Thursday, October 22, 2009

What It Means to Be American

Today in AP US History, I was just thinking about how privileged we all are to be Americans. We like in a country that has exceptional opportunities for everyone. A country where we are guaranteed saftey, freedom, and natural rights. We truly are fortunate to live in such a country, because many others do not have these same liberties. America is a country that has progressed so much in the past. America, our country, is considered one of the strongest nations in the world. American citizens are very lucky because they have many rights and privileges that other people do not. Some of our rights include freedom of speech, privilege to an education, right to vote, and trial by jury. We sometimes forget these rights we have and take them for granted. I believe that as an American citizen we all have duties, rights and privileges that we need to remember everyday.
Some of the privileges we have as citizens are stated in the Bill Of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a document with amendments that we must follow. Some things stated in this document are, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, and freedom of the press. We do not realize it but we use these rights every day of our lives. We have the freedom of speech to criticize people and give our honest opinions. We have freedom of the press to write and publish whatever we want. When we are in a state of war we have the right to use weapons to protect our families from danger. These privileges should be very valuable to American citizens because people in other countries don’t have these same rights. They do not have freedom to say what they want and do what they want.
Although it is not very easy for these immigrants to become citizens, they try very hard to learn all they can about America so that they can be a part of our country. If you are over the age of eighteen you have to send in an “n-400” application. Officials will either approve or deny your request to become a citizen. Citizenship not only applies to immigrants but also to my own life. I use my rights everyday. I use the freedom of speech to voice my opinions and I use the freedom of the press to write my opinions. Being a citizen is a huge part of my life because I follow the laws, and duties of being a citizen everyday. Citizenship is so important to everyone in America. It gives us many rewarding privileges and rights. We take citizenship for granted but without it we would have no freedom. We should be proud to be citizens of such a magnificent country.

Lance Armstrong

Freshman year, I read one of the most influential books ever. It was about the oustanding cyclist, Lance Armstrong, who overcomes the obstacles and issues he faces with testicular cancer, and ends up winning the Tour De France.

Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest cyclists alive, winner of the Tour De France, cancer survivor, husband, father, son, and human. His story of triumph and courage begins on September 18, 1971 when he was born to mother, Linda Mooneyham in Plano, Texas. Lance was extremely athletic and competitive starting at a very early age. He began running and swimming when he was a mere 10 years old, and took up competitive cycling at 13. Lance, was one of the youngest people competing at the triathlons, but by the time he was 16 he became a professional triathlete. Soon after this Armstrong, decided to focus on cycling because it was what he enjoyed the most, and was what he excelled at. During his senior year of high school he was invited to train with the U.S Olympic Development Team. The following summer, he qualified for the 1990 junior world team and placed 11th in the World Championship Road Race, with the best time of any American since 1976. That same year, he became the U.S. national amateur champion and beat out many professional cyclists to win two major races, the First Union Grand Prix and the Thrift Drug Classic. He went on to win many more races, and become a strong rider. Lance Armstrong's career as a cyclist had finally kicked off, but the unthinkable was about to happen. In October of 1996, Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The tumors were spreading rapidly and he needed to begin chemotherapy immediately, but Lance fought the disease with the same strength and stamina he had on the bike. Although his chances of survival were slim, he was optimistic and maintained hope. Lance went through many painful and exhausting rounds of chemotherapy, and even brain surgery, but in the end he came out victorious. In February 1997, he was declared cancer free. Many people expected Armstrong to just hop back on his bike, and to be completely fine. But Lance did not ride for another year. He was terrified that his cancer would return, and just couldn't seem to find the same love and passion he had for the sport before cancer. His sponsors were starting to loose hope, and people feared he would never ride again, until his coach and long-time friend Chris Carmichael insisted that he traveled to Boone, North Carolina, for an intensive training camp. Lance agreed, and as he was biking through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, something inside of him clicked. He realized that he was wasting his life, by just sitting around at home, and he also realized how much he loved biking. He had always thought of biking as a career and very serious business, but after this trip, he truly understood that he belonged on that bike. When Lance returned to Plano, TX, he announced that he wanted to bike again. He trained very hard, and slowly he started to win races, and become a better rider. His life started to come back together, and he even got married to Kristin Richard and had three children. He had an extremely successful life and family, and had achieved so much after he recovered from cancer. Today he has won the Tour De France 7-consecutive times, beat multiple records, and has even created a cancer foundation, that helps families to pay for treatment, and that provides money for research. Armstrong's story definitely shows you, that if you try your hardest and never give up, you will come out on top, not matter what the circumstances may be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Did You Just Waste Your Breath Asking Me How I Feel Today?

