Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Simple Things: Youtube


So…I love Youtube. It’s a simple site, but I think it has a lot to offer. For example, today I watched a video uploaded by KevJumba (real name, Kevin Wu) and it immediately inspired this small post that I will enjoy writing, even if no one ever sees it.

Anyway, Kevin is a very funny Youtuber. From what I’ve gathered, he became popular by first making comedy videos teasing himself. He’s escalated far beyond this, however, and now makes collaboration videos with Wong Fu Productions that are often hilarious skits (or series) along with simple pieces with himself and his father (who is just as amusing. See My Dad is Asian).

Initially, I was confused when I opened today’s video because I was seeing the beginning of The Amazing Race. I haven’t watched it for years, but it was obvious what it was and I didn’t get why it was in KevJumba’s video. Until, of course, there was a flash to Kevin and his father.

I immediately ran to my mom, who watches The Amazing Race, and asked her about them. I was speaking so quickly, she had to tell me to calm down so she could understand me. Honestly, knowing this person on a slightly larger level than most, and him being on The Amazing Race, was a great mixture of weird and awesome.

I love the internet and I love Youtube. It has created opportunities like this – where the world seems even smaller than it used to and makes things more personal and exciting. There’s so much more to do and live for when contact can be made within seconds.

Plus, KevJumba is one of the simple and small pieces of my life that really gives me hope that humans will go on as we are now – with discord, yes, but also happiness and humor. A lot of the time, I think the last part gets lost in all the terrorism and fighting.

Just watch his videos. You’ll get what I mean.

Regards,

Krista

PS. I’m cheering on TeamJumba – are you?

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Hello Once Again


So, I’m back. Yes, I know – you missed me. I totally understand. I missed you too. Actually, I really missed writing in my blog. However, I didn’t immediately post on the 22nd after my two-week hiatus was because I was so insanely busy. In fact, I’m busy all this week – which is why I’m writing this at 9 PM. This might be the only chance I get this week. Unless I’m lucky. Cross your fingers.

Anyway, I want to give everyone a quick look at all the things that I’ll be posting as soon as I get a chance. They’re all on my list and a little backed up – but I promise to post them.

  1. Second part of the Common App guide
  2. Kenyon Overnight review
  3. Review on A Very Potter Sequel

For now, however, I’m going to talk about what it was like on hiatus for two weeks.

Liberating. Absolutely liberating. I’m going to be overly honest and say that I had a major addiction to the internet (for about 2-3 years) if only because of my vast amount of internet friends that made me feel less alone and depressed. Turning on the internet and talking to these friends, as I look back on it, was like my drug. I ended up being so disconnected that I started to get mild depression and major anxiety issues.

But slowly the group of friends grew smaller as everyone moved on with their lives. Eventually, I was one of the last few. I decided to give up both Harry Potter and the internet to see how I would respond to life without it. Turns out, I couldn’t really give up Harry Potter. It’s such a huge part of me in the way I think about life that I just couldn’t block it from my mind. On the other hand, the internet was fairly easy to give up (barring school/college related things) after the first two or three days. My main problem was actually very hilarious and typical.

I needed to update my Facebook status.

Don’t worry. I didn’t give in to temptation, but it was crazy how badly I wanted to tell the people in my life that I was completely finished with all ACT Prep classes. It was such a happy thing for me because they were such a pain in the butt. The fact that I couldn’t share it was torture. Looking back it makes me realize how completely self-obsessed humans of this time can be – especially with the influence of Facebook. Honestly, who is really going to care that I had finished my ACT Prep classes? That’s right – no one.

I think that giving up the internet for those two weeks really taught me to listen more and talk less. By the end of the two weeks, I had completely forgotten I had even given up the internet and could to have it back. My old self would have jumped around and told everyone about how I was going to get back on the internet after a two-week hiatus. The new me – the happier, calmer, more active me – seems to do more activities and asking questions. I mean, I still talk a lot about myself – I am a teenager – but I ask more questions about others lives too. I’m beginning to work on a balance, and I really like it.

The best part: I feel more grounded without the internet. I don’t have to feel anxious to get home to the internet for my safety anymore. I would rather stay at school from dawn until dusk now. I love participating in school activities and hanging out with people – something I honestly thought I’d never say.

