Thoreau and Other Thoughts

I’ve cracked my knuckles, reset my password, and returned to the wonderful world of blogging. It’s been too, too long.

First and foremost, with the advent of 2016, I’ve been trying to keep a bullet journal. If you’re unfamiliar with a bullet journal, visit http://www.bulletjournal.com because it could easily change your life. Basically, it’s an efficient daily notebook/journaling system to keep track of to do lists, thoughts, and tasks. After learning about this system in early December last year, I found a nice moleskin notebook to put aside for my 2016 bullet journal. I figured that if I was going to start something, what better time to start than January 1st? So, after the ball dropped on New Years Eve, I picked up the journal and worked on it for about an hour – setting up calendars, indexes, and a key of symbols.

January 1st? Successful use of the bullet journal. January 2nd? Yet another successful entry. January 3rd? Three for three! January 4th? School started and the streak ended.

Now while this may call into question my desire and ability to actually commit to a daily journal, I don’t regret stopping my entries. Instead of making myself a list of things to do, I simply went out and did them. I still write myself reminders and agendas on my whiteboard where I can see a bird’s eye view of my day every morning and every night, but I don’t write these same notes in a notebook along with adorable doodles and sketches. In all honesty, I had attempted a bullet journal because of my failed attempts at keeping a regular journal. Did it work? No. Do I wish it worked? Sometimes. But I’ll justify myself with worldly thoughts from my current English curriculum.

We started reading “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” in class, and though transcendentalism is really messing with my mind, I’m starting to understand some of the beliefs. I might sound crazy, but if you read the play, you’ll completely understand.

By writing a to do list, am I limiting myself to that to do list? By dwelling on the past in a journal, am I refusing to live in the present? What does that mean for the future? A to do list would tell me how to live, and a journal would tell me how I lived, but none of it lets me BE. And on top of all of this, huckleberries are supposedly better tasting than strawberries.

I’m sorry if that made no sense, but I was channeling my inner Thoreau as he was represented in the play. I think everyone should channel their inner Thoreau once in a while – it’s good for the soul.

To make up for this abrupt ending, I’ll give this post a clean finish with a quote by Thoreau.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

Nice, right?

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The Grand Finale

Well, it’s here. Our slice of time together has officially come to a close.

In order to commemorate this “season finale,” I would like to bring a handful of endings to light.

Of course, my cherished defined list format returns.

The End of a Season

You can take this ending two ways; either the end of a TV show season, or the end of an actual season. The former is usually more painful than the latter. Personally I think the emotional roller coaster of a TV series season ending is intense, while the end of a season of the year is slightly tepid. Fall merges into winter, winter draws into spring, and spring grows into summer. What’s difficult for me is the end of a holiday season, when the Christmas lights and trees go back into storage and the radio stops playing carols. It’s slightly deflating.

The End of a Week

We live for the weekend, we get through the week in order to get to the weekend. Even though I’m guilty of this, I wish I wasn’t. After all, if you’re only thinking about the weekend, how are you going to enjoy the week? I think it has a lot to do with outlook, but I also blame Mondays.

The End of a Class

This really depends on your feelings toward the class.

The End of a Car Ride

There are few things better than hearing the GPS voice say “You have reached your final destination.”

Plot twist – Actually, I kind of like car rides, so I’ll talk about plane rides for this.

Specifically, the 18 hour flights to India. These flights get really frustrating if you’re not the kind of person who can sleep the whole time. When I was younger, it was a serious issue. I’d bring about three books on the plane and finish them all by the time we landed in Madurai, and the waits at places like Frankfurt or Delhi weren’t always the most fun. India is completely worth it of course, but the plane rides and airport experience isn’t my favorite. So, I enjoy when that journey ends.

The End of a Challenge

This one is a bit tricky. When the “challenge” has a negative connotation, like a subject you’re struggling in, or a task you’re having difficulty with, it’s relieving and empowering when it’s over. But, when it’s a challenge where you have to prove yourself, and are confident in your ability to prove yourself, it really stinks when it’s over.

