A Late Bloomer

Greetings!

Happy Spring!

Yay!
Boo!
What?
Come Again?

Despite mixed feelings between those who can’t bear the thought of leaving hibernation mode and those who can’t wait to bask in the delight of warm, wonderful sunlight. this rabbit is ready to hop into Spring!

But I feel like a lot of people forget about the start of Spring because honestly, the winds of change that accompany changing seasons are a bit… well… slow. I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I always imagined the first day of Spring being almost magical: the birds would harmoniously chirp to wake up slumbering bears as they crept their way beneath a tree whose leaves spontaneously blossomed upon the arrival of March 20th. I mean, in all fairness, I was told back then that the changing of seasons was magical; I have grown to learn, however, that change isn’t something immediate. It takes time.

And so, in the spirit of Spring (and all the change it signifies), I have written a prose piece that revolves around change.

A Late Bloomer

At first, I used to cry. It seems like such an unassuming thing, really, like biting your nails to the stubs until they’re bloody sore when you’re nervous. Presumably, speaking came next. Well, almost. Let’s just say the proverbial flower of communication couldn’t perfectly blossom with a parasite latched onto it. I suffered from a hindrance in my ability to pronounce s’s and r’s: yes, the dreaded lisp. Its effects led to the embarrassment of being taken out of class every day for speech therapy. The classes were nothing serious, really. All I can recall is playing nonsense games such as Candyland Speech, which I thought was pretty ironic because there was absolutely nothing sweet about silence.

 

Nonetheless, year after year, my speech improved and I slowly opened up to communicating with the world. But it wasn’t until I discovered a passion for writing that I engaged in connecting with those around me. A fear of sounding stupid, a fear that made me stray away from saying my own name, slowly disintegrated. And to this day, I am continuing to explore more avenues that might lead to better communication. The days of crying and the days of silence are pushing daisies. Because the flower of communication has finally blossomed, and it is speaking out to the world with a voice that is crystal clear.

You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with Spring at all?”
However, dig a little deeper and (low and behold!) you might be able to see the seasons changing in a little girl’s life, and her voice coming alive.

Thanks for coming down the rabbit hole!

-rabbit

Cyprus Bailout

A few key points to what’s currently happening with Cyprus and its economy:
Cyprus is an island nation located off the coast of Turkey. It currently has an incredibly weak economy. It was part of the European Union and received a lot of Greece’s debt. Cyprus banks are really struggling, and it has become a problem for some because Cyprus banks were a banking center for Russian oligarchs and mafia guys, who use it as a tax shelter and money-laundering site.

So Cyprus banks have a lot of Russian money in them, approximately one third of their deposits are from Russian nationals. Recently some European economists proposed a plan to bailout Cyprus from this crisis. The plan is unorthodox and a lot of people are unhappy because of this. Instead of implementing new taxes or getting money from abroad, the government wants to raise $7.5 billion through a onetime tax on Cypriot bank depositors. Citizens of Cyprus are upset about this.

This matters because lots of people are scared that the situation in Cyprus will spread — that Cypriots will take their money out of the bank, which will cause people in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other troubled EU countries to fear for the safety of their deposits as well, and start bank runs in their countries. That could lead to a continent-wide financial crisis, and the fallout could hit markets in the U.S

Now you are all caught up on the recent Cyprus Bailout plan.
-Libertarianliaisons

Review: The Gates Foundation

I recently had the opportunity to work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and I was so impressed I had to write about this incredible organization. The foundation is centered in Seattle, Washington, but they target three areas: global health, global development, and providing affordable education in the U.S. Currently, they support work in more than 100 countries across the globe.

I highly recommend a visit to the Gates Foundation Visitor Center in Seattle. The facility is very well-done and provides a huge sum of information in interesting, creative, even interactive ways. After walking around for just a half hour, I was very impressed with what the foundation has accomplished. More importantly, I learned so much about  global issues and poverty in other countries. I highly recommend stopping by the center whenever you have the chance – just a couple of minutes can be enlightening.

New Store of the Day

Happy Friday! It has been one crazy day so far. Snowing in the morning, windy in the afternoon, and now sunny. Since it is Friday, it’s time for Friday shopping!

It’s hard to find nice fashionable clothing in Bellevue sometimes, but there’s a nice apparel shop in the Bellevue mall!

Today I will be focusing on Aritzia, and this store definitely has some stylish clothing.

This beautiful , yet simple lace black dress can be found in Aritzia for $145. It can also be found in a peachy color, if black is not your style.

WILTERN JACKET

This fresh spring look can also be found in Aritzia!

Check out Aritzia for more fashionable clothing!

-Fashion Femme

 

Mad Dash

The mad dash has nearly begun to put in final analysis, bids, and final cases to keep the Kings in Sacramento’s case, and receive the Kings in Seattle’s case. The NBA Board of Governors will make its public announcement on April 18th and 19th in New York during its annual meetings but the decision itself could be made by the fourth. Representatives from the Seattle group as well as the Sacramento group will be present to make some final statements in front of a large group of NBA owners.

