Saturday, August 29, 2009

Toddlers in Tiaras. DISGUSTING.

The reality show "Toddlers in Tiaras" on TLC is the creepiest, saddest, most disgusting reality show I've seen on TV. Most reality shows make me sad and disgusted, but at least the participants in those shows are stupid adults who volunteer. In this show, the participants are young children volunteered by their stupid parents.

It's a reality show about little girls in beauty pageants, showing every ounce of drama and commentary from the crazy pageant moms. One of them said, after her daughter lost, "I've learned not to expect much from her."


That is just horrible. I think the entire concept of pageants is horrible. Mothers actually sign up their children to spend long days in far-away places getting pounds of make-up caked on their faces, wear uncomfortable outfits, parade around on stage for judges who then rate them on their eyes, their smile, their walk, their appearance, and no matter who wins or who loses, all kids walk out of there learning the wrong lesson about life. What kind of person would subject their five year old to that?

The losers get kicked in the self-esteem, being told they aren't as pretty as the other girls, and I can imagine over time they lose their feeling of self worth. The winners leave on a huge ego trip because they won money for being pretty. These kids should be outside in shorts and T-shirts playing with other kids, not inside in dresses and make-up being judged and compared to other kids on a stage in front of a room full of people and cameras that will air this humiliation on TV.

I would NEVER put my child through that. It's child exploitation. Some of these parents say "Oh, my daughter loves attention, she loves to model and dress up" but you can tell the parents are much more into it than the kids. If my little girl expressed genuine interest in the spotlight, I would put her in an acting or dance class at the rec center. If I couldn't afford that, I would take the camera and let her dress up and make movies or encourage her to put on little plays. There are a million ways you can encourage your kid to be a little drama queen without putting her through pageants to make money off of it. I hope those parents are putting the pageant money away for their kid's college or something, because there's a whole other ethics issue right there.

This show makes me sick.

I almost cried watching that. Seriously. Tanning your child, false eye lashes and fake teeth to fill their gaps...I think this should be illegal under a certain age. I really do. It's a civil rights violation, and these children shouldn't pay the price of a life of warped reality because they had parents who didn't look out for their best interests.

Doesn't that creep you out? Thank you San Francisco Chronicle for the picture. Follow the link and read the article and the comments under it. Some of the comments are so funny. "It's like a parade for pedophiles" and "I could just imagine if we ever went to court against the Muslim world, this would be exhibit A of why they have a right to hate us." Totally.

Read more:

I have to stop talking about it now. If you have an older child who knows everything a beauty pageant entails and still really wants to be in one, that's completely different from throwing your toddler into this life. If you even consider spray tanning your baby to be judged in a contest, you really need to evaluate what's important in your life and what you want to be important in your child's.


Rob Lowe's Eyes

Holy crap, he has pretty eyes.

I finally saw St. Elmo's Fire, that 80's movie about the seven college friends and their post-graduation shock of real life. Rob Lowe is the irresponsible guy who doesn't want to grow up. His hair in this movie reminds me of John Stamos in the first season of "Full House." Anyway, he had (and still has) gorgeous eyes. He reminds me a little of Chace Crawford, and I know that's not just in my head because my sister said the same thing.

The only picture of him on Google Images that was good enough had the description "ROB LOWE SEX TAPE" in caps like that, and I didn't chance it and click. So here's the movie cover. Rob Low's the guy in the bottom right corner.

Thank you WFNX radio of Boston and New Hampshire for the picture. Someone there did a movie review of it, so check it out.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Danny Boy

Does it mean I've overly emotional if the song "Danny Boy" makes me kind of teary?

"I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be
For you will bend and tell me that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me."

One guy at the senior center sings this all the time. It's his favorite song. He sings a bunch of old songs, and I love listening to the lyrics. Old songs are amazing because they actually say something. They're poetic. You don't see that much in modern music. That's why I like Taylor Swift. Her lyrics are powerful.

Here's another sad song that I love, not as old or poetic as "Danny Boy," though, and definitely not as sad: "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, circa 1960s. (I was going to do "Teen Angel" but I like this one better.)

This video's like a jackpot for me. I'm happy I found it. It looks silly acted out. It's really sad when you hear it by itself. It's like the Notebook, but instead of the two reuniting ten years later, Noah dies in a tragic accident. I would have been so upset if Noah died.


