Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer: Overrated?

Forgive the cliché, but it's that time of year again! School's OVER for SUMMER VACATION! We're all celebrating, aren't we (except our parents)? The mouthwatering thought of popsicles, slushies, and ice cream all day long, the golden glow of tanned skin, partyin' pool parties, vacations all throughout the land, not picking up a pen for 3 months, and just plain warm weather. Though this may sound like the cat's pajamas, it's really more like the cat's old t-shirt and shorts. Which can be used as pajamas. But technically aren't. And since this is the worst analogy I've ever come up with, I'm going to just explain my thoughts from another angle.
Here's what I mean.

1. Popsicles, slushies, ice cream, eating out all the time with your friends? Sounds fun! And delish!

Then you remember, oh yeah, I have to have money for all that stuff. And that much sugar will mess anyone up. And popsicles stop tasting good after a while. Especially once all the root beer flavored ones are gone (which, seriously guys? That always happens within like 2 days. What is the DEAL?)

2. Getting a good-lookin', glowing TAN!

Did someone say, skin cancer? If you aren't a white, freckly, red-head like me, this isn't as big of an issue. But as for me, I don't really tan. This is how my skin reacts to over 30 minutes of sun exposure at a time.
6. With a microscope, my skin might look a little bit darker.
...and in 20 years, SKIN CANCER! HOORAY!

3. NO SCHOOL! Partyin' all summer long! No more thinking! No more homework!

First day of school: "...son of a crescent wrench, I don't remember a single thing. Let's re-learn it all!"

4. Pool parties! Other parties! Partying! All the time!

Hey remember how you spent more time on facebook last summer than actually talking to people? And how you went to more family reunions than pool parites? ...Even if that isn't true for you, it's still true that a lot of people actually see all their school friends less during the summer, because, whaddya know, they aren't going to school. And then so many people go on vacation, that you really aren't that much more social during the summer.

5. INFINITE TIME to catch up on all that stuff you've been meaning to do.

Let's see, YW/Scout camps, youth conference, family reunions, band (or other music) camp, football/basketball/tennis/cheer/whatever sport camp, EFY, summer job, summer school or online classes, family vacations, family get-togethers when they come to town, and whatever else is going on. Looks like I actually don't have time to deep clean my room, wash my car, start a band, start a small business, create a t.v. series, have all those movie marathons I've been meaning to, read my ever-growing list of books, and learn to actually play the guitar. Oh well, there's always next summer...

Bottom line, summer's overrated. While people's lawns might be greener in summer, the grass isn't as green as you think. (Okay, I know that was bad. But bear with me. You get the idea.)
HAGS! (yep, I did that because it's annoying.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Insults and Curse Words Part II

Here are some more that I missed or just recently encountered:
(These may all be used as insults or as a "What the - insert word")
Conveyor belt
Shoelace truck
Rose petal megaphone
Irrconceivable venue
Crayon frame
Coffee-stained chiffon gown
Elegiac mailbox flag
Sporadic glucose
Soy sauce napkin
Granite bamboo umbrella
Rubber toaster strudel
Glass-faced hornet
Dwarf vase
Aluminum stork
Peach fuzz
Mail bush
Woven basket