As it turns out, this large group holds a large impression over the NBA Board of Governors since most of the owners are on the Board. In the past, the owners voted 28-2 to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008 and it seems that even though not all of the owners wanted the move, they vote for a large consensus. Instead of leaving uncertainty, the owners usually vote with the larger group in order to solve disputes. These votes will play a large role in the voting that will occur on the 18th and 19th. Hopefully Seattle gets the majority vote.

Citation:

http://seattletimes.com/html/nba/2020605282_sacramento21.html

Gluten Free Celebs

Since going gluten free has become somewhat of a trend, many celebrities have started doing it, too. This is great because it makes the gluten free diet more well known and generates attention for it. Here are some well-known ones-

Rachel Weisz, Actress

Zooey Deschanel, Actress

Meg Cabot, Bestselling Author

Drew Brees  – Super Bowl Winning NFL Quarterback

Novak Djokovic – Tennis

Jessica Alba, actress

As you can see, many influential actors and even athletes are following the gluten free diet. Some of them, including Zooey Deschanel, have a wheat allergy and the diet is not just a fad they are following. It is good to have more  support for gluten free products and diet!

 

Songs to listen to when you’re being a moody teenager

It’s time for the ever-sporadic weekly playlist. As teenagers, we’ve all had our moments where we’re mad at our parents, siblings, teachers or just the world in general. Sometimes, we just want to hole up in our rooms with our headphones in and drown it all out. Now, what’s the best music to listen to when you’re getting those waves of teenage angst? See below a list of songs that are sure to satisfy your mood.

Such Small Hands – La Dispute
Shut Me Up – Mindless Self Indulgence
F.T.W.W.W – My Chemical Romance
Miss Nothing – The Pretty Reckless
Pretty Handsome Awkward – The Used
Paper Doll – Cherri Bomb
Raised By Wolves – Falling in Reverse
Give ‘Em Hell, Kid – My Chemical Romance
I Don’t Care – Fall Out Boy
Teenage Sounds – Neon Trees

As you can see, when you’re being a moody teenager, you can never have too much My Chemical Romance. Also, I couldn’t decide on a particular song but while you’re at it add in some Nirvana for good measure.

Decisions, Decisions (Part One)

For twelve years of our lives (13 if you include Kindergarten), we spend most of our waking lives at school. Day-in, day-out, it’s always the same. As much as we might dislike it at times, our educations are the most important things we possess these days. And after high school ends, it is assumed and expected of us to continue on to colleges to get at least a bachelor’s degree, if not more.

The idea of going to college can seem really daunting, especially when you are sitting in front of a computer with your SAT scores open and the criteria for your dream school on a different tab. The first thing that you need to do: keep calm. It’s not going to help you at all to stress out when it really isn’t necessary.

Next: Know the Basics. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are you interested in majoring in? It isn’t necessary that you know the exact answer right away, but it would be helpful to find a program that fits your needs.
  2. What location are you looking for? Rural? Urban? In-state? Out of state? It may go without saying, but going to schools out of state will have a higher tuition than in-state schools, so just keep that in mind.
  3. Public or private? This one might also be obvious, but I’ll still say it. Public schools are generally cheaper than private schools, but if you’re looking for a specialized school or a religious one, then a private school might be something that fits your interests more.

Next time I’ll talk more about choosing a specific school and a whole bunch of other things! Stay tuned.

Minmaxing Part 2

I’ve thought more about my last post, about minmaxing in games. It suddenly struck me that I had minmaxed in the past, and done so quite frequently even in the games I mentioned.

I immediately sought to identify why I had done so, and realized this very core aspect of mankind’s nature was the primary drive in my motive. It was revenge. In all of these games, you’ll spend the first half or so running from 90% of the threats. The majority of the world is tougher than you and won’t hesitate to fire a rocket at you to prove it. But at the end, you are the one with all the rockets, flaming swords and laser beams. It’s a very nice feeling, to show all the jerks that pounded on you at the game’s beginning that you are now much tougher than them. It is a primal feeling, even.

The primary game on which I did this was the Fallout series. I sort of raced a friend to see who could break the game and become the most powerful guy in the wasteland. In Fallout 3, my friend maximized the damage he dealt with the shishkebab weapon to the point where it was nearly a one hit kill. I took a more defensive route, using a combination of perks, armor, and genetic modification to keep my armor rating at 85% protection, the maximum the game will allow. In another playthrough I got so stealthy that at night, there was nothing in the entire game that could see me, provided it was nighttime. And when you can make a super-powered mutant wander in circles looking for the invisible hand that keeps tasering him, you know you’ve got the whole world in the palm of your hands.

Shawn Dumont Picture 3-22-13

Though I bested my friend in fallout 3, in New Vegas I’d say he took the lead. I managed to make my stealth mode into an insanely fast, though still detectable, ninja. It was fun, but not the most practical build in the game. My friend managed to abuse the system such that his health regenerated. I’m not talking about some one damage healed a second either, no, he could see his health bar grow to immediately cover just about any non fatal wound in mere moments.

No matter how you break a game though, the empowering feeling you get from the effort you spent testing and doing math paying off really feels nice. I’d have to change my view from last time and recommend it to anyone with the time to think it through.