Some things I've had saved in my favorites

Ever seen this Oreo commercial? This is so cute. I love this.

Also, I found the music video of "Crazy for You." It's my favorite Madonna song. Oh, that I said that, I need to think of a new security question. Just kidding, the idea to make that a security question just came to me.

That bridge with the fog at 18 seconds...since I saw this video, I've had dreams of being on that bridge. I don't really love this video, but I do love the song and I was waiting for the video to come back to You Tube for so long because the only thing I could remember about it was the bridge. It hasn't yet...I found this on AOL Music.

Also, who watches "Family Guy?" I've watched it a couple times out of curiosity, and I can't believe how outrageously asinine that show is. I'm guessing the reason it's so popular is because people like to see what insane thing they're going to do next? That's what kept me watching. Sadly, this freakin obnoxious show keeps me interested longer than "Hannah Montana." That's really sad.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just some thoughts

All I have left to do tonight is make my history notes prettier, and I feel like writing. It's bulletted by topic, and I think it progresses from superficial anecdote to soul-searching because that's just the way my mood went. I feel like I start to sound like Carrie Bradshaw at the end. Sorry about the length. ^_^

**New editor-in-chief of our newspaper decided yesterday we need to do "get to know you" activities even though everyone on the staff either went to camp or was in the class last year. I thought the point of journalism camp was so we wouldn't have to stand outside in a swarm of gnats in 98% humidity on the first day of school playing "never have I ever" to get to know each other. But it's his call.

**A girl I was friends with in first grade died the other day. I believe she was hit by a car. It's so scary when you see the name of someone you haven't thought about in years, and it's in the obituaries.

**I went back to the senior center to help out after school today. I miss it there. I'd rather be there than in school. I miss all the fun afternoon activites they do. I like helping people paint during arts and crafts. I was afraid that going back, some of the people with advanced dementia wouldn't remember me. I'm afraid that if I stop going often, someone might die or their disease will progress so much that I can't talk to them anymore.

I think this is just a more specific example of the fear everyone has, that time will get away from them, they will be forgotten, and people they love will disappear.

**Drawing on that, I've always realized that many of the friends I have today will, in 10 years, be distant memories. Maybe I'll keep in touch with a few, maybe one really will be my friend forever, but relationships I have now won't be the same after high school is over. I've lost so many friends over the years. Everyone does, and they're always friends they never wanted to lose.

My friend has a completely different outlook on high school friendships than I do. She believes that "climbing the social ladder" is the most fun part of high school. She hangs out with people she knows will make her popular, and she wants to meet as many people as she can before she graduates.

I don't believe in that. I have two close friends at school. Two. That's it. One I've known since the first day of high school. The other I just met in January of last year. I feel like I've known them forever, and that's dangerous because I know we're going to grow apart some day. But if you live high school looking at friends superficially, as names you will barely remember by the end of do you know who to trust?

She's at a different school in a whole different world. We see things differently and don't always understand each other. I can't think in terms of real-life social networking, friends as connections to more friends. I think that even though good friends might leave, the memories of them never will. Maybe she's just being realistic and knows friendships don't last, so might as well be loved superficially by many than profoundly by a few. Maybe, in a way, that's better than tricking yourself into believing in the idealistic idea of BFF.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Because I like to relate weird conversations I have.

Here's a conversation I somehow got into with a senior from yearbook (who I don't even know) in journalism class today. It almost ended in a screaming match and left me wondering...what the hell just happened?

I was talking to my friend about how our teacher is teaching Journalism 1 classes this year so newbies aren't thrown into newspaper or yearbook without any background knowledge. This girl overheard. Imagine voices getting progressively louder and more caustic.

Me to Allison: Yeah, she only has one English class. She's teaching Journalism 1 for the Freshmen.
Yearbook girl, in a snarky tone: No she isn't!
Me: Yeah, she told me the other day. Freshmen who sign up for Journalism are taking intro classes.
Her: No, Journalism 1 kids are put in regular newspaper or yearbook. *Rolls eyes* Not that I would expect you to understand.
Me: I know, they were last year, but this year it changed.
Her: No it didn't!! You have no idea what you're talking about.
Me: Yes it did!! Whatever.
I turn around to end the conversation and see "Journalism 1, periods 1 and 3" written on the board with homework below.
Me: It says right on the board, she's teaching two classes of Journalism 1. See?
Her: You don't have to get so snippy!