Exhibit A – Slice of Life!

This was quite a challenge, and the second kind of challenge I mentioned. I was able to prove to myself I could accomplish one month of blogging daily, and am pretty proud. Then again, a large part of that pride is because after failing every childhood attempt at keeping a journal, I finally kept up a system of writing daily.

So in conclusion, thank you Slice of Life for the slice of life you gave me, and thank you for creating something grand enough to have a finale for.

So long, and farewell.

Wishes

Slice of Life is almost at a close, and I don’t know whether to rejoice that it happened, or be upset because it’s over. I’m very happy I was able to participate this year, and already feel like a much better writer. Plus, I gained a lot of confidence in my writing.

There’s something liberating about clicking that “Publish” button.

Anyway, looking back on a lot of my posts, I feel like I used a “bolded phrase and paragraph explanation format” a lot. Then again, I didn’t use it that much.

So, I made a decision to use that format yet again. (Return of the Format, Bold Headings Part II)

The following are a list of wishes and brief explanations, because where would we be without the elegant “defined list.”

***

I wish I could sing

When I was younger, I used to take voice lessons, and about a year ago, I also tried Carnatic music. Neither worked out too well, and while I sincerely put a lot of effort into practicing, I just wasn’t that great of a singer. I had fun in my schools’ choirs, and had fun singing around the house, but my “career” never took off. I think that the explanation is that I ended up focusing more on dance than singing, so it never really caught on. But, every time I see a high school play, or listen to good singers sing, something in me wishes I had stuck with singing and gotten really good at it.

Of course, nothing is holding me back from singing an off-key Happy Birthday or belting out pop-songs in the car.

I wish I had more time

So many books, so little time. So much homework, so little time. So many adventures, so little time. I feel no need to describe this issue further.

I wish I was assertive

I like to think that I am an assertive person, and am able to get what I want done, done. But, at times, I feel like I need to be a bit more firm in my decisions or ideas. Just something to work on, I suppose.

I wish I was a math genius

I know some kids who are just amazing at math, and it comes absolutely naturally to them. Personally, I think I’m pretty decent at math, but sometimes, I just wish it came as easy as speaking, like second nature. That would eliminate a lot of my current problems, but I won’t complain. I tried make a pun in the previous sentence, get it, problems, because math problems. Haha.

I wish I could fly

The closest I’ve gotten to flying is in an airplane. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a bird?

Side note; it would actually be terrifying to be a bird.

I wish I could use a daily-planner

I have a planner for homework, but I never use it for anything outside of school. Not even clubs or extracurriculars are written in my small spiral bound planner. I really want to be one of those people who can write down their daily schedules by hour in a planner every day, including everything they have to do. I feel like it would make the universe seem accomplish-able, and the day conquer-able.

I wish Slice of Life didn’t have to end

To be honest, I really, really, really don’t want it to end.

Journey To The Center of The Earth

I’m trying my hand at book reviews, and because I’m a bit rusty, I hope I’ll be able to improve.

So without further ado, because we’ve all had way too much ado, I present a book review on one of the classic novels that sparked my love for science fiction.

Journey To The Center of The Earth

“Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures.”

Best said by the main character himself, Journey To The Center of The Earth is one book you can’t help but get sucked into. With adventure and science, not only does Jules Verne bring you deeper and deeper into Planet Earth, but also allows you to develop an amazing ability to imagine the unimaginable.

The book starts out when Professor Von Hardwigg invites his nephew, Harry, to study under his wing at his home, the Konigstrasse at Hamburg. After unexpectedly finding a Runic manuscript hidden in an old book in his study, Professor Hardwigg and Harry work to decipher the writing. Using the Professor’s profound knowledge of languages and Harry’s decoding, the two are able to find the directions to the center of the Earth.

If only Google Maps could do that.