Newport Game

Well it was a tough loss Wednesday against Newport losing by a score of 5-2. The Eagles had plenty of chances early in the game to put together more runs; however, they struggled to get hits when there were runners on base.

Errors especially hurt the eagles chances. Issaquah committed four errors during the game. Without them, Newport would not have been able to get runners on base, leading to their runs.

The Eagles only put up six hits during the game, three of which were bunts. Newport is considered an average team, and do not have as much talent as they usually do so we should have come out stronger than what was displayed.

Issaquah gets to redeem themselves today against Garfield, which is a league game. Hopefully the can get back on track, and be more consistent in fielding and show some life in their bats. Garfield, historically, is not a very good team, and are not expected to be this year. Hopefully the Eagles can ten run them!

School Spirit

We have now entered our last school-wide spirit week of the 2012-2013 school year, and for the seniors out there, this is our last high school spirit week ever! It is a little bit bittersweet to look back at all of years in high school and let it sink in that we are so close to the end of our adolescent journey.

But, the point of this blog entry is not to reminisce, it is to celebrate the journey and make the memories now in order to look back at them years from now. A lot of teenagers might think that it is lame to go to school and do school related things outside of actual school time, and admittedly sometimes it is. But when it comes to things like sports games and other things that are put on to showcase fellow students, those are the kinds of things that we should support.

So even if you don’t feel like wearing tacky tourist gear or dressing up like a member of the royal court, you can always show support by attending Mr. Issaquah and Tolo! Your classmates will surely appreciate it.

schoolspirit

Travel Apps

With today’s modern age and the prevalence of apps, apps are becoming more and more useful in our daily lives, and they can certainly help while traveling. After several years of significant use and availability of apps, there are many beneficial apps that are specifically for traveling or navigating. In addition, there are so many specific apps from ones that can help people navigate an airport to find restaurants and amenities, to ones that can tell people about the best airplane seat.

One of the best travel apps out there include the Trip Advisor City Guides. This app includes information about all of the tourist destinations and ideal places to visit in 50 metropolitan areas around the world, basically what the name of the app implies. Another great travel app includes Kayak, one which does a great job for travel researching while one called Goby is the one to use for finding activities to do. For ones about dining, the LocalEats app helps people find local restaurants which is a great way to be exposed to the culture of a city.

Nowadays, there are truly apps designed to provide information about every possible travel topic. Whether you need help finding the best seat on the airplane or help finding a place to eat like the locals, there is an app for it. Take advantage of apps, and maybe your traveling just got a whole lot easier.

The Cost of Entertainment

I love to watch movies and TV shows. I love being able to get lost in a crazy plot or dramatic story line. But, what happens when all that you have access to ends. How am I supposed to keep up with my favorite shows without paying a whopping $2.99 per episode on iTunes. It does not seem like a lot, but let me tell you, it adds up.

I have recently finished season eight of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. It is one of my favorite shows at the moment and it really is unfortunate to know that I am missing out on more episodes just because they are not on Netflix.

A few thoughts crossed my mind. Do I buy them on iTunes? Or pay the $7 a month for Hulu Plus?

I know it seems like such first world problems, but these days saving money is a serious thing to think about. I didn’t even know I could watch some of them on my TV On Demand!

Lucky for me I checked that before wasting $40 on an entire season on iTunes!

The Cost of Entertainment

More Thoughts on the American Drug War

I’ve posted a decent amount on my opinions on the American Drug War and I told myself I would tone it down, but I read this great article that I must share on this blog:

Inside the Lucrative World of Ecstasy Smuggling

This is a fascinating article that establishes a few important points:

 

1) Illegal drugs, in this instance MDMA, are smuggled in vast quantities across the Canadian border just as marijuana and other drugs are flooding through the Mexican border. It seems to matter little whether a given country possesses a corrupt government or a democratic one…in either case, if a demand for an illegal substance exists, that product will be sold and yield astonishing profits. As this article notes, two of the major producers of MDMA in Canada are offshoots of Chinese and Vietnamese gangs. Some unsavory characters are profiting from this enterprise and using their funds for god-knows-what.

 

2) Drug dealers, though often depicted as murderous sociopaths in the media, could very well be tutoring your child in math.

 

3) Synthetic drugs (or “bath salts”) exist only because the “real” drugs are illegal. This is an important point. Demand for a product does not magically disappear just because the product has.

 

4) The drug war cannot, in any real sense, ever be “won.” A white flag is our only option.

I have so many conflicted opinions on the drug war and although I strongly believe we should end it, I still find it hard to side with it because, you know, morals. Drugs are bad and should be illegal. But there are so many negative consequences with making them completely illegal.
If you were to ask someone, “Should we end the war on drugs?”
A police officer would tell you: “No, because bigger budgets for us.”
A bank would say: “No, because laundry money.”
A drug cartel would respond with: “No, there goes my profit.”
But it also seems a little far fetched that we should legalize drugs because we’d put the drug cartels out of business.

I guess the war on drugs should be “toned down” slightly. We don’t need to be spending so much governmental money on locking up a pot dealer, but we most certainly can’t jump straight to legalizing it all.

-Libertarianliaisons