Now go to, and keep that language clean!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Review: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My feelings about this book are as follows:
Wow. What? That sucks. Are you serious? Ahh that writing! That's amazing, but I don't know what it means. That's amazing, and I DO know what it means. Steinbeck is a genius. Steinbeck is horrible.This is terrible. This is wonderful.
And to sum it all up, READ IT!
And now, a summary of The Grapes of Wrath in the form of great one-liners:
"Maybe we can start again, in the new rich land - in California, where the fruit grows. We'll start over. But you can't start. Only a baby can start."
"How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it."
"When the corrugated iron doors are shut, he goes home, and his home is not the land."
"The whole United States ain't that big. It ain't big enough. There ain't room enough for you an' me, for your kind an' my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men."
"Where does the courage come from? Where does the terrible faith come from?"
"I lost my land, a single tractor took my land. I am alone and I am bewildered."
"For the quality of owning freezes you forever into 'I', and cuts you off forever from the 'we'."
"How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him - he has known a fear beyond every other."
"Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed."
"They had not grown up in the paradoxes of industry. Their senses were still sharp to the ridiculousness of the industrial life."
"The great companies did not know that the line between hunger and anger is a thin line."
"And the people nodded, and perhaps the fire spurted a little light and showed their eyes looking in on themselves."
"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."
"'Learnin' it all a time, ever' day. If you're in trouble or hurt or need - go to poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones.'"
"I'll be ever'where - wherever you look. Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad an' - I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build, why, I'll be there."
"And in the little towns pity for the sodden men changed to anger, and anger at the hungry people changed to fear of them."
"He held the apple box against his chest. And then he leaned over and set the box in the stream and steadied it with his hand. He said fiercely, 'Go down an' tell 'em. Go down in the street an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way you can talk. Don' even know if you was a boy or a girl. Ain't gonna find out. Go on down now, an' lay in the street. Maybe they'll know then.'" 
Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Box O' Soap

Sometimes people bug the heck out of me.
Since (hopefully) there are people reading this, I better explain myself.
A few things have been eating away at my last people-tolerance nerve the last couple weeks, and since I woud prefer to keep all my nerves if possible, I better get these outta here.
So here you are, Aubrey's pet peeves of the month!
(Part I of many)
Nerve eater number one: Idealizing America
Why do we indoctrinate ourselves and our young people with the idealization of the United States? Sure, it's a better place than many under-developed countries. Sure, it can be a place of opportunity and freedom. But it isn't perfect, and neither are its presidents, or its morals, or its environment. I've been thinking about this ever since attending the annual Hope of America Student Showcase sponsored by the Utah Freedom Festival. If you don't know what that is, it's a singing program of 5th graders from all around Utah where they sit in an American flag formation and sing patriotic songs.

Every song portrays the U.S.A. in its most idealistic form. The main theme "Hope of America" is the children saying that they are just that. They shout refrains of freedom, courage, and honor.
Too bad they don't believe it.
We're the hope of America...where there's hope there's America.
She's a land that we love...blessed from heaven above.
Please protect our rights and liberty.
We're the hope of America...stand and shout for America.
Where the brave, where the strong...where the dreams belong
The hope of America.

Call me cynical, but are they really living these words?  Or even thinking about them? I was once a participant in this program, and I was more concerned about doing the correct hand actions than applying the concepts I was vigorously voicing. And many of the ideals presented in this program are just plain false. Yes, these are the ideas America was founded on. Yes, there are people here who strive for these ideals of complete equality and there are those who actually have a sense of respect for self and country. But the fact is, these ideals don't define us, because they aren't absolute.
One of the songs I can actually appreciate a little bit is "Thank You Military". We really don't respect our military enough. We don't appreciate them enough. We don't show our thanks to them enough. And we really don't understand what they go through. In fact, when these kids are singing Thank you military, our country's proud of you, we are all so grateful for everything you do, I doubt any of them has the least idea of what that means. I can't really speak for anyone in the military, because I haven't experienced it myself, but I don't really know what this would mean to them. It feels good to gain recognition, but a slight "yay military" without any depth or real understanding just isn't as meaningful as what they deserve.
So while programs like this are fine and dandy, and parents enjoy them, I think that kids should really understand what they're saying. Growing up thinking that the founding fathers were perfect, and that Abraham Lincoln was perfect, and that America is perfect only leads to disappointment later on. Last year in my AP U.S. History class I learned that everything I thought I knew of our history from elementary school wasn't one-sided, that America isn't always right, and basically that all of my preconceived notions were false. And frankly, I was upset at our education system. I don't know what to do about it. I'm not claiming to have a solution. But I am saying that there's a problem with thinking the U.S.A. is more perfect than it really is. How can we solve problems when we don't acknowledge that they're there?
So there you go, the cynical thoughts of a disappointed teenager.
But don't worry, I'm not trying to upset anyone. I just want to encourage people think about this more. So, what do you think? Is it better to make kids think the world is better than it is only to disappoint them later, or is it better to raise them knowing the truth but having little hope for the future?
Catch ya later, pal.