I just got back from work, so bear with me on the fact that this post is about movies and not books. Should Hollywood continue to remake classic films, especially if they’re based on books (see, now it relates)? Last year, The Great Gatsby was released. Now this movie is based on a book that already has a film adaptation. I’m not saying that the newest version is lame (because it was AMAZING) but I’m saying that it’s strange that people think we need to do more remakes. Footloose, an 80s classic was recently remade with a little bit of a more modern edge. This was all fine and dandy but hardcore fans may have seen this as just trying to revive something that didn’t need resuscitating in the first place. I just think it’s strange that there is an apparent need to remake movies that already have been made. Like how long are we going to wait until we start remaking the Harry Potter movies? Now that I think of it, you don’t see authors doing that with books. Why do we remake movies? Is it a marketing gimmick to make fans buy more merchandise then they did when the movie first came out? Or is it to bring back those feelings you get seeing that movie? When and if they do remake the Harry Potter movies, I will probably be as emotional and excited about them as I was when I was young. I’ll be like that parent who freaks out when an 80s song comes on the radio that they remember. Maybe we remake movies because we have no choice to, we’ve run out of originality and creativity, the spark of imagination is gone. When that happens, I don’t know what we will do. Probably remake more movies.
Lately for some reason, this has been bothering me. I used to be able to do things years ago, and when I try to do them, I just can’t seem to with the same talent that I once had. For instance, take drawing: growing up, I thought for sure that I was going to be an artist. I took a lot of art classes and was always drawing in my free time. People would compliment my works and I felt that they were good and would be able to get me somewhere in life, even though I didn’t know at the time how slim the chances were of a young artist becoming a millionaire overnight. However, a couple of years ago, I got too busy and was focusing more on my studies in general and I didn’t have time for art, something I had once loved so much. Now, when I try to draw something, it is never as good as I could’ve done it years ago. This saddens me to know that I have lost something that I enjoyed so much. Also, I used to play piano. I would spend time practicing, having a natural knack for playing by ear. However, I gave that up in 4th grade for basketball. Now I pursue neither basketball nor piano, and the latter is something I regret. My grandma always wanted me to play piano so I feel obligated to her as well as myself to play. Now, when I see a piano, I don’t even know where to start. Hopefully I can get back to it someday. Why do we lose talents that we seemed to love so much? Maybe we should start focusing on flourishing the talents we love and enjoying them in the process so we don’t end up regretting things in life.
When you enter a Barnes and Noble bookstore, the feeling you get is relaxing and soothing. Surrounded by all those words, ready to sweep you in and fall in love with fictional characters that you will end up laughing and crying over (or both at the same time). Some people love getting Barnes and Noble gift cards and spending them on all kinds of new reading materials. However, there are people like me who are very picky and particular about the books they purchase. For example, I can probably count on maybe two hands the number of books I’ve actually bought myself; the rest were given to me or just for free. I only buy books that I’ve read, and they have to be really good ones, like Gone With the Wind. Most of the books I read are from the library or borrowed from friends, never usually from a bookstore. I like testing out a book to make sure it’s a good fit for me before making a purchase. Honestly, I go into our Barnes and Noble more for the Starbucks than the books because I already know I’m not going to buy any. I think I do this because I want to know if my investment is going to be worthwhile. I would hate to buy a book and end up not liking it, that would be a waste of money. However, sometimes I deviate from my routine, go out on a limb, and buy a book I’ve never read. Recently, I bought Les Miserables and I’m hoping that it’s more than one thousand pages are going to keep me enthralled and entertained during the summer (have you seen Les Mis? If books were made of bricks, you could build a hurricane-proof house with copies of it). Do you purchase books you haven’t read before or do you read and then buy?
Everyone always says it’s the best four years of your life, the ones you’ll never forget, and I for one agree. So bear with me because this is a cliché post on everyone’s favorite thing to hate: high school. Personally, I freaking love high school, I love every aspect of it, even the drama. To me, that makes it so much more like high school. For some reason when I say these things, people think I’m crazy and need serious help. But high school is honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me, like if I would’ve been homechooled I think I would’ve ran away. I love the work and the people and the craziness of it all. Especially in my school, where not a day goes by that something spontaneous happens. However, like all things in life, I’m going to have regrets. I’m going to regret that I wasn’t as involved, that I didn’t join show choir, that I didn’t meet more people. But we have to look past those regrets and remember all the great times we had with the people we did meet. We have to remember that even through the bad times, high school is temporary. Life goes on. But even so, we need to cherish it while we still can because it is truly, I believe, the best freaking four years of anyone’s life, especially if they choose to make it that way. So do what you want, try out for the musical, take another AP class (since you already have five, why not even it out at six?), ask that guy you’ve been fawning over to prom, because when you have your high school reunion, you want to say, “I can’t believe I did all that!” rather than, “I wish I would’ve done more.”
