AoW #19: Facebook- I “Like” me

Facebook, and even technology in general, brings out a person’s true colors and makes us do things we normally wouldn’t do. Someone may not want to brag about a photo or show an embarrassing picture in person, but it is so easy to hit the post button without any immediate and visible reactions. Let’s face it: showing off is so simple on Facebook. You don’t have to see the person’s annoyed reaction or eye-rolling, and whatever you post goes onto at least a hundred walls. Just like table manners, or work etiquette, people need to be aware of Facebook etiquette. It is good to display your accomplishments and updates on major events, just think before you virtually speak. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people like their own statuses. I’m sorry if you or any other reader does this, I just had to put that out there. If you post it, we can pretty much assume that you like it. Anyway, as for if Facebook turns people into narcissists, I would say yes for most circumstances. Even every so often I reread my statuses and decide that they sound a bit self-absorbed. Sometimes you also can’t help it, and people are aware of the developing narcissism. I try to control my statuses and avoid bragging, but some people would rather come across as narcissistic than give up their Facebook nonchalance.

AoW #18: USA- Up or Down?

It is nice to hear about some optimism regarding the future of America instead of usual scapegoating and bashing. It is true that our nation is not perfect and still requires reform, but the situation isn’t always as bad as it seems. A habit people have taken on is automatically blaming President Obama for some problems in government, when they don’t even know the whole story. If you think about it, we are such a fortunate nation with diversity and resources, that, yes has its flaws- but what nation  doesn’t have these problems? It is all about perspective, and compared to China and other locations we are doing pretty good. I also agree with many of the myths. The U.S.’s leadership is definitely necessary in order to prevent wars and conflict, and the superpower status is pretty hard to abandon all of a sudden. And I never realized that our economy would eventually get better, due to all the media commotion and Depression nightmares. When living in America, I guess you have to read in between the lines and look for a silver lining in any situation.

AoW #17: Smart Now, Drunk Later

This article discussed one topic that has been on my mind lately-the correlation of school performance and destructive decision-making. As a naive middle school student, I always assumed that the kids who got good grades or were involved in clubs made good choices. I thought that if a person is smart enough to get an A on a paper, then they are smart enough to stay out of trouble. Yes, there are still people like this today, but lately I have heard gossip featuring kids I never would have guessed would make such horrible decisions. I believe the blog is correct in saying that kids face more pressure today than ever, and that this pressure tends to force them into desperate measures. Some people cannot handle it, and depend on drugs to “pull them through” tough times. It isn’t right, and ends up doing more damage on your body than the initial stress. Many kids also feel rebellious in their teenage years after being isolated in a world of studying and perfection for so long.

And I do have to add this: it is especially horrible when these kids start drinking or taking drugs after being dedicated to better morals. My pet peeve is when I hear about these actions, only to realize that the person is in a group like S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions). In my eyes, that is the worst kind of hypocrite there is. If you are stressed or stuck in a rut, don’t turn to alcohol-there is always someone you can talk to first. Talk to your parents about the pressure they are placing on you. Do something-anything but acting destructively. I realize that nobody’s perfect and some do go through crises-but a little common sense will do the trick.

I guess in life, the people who appear to be smart sometimes aren’t always smart. To be truly intelligent, you have to possess aptitude AND a conscience- that person will receive my respect.


AoW #16: Where are YOU going?

I would disagree with a lot of what the author is saying because I believe that there are sometimes legitimate reasons to not run away from your home/grow up too fast. It is true that Americans are generally lazier-but  travel is not as convenient as it was years ago. You now need a plan, gas money,  and the promise of stability in the new town. Plus the separation of family is difficult, and sometimes parents depend on help from their family in a near-by town. And to be honest, there are some kids that are too eager to drive and move away, and get their licenses before they are truly ready. For me, there’s nothing wrong with staying close to home. If you are doing okay where you are, there’s no rush to change. It sounds very conservative, but sometimes what you are looking for has been here the whole time. As long as you are making good life decisions for yourself, Route 66 can wait a while longer.

AoW # 15: Yummy Pink Slime

Well, this video was probably not the best thing to watch before realizing that my mom was making spiedie chicken for supper. But I’m actually glad I watched it. As gruesome as Jamie Oliver made it sound, we should be more concerned about what we are eating. My stomach churns a bit thinking that our meat could be contaminated with extra fat products, ammonia, or E. coli bacteria, and there is no labeling to indicate it. You could say that I have a pretty good reason for being scared about bacteria: I was hospitalized when I was four years old from an E. coli infection. My immune system couldn’t fight it off, and it led into a condition called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. After dialysis, medication, a blood transfusion, and staying in a Syracuse hospital for a month, I was cured and my kidneys remain stable today. The reason for the infection is still unknown, especially since my parents always washed and cooked our food properly. For all I know, it could have been “pink slime.” The fact that these bacteria and foreign chemicals could be lingering in meat used for school lunches is very scary. No person should be consuming this meat, but it is especially bad for children because they have weaker immune systems to fight the bacteria. Plus look at the common sense: in Chemistry class we are not allowed to eat in the lab because our food might be contaminated. This meat in the video could have one of those contaminants in it, and yet the USDA does nothing? It is true that throughout American history, the meatpacking industry has become more regulated and monitored. I would just like some reassurance that this regulation is still effective.