Did you just waste your breath, asking me how I feel today? I feel like I can’t seem to do anything right, I feel completely alone in a crowded room, I feel constantly rejected. This sounds like a suicide note. I know, I know everyone has those days where nothing seems to go right, and they wish they could just end it all, and today was one of those dreaded days. I woke up completely exhausted feeling like I only got 20 minutes of sleep. I drove to school zero hour and someone honked at me for stopping at stop sign. I mean really, what are you supposed to do at a stop sign? Go? Then I arrived at school after spending ninety minutes trying to look good this morning and hopefully impressing people and guess what? Epic fail. Absolutely no one noticed. And really, what was I expecting? It’s school, no one cares. Then the Advanced Pre Calc test I thought I was ready for chewed me up and spit me out; AP Chemistry as well. I’m not asking for pity or sympathy, but I’m trying to make a point here. As cynical as it might be, why do we try so hard? This doesn’t apply to males, but honestly, ask any girl you know and she’ll give you an insane hour of the morning at which she wakes up and proceeds to look attractive. And as much as I hate it I am one of these people. Self esteem and confidence, two things I would die to have. I am truly jealous of those people who seem to get away with looking any way and still having tons of friends at their side all the time. And the sad fact that I’ve come to realize over the last 8 years in the public education system is that no one likes you for who you are. They like you for the clothes you wear, and what you look like. Being a friendly happy person means nothing anymore. If you aren’t pretty and don’t conform to the social trends, you will be an outcast. If you disagree with me, look at the many cliques in our school. There are those select few people who seem to dress or do make-up a different way and they constantly get judged for it. In fact, I am one of those people who judges. Who knows, they might be one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but how will you know if you can’t look past their clothes and make up. Which brings me back to the question, why do people care so much? As much as I hate to say this, sometimes I feel like the friends I have would not like me if I showed them who I truly was. The person they know has conformed to high school trends and norms, not me. For example, if I do dress or act a certain way that breaks this trend, they will look at me weirdly, or seem like they are embarrassed to be seen with me. And to say that hurts would be an understatement. I have friends that I can laugh and joke with , but in all honesty, I have one or two friends who truly accept and love me for who I am. So I would like to apologize for this long rant, in which I sound utterly suicidal, and trust me I’m not. I could never let things get that bad. I guess the point of this angry outburst was to just be able to express the emotions and things that have been running through my mind all day. I know that I’m not the only one who feels like appearance is the only thing people care about, otherwise why would everyone try so hard? But is it really worth it? Are the friends who only like you because you are pretty going to be there for you when you get cancer and all your hair falls off? Are they going to like you when you get a huge zit on your face? Are they going to like you when you wear something outrageous? No, absolutely not. Unfortunately for me, I have not found many people who aren’t like that, but I hope to some day. Find those friends, who cherish you because of the person you are and the things you do, those are the friends that are worth everything.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Vampire Diaries

The story commences in a small town with an outwardly normal girl, Elena. She is popular, pretty, and has the perfect life, when her whole world comes crashing down. Both of her parents die in a miserable car accident, leaving her life in complete chaos. She is utterly distraught about the death, and even two months later she still cannot get over it. She copes with the pain by faithfully writing in a diary, in which she pours out her true thoughts and feelings. She says that she puts on the “act” of being fine, when really, she is still dying inside. On her first day of school, she encounters the mysterious, yet stunning Stefan Salvatore. He has all the characteristics of Edward Cullen of course. The alluring voice that hypnotizes, the bright mystifying eyes, and the faultless pale skin, as white as the light of a full moon. Elena, like the rest of the school, is entranced by Stefan and forms a relationship with him. Eventually the start to date, and everything seems to be going smoothly, until Stefan’s evil brother Damon returns. Damon, a “human killing” vampire wreaks havoc in the town, as he kills multiple people. The rest of the town believes that the killings and injuries are result of animal attacks, but Stefan knows better. He tries to deal with Damon but cannot, because Damon is much stronger than him from drinking human blood. As the story progresses, a captivating plot develops, as the lives of Stefan, Elena, and Damon entangle and lead to passion, death, secrets, and Elena’s realization that Stefan is indeed a vampire.