She left, and I had one of those "What just happened?" moments. Allison asks me, "What was with that girl freaking out on you?"

I have no idea. She always looks blazed, so I figure she just has issues. That was pretty funny though. XD


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wake me up when September ends

BORED OUT OF MY MIND. I wasn't bored all summer. One day at school, and I feel like my breathing is as slow as the clock's minute hand. 11th grade is like the school version of a management position at a data processing company. Sure, you have authority over those less experienced than you, but you're still processing data and you just have more work than they do.

High school juniors...Your books have no pictures or color, you're thrown a list of upcoming orals and exams the day you get there, and you sit in dreary, sparsely decorated rooms packed with 35 teenagers for an hour and 41 minutes listening to teachers drone about the school rules and class expectations.

Biology was the worst. It was my last class of the day, and my teacher is dry like toast. He's very strict, he told us he's "strictly business," and he has a lot of rules. He's not very warm, and he doesn't smile very much. He seems like a good teacher, but I was disappointed. I was hoping for a fun Biology teacher, and it's clear Biology isn't going to be much fun this year.

We're not allowed to talk in his class. The room is dark, warm, and quiet. His voice is low and soft. I was so close to falling asleep on top of my class expectations packet. At least it's not Chemistry. Always a silver lining. Any teacher in Biology is better than a year of advanced Chem. (Let's see if I still think that by November.)

I'm going to read about the properties of water in my depressing, colorless Bio book and be happy I'm not calculating the percent mass of anything. I hope my classes tomorrow will be a little happier. I'm going to make the best of this year no matter what because you only get to do high school once.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Esoteric related searches? Doesn't work.

I just searched the word "disadvantageous" on and in the related searches column on the left, "asexual reproduction," "the yolk sac of humans," and "Which of the following contributes to placenta?" were listed. Am I missing an alternate meaning of disadvantageous?

Speaking of SAT words, my new favorite is "esoteric." It means "understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest." The related searches for that make sense. Esoteric judaism, esoteric symbols, esoteric texts....


I think the school board directors went to school in our district.

I was talking to one of my teachers from last year, and she is pissed because of this new guy on the school board and the ridiculous things he's doing. All teachers in the county have to teach from the same syllabus, reach the same "benchmark goals" and follow the same class objectives, which have to be written on the board at the beginning of each class. If I were her, I would be mad, too...she's an amazing teacher, and she has to compromise that because of a stupid socialist district rule.

Really, doesn't this seem socialist to you? They make every teacher teach the exact same thing at the exact same time, bringing horrible teachers up to average and amazing teachers down to average. If a teacher is horrible, why not let them go? Am I totally naive about this?

A large number of students can't pass FCAT, the simple standardized test that evaluates basic math and reading skills. Their solution is to prep the kids more for FCAT, completely de-emphasizing actual learning in exchange for rote memorization of five-paragraph essay structure, the hunt-and-find technique, and filling in bubble grids.

Way to go, Florida. And here's a shout-out to the freshie on the school board for the brilliant idea. Does the new English syllabus have irony on it?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

This post dedicated to my new baby cousin

If you know me or even if you just read this, you have to know I love babies. My cousin had a baby on Thursday! I got to hold her twice. ^_^ I haven't seen a newborn baby up close in a very long time...over seven years probably. I saw Alivia at the hospital the day she was born, and she was so small. She looked like a doll. I was holding her, and I was so afraid I was hurting her neck or her feet were squished or something. Babies are so fragile, you know?

I only have one picture of her, the one my dad texted to me five minutes after she was born. It's weird to see a baby right after they're born and think that just a few minutes before, they were inside somebody else. It's a huge transition from their cozy, protected little environment to the world where they're breathing on their own. It's one of those things that makes me believe in intelligent design. There has to be a God. Science just can't do that on it's own.

We took my cousin, her 7-year-old brother, out today. I love this kid. I'm always telling people funny stories about him. He's so smart, and he comes up with some funny, clever things. We walked by this trendy Japanese restaurant and they were playing loud music outside. He says, "Why are they playing rock music at a sushi place? You'd think they would play something calm and Japanese, but it's rock music. What is it, like, 'hey, check out our rockin sushi?'" He named his fish after Christopher Columbus' boats, and he told me his idea for building a pool with a glass fish tank underneath it, the glass of the tank as the floor of the pool. I don't know where he got that. He has such a cute personality.

