My Relationship with Computers

I have an interesting relationship with computers. I love them, I hate them, and sometimes they annoy me to death. I had one computer that had some many issues that once one of the issues got fixed, something else would stop working.
That was hell.
My current computer is quite annoying as well because it isn’t as slow as some of the older computers but is advertised to run faster than it actually does. This is also where I learned that having more cores on your computer does not necessarily mean that your computer runs faster. Remember that. The salespeople are not necessarily well-equipped to properly help you. Or maybe they’re simply biased. I suspect its a combination of both.

Earlier this semester, I had one available slot left in my timetable and I opted to take computer science, which is A. an elective, B. an elective offered to people in the grade above me, and C. headache inducing. Do you think I’m crazy? Sometimes I myself think I’m crazy for taking the course. When people hear that I’m taking that course, a common question is, why?

If I’m going to be completely honest with myself (and you), I first have to admit that it was a split-second decision. I had planned on (maybe) taking this course, but as a grade 10 student. This summer, when I went to summer school, I took math. It was a very intensive course and I did not want to take anything related to math this year. And what did I end up in? Computer Science (or, as they call it, Introduction to Computer Studies), which is basically another version of math. Great. It was either that or take Grade 10 math, which I would do under no circumstances.

I actually like the course though. It’s a really different approach to teaching. We learn (very, very basic) programming and it’s not the “Follow the instructions and you’ll do well” kind of class. No. It is literally “Here is the problem. Solve it.” I both love and hate this approach. It is totally appropriate for a class where you learn coding. Basically what software does is solve problems for you. But someone wrote that software. In order to have the program solve problems for you, you need to understand the problem yourself. You need to be able to break down the problem into its parts before you build the code. Then, you need to understand the logic and how to do things sequentially.

The funny thing is, the more you write code, the more you start thinking like a coder. It literally changes the way you do things. I find myself wanting to simply write the word “else” instead of otherwise or something do that effect, because that is how conditional statements are communicated to the computer. Huh. If I wrote an essay like that, my teacher might ask quite a few questions. Namely, “are you sane?”

I honestly don’t think I am.


The Absurdity of Media Today

The media twists things, changes them. Sometimes what comes out of it is totally unrecognizable content. “Why?” I ask. Oh, I don’t dont know, but I suspect it’s part of human nature.

We are an interesting group of people. We embellish things. We exagerate things. When that happens for too long, we tend to blow things out of proportion. That isn’t necessarily intentional. Some of us have always had trouble with the boundaries of truth. Sometimes we remember things that aren’t there, that didn’t actually happen. Why? Because human memory isn’t perfect. So why do we expect newspapers, TV, and other forms of media to be perfect? Are the people who work there somehow better than the rest of us?

Sometimes, however, things are blown out of proportion intentionally. We all love making fun of people’s mistakes. (Wait. You say you don’t? Look at me in the eye and say you’ve never laughed at someone. Harsh? Yeah. I thought so.) The issue is, when you listen to something repeatedly for long enough, two things can happen: a. you start believing whatever it is they keep saying, or b. you totally and utterly reject everything they keep saying. This is not letting people make informed choices. If you really want to make an informed choice, do me a favour snd stop watching TV coverage of events. Watch the event for yourself, then find written information from a variety of places.

Does this mean that media coverage is a bad thing? No. This is just to say that not enough people are taking it with a grain of salt. Don’t take what you see as the absolute truth, because it most likely isn’t.


Who Would Voluntarily Take the Beep Test?

I would. Unfortunately.

We all hate the beep test. It’s a bad indication of your overall fitness. It’s pointless. It’s dumb. It’s stupid. But yet, we all want to do better at the beep test. Do better than others. Be the best. I think it’s a ego thing. Or a hatred of failure, which would most likely be completely accurate. But I am not immune to this.(And I want to stop failing it at school, which would definitely up my Phys. Ed. mark.) So what did I do? I set up a 15m version of the beep test in my basement. Crazy, I know.

I’ve kind of surprised myself. I’m surprised that I actually went to the trouble of measuring. I’m surprised that I actually intend to use it. And I’m embarrassed that my younger brother did better than me on my first trial run. (He got level 12.4. I got level 6.5.) So yeah. Practice. Definitely. Before I fait it at school.
Why do I have to be the most unathletic kid on the planet? This isn’t fair. I guess life isn’t fair. But I already knew that.

In addition to being terrible at the beep test, I’m also bad at shuttle runs, the pyramid challenge, the 9/12 minute run, really anything that involves running for a long time, and yeah. tt lot of other stuff. And Ilm terrible at every sport. Like really bad. Except for Maybe soccer. And sprints. I think I might actually be mildly okay (read: not the worst) at those.

So yeah. I guess I’m practising the beep test every day now. Oh, what did I just get myself into?

Why is Sexism so Deeply Ingrained in Society?

Sexism. I hate sexism. I can’t stand it. But the problem is, so many people are sexist these days, including my own father, although he denies it, my teachers, and a bunch of other people. While we’re at it, I should probably also talk about ageism and favoritism and all the other -isms because they really bug me!