I encourage everyone to check this show out! It’s practically impossible to live up to the Twilight Mania, but The Vampire Diaries does a rather good job. It’s on Thursday nights at seven on the CW (channel twenty)!

Magical Music

As cliched and seemingly unoriginal as this is, I have gotten the idea from several of my fellow bloggers to post a couple of music videos with my input on the songs. So bear with me, while you read another one of "those" blog posts!

Glee does it again! Now it’s not one of the best shows portraying the wonderful world that is show choir, but the music from this show is fantastic! I think it’s outstanding how the Glee Cast takes popular songs such as “Somebody To Love” and turn it into something completely original. They put a unique twist on each song they make covers for and its nice to hear something different from the original. That’s one of the great things about a unique cover, you don’t compare it to the original and you think of it as something that is one of a kind. The guitar solos and catchy lyrics and melody make you want to get up your feet, jump into the television and dance along with the Glee Cast.

I was channel surfing on an ordinary school night and ran into a commercial on Teen Nick that played this song in the background. Being the show choir fanatic I am, I immediately thought, “this would be a great song for a show choir to perform.” It has a lot of harmonies and parts to it that make the song more complex and interesting to listen to. Mika really is a great group, from Happy Ending, to this song. They always produce memorable upbeat music with a variety of different voices and harmonies, blending together to form some of the most appealing music I’ve ever heard.

Michael Buble is phenomenal, an utter musical genius. Every time he opens his mouth it is magical. Every note is flawless and the passion and love he has for music is completely apparent when you hear him. He is a fairly new musician who has risen to fame with hits from “Everything” to “Cuando”, but Feeling Good is one of his best songs in my opinion. A friend told me about this and referred to this song as her “mood lifting” song. After a terrible day, she would blare this song and immediately feel better. Listen to it, and you’ll understand why. The lyrics are uplifting comparing happiness to “shining stars”, “blossom on the tree”. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good. It’s never too late to forget about the bad things and start with a clean slate. The bass in this song is alluring, and definitely another one of the reasons I love it so much. After purchasing this song on iTunes, I also found out that our school’s varsity show choir performed it as well, so I would highly recommend checking that out as well.

White Album

The Beatles are undoubtedly one of the most famous and influential bands of the 1960s. They changed the world of music, by writing and recording their own music, which was unheard of at the time. Their music was revolutionary and often held political and cultural meanings. Whether their compositions were political parodies, tributes, or influential pieces on change, they were always creative and captured the hearts of millions. One of their most prominent albums was “The Beatles” album, more commonly known as the “White Album”, as it has no text other than the band’s name on its plain white sleeve. Overall, I believe this album was very powerful because it displayed political parodies, national changes and Indian culture in the form of thought provoking and catchy songs.

The White Album was released on November 22, 1968. The fact that the album cover was a plain white sleeve served a symbolic purpose. The band was struggling through difficult times, in which each artist pursued his own vision. In fact, the album was a double album, because all the members insisted on having their favorite songs included on the album. Although the White Album was a fantastic album, every member of the Beatles would agree that it was not the most pleasant album to make. I believe that this album could have been better, had the Beatles recorded it under better circumstances.

The White Album begins with “Back in the U.S.S.R”. This is a very catchy song, which is a tribute to Chuck Berry’s “Back in the U.S.A.” The song opens and closes with the sound of a jet aircraft landing, referring to the dreadful flight back to the U.S.S.R from Miami Beach. “Back In The U.S.S.R” was a parody of the Beach Boys song, in which Paul McCartney enjoyed singing about places in the Ukraine as though they were part of California. I like this song and the Beach Boys parody that they created. It proves that the Beatles had a huge fan base, even in the U.S.S.R, and they were trying to please them as well.