We have all been taught to believe since childhood that in 1492, a man got on his boat, traveled across the ocean, and ended up in America. Every year on the second Monday of October, we take time to remember the efforts and discoveries of this man and the fact that we wouldn’t be where we are today if he hadn’t killed all the natives and begun the colonization of the Americas. Oh, you thought that was going to end pleasantly? Columbus is a moron. You can lie to your kids about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy but do not lead them to believe that a man who went to the Bahamas FIVE TIMES thinking it was India discovered the New World. Last year in AP world history, I was enlightened. I learned all about Columbus’s voyage and the havoc it later caused (for example, we wouldn’t have Jersey Shore or Teen Mom 2 if it weren’t for Columbus). I have a few things I would like to say about Columbus: first off, you can’t “discover” a place when people are already living there. The Taíno Indians living in the Bahamas (not America) welcomed Columbus and his men, the hospitable thing to do when someone visits your home, but Columbus wasn’t really interested in niceties. He was mainly looking for a passage to the Asian trading markets. You see, Columbus thought that the Pacific Ocean was much much smaller than it actually is, and that the distance between Asia and Spain was just a short boat ride away. He completely didn’t take into consideration that TWO WHOLE FREAKING CONTINENTS could be in the way of his riches. However, he wasn’t the only stupid one because the royals of Spain funded his expedition. Anyway, after the natives were so kind and generous, Columbus wanted nothing but their gold. He was ravenous for it. You can learn more about the whole story of Columbus and details about the chaos he caused at http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day. He ended up causing many deaths from killings and new diseases that the natives had never been susceptible to. Really the only thing we should remember Columbus by is that we now have Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but we also have a whole lot less native Americans then we did in the 15th century. So when you tell your kids about the “discovery” of America, tell them that people were definitely already there and whatever lies schools are feeding to them about Columbus are false. Heck, tell them the pilgrims on the Mayflower found it or make something up. Just don’t tell them about that murdering moron from Spain did that. Oh and by the way, on the next Columbus Day, wish everyone a happy Bartoleme Day.
These days, everyone is focused on the science, medical, and mathematical fields. After the USSR launched Sputnik into space in 1969, the Space Race between us and them was on. NASA was founded and jobs in science and math were highly sought upon, all to produce better and faster technology that would make us unprecedented globally. Nowadays, and even locally in my own school, there are classes specifically for S.T.E.M. jobs, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These jobs, for some reason, are highly fought for. A lot of people I know are going to major in different branches of engineering. Rockwell Collins is a local industry where I live and many people need degrees that relate to S.T.E.M. jobs. However, the people racing to become physicists and chemists are trampling the people who want to be writers or historians. I would like to major in history education when I go to college and hopefully end up teaching world history to high schoolers. We need to know our roots before we create new branches. People may ask why we need to care about history or reading, and I honestly can’t answer that. I just care about them because I enjoy them and I want other people to do the same. History is so intriguing to me, you can learn all about the past, a place you can never ever travel to (unless the science people I mentioned above figure out time travel or the Tardis pays a visit). My friends at least understand my love for the past because they bought me an AP world history textbook for my birthday. But some people will never understand. This goes for writers and musicians as well; people who want to publish the next great American novel, or write a hit song that will stay at the top of the charts for weeks are looked down upon, and even scorned by society, especially by those older than us. Maybe it is because of their experience, or maybe it is because they had similar dreams that had to be given up for practicality and security. Schools also discreetly force science and math into curriculums in the hopes that it will spark something in a student who isn’t willing. Personally, I believe by the time you’re in high school or if you know for sure what you want to do, you should be able to plan your coursework accordingly. I always joke that the only math I really want to know is the history of math, not math itself. Basically, governments support and fund science because it is seen as an economic and technological gain to them. History has shown what can happen when governments get too hungry for war and defense. The Cold War is a good example of this. The USA and USSR were the superpowers of the world at the time with the nuclear means to completely obliterate each other. There were many close calls, especially with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. This is just one event that we can use to tell future generations the consequences of increased technologies used for negative purposes. In conclusion, I believe that more emphasis should be placed on history and especially the arts, like how many times do your parents get excited when a song from the 80s comes on? People remember places, events, leaders. When equations and formulas fail, history makes up for it.
Recently for an AP Lang project (I’m starting to notice that all the reading I’m doing lately is usually because it’s required and that makes me really sad) I went to the library to look for a nonfiction book that I could possibly write an essay on. Being really into history, I saw a book called A Short History of Nearly Everything and I was instantly intrigued. The book is by Bill Bryson and it is literally what the title says it’s about. I could end this blog post here, but it has to be a minimum of three hundred words so I’ll continue. Honestly, I don’t normally just pick up books because they look or sound interesting so that fact that this book somehow did that to me is amazing. I’ve only read the first few chapters but what I have read is really just awesome and I can tell the rest of the book is going to be as well. It begins with the beginning-the creation of the universe and moves on to talk about stars and supernovae and the like. From just skimming through the book, I can see that he talks about humans and historical events. It’s basically like a mini textbook that it written for people to actually absorb and understand, because let’s be honest, who actually understands textbooks completely? I am just all-around excited to read more of this book, and that was definitely nerdy but I think we’ve established that already. Also in AP Lang we are doing the last author study of the year and Bill Bryson was on the list of options but unfortunately I did not get him because the selection for authors could be comparable to the hunger games. I ended up with my second choice, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Have you read anything by either Bill Bryson or Ta-Nehisi Coates? If so, what did you think?
*UPDATE*: Today I asked if I could possibly be switched to Bill Bryson for the author study, and it happened! I might add some Ta-Nehisi Coates to my list and read his works eventually. I’m excited to read Bryson (for a reason). Just kidding, you shouldn’t need a reason to read.