Professor Hardwigg, being the mad scientist that he is, could do nothing but embark on the journey, taking an unwilling and skeptical Harry with him. The two, along with their Icelandic guide, Hans, begin their dangerous journey to the center of the Earth, well prepared with scientific devices, bare necessities, and two very different ideas of what they’ll find.

Side note; Hans has no relation to the Hans in Disney’s Frozen.

Will the three make the greatest discovery science has ever seen, or will they end up never seeing the sun again?

My favorite part of the book was by far one of the bleakest. Running out of water and food, the three were trapped in a never-ending maze of rock. Harry was lost, and had to use the guidance of his uncle’s voice to find his way back to his friends. My favorite part, part two, was when Professor Von Hardwigg gave Harry their last drop of water, showing how much he truly cared for the boy and displaying the regret of bringing him along this dangerous expedition. The similarity of these two events is that it brought the uncle and fatherless nephew closer in a heartfelt moment, all warm and fuzzy despite being miles underground. It proved how much they loved each other, even if their scientific beliefs didn’t always agree.

Sometimes, the best way to bond is by going through a journey together, and Harry and Professor Von Hardwigg are undeniably the best example of that.

I recommend this book to any daring reader ready to dive into a classic science fiction novel. It has everything from adventure and danger, to heartwarming family moments.

After reading this book, you’ll feel like you’ve just been to the ends of the Earth and back, literally.

A Few Momentous Events

Because yesterday was a busy day for me, with dancing at the local Hindu temple and enjoying my school’s semiformal, I am slightly bogged down for the next two days. The phrase “bogged down” is an accurate description because a bog is similar to a swamp, and I would easily compare drowning in homework to drowning in swampy water.

It all started when I woke up late this morning. Then again, that’s because I went to sleep late last night  because of a commenting assignment related to my adventures in blogging. Anyway. I woke up late, but I came downstairs and after eating, I decided to read the Purple Hibiscus for  English. I was excited to read the book, and genuinely enjoyed the 162 pages I was required to read. The only problem was that around page 75, I fell asleep. For me, this is a huge milestone. I don’t usually take naps, but when I do, they’re well planned. I wrap myself in blankets, set an alarm, eat a snack before, and plan out what I’m going to do when I wake up. Never have I ever spontaneously fallen asleep.

Until today. I fell asleep with the book next to me, and woke up with my index finger still marking what page I was on. I had slept for a whole, completely unforeseen, hour. In my mind, I assumed I would have been done with the assignment by the time I woke up, but as a result of my nap, I spent another hour on the assignment.

I sincerely mourn for that last hour.

But, I am also grateful for that nap. What I’ve learned is that sometimes, a power nap is all you need to feel more motivated and productive. When I woke up this morning, I was still tired from the previous night, and felt rather lethargic. After my nap, I was able to work more efficiently and was not encumbered by languidness.

Side note, if you plan on taking a power-nap, don’t take an hour long power nap. Studies show that naps around 20 minutes are more beneficial and leave you feeling refreshed.

So as I continue to attack my pile of work with utmost ferocity and determination, I will remind myself that it’s okay to take a break, or a power-nap, once in a while.

And now, I will tell you about the semiformal I went to last night, in order to lighten the theme of work that I’ve had for many blog posts.

The dance was Great Gatsby themed, and I was able to help set-up. We had purchased plastic champagne glasses for lemonade and iced tea, and even Mardi-Gras-esque beads in silver, black, and gold as “party favors.” We had the phrase “old sport” in giant black letters, embellished with a bow tie and champagne glasses; all beautifully drawn and handmade by the talent at school. Lights and streamers decorated the wall, and the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg stared at you everywhere you went. A silhouette of Gatsby was made, and two female silhouettes as well (I like to call them Jordyn and Daisy) were also put up. Once people started to crowd in, the dance remained pretty stagnant for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Music was playing, but everyone was just talking with their friends in the few corners of the room. But then, when songs like Cha-Cha Slide and Cupid Shuffle came on, everyone started dancing and having fun. Surprisingly, a high school dance is the perfect time for grade school songs and dances.