The second song on The White Album is “Dear Prudence.” This song is about Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence whom the Beatles met when they visited India and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Prudence, who was focused on transcendental meditation stayed in her room for the majority of their stay. John Lennon was worried that she was depressed and wrote this song for her, hoping she would “come out to play”. This song is really interesting and shows the Beatles interest in Indian culture and transcendental meditation. The melody is very tranquil and the lyrics are interesting when related to Indian culture and transcendental meditation.
“The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” is about Richard A. Cooke III, who was also present during the Beatle’s stay in India. The lyrics “Hey Bungalow Bill, what did you kill”, refer to the time when Richard went hunting for tigers on an elephant. One of the tigers obstructed his path, and he quickly shot it. At first, he was proud of what he had done, but later on he realized what he did was wrong, and decided not to hunt again after that incidence. John Lennon wrote this song mocking the irony of Richard A. Cooke, because he would kill animals, and come back to commune with God. Although the lyrics are very clever, I did not enjoy this song, because of the repetitive melody. I felt like this song was very different from the other Beatles songs, because it did not have a very good melody.
“Happiness is A Warm Gun” is one of my favorite songs on this album. Like most of the Beatle’s songs, it is very good, but this one is different, because there are so many different moods to it. The song begins with drums, bass, and a distorted guitar and presents a melancholy type of mood. The song transitions into “I Need a Fix” which is a very low and intense portion of the song, and the song continues and climaxes into the chorus. Throughout all of this, the lyrics are creative and fascinating, keeping your attention the whole song. The title of the song is such an insane thing to say, because a warm gun infers that the gun was recently shot. Lennon was captured by this title when he saw it on the cover of a gun magazine. There have been many interpretations of this song. Some believe it was related to Lennon’s heroin addiction during the recording of the White Album. The “gun” would be a loaded syringe that Lennon possibly used to inject the drug. Evidence of this includes the lyrics “I need a fix cause I’m going down, back to the bits that I left uptown.”

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is the seventh track on the album and was written by George Harrison. George Harrison drew inspiration for this song from the idea of relativism. He took this concept to his home one day, and decided to write a song from the first words that he found in a book; these words happened to be “gently weeps”. This is another one of my favorite songs from the White Album, because the guitar solo and background music is really great. The lyrics in this song are very powerful. “Love there that’s sleeping,” refers to unexpressed love in the world, and “they bought and sold you”, which is a comment about people (possibly even The Beatles) being used. The song creates a melancholy mood, talking about how the world is lacking love and peace. Although most people may think this song is too sad, I feel like it is accurate. There were so many conflicts occurring during this time, and George Harrison was able to make people realize how bad the world has become with one remarkable song.

The White Album was created and produced during some of the most difficult times for the Beatles. They were going through some very difficult times and under these circumstances they produced an excellent album that is still famous today. It raised awareness for political and cultural events, in the form of interesting and excellent songs. It truly was one of the best albums produced by the Beatles, and to this day is still very popular and well known. Although The Beatles are not at their peak anymore, the White Album will continue to remain close to the hearts of millions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cause When You're Fifteen

“Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them”. How is it that such a young inexperienced singer has the ability to reach into my heart and express the exact emotions that I (and millions of others) are feeling. That's truly a gift. Anyone can sing, but there are very few singers that can make you feel music not only with your ears, but your heart. For those of you who recognized the first line of this post, the singer I’m referring to is none other than Taylor Swift. No, she might not be a Carrie Underwood or Leann Rimes, but there is something absolutely pure and beautiful about her music; it’s completely honest. She sings from experience, and although she might not have the best voice, that is truly what matters. Whether it’s heartbreak, revenge, sorrow, or happiness, she is capable of moving people with her tantalizing voice and stunning lyrics.
Some of my favorite Taylor songs include, You Belong with Me, Fifteen, Forever and Always, Our Song, Teardrops on My Guitar, Should’ve Said No, A Place in this World, Tim McGraw, and plenty of others. Every single on of these songs has made me smile, laugh, cry, or scream at least once. Every single one of these songs I have been able to relate to. Every single one of these songs I want to share with my friends and tell the world about. Most people question my obsession with Taylor Swift. She’s a new fairly inexperienced country singer, who does not have the best vocals. But there is something essential about her music that makes up for all of those flaws. She is able to move people, young and old, with her sincere lyrics. One of the things I love about her is that she does not hide who she is. In fact, she embraces it. She sings about the mistakes and trust issues she has encountered with men. She sings about the many mistakes she’s made and how she has learned from them, and in my eyes this makes her seem more human. Celebrities and musicians nowadays seem so perfect, but Taylor Swift completely defies this stereotype, which makes me love her even more.
Sorry for all of you who don’t like Taylor Swift and stuck with me through this Blog post, but just give her a chance. Like I said, she might not be the best singer technically, but let yourself feel her music. Think about the people who are going through the same things she sings about, even yourself, and you will realize that Taylor Swift truly is an extraordinary singer, who has touched the hearts of millions.
please check this out, you won't regret it!:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Nancy Mairs is the author of the brief, yet ingenious essay entitled “Disability.” The key reason I liked this essay so much is the emotion and honesty she displayed behind a person with a disability. She put her audience in the shoes of someone with Multiple Sclerosis and opened your eyes to the life of a disabled person. One of the main messages she was conveying through out the essay was that disabled people are completely normal. They do the same things as everyone else, think the same way, and act the same way; with one essential discrepancy; human beings strive to conform to society and do everything they can to do so, while handicapped people cannot even attempt to conform to society. The controversial argument she presents in this essay is why advertising companies do not feature handicapped people in their commercials. We read this essay in our AP Language and Composition class and came up with a couple of feasible answers for this question.

1.)A handicapped person would not want to be displayed in a commercial. They already stand out in a crowd and draw attention to themselves, so why would they put themselves in a commercial? All they want to do is be like everyone else, and by putting themselves in a commercial and having a lot of attention drawn to them, this is no achieved.

2.)Advertising companies fear that if their products are advertised as being used by handicapped people, people without disabilities will not purchase them in fear that they will become handicapped as well.

3.)Lastly, advertising companies are expected to appeal to the majority of society, and the majority of society is not handicapped. They use people without handicaps in their advertisements because the majority of society do not have disabilities.

All of these are very probable explanations, but it still does not justify that companies are morally correct by not using handicapped people in their advertisements. Like Mairs said, they are just like everyone else, and deserve to be treated the same way. It is ridiculous to think that if a handicapped model is using the advertised product, that you will get the handicap as well. I have an autistic brother, and most people define him by his disability. And although it is a big part of his life, it is not who he is. Advertising Companies need to understand that a disability does not define a person or the way you look does not define a person, but rather the things that person does with their life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the most prestigious awards that a person could have the honor of receiving. It has been given to some of the most exceptional leaders society has known; including, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Teddy Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter. But a new name was recently added to this list. Yes, none other than our current president Barack Obama. Don’t get me wrong the man’s a genius. The way he can persuade and move a whole crowd with a few thousand words is absolutely inspiring, and obviously one of the reasons he was elected in the first place. His strong work ethic and educational background paid off as he graduated from one of the most prominent universities; Harvard. So it is no surprise that he would win such an award. He has made impressive promises, ranging from better healthcare, to an improved economy, to a more “green” nation. He has strengthened international diplomacy and cooperation among other countries. However, he is only a new president, and with this Nobel Peace Prize, comes quite a bit of responsibility. Obama must continue to successfully lead our country and follow through on his promises to live up to the status of Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is the controversy. On one hand I truly believe this is a good thing. The award is an incentive for Obama to live up to the other winners and accomplish extraordinary things. Hopefully receiving this award will remind him that he is a very powerful and well-rounded man, who can do outstanding things for our country. But on the other hand, this award does put a lot of pressure on Obama to continue to do well. People are now expecting him to achieve things on the level of Roosevelt, Carter, and Mother Teresa, and if he is not able to, society will feel as though he was not worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. Overall, it comes down to whether or not Obama can handle the pressure. Will he live up to the title and do great things, or crack under the pressure?

So what I am trying to say is, I do not feel like the Nobel Peace Prize should have been given to Obama at such an early stage in his presidency. He is just beginning to strategize and come up with ways to make America a better nation and although he deserved to be awarded it for all his prior undertakings, it could potentially inflict a negative impact upon his presidency, and ultimately our society.