The worst part: I still love my internet friends. I want to keep in contact with them for as many years as I can, but it seems like it’s extremely hard to do when you’re an internet junkie just off rehab. I don’t want to go back to being obsessed with the internet again, but it seems like I need it to keep in contact with my friends.

So, how do I stay in contact with my internet friends while also leading my new life with less internet?

Tell me what you think I should do in the comments below! I’m open to any suggestion. 🙂

Regards,

Krista

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Safety Zones


So, this is extremely depressing for two reasons:

1. I just really got into a piece of Harry Potter fanfiction that I started about 9 months ago. I had let it sit for a very long time, but I recently started writing like mad for it.

2. I also feel like this blog is starting to do really well. I have a lot of great ideas for it, and I had recently been planning on writing a blog post a day (as soon as I ran out of ideas).

Neither of these will be continued. At least for two weeks.

I’ve decided to give up my safety zones. No more Harry Potter or internet for the next two weeks – just to see how I fare on my own. This is partly for my own sanity/health, but also for my own interest. I’m really into psychology, and this will be so interesting to play around with. More when I return on the 22nd. 😉

Wish me luck!

Regards,

Krista

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Literature vs. Fiction


In my AP English class a few days ago, we were talking about what the difference between literature and fiction is – how to distinguish them.

Literature, we decided, was novels that were more written for the author and contained rhetorical terms, themes, and symbolism. Also, that literature often challenges beliefs and society.

Fiction is written more for the readers, and doesn’t usually contain any of the extra thought that is put into books of literature quality. I’d actually put a lot of YA novels under here, which are usually dramatic or about love and sex.

At one point in our discussion, though, we reached something that definitely caught my interest: is Harry Potter fiction or literature?

And of course, we all know what I said: LITERATUREOKAY?

But in an AP class that type of answer doesn’t go too well, nor did we really decide to discuss that more thoroughly. However, I really wanted to talk about it. So, I went to my forum and brought it up to my friends, and listed a few reasons why I thought that it was considered literature. The topic didn’t get discussed very much, but only because no one tried to prove me wrong.

So, blog post? Yes, exactly. This is my attempt to find someone who will go into a throw-down with me and try to prove Harry Potter is fiction.

Here are my main points as to why Harry Potter is literature:

  • Harry Potter may be a children’s book, and it may look like it is only a fad of our generation, but it is also deeply read by adults. Also, is Chronicles of Narnia not considered literature?
  • Going off this, I have recently learned of one college and one high school that has a class devoted completely to studying Harry Potter. There is no doubt in my mind that this number will increase. If this was just a fad or only a piece of fiction, would there be any need to study it at all?
  • There are thousands of people who have created communities around this book. There are three different things that I have found to be the most important parts of Harry Potter culture –
  1. Wizard Rock, or WRock, music. The topics of these bands’ songs can range from popular  to minor characters, or important moments in the books.
  2. Harry Potter conventions. Even after the series has long ended, there are still Harry Potter conventions. I plan to go to one next summer, LeakyCon.
  3. Harry Potter fanfiction. There are a few hundred of devoted Harry Potter fanfiction-fiends who write to study the themes and (popular or minor) characters of Harry Potter.
  • Going back to the study of Harry Potter. Many say that there are no themes or points to the books, merely that it is only about good vs. evil and is a standard children’s book. However, there are themes that are very carefully interwoven throughout them.
  1. Prejudice – The idea that whether you were born into a magical or non-magical family affects how worthy you are of magic. This caused war and death, showing readers the gravity of what prejudice can really do.
  2. Basis of family – Harry grew up without a proper family, but managed to find one when he went to Hogwarts. Goes to show that you can always find someone to love you.
  3. Sorting/judging – When characters first attended Hogwarts, they got Sorted. While many believe that they didn’t pick their House, Harry had the choice between Slytherin and Gryffindor. He chose a different path from Voldemort, making him good and not evil. He was not marked to be good, but chose it.
  • Finally, the characters. Draco – along with Snape, Voldemort, and Dumbledore – are some of the many complex characters within the novel that address how history and life can affect actions and beliefs.

Tell me what you think. Literature or fiction? Why? Feel free to leave long responses – I am not afraid!

