in a Southern drawl, I laugh hysterically. My (former) literature teacher lived in Georgia for a few years and told me all these funny stories about the people there. She wrote her hyphenated last name on a legal form (she had to keep her maiden name until she finished college) and the lady at the desk asked, "You one o' them liberated wimmin?"

They went to a county fair one time, just to see what it was like, and there was this man with a bull horn on an elevated chair at the entrance who was just calling out the most random stuff. "Hey, fatty, the pig weighin' contest's over thar!" "Hey, blondie! Or should Ah say brunette-y? Wooowee! Ah c'n see them brown roots from all the way up here!" She said that she never could figure out what he was actually supposed to be doing.

And To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout cracks me up every time I read it!

I don't know why they make me laugh so hard. Really, I don't. I've run through several theories in my head, and I'm drawing up blank.

Oh well.

Speaking of redneck jokes....

What do a Redneck divorcee and a Tornado have in common? -- either way, you're gonna lose your trailer...

*cracks up*

Friday, December 14, 2007

Good hell

I realize that when you read the subject bar, it sounds like I'm swearing. I'm really not. Honest. I was just laughing over this conversation that I had with my friend, Korinne. She was telling me how she got grounded from everything for a week and ended with a sad, "I'm going to be living in hell for a week."

So, the next Monday I approached her in choir and asked her how hell was working out for her. Her answer tells a lot about her personality.

"It's great! It's not bad hell; it's good hell."

....

I have nothing to add.

Paradigm vs. West Jordan

*****Positive Moment of the Day*****
We started watching Remember the Titans in language arts today. It's a good movie. I'd forgotten how much it cracks me up. "Blue; shut up." "Got that right." "You c'n shut up, too."
***********

I have a question. It's not a moral question, per se; more like a philosophical one. You know how they always say to make the best of every situation? What if you struggle in one environment and flourish in another, and you can choose between the two?

Should you stick it out in your current environment because you need to learn how to deal with situations that you hate?

OR should you choose the environment that's better for you while you still can choose?

In any case, I got accepted to a local charter high school for second semester, but I'm not entirely sure what to do. My brother Matt called me a pansy for not sticking it out at West Jordan, but I really do work better in a smaller learning environment.

And let's not even start on what my friends will do to me. If they lynch me, don't press charges, okay?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First Post

Okay, first post! (not including the introductory one)
I kind of want this to be a place to put positive things, not just whining and griping like some blogs. Unfortunately for you, though, I had a pretty lame day. BUT I'm always going to start with something optimistic because there's always something that is going right even when everything else is horrendous.

****************POSITIVE****************

I got to sing with my choir at a middle school today, and our teacher was there to play the piano. No one can play/lead like Mr. Dehaan! It was the first time that we got to see the Madrigals perform, too, and they did this weird/cool number where they dinged and donged a lot while hitting each other. It was very innovative.

****************************

And now for the other stuff. As I mentioned before, my language arts class is about the most frustrating class I've had to endure since seventh grade. I don't suppose that it would annoy me as much as it does had I not gone to a charter school last year, but I can't stand it. You know how there are some teachers who can get away with taxing assignments because you know they care? They can assign you long, hard essays because you know that they'll read them and judge on your content, not just your grammar? My teacher is not one of those teachers. I don't believe I've ever been so disgusted with someone of the human race before. We're reading To Kill a Mockingbird in class, which is arguably one of the best novels ever published, and we don't ever discuss ANYTHING. We actually had a silent discussion today, which consisted of writing down questions, answers, and comments on a piece of paper and sending it around the classroom. Did anyone get anything out of it? Nope. Not a single person. The sad thing isn't even that my brains are melting and I want to bash my head against the wall in a blinding flash of gore and little gray cells. The sad thing is that my classmates are missing out on the greater points of To Kill a Mockingbird. They're missing the symbolism, and the deeper levels of prejudice besides just blacks vs. whites, like men vs. women and grown ups vs. children. Granted that most of them don't really care, my teacher's lack of care or concern is robbing them of one of the best literary treasures ever penned.

At parent/teacher conferences, my mum talked to my teacher about it. She asked when we would actually have some deep, real discussions. Do you know what Ms. Throatgrab said? She said, "If Jo wants a deep discussion, maybe she should lead it." And do your job? Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I'll gladly take over your job if you go get a job somewhere where you can actually do what you're supposed to do.

I don't mean to be whiny, but why become a language arts teacher if you're not passionate about it and if you don't even like kids? It certainly isn't for the pay...

Hullo, everybody!

This blog was really my sister's idea. I think she got sick of me whining about my lacking language arts class all the time, so she told me to vent on the web, which I thought was a pretty good idea.
If you've ever read the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, I'm basically a Jo March who got stuck in the wrong time period. I am dead serious. I love writing, so this blog is going to be my creative outlet, since I have none at school.
Well, happy reading. Genius burns!
-Jo