I understand that traditionally, women stayed at home and did stuff. Yeah, I get it. Even further back, they were prevented from going to school because they would then be “too smart to obey their husbands”.  Around that time was also the time when women were considered a man’s property. You know, much in the same way they considered slaves “their property”. Much in the same way that society considers children “its property”. Yes, apparently all children belong to society and should be used for the “common good of all”. What the heck? I don’t belong to ANYONE, thank you very much. Neither should women. Unfortunately, in certain cases US judges have ruled that it was “okay” for certain men to rape their wives because their “religion” stated that was normal. What kind of idiot believes that a religion would say that it’s okay to rape someone. Even worse, what kind of idiot judge/jury/whatever thinks it’s okay to RAPE YOUR WIFE?????
I don’t see any judges ruling that it’s okay for women to rape men. Do you? Yeah, I thought so. Anyways, no one should be getting away with raping anyone.
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Ugh… My life, as usual.

Let’s face it. I hate being gifted.

For all those of you who think being smart is all that great, believe me, it’s not. It’s nice during arguments, nice to rub in people’s faces, but other than that? Not really. When you’re gifted, you’re misunderstood in the worst way possible. Knowing that you’re part of the top 2% of the population is pretty harsh. But still, that’s 1 in 50 people. Pretty common, right? Well, when some people can recognize it within 5 minutes of meeting you, you know you can’t hide from the truth. I don’t actually know how far up there I am. But the thing is, someone recently asked me what my IQ was. I told her I didn’t know. And honestly? I think I’m better off that way.

For years, people have recognized me for what I am. I’m different. I’ve met a few others who are gifted, but not all of them give off the aura that I do. I try to act like I don’t care, but honestly, I do. People have been poking around at me since I was six. What am I gonna do, not notice? I was once offered a spot in the local Gifted program. At the time, I really wanted to do it. I was in third grade, and I went to a school I absolutely hated. I visited the class, and I felt that I belonged. My parents refused though. They told me it was for the best at the time. I didn’t really believe them. Now I do.

Fast forward 5 years later. I go to school with a regular class. I feel normal. (By the way, when you’re me, that’s a good thing.) My class still bugs me about being smart, but hey, that’s normal. It’s better than being treated like a walking dictionary. Trust me on that one. And I work hard, harder than most. I feel like I’m drowning in work sometimes. And I struggle with work too sometimes. Although sometimes the struggling has more to do with me getting bored and not wanting to do the work. But my school also has a gifted program. I’m not in the class. Once you refuse a chance, you don’t get another one until high school. And I already refused that one. I had my reasons.

The people in the gifted program at my school… well, everyone just call them Gifties. When I first found out about it, I was really offended. We’re just as normal as everyone else. We’re not a different species or anything. But after I actually met the Gifties, I understood why…

I have a feeling the Gifties aren’t offended by us calling them that. I suspect they rather like it. They treat us pretty poorly too, and call us “normals”. They only talk to each other, and if they do talk to you, it’s usually not good. And they feel like they’re above answering our questions. That’s what my parents wanted me to avoid. They didn’t want me to turn out like them, to feel superior to everyone else. I talked to someone, and she says she feels like she gave up on being gifted in order to have a social life. I understand that perfectly. Being all high and mighty like that… I don’t think I could stand it. Yeah, I know. You going to tell me I’m still one of them. But no, I’m not. Not like that.

Today, though, I got a glimpse of what I was missing out on. I was in their classroom for one period. We were having history class temporarily in there, but whatever. It made me go crazy.
I learned something new today. When I’m in a room with a bunch of high school/college/university level science fair projects that are done by GRADE SEVEN students, I tend to drop everything and read them. Or attempt anyways. Some random grade seven did his/her project on gene mutation inside a university science lab, which is hardly where you’d expect a twelve to thirteen year old kid to hang out. I didn’t understand half of it. Something about yeast, alpha factor, and nicoclyametide or something like that. Anyways, it sparked my curiosity. Not to mention, they learn grade 10 level math. Maybe even higher. A bunch of people started asking what the hell it was, but the teacher asked us if we hadn’t learned it yet.
I hope he was joking.

Anyways, a guy in my class told me that I belonged in there. And I told him I didn’t. But, you know, I’m starting to think maybe I do… Math class today was boring. I’m about 2 chapters ahead of my class–and that’s after 2 periods of absence, one where I did nothing, and one where I did nearly nothing. Great. And I hate math. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s just because the work has never been challenging enough before. In all my years of school, I’ve never been truly challenged in class. What keeps me alive is the little things. Our teacher makes us do these comprehension tests in French. She gives us two periods to do them. However, I usually try to set a record for them. We get 100 minutes. I usually finish in 25. I research things in my spare time. I read books. A lot. I’ve been known to finish 5 novels in a few hours.

So now I’m wondering. My friend told me to just switch. But you can’t just switch to gifted. It doesn’t work that way. But I wonder, if I had taken that path, where would I be right now? Being gifted is harsh. Unfortunately, if you’re not one of us, a gifted person who sometimes wishes to be normal, who gave up some of it for a social life, you’ll never understand. But I’d never give it up. That’s the weird part. It’s who I am.