A Little Birdy Told Me "Tweet Tweet"

You know those striking headlines you read every day on the yahoo homepage? Yep, the ones that range from “Britney’s Bald to “King of Pop Dead”. Those are the headlines that grab your attention and just beg for you to click on them and read more. Well a few seconds ago I encountered this. I was on the Yahoo homepage and read the following headline “Miley Says Goodbye To Twitter in Rap Video.” Pretty self-explanatory, but it made me ruminate upon the meaning of Twitter and the role it plays in society nowadays.
Twitter is a social networking site, in which users can update their statuses through their phones, computers, or blackberries. “Tweeters” are allotted 140 words for each status, to tell the world what they are doing at any given moment. This might seem like a relatively simple idea, but the phenomenon and popularity that has come with this website has exploded. With approximately twenty five million users, it’s safe to say that Twitter ranks at the top along with Facebook, Xanga, and Myspace. I’ll admit I have succumbed to the twitter mania, simply wanting to check it out. It was interesting at first to read what other people are doing (especially celebrities who always seem to be doing something extravagant), but after a while, it seems to be pointless. Is a 140-word status really going to keep people occupied? I honestly believe Twitter is equivalent to Facebook with only status updates. And when I stop and think about it, Facebook would not be as addicting if it was just statuses. If you asked Miley Cyrus, I’m sure she’d agree. Which brings me back to that headline. What in the world is Miley Cyrus doing rapping? Well check out the video for yourself and you’ll see.

She’s absolutely right. I’m not a huge fan of attention seekers, and although it appears this is what Cyrus is doing, she is doing it for a legitimate reason. She admits in this rap that she was a twitter addict, but she realizes that it really does not have any immense benefits. One of my favorite lines in the rap was "I stopped living for moments and started living for people." It was shocking how accurate this statement was. Although I had never really thought of Twitter in this way it is absolutely correct. If you are constantly updating your tweets for other people, you aren't living for or cherishing the moment you are in. In fact, it has caused quite a few problems from her, ranging from gossiping and insults from fans. She outright says that she is sick of Twitter and the drama it has created in her life, and that she has no time for it. I truly applaud her for sticking up for herself and justifying the removal of her twitter (especially at such a young age). There were quite a few rumors arising that said a friend had forced her to do it. I believed that her intentions in doing the rap were to prove to people that she thinks for herself and she deactivated her Twitter for personal reasons, not because of anyone else. There might have been a better way to display this, rather than a rap video by one of the most anti-rappers ever, but bravo Miley Cyrus, way to beat the tweet.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This summer at the University of Iowa, I got the opportunity to work in a Psychology Lab. Initially, I thought of psychology as humans emotions and feelings, so imagine my surprise when I discovered I would be working with pigeons the rest of the summer. Although I was worried at first, the experiment proved to be interesting and brought up some thought provoking questions. An explanation of the experiment follows:

Our world is occupied with a variety of different objects, and what helps us organize these objects is categorization. In this experiment, we will see if pigeons are able to recognize identical and nonidentical members as belonging to the same category. Categorization allows us to understand the similarities and differences between different groups of objects. If we learn the category “chair,” for example, we can behave appropriately when we encounter a new chair, even if we have never seen it before. We are able to recognize members of the same category because they share some similarities. Recent studies show that categorization is not limited to humans; it may also be present in non-human species. Pigeons will be presented with three categories (dogs, fish, and flowers) with six different pictures in each category. The birds will have to perform a matching-to-sample (MTS) task in which they are first presented with one of the pictures (the sample) and then with three possible choices. Their task is to choose the one that “matches” the sample. Half of the times the correct choice will be identical to the sample (identity trials), and half of the times the correct choice will be a nonidentical member from the same category (category trials). There are four birds and each bird will complete ninety trials each day (forty-five category trials and forty-five identity trials). We will analyze pigeons’ accuracy on both identity and category trials, to see what type of task is easier for them. We expect that the identity trials will be easier because the sample and choice share all of the same features, while in category trials they only share some features. The results show a gradual accuracy improvement in all four birds over the span of two weeks. However, there is no apparent difference between the identity and category trials, which disproves our hypothesis. Therefore, this experiment shows that pigeons are capable of completing category trials as well as they do identity trials.