OMM #4: Dancing With Myself

Did you like my song reference there? Anyway, tomorrow is the day that I get to wear a ton of makeup, a sparkly blue dress, and will probably have to pose for a few pictures. No, I’m not going to a prom. I will be in Scranton for our first dance competition of the year. Because it is the first one, I am only performing one dance, my solo to Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances.” I am extremely excited, but also as equally nervous. It is my first year doing a lyrical solo, and I will be competing with many other dancers. I love the dance and choreography, though, so I am hoping it will go good. By the way, competitions are usually not as dramatic as the show “Dance Moms” makes them look. I love my teacher, and she is nothing like Abby Lee Miller. The Lifetime network goes a bit over the top when they film this show. I really hope some of it is acting/exaggeration, or some restraining orders may be necessary. The teacher screams at the kids, makes them wear horrible outfits, and has a strange way of teaching. I hate what the show is about, but I watch it because it is terribly addicting. It makes me thankful that my teachers have better values and that dance isn’t something scary or intimidating for me. So on that note, I’d better finish packing my costume and other necessities for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

AoW # 13 Teen drinking exposed

I applaud McCarren for daring to take on this controversial topic. Teen drinking needs to be exposed, and kids (and apparently some parents) need to realize the consequences that can come from destructive behavior. The backfire from the public was expected, although I don’t think she did anything wrong. Programs like this air all of the time on the news and I believe the teens’ identities were protected. What happened to freedom of speech? We air shows revealing hoarders, criminals, and political quarrel, yet someone wants to expose teen drinking and people are furious. What really concerned me, however, was the parents. The fact that they could let themselves stay at their own party for a few more hours instead of replying to the intoxicated teenagers at home right away was mind-blowing. And when the reporters and police were at another house, the parents targeted them instead of punishing their own kids. If I were the parent, at the moment I would be more concerned about my child’s destructive behavior and overall health than privacy rights. In response to McCarren’s statement about kids having “an inflated sense of entitlement,” I think this is true for most situations. Most kids who have guidance from their parents don’t put themselves into these types of situations, or at least they learn from their mistakes. In today’s society, teenagers are sometimes given too many priorities, which makes them falsely believe that they have a right to party and do whatever they want. In her stories, McCarren is only trying to help teenagers see the reality of destructive decision making, not invading their privacy.

AoW # 12: Is this the norm?

Bin Laden as vice president? Really?

I was left a bit speechless after watching this week’s AoW video. How is it that so many kids don’t know basic American history? I mean, Revolutionary War? We learned about that in fourth grade, people. If I were a part of this Washington school’s administration, I would be really embarrassed. It sounds cliche, but teenagers are the future of America. The fact that kids are not getting involved in government as high school students means that as adults, they will not have the knowledge and willpower to vote, run for office, or make a difference in society. Democracy is a special privilege that not all countries have possession of, and we should not take it for granted. This video shouldn’t be our only proof of ignorance, because it could be biased. What if the students chosen were all failing or had poor averages in history? What if the kids were acting or exaggerating to boost the video’s popularity and controversy? This doesn’t excuse the lack of knowledge in the teenagers, but with all of today’s media and technology you just never know. I think Vestal would do a much better job, and I hope that the majority of teens in America are keeping up with history and world news. If not, then we need to take a visit to our elementary schools and brush up on some basics. Or, easier yet, just open a newspaper or watch some news channels. You would be surprised at the things you could learn.

SSR Update!

I finished The Fault in Our Stars and Will Grayson, Will Grayson during the last few weeks, both novels by the one and only John Green. I realize I have read three books of his in a row, but I am hooked and want to keep going. So I am going backwards and reading his first novel, Looking For Alaska. It is about a teenager named Miles, who is starting at a new boarding school in the South, and is obsessed with famous last words. This is all I really know so far, I’m only on page eight. 🙂 But knowing John Green, I’m sure that the plot will unfold in a very unique way.

On My Mind: Olive Garden

My topic this weekend is a bit random, but it is the thing that’s on my mind right now. Last night my family went to Olive Garden for dinner, and I left with the same feelings as always: full and satisfied. The 45-minute wait was completely worth it. The servers and staff are always quick, efficient, and friendly, and even remain this way with large crowds. It seems like a great place to work with a friendly, hospitable atmosphere. After getting our sodas, the waitress placed a basket of fresh, buttery breadsticks on our table. It was like a pot of gold, they were so soft and warm. Even better was the salad, a fresh mix of colorful lettuce and vegetables topped with the best Italian dressing ever. The waitress even gave us another bowl of it without us even asking, which was awesome but made me super addicted to salad. My stomach was practically smiling as I saw my plate of Lasagna Fritta being lifted above my head and onto the table a few minutes (wow, they’re quick) later. It was a plate of pieces of lasagna with ricotta cheese, all fried and breaded like a mozzarella stick. They were placed on top of a pool of cheesy alfredo sauce, and topped with marinara sauce and cheese, and….oh, am I making you hungry? Sorry about that. 🙂 By the end of the night, there wasn’t a trace of food left on my plate. My family and I left happily, each of us leaving no room for dessert. If you are looking for a fun place to get a bite to eat, I highly recommend the Olive Garden. It brings Italian cooking to a whole new level.