Friday, May 26, 2006

Is WebSense Common Sense?

I read an article yesterday my friend had co-written for our school newspaper. It was a pro/con essay and my friend Amanda had the con side while her partner had the pro.
Amanda's arguement was that WebSense, the web censorship program that many schools and businesses use, blocked too much. And I've had this problem as well. For a Web Design project in my Multimedia Presentation and Design class I had to access the CBS site everyday. On the fifth day the site was blocked under "entertainment" and I couldn't use it in my project any longer. Also, I've tried to access lists for the top 100 children's books here at school and it was blocked under "shopping." Some things that may be blocked are needed for school or clubs. I can't even access my own website anymore, which I need to be able to when I'm participating in web design club.
On the pro side, WebSense keeps students and workers on task. Who wants to do research when you can be on MySpace, LiveJournal, or Addicting Games? No one will be doing their work. It also blocks inappropriate websites which are not allowed in schools in the first place.

But the question I ask of you is, should censorship be used in schools and businesses? And should it be used to the extent it currently is used at?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Finals kill inspiration

Well, this is quite interesting isn't it? I've applied to be added to the Author's Blogs listings. I should be on there soon. Can't wait to find time to check out other author's blogs.

In other news I've not been writing so much as I have been brainstorming. I've got The Conqueror all planned out and I can tell you one's going to be exceedingly long. Also, I've been looking back on some of my old ideas for fiction books wondering if I would want to go back and work on those after I finish The Conqueror and Zarcona (at least the first book). I think I'll just wait and see what's going on at that point.

In my time at school when I'm not writing or studying for finals, I've been looking over the writings of a friend of mine. She's definately got a lot of potential, but needs help with little things like grammar and spelling, and maybe a little bit of clarity could be of use as well. Her story is definately interesting and I hope she continues to pursue writing in the future. As far as I know she's going to a state college to learn psychology, but I'm not sure if that's what she plans to be her major.

Well, only 3 days of school left, two of them shortened, and all three involving finals. This should get interesting...and highly stress-making. As you can tell from the title, the finals have temporarily squashed my inspiration to write. But starting this time next week, I will have loads of time for writing, reading, and volunteering. Also this summer I will be meeting with my pastor about the possibility of me attending a Christian school after high school is over with. I really hope I can go.

Some book recommendations:
Midnighters (trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld. There's a 25th hour that only certain people can get into while the rest of the world remains frozen. Jessica Day discovers she can reach this world, and that 4 other teens can too. But the true Midnight hour hides many other creatures that she'll have to face.

Fruits Basket by natsuki Tayaka. A fantasy manga about an orphan girl who is taken in by the mysterious Sohma family. Soon she finds out that this family isn't all they appear to be, they're actually possessed by the spirits of the zodiac!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good Times Coming Fast

Hullo, just a quick update about my life here before I start on a review of Angie Sage's Flyte. The English Research/Creative/Writing project that has been restricting my creative juices and hogging all my time was turned in today. I finished it late last night and I'm really proud of how it turned out and I'm especially relieved that it is finally over with. This was my last English project of the school year, thankfully. But it also means we're back to reading novels and that I'll have a reading assignment every night (but it's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so it's no big deal).

There are only 11 days left in the school year for me, and 3 of those are early dismissals (2 of which are exam days that will feel longer than a full day...). This summer I plan to spend lots of time writing, reading, raising the munchkins that are my brothers, and volunteering a lot at my local library. I'm really looking forward to the time at the library because it combines my three loves: reading, writing, and web design. Yes, I will be fixing up the library's webpage.

Since I just a few minutes ago finished Flyte, and I don't have the money to buy Scott Westerfeld's Pretties (I'm just going to buy it, Westerfeld is my fave writer and it's the conclusion to one of my favourite series) just yet, does anyone have any book recommendations? I'm headed to the library tonight and might find something there, but I always welcome recommendations.

Well, I'm off to dance class where we're having a meditation day which I will probably sleep through again.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Zarcona becomes a series

For all of you who have been lurking over at my writing journal, then you probably know about Zarcona. Well, it is no longer a book, it is now going to be a series. I have not decided if it will be set of two or of three, but it is most decidedly longer than one book.

Some background information for those who have not read my journal:
Zarcona originally started out with the title Ledgends of Certaori (really Zarcona is still a working title). The story is, like all my other works, satirical. This one is satirical of religion in government, and as usual, government in general. Zarcona takes place in a fantasy world in a city ruled by the Demis. The Demis are a group of different types of beings, all the top in their field. When the Demi of Religion goes missing, his daughter Zerea is appointed to team up with the guide Merka, and the Demi's young assistant, Gala, to serch for him. But are the Demis all they really seem to be?
Zarcona was put off for a while when I got the idea for The Conqueror and couldn't help but jump on that one instead. Over the past months in which I have worked on The Conqueror I've been planning a little bit for Zarcona, but haven't done much writing. Until now. I'm currently finishing up The Conqueror, and restarting on Zarcona, so I'm balancing two books. But I've recently been bogged down with inspiration and new plot ideas for Zarcona, so I hope that the series will move quickly.

So, is anyone interested in hearing more about Zarcona? What do you think of my pitch? And would you read either The Conqueror or Zarcona?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dance is Free Expression

This year I took a beginning dance class for gym. I expected an easy "a" and maybe a little fun along the way. Also, it was the only class I could take because I can't run on my bad ankles. But as the semester nears and end and my days as a beginning dancer do also, I've started to notice some things about my dance class.

First, dance requires confidence. I knew no one in my class, so I rarely spoke the first week or so, and the class was no fun at all, which means I didn't care enough to excell in it. But as the weeks wore on, I opened up to the other girls and let the real me shine through. I'm not a shy person, but dance class for some reason made me as such. So soon I realized I had to shed that shy outer layer and just be the open, bold geek that I am. And soon I grew in that in a way I didn't in other classes. I actually became bolder, I was no longer afraid of what might happen. "Will I look stupid doing this?" "What will happen if I say this?" "What if I mess up and fall flat on my face?" All those questions were now gone from my mind. And you know what? I did look stupid some times, but I had fun doing it and I was able to laugh at myself. I did say some things I shouldn't have, but also some things that I wouldn't have before that people thought were really smart. And yes, I did fall down a few times, but I laughed, got right up again, and continued dancing. So, dance made me more confident in all the things I do, and that confidence also made me a better dancer.

Second, be friendly. First time I walked into that class I looked at everyone I didn't know, and at those I knew but never became close with and just shut my mouth. After the confidence kicked in, I became much more friendly with the other girls. So what if I didn't know them? If I didn't say anything, I would never get to know them. Soon I had a new best friend, Risty. She's pretty shy, but I got to know her and we had a lot in common. Now thanks to that class, I now have another anime/manga dork to laugh with, and I have a friend in the class.

Third, dance requires an open mind. In this class I've had to do all sorts of different styles of dance, had to listen to different types of music, and had to try things I'd never done before. For a group project we had to create a dance to any music we wanted. I was out voted on the music and our group did a song by Shakira I would have never heard but for that class. And I like the beat a lot. For that same project I had to do some hip hop and some salsa, two dance styles I had never even thought of trying. And I loved that too.

And lastly, dance is free expression. Any kind of dance you do, you're putting a part of yourself into it. The hula dance tells a story. Lyrical dance shows actions behind words. Interpretive dance shows emotions through movements. Each dance has its own way of showing your personality through your actions. It is a way to express yourself to the world.

So dance like no one's watching, and let the real you come through.


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