Regards,

Krista

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StickAid


One of the most fantastic parts of being in the Nerdfighter community is all the giving it does. The HP Alliance and Nerdfighters worked to get money to Esther Earl when she needed it, and now Youtuber Charlie McDonnell and Youtuber Myles Dyer are working together on the StickAid project. So far as I know, StickAid was hosted by Myles Dyer for the past four years, but this year, Charlie has decided to join him.

The whole point is for the two of them to stay up for 24 straight hours and just volley for donations for the UNICEF charity during a live-stream. UNICEF, if you don’t know, is the United Nations Children’s Fund. The name pretty much explains itself, so I’ll leave that as it is and just move on.

I’m so excited about this StickAid project. Originally, I thought that the project, when Charlie first posted his video, was going to be asking his viewers to also stay up 24 hours. As cool as it really is, I wish that this had been the case (I know it wouldn’t have made much sense, though). I am a teen of seventeen without a job, and I don’t think my mom fully understands why I’m interested in something like this, so I’m not really in a position to donate money.

This is actually the real reason I’m blogging about StickAid. Maybe – just maybe – I can make up for my inability to donate by finding more people who can give for this great cause. Besides, who wouldn’t want to watch Charlie and Myles do hilarious challenges, show great musicians, and put on make-up?

Really, if you don’t already know about Charlie McDonnell, Myles Dyer, and the other great handful of Youtubers who do all of this giving (and more) then I suggest you Wiki them and start scouring Youtube. These people are truly inspiring, and I can’t wait to find my own ways to help people like they do.

StickAid Live-Stream.

Regards,

Krista

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Fandoms: Good or Bad?


So, I really love this topic I’m about to jump into because it’ll probably sound hypocritical when I type my opinion. Plus, it’s a great discussion topic.

I was on College Candy today, and one of the posts was about fandoms. Now, it’s not necessarily about my type of fandom, but it is about the obsessive following of celebrities. Either way, I decided to take that post and put my opinion here – flesh it out in my own way.

It speaks mostly about how obsessive we are as people now. We are either obsessive over celebrities, or something like Twilight.

In both instances, I have heard of death threats occurring. Now, I don’t have Bieber-fever but the College Candy post mentioned how some fourteen-year-old threatened someone else for not liking him. Honestly, that’s insane and definitely not okay. Someone who said they didn’t like Twilight was either threatened to be killed or actually beaten up a bit, if I can remember correctly.

All of this is crazy. This kind of obsession is really wrong, and is definitely a side-effect of the internet. With everything at our fingertips I believe we are more able to flesh out our interests and find others who are interested in the same topics. When you have someone to talk to about your obsession, it can only make it grow. You learn more and more about your obsession, and get the pleasure of talking about it with someone else too.  I’m not saying that’s necessarily wrong or bad – and we certainly can’t backtrack with the internet – but I believe that, as humans, we all need to find a line and draw it. We’re the most intelligent species on the planet, and we definitely should not acting in such a vulgar way.

But here’s where I will probably sound hypocritical. I believe that obsessions with more…inanimate things…are okay. Twilight is an obvious exception here, as there are many TwiHards who have acted a bit freaky (more on this in the next paragraph), but often times you will find those obsessed with a certain TV show or book are less inclined to kill someone over it.

The thing is that these inanimate things cannot talk back to us – they don’t have the same feelings that humans do. Celebrities do, and that makes it easier – for those who technically “stalk” them – to get to know them as people who have views and ideals and good and bad times. Those who love a certain celebrity tend to feel like they’ve gotten to know them almost like friends, begin to idolize them, maybe even worship. They probably want to become this person, want to escape into their fantastic well-known life where others would idolize them. (Or, in the case of Twilight, they want to have a character – Edward or Jacob – and will fight to the death over a fake Gary-Stu* character. In a way, this is just like a celebrity. They are completely idolized as a person.) Obviously it’s not healthy. Life is about learning to accept yourself (in a solitary way, not with a boyfriend. You are not complete just because you are dating someone – especially someone fake), and I honestly believe that obsessions with books, TV shows, or sports can give you that. They give you a sense of personal identity with new ideas and beliefs – views on the world – as opposed to becoming someone else.