Yes, some complex stuff. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but eventually I understood the objective of the experiment. And the results were a bit surprising. We were expecting a better score for the identity trials, because obviously, they should be easier. However, there was not. In fact, this experiment is still being conducted at the University of Iowa, and there is no drastic difference between the category and identity trials. This makes psychologists wonder if this is just luck, or if pigeons really are capable of learning both categorical and identity trials. The next step would be to test this out on humans to learn more about matching to sample.

500 Days of Summer

This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story; the first thing you hear as you enter the theatre to see this outstanding movie. Comically enough, this movie is in the genre of a romantic comedy. 500 Days of Summer was one of the best movies I have ever seen for the following reasons; it is indeed, not a love story, it has some of the best acting ever, and the ending is unlike any other movie. 500 Days of Summer was quirky and interesting and kept me laughing, smiling, and crying, up till the end.
The story begins with Tom discussing his recent problems with his girlfriend Summer. I already knew this movie would be different, because most romantic comedies don’t start straight away with relationship problems. Tom narrates the entire movie, describing the events that occurred each day over a period of 500 days, but he does not do this in chronological order. For example, he started the movie at day 400, and hopped around from 225 to 361, finally ending at 500. Now, most people would be driven insane by this, however, I found this to be refreshing and a new take on movies. It made the movie seem more realistic, because when most people recollect on events, they do not do so in chronological order. They remember the significant events that stuck out in their head.

It really isn’t a love story. Tom meets Summer at the greeting card company where he works and is immediately smitten by her. Summer (Zooey Deeshanel) is beautiful, fiery, and spontaneous and is Tom’s dream girl. Tom tries to sweep her off her feet immediately, however it takes some time for Zooey to return those feelings. Eventually, they fall in love with each other, and like most love stories things are perfect. One of my favorite scenes from the movie was when they went to Aikea and giddily ran around the store, pretending they actually lived in the different furniture scenarios set up. The movie was side splittingly hilarious at times, but also very real and depressing. I won’t give away the ending, but it truly is unlike anything I have ever seen.
Overall, this was one of my favorite blockbusters of the summer. It was quirky and interesting and unlike any movie I have ever seen. There was not a dull moment, and outstanding acting was displayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I would definitely recommend it.


in⋅di⋅vid⋅u⋅a [in-duh-vij-oo-uh l]
1. a single human being, as distinguished from a group.
2. a person: a strange individual.
3. a distinct, indivisible entity; a single thing, being, instance, or item.
4. a group considered as a unit.
5. Biology. a. a single organism capable of independent existence.
b. a member of a compound organism or colony.

I’ve been thinking about this word excessively the past couple of weeks. High school is a time for people to discover themselves, to join a multitude of extracurricular activities, and to meet extraordinary people that will change your life. Halfway through my high school career, I feel as though I still haven’t found myself, or the person I hope to become. Most people in high school “stick to the status quo”, but if you’re too busy doing just this, how are you supposed to discover yourself? You might call me hypocritical because I am one of those people who cares immensely what others think, and this influences my actions and personality at school constantly. But there is one person that I truly admire who is able to be herself no matter what the circumstances may be. Due to the world of blogging, I must refrain from stating her name, so we’ll just call her, Pasheba.

Pasheba defines the word individual to perfection. No, not the dictionary word per se, but the meaning that I’ve come up with. My definition of individual is someone who is not afraid to show the world who they are. She is loud, crazy, passionate, and at times obnoxious, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She doesn’t change herself or her opinions for anyone, and if some people don’t like her for that, so be it. She always puts a a smile on my face and cheers me up when I’m down. She knows who she is, and she’s not afraid to be that person at all times, and that’s something I am utterly envious of. She might not know this, but she truly is a role model for me. She makes her fair shair of mistakes, as does everyone, but she never loses sight of the person she is and this is not something you find in any ordinary person. I am proud to say that she is my best friend, and although I’ll admit I’m embarrassed to be seen with this loud, and at times, absolutely insane person, I love her so much, and look up to her. I hope that in time, I can become a true “individual” like my best friend Pasheba.