Ugh. I guess being gifted is both a blessing and a curse. Just most non gifted people either ignore, downplay, or don’t know about the curse part.

The Rebeeks is Back!

I haven’t blogged in like, three months! And I miss it terribly! But the fact is, lately I’ve been very preoccupied.

First of all, I’m applying to CHS for Lit art and I’m kinda freaking out. I mean, what if I’m not good enough? My friends keep assuring me that I am, but I’m freaking out just the same. What if I don’t have what it takes? Also, writing an autobiography is a lot harder than it seems. Especially when you need to do it in under 500 words.

CHS is amazing. I can really see myself going there. I love the atmosphere, especially the paintings on the wall… Their e-newspaper (is that even a word? If not then it is now) is great too. Too bad I can’t read any of the stuff from last year. This year’s stuff is pretty interesting. But why the heck did they call it The Wallflower? That makes no sense to me whatsoever. Anyways, I love the place. And I would love to be in a full-time writing program. Writing is in my blood… Although it probably doesn’t seem like it here since I don’t blog that much. But hey, I have a life too… Although my life is kinda boring… But hey, forget I ever said that.

English class is bugging me this year though. It’s been bugging me for a while. The last time I was really allowed to explore my limits was back in Grade 6. The teacher honestly didn’t care about what we wrote, as long as we were expressing ourselves. That was also the last time I got to experiment with violence in my stories. Last year, when I approached my English teacher about a murder scene, he objected, saying that the Principal wouldn’t be too happy if she read it, blah blah blah… Since when does the Principal’s opinion on a student’s work matter? I wrote the murder scene anyways, but did it so that it was accidental murder. Sometimes, you have to reject what the teacher says/thinks in favour of a your creative license. That story would not have been complete without a murder. And for some reason, the teacher didn’t seem to notice that I’d ignored the rules.
I can’t wait to be able to explore again… that is, if I make the program.

Also, I can’t wait to escape the harsh reality of my school, which I absolutely hate, and do not want to graduate from. Wait… that does not sound like what I meant. Let me rephase that. I wish I could graduate from my old school. All CMS ever did for me was irritate me. It continues to do so, except that my French/Art/History teacher is great… For once, history, which I normally hate, was interesting and FUN! Although I’m not too fond of the art projects. But she can teach. And she’s really supportive. She’s pretty awesome.

I feel like no one at CMS truly understands me though, which makes me somewhat depressed. I wish people were more willing to understand me though. I feel like I’m asking too much of people though. But I will never completely adjust, which is just as well, since I’m only spending a year here anyways. I will never adjust to the fact that there is no Strings program. I love the viola and I miss it terribly. The teacher who was making band bearable left to teach at my old school, and has been replaced by some other teacher who never ceases to frustrute me. She’s overly optimistic, doesn’t understand anyone, and is not willing to give me more time to properly learn the flute. I’m more of a nuisance than a student. I’ll bet that she’s failing me already.

Well, that’s all for today. I hope to be back soon (not in 2 months!).


Politics… The game of Hypocrisy

Elections are coming up, people are making up their minds, and I think it’s fair to say that all (fine, most) politicians are hypocrites. Not that I’m surprised. Some will do just about anything to get voted, including putting down others (Stephen Harper, anyone?). Then, they will completely ignore all the promises they made during their campaign in favor of spending 4 years as a dictator. Therefore, it’s also safe to say that all the promises made by politicians are just a mouthful of crap.

In my short lifetime I have witnessed a few elections, although I was only really old enough to be interested in them when I was 10 (Yes, when I was 10 I paid attention to the outcomes of the elections.). One thing I have learned is that politicians are really bad at telling the truth. Also, when they get called out on it, they make a point of critisizing the others. It’s almost as if they make a point of remember what everyone but them has done wrong. Quebecans especially don’t like that. Neither do I. They hate Stephen Harper. I do too.
Please don’t get me started on why I hate Mr. Harper.

Politicians are pretty good at saying things. Unfortunately, they’re also pretty bad at doing them. Not a good way to go, if you ask me. Which is why I will never be a politician. I would probably spent most of my time yelling at party leaders for what they’ve done wrong.

I admire people like Elizabeth May. They’re politicians who can say what they really think as opposed to just trying to please the general public. She has enough following that she is included in debates, but since she isn’t as well known, she isn’t under pressure to be “politically correct”. As far as I’m concerned, being politically correct is equal to being stupid, wrong, discriminatory, or something equally unethical. (Unethical and stupid are my 2 favourite words when it comes to politicians.) We need more people like Elizabeth May in the world of politics. Plus, she’s the only female party leader. How cool is that?

Stephen Harper spends way too much time and money critisizing the Liberals, especially Mr. Trudeau, when he himself has such a bad record of doing what he says he’ll do. As far as I’m concerned, the Liberals have a better record than him. Any party has a better record than him. Canada, please do me a favour and elect the Green Party. Or anyone but Mr. Harper. And please, please don’t give the Conservatives a majority government.