School starts on Tuesday. I went in on Friday to help my newspaper adviser clean up her room and ended up with a role in a skit put together by my former government teacher for the Freshmen at their orientation on Monday. It's a (intentionally) super-corny skit showing how all freshmen are lost coming to a new school and how it gets better. The girl who was supposed to do it wasn't in town to rehearse, so I took her place. If she's there on Monday, we're going to share the part. I go to school to dust some computers and end up with an acting job.

Not sure how to wrap this up, so here's a quote from Winnie the Pooh! I have the Pooh Bear quotes page in my favorites. Reading through them always makes me feel better.

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”
--Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

Juliana <3

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh my gosh I'm so excited

I can't believe summer's over. I say this all the time, and it was already a cliche before I overused it, but where has the time gone? I'm actually going to be 17 in a few short months. I'm not so upset about this birthday. Maybe it hasn't hit me yet, but I think my attitude's just changed. It's too ironic to waste time worrying about time.

I've been so busy lately, I feel like I'm doing something with the last quarter of my 17th year. I'm never bored. If I'm not doing something interesting, I find something interesting to do. That's always been true for me, though. It's a Tuesday in the summer and I've been up and running around since 7:15, even though I didn't get home until 11:30 last night.

My friend and I have been working on this project we're doing for school. We're in a magnet program that requires us to take some kind of a leadership role in a community service project. We're creating one ourselves. It's going to be a festival for kids to raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses. A local organization does a lot for families of these children, and they need money. We're going to work with them to get some publicity for their organization and increase community awareness about the children in our own city whose lives are being stolen by diseases.

It's A LOT of work. I mean, we spent most of Sunday thinking of fundraiser ideas to raise money to buy the pavillion to hold the festival. We have it all planned out, though, all the permits and legalities, we know what we need and how to get it. We have it organized who in our group is responsible for which aspects of the project, and we pretty much have every Saturday from now until the event over a year from now planned with fundraisers, but we think it will be worth the work. We're so into it, we keep forgetting about the school requirements. It's our baby. That's what M calls it.

Even my dad, who looks at endeavors like this so practically and realistically, is supporting us. I'm so excited. Even though I don't want school to start, I'm ready to make this a great year. I'm not wasting any more of my fleeting high school years. It's supposedly the time of your life, right?

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." --William James


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Taylor Ham...because I want some.

Since I got back from journalism camp, I have been obsessed with eating. I usually don't care much about food and just eat when I have to, but I went to Costco yesterday and I hit up all the food demonstration tables for samples, even if I didn't know what they were making. I had a dream last night I was eating waffles, eggs and bacon two different times throughout the dream.

(In this dream, I went to a baseball game with Ted Kennedy and died in a terrorist attack on the stadium. According to my dream, after you die, you go to a dollar store to wait for your heaven/hell assignment. I almost bought a key chain.)

Getting back to the actual topic, I've really been wanting breakfast food. I was just watching a 1964 Julia Child cooking video on and she was doing fancy things with eggs. I, of course, went to raid the fridge and found a box of Taylor Pork Roll.

What?? You've never heard of Taylor Ham?? What kind of New Jerseyan are you?

Taylor Ham looks a little like Canadian Bacon, or round slices of ham. It's very common in New Jersey, in fact, a sandwich of Taylor Ham, eggs, and cheese is called a "Jersey Breakfast." They call it pork roll in southern Jersey, Taylor Ham in the North. My parents grew up in New Jersey. We always made this stuff instead of bacon.

Yeah, it's bad for you. We only make it occasionally. (Is it worse for you than bacon? I have to check on that.) I put pancake syrup on it. Funny how I put syrup on Taylor Ham but usually not on pancakes.

There's a box of sugar cookies with rainbow sprinkles on the kitchen counter and it kills me to keep walking past them. I ate four over the course of yesterday. Sidestepped them today but went for chocolate ice cream instead...I'll snap out of it in a couple days. Always do.

She who can ramble about anything, even spicy ham, Juliana.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm watching this show as I write this and...ack.

"Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family. When I saw the first commercial for this show, I thought it would die after one year. It's probably Juno-inspired, about a 15-year-old who gets pregnant yada yada drama drama. I figured the only selling point of this movie was having Molly Ringwald of Pretty and Pink fame (and a bunch of other 80's movies that I love) play the mother.

It's lasted two years already and kids in my newspaper class talk about it all the time. Apparently people like it. I said I wouldn't pass judgments on it until I actually watched a full episode. Well, I have, and dear God, I hope this isn't supposed to represent the lives of all American teenagers. We are not all sluts and man-whores who have perfect hair all the time and whose lives are weighted with unnecessary drama.

Right now they're talking about how this 15-year-old (not the baby's father) she barely knew asked her to marry him and she said yes, but he's upset that she doesn't want him to come for the sonogram. This show has more melodrama than "Dawson's Creek." I'm not into it.

Now an ABC Family show I actually like.

"10 Things I Hate about You," based off of the movie from the 90's, is very cute. First time I heard they were making that movie, originally meant as a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, into a TV show, I thought, how is that going to work? The story is of two sisters in high school, the younger one just wants to be popular and the older one has no patience for stupid people in high school hell.

Most of the movie's plot was lost in translation to TV, but the general idea makes this show likeable in a different way. Lindsay Shaw from "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" plays Kat, and she does a great job with this part. She would make the show funny if the rest of it sucked. The younger sister is played by Meaghan Martin from Disney's Camp Rock. They kept the original father from the movie, Larry Miller.

Anyway, I really like this show for it's lightly mocking and slightly cynical portrayal of high school life. I can actually relate to this depiction of the "life of the American teenager." I wonder who indentifies with "Secret Life." Hopefully there aren't that many, but you know that's just me being naive...or, you know, just overusing the rose colored glasses.


My job? Swing dancing with 70 year olds, and I LOVE it.

I'm volunteering at a senior center this summer, and I never thought getting into it that it would end up being the most meaningful thing I've ever done.

I've only ever had one paying job, last summer at an art studio. I didn't like it much, but I figured it was money, work experience, and something to do. My last volunteer job was at the library, and I mostly shelved books and prepared crafts for the preschool story time. I really liked that because I love libraries and like looking at books and organizing them. During the summer, I was a "reading buddy" and read with elementary school kids, which I liked even more. That was all nothing compared to what I'm doing now.

Today a guy asked me to dance with him. This was was the first time I've danced in front of a room full of people. He was 70 years old, and it was a Sinatra song. He calls me "Miss America" and sings that line of the song when I walk into a room, just like my grandfather does. I made him smile, I made him laugh, and that was only one person and one day.

Most of the people there have dementia, most in their early stages. On the first day, the nurse there gave me a run-down of all the participants and what they used to do when they were young. Some were teachers, soldiers, tennis players, doctors, lawyers. I look around and see all these people who can't remember what year it is, can't walk, some can't talk. I've shed tears just by looking around the room, but then I make eye contact with someone, smile and wave, and the smile they give me back makes me so happy. It's bittersweet, but making these people smile is such a rewarding thing for me.

I get to speak Spanish to the hispanic ladies. I tease the guy who gets real competitive when he plays dominoes. I convince the guy who sits by the door waiting to go home to come out and join the group. I dance around all silly and get everyone motivated when the music comes on. I know how everyone takes their coffee. I know not to be offended when certain people yell at me. When I imagine how scary it must be to be to suddenly forget where you are and what you're doing there, I feel like they should be yelling at me more.

This one guy, he's awesome. Just the way he talks. He said the other day "People are like good liquor. They get better with age." Well he always sits with this one lady who can't do much on ther own anymore and always holds her hand. He always looks at her meaningfully, and the other day, I noticed her looking back at him the same way. She kissed him on the hand. I got all teary. It was so sweet, but it came with that sadness of real, truth that imparts a little more wisdom than I had before. To counter it, it fills me with an overwhelming happiness and sense of purpose that I've never experienced before.

I look forward to going there, and I love staying late to see the looks on their faces when their family comes to get them after the day is over. I have so much to think about at the end of the day. I'm learning more from this than I would from any extra credit college class I could have taken.

"When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're smiling and everyone around you is crying."