Island Nations

An island seems to change everything.

Pristine Relaxation, right?

Suddenly, you are thrust upon this wild and unknown area, with adventure rounding each hairpin turn while the glistening sea beckons for frolicking. The pure novelty of being so separated from the rest of the world, by however small a ribbon of water, keeps you excited and ready to explore.

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Practical Classics [Review]

I don’t think that I’ve blasted through a book, and definitely not what is essentially a glorified anthropology of fabulous book reviews, that quickly. But Kevin Smokler is absolutely fantastic in Practical Classics, to the point that I don’t think that I am worthy of writing a pittance of a book review of that masterful work.

But I shall take my feeble attempt!

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Summer Adventures

One of the few reasons why I actually like summer is this:
We came home to a sweltering hot home; myself from a conference in Seattle and my parents from a company picnic. And then, in a completely spur of the moment type deal, we decide that we want to go out and watch some whales.

I guess in some senses, this represents the overall shift in out family. How we have progressed from needing to plan out every single moment of every single route to being able to travel on nothing but the fuel in our cars and the whims of out hearts.

As if we couldn’t have been any more stereotypical, we were literally chasing the sun as it set in the great Pacific Ocean. Speeding across the state routes, we ran towards the beach just to see the last glimmers fade across the majestic island mountains. But oh, what a scene! For even as the sun set, the kaleidoscope of colors persisted, painting the horizon with a scattering of the rainbow. As the smoke from the fire pits wafted towards our car even as we were headings off, I could only imagine what the next day of adventure could possibly take us.

[note: there is so much for me to write about, but so little time to do so! I’ll be posting quite often this following week, and the book review will be in by tomorrow evening]

Charlie Chaplain: A Message for All of Humanity

I don’t usually write super short posts or link/reblog things, perhaps because I think there are much better places (ie here and here and definitely here), but this video really is great. The great silent movie man, Charlie Chaplain, in one of the few “talkies” that he produces, delivers a great and powerful speech.

The background, eh I don’t agree with ALL of it, but there are some pretty powerful symbolism there. We can’t simply forget about the civil war in Syria, or the continued fight for democracy in Egypt, not to mention the greater problems of environment. There is so much that we can, and should, be doing.

Regret

So many emotions, overwhelming our senses
but never lasting for long
like a wave tossed through the ocean
our brain flitters and flutters
never staying long enough
in one spot.

But as we sway
to the rhythm of that ocean
a rare cloud sweeps over
that deep blue sky.

The shadow of doubt
lingers unlike any other
for though the waves come and go
changing with the moons and tides,
regret stays and sink through my soul
staining it black beyond belief.

Oh what I would have changed!
What I would have said and done!
But alas, Father Time is too cruel
and our time is
cut

So with no island on the horizon
I must sail on, sail through
with nothing but myself to blame.

——
I wish I talked to you more, waigong and waipo, while you were here. I mis you so so so much, and I just want to see you still, to hear your murmur of shanghainese. Old age is not kind, and your sudden return was not easy. NOw all I can do is comfort and be comforted by the passage of time.

I miss you.

Get Smart

“Wow, you’re so smart! You’re always so good in school, getting straight As and being at the top of the class. My mom always wanted someone like you…. I wish I had your brains.”

Stop.

Rewind.

What just happened here?

In our society, we have a very specific definition of “smart”. While Merrian-Webster defines the adjective to be “Mentally alert; Bright; Knowledgeable”, it seems to me that us common folks usually measure smarts in other ways. For the most part, if you are a smart kid in school, it means that you range in the top 15% of your class; that you typically get As and Bs on all of your tests; that you maintain a perfect GPA, that you always do your homework; that, in short, you are a model student.

But is that really what smarts are?

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Physics Pasta Party

[SO, sorry for not posting the promised Saturday Book Review. I’ve actually finished quite a couple a books and was going to write, but then… things got in the way. I’ll write it up by Monday!]

Okay, so first things first: today was a really awesome day, in all the ways that you would expect and in so many ways that you wouldn’t have. Like the last couple times that this happened, I’ll go through the day in chronological order, with several brief interruptions in between.

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Score Shaming

Today is the last day for early AP score access, as well as the first day that the west coast, where I live, will be able to see those scores. Also, the IB scores were also released today, for my fellow International Baccalaureates.  Judging by the messages and reactions I’ve been getting from friends all week, I think that this post is quite obligatory for all you high school students out there.

Ever since Friday, I’ve been seeing posts about students using proxies to get access to their scores just a little bit earlier, or trying to find some way to see those numbers. People have been messaging me in a frenzy, trying to figure out why their browser was crashing or why they couldn’t find the proper identification codes. And you know what all of this means?

It means that we are placing way too much of our dreams and hopes upon the college board.

The Advanced Placement program, that which seems to dominate our lives.

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