After the dance was over, a handful of us lingered to help with clean up and returned the cafeteria to it’s former glory. Just like that, we had went from a party at Gatsby’s mansion, to lunch on a regular school day. On Monday, when we return and as I eat my Nutella sandwich, I’ll remember the cafeteria as the site of a “small” Gatsby gathering.

So I’ll close with my favorite lyric from semiformal. A little party never killed nobody.

Panic

I’ve had many panicked moments today, so I decided to panic out loud on the metaphoric roof of the Internet. 

Synonyms for panic include flustered, distressed, and anxious. My usual kinds of panic involve either one of the three, or all of them at once. Let me explain.

One type of panic that I get surprisingly often, is regarding whether or not I’ve forgotten something. This occurs on the bus or in the car on the way to an event. For example, right now I am on my way to my school’s semi formal and I must have checked whether I forgot anything at least three times. Even my mom had to run through a checklist with me! 

Another type of panic is when I have so much to do and so little time. For example, if I get home late from dance and still have to study for tests or quizzes and do homework, I’ll run around the house like a mad man trying to get things done. Oddly enough, whenever this happens, I take the time to hastily clean wherever I’m working. You could easily classify me as a neat freak, and maybe even just a freak. I’m not sure.

The first “panic” I mentioned benefits me in no way shape or form. I always experience that when it’s too late to fix anything or go home and get anything I forgot, so I end up having to live with it. The latter however, helps me be productive. It’s the cause for late-night motivational impulses and a lot of efficiency. But also a lot of half-decent work. The results of the flustered effort is either fantastic or horrible, with no happy middle. 

Sometimes, I hope I’ll grow out of panicking like that. Other times, I don’t.

Fun fact: I’m panicking as I write this blog post. 

Stormy Days

I have very mixed feelings about rain.

When I was little, I used to love thunderstorms because I associated them with indoor fun like arts and crafts, or reading. Now, I still love thunderstorms, but for a different reason. Actually, it’s a love-hate relationship. 

They’re oddly peaceful. I’m not sure why, but while the clouds are at war with each other, I find tranquility. So I’ll try to help you look through the kaleidoscope that is my perspective.

When it rains, it’s as if the entire world, or at least my world, is on low volume. Not mute, but subdued. At times, I feel horribly dull and gloomy, just wishing for sunlight and life. Other times, I feel relaxed. I love walking through a drizzle, and hate trudging through a storm. I love listening to thunder, but I hate listening to thunder after seeing a scary movie. 

I love watching lightning in the distance, and watching water droplets race against each other on a car window. And while this may not make sense, I love the rain that falls when everything else is dry. 

I’m not a fan of mud, or the kind of rain that makes me feel grimy.

I love the smell of wet soil, and the sensation of Mother Nature’s version of clean. 

I love it when my mom thanks the rain, for allowing her have a washed car without taking it to the car wash.

I hate it when the rain gets my papers wet. I don’t enjoy getting wet while wearing a thick coat. I don’t like it when it’s freezing, or when it’s so humid I feel like I’m suffocating.

I love it when I let my mind wander while it’s raining, and end up thinking what it must be like to live in London or Scotland or Ireland, where I always pictured the weather as rainy.

I love short black outs in school where the power is gone for a handful of minutes, leaving everyone quiet but creating a sense of community. I hate 7-day blackouts that Hurricane Sandy causes.

I love it when there are rainbows after rain, and I don’t love stepping in puddles.

I love it when it rains all day, but I don’t like thunder bellowing as I try to go to sleep.

I love rain, but I don’t love rain.

I can’t live without thunderstorms, but I can live without them.

To end on a pun, I guess you could say my feelings towards rainy and blustery days are a bit stormy. 

I tried.