Tell me what you think: Are obsessions with celebrities and TV shows/books/ideas the same or are they different? Are they good or bad?

Regards,

Krista

*Gary Stu – the opposite sexual counterpart to a Mary Sue. A perfectly written TV or book character who is great at everything, and loved by everyone.

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Hanover College


So today I visited Hanover College. The day was perfect too – sun and a constant breeze. It was a nice change. Cincy is usually stagnant and humid. Not enjoyable at all.

While the weather did affect my opinion and mood while on the college visit, I have to say there was a lot of cool stuff about Hanover. Madison, the town Hanover is in, is very similar to my home town – it’s small and very generic, but relaxed and gorgeous. What made Madison even better was the weather, better upkeep, and scenery. It has less hills, and more open field with corn and barns. Luckily though, it still has trees. I don’t think I could live in a place without trees.

One thing I enjoyed about Hanover is that it’s not smack-dab in a town, mingling with it. Hanover has its own sign that leads up into dense foliage and a winding road. It’s beautiful. Then, when you finally get to the top, you have open space with buildings and a few trees.

Anyway, no one was at Hanover besides the freshman class, but it was really nice either way. I might not have gotten to see students in their element, but I think it was easier to get around and talk and learn without everyone being extremely busy. I immediately went to the Office of Admissions, got my papers, and then (after a nosebleed) went on my tour. It all went smoothly, and I think that was great considering how nervous I was.

The tour guide was really nice (I did a one-on-one tour. I figure that’s a better way to make a statement for yourself, but also get more of your questions answered), and he did a good job of showing me the place and asking questions. The best thing about tours, though, is that you don’t have to come up with a list of questions before you go because they come to mind when walking around the campus and listening to the guide talk. I feel like, with interviews, it’s going to be harder to ask and answer questions and there would need to be preparation.

I learned a lot about the different things Hanover has: the classrooms, class sizes, main buildings, activities, and something like the essence of Hanover – which seems to be very historic. The buildings are all fairly similar, big white pillars in front, same square red building all around. It’s very pretty, despite it not being my taste.

The classrooms are also nice. I got shown the largest class – and let me tell you, it looked like it would only seat about thirty-five to forty people. Not bad. Class sizes, by the time you are a senior, are around five people. Sound fantastic enough? Yes.

Everything is actually really well renovated too. The classrooms have very nice desks, comfy chairs, and a good amount of equipment. The dorms are fairly big – bigger than Kenyon’s – and they have a nice place to do laundry that has a TV.

Activities? It seemed that Hanover is big on theater, hiking (they have their very own park on campus), basketball, football, volleyball, and maybe choir. They’re very spirited, which is nice, and I think it’s cool that they also have many bands coming into their school to do shows. Think less party school, more good-ol’-fun school.

To go back to theater and choir, when applying to Hanover, you actually are applying for scholarships which can be in theater, academics, and choir. I’m sure there’s more scholarships, but those are the ones that were mentioned to me considering I do all of those things at my high school. Overall, I think that was really important because it’s easier for the students applying. That’s less paperwork, and very exciting too. Who doesn’t want a chance to get a scholarship?

After the tour I got to sit down with the head of the Psychology department. This was good for me mostly because Psychology is such a broad subject and it’s hard to figure out what part is what you need for the job you have in mind. There’s Neuro-Psychology, which is more about studying the brain; behavior psychology, which is obviously about people, personalities, and responses to their environment; and clinical psychology, which I believe can be very close to behavior psychology if you’re going to be based in becoming an actual psychologist where you sit down and talk out emotional/mental issues.

I’ll be that last one.

The main thing I loved that the head of the department said was that at Hanover they try to get you to take a few classes of all the different types of psychology, just to make sure you get a chance to find what you really like, and then have you declare your major in your second semester of your sophomore year. Also, there is more doing of psychology as opposed to just sitting down and learning about it. Psychology, which often gives the impression of just learning about others, is taught a bit differently at Hanover in the sense that you can also get some hands on experience. There’s even a senior research project that sounds very interesting. I already know what I’ll be doing for my project about if I go there.

Overall, Hanover is probably my second choice. It didn’t get me excited and pumped for college like Kenyon did, but I could definitely see myself going there.

Hanover website.

Hanover on Collegeboard.

Regards,

Krista

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