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RuneScape Taught Me Basic Graphic Design

In my journalism class, we've started our graphic design where we teach the newcomers to the program how to layout newspaper pages and all the skills that are required in the process. We use Adobe InDesign with a touch of Photoshop. I've always been proficient with the program and as editor-in-chief I spent most of my time in this unit helping the cubs with basic elements and tools. One day I was teaching the class about layers and how they work, when someone asked, "Where did you learn this?"   I thought for a minute, and remembered that the first time I learned about transparency, layers, rendering, and such was back when I would make RuneScape signatures for this forum--for myself and (sometimes) for others. It's really odd to think that all that tinkering around with GIMP back as a 11 year old actually turned out to be a beginner's level proficiency in a valuable and marketable skill. Thanks Sals :P

Samsara

Samsara

 

Being Brown Among Whites

So as you guys probably know by now, I'm Pakistani. I'm really comfortable with my identity as a Pakistani-born that grew up in America. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), I visit Pakistan often enough that my perspective is tempered by visions of life in both America and Pakistan. America--where I have lots of opportunities and life has a definite structure, and Pakistan--where everything is miserable and hope is scarce (exaggerating, but not by a lot).   I identify myself as both an American and a Pakistani. I'm really fluid with it, so sometimes I'll present myself as one or as the other or as both. My goal in life has always been to give back to both of my countries and improve the statuses of living in both of them.   I'm currently a senior in high school, and as seniors we have the option to take a class called "Humanities," the curriculum of which is fascinating. Throughout the year, we analyze history, the way it is changed and modified by nations with an agenda, the different ways a nation can control its citizens, why history is significant, etc. It's basically an advanced world studies class. The teachers are brilliant, they put their heart and soul into designing the class, and it shows. Even more impressive is that they manage to remain non-biased and encourage us to study with an open mind rather than to buy into certain beliefs. The class's purpose is to have its students ready to analyze the world in a more critical and informed manner. It's a dual English/History class too, so it's a double-wallop. fudgeing amazing class. I can't stress how much I appreciate that this class exists.   And I can't stress how much it feels like no one else in my class does. Seriously. Half of my class doesn't pay attention, doesn't take notes, and when we discuss, they never inform their opinion with what we learn in the class. We had a month-long unit on war, while reading War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges. But when we discussed, most of the students talked about war as if it was any other current issues class; like we hadn't spent a month analyzing the cogs behind war, the rush of war, why people wage war, all that.   We have an online discussion forum where we can post articles relevant to class and talk about them. Someone posted an article re: a possible "handsome tax" being put into Japanese law. One of my classmates responded: "Well, not to be racist, but all Japanese people look the same anyways so it's easier to tell who's handsome." I was fudgeing appalled. To my classmates' credit, someone immediately called her out on her racism (one student). No one else commented on the thread after that. It really bothered me. Why would someone think it's acceptable to post something like this?   Curious, I checked the roster of the three different sections of Humanities and made a list. In all of Humanities, in which there are about sixty kids, there are less than five people who aren't white. This might not be a big deal to you guys, but my high school is extremely diverse. I've never had a class so homogeneous. Obviously, this is a big problem for the curriculum of the class. How can we effectively discuss world issues when practically the only perspective we have to offer is that of a white middle-class teenager?   Maybe I'm being a little rash, a little jump-the-gun-y. I don't want to be all holier-than-thou, but I'm not wrong in thinking that there's something that can be wrong here, right? That girl would never have posted that Japanese comment had there been an Asian kid in our class. Having a group of 17-year olds who all share major identity traits is a problem. They become an echo chamber, and they think that it's okay to think a certain way. For example, we had a discussion regarding whether one should relinquish their rights at an airport. Every single person in my class was totally comfortable with it. I was not. I asked any of them if they had ever been detained at an airport. None. And here I am, the only non-white person in my class, who has been detained at an airport every time I've been to one past the age of 13.   Or perhaps it has nothing to do with being white. Perhaps it's just that not everyone in the class has had the same experiences that I've had. A significant part of why I take that class so seriously is because I know what it's like to be in a country that you'd be unlucky to be born in. I know that the lessons I learn in that class are valuable to me as a world citizen. Maybe these kids will have experiences like this when they go off to college or grow older. I'm not blaming these kids for being white. But can I blame them for refusing to look outside of themselves?

Samsara

Samsara

 

A Quick Little Interesting Story

Today was my first day of work (outside of orientation) at Barnes & Noble. A co-worker trained me on certain aspects of customer service, including placing holds on books for customers. When one places a hold at Barnes & Noble, a sheet is automatically printed with the person's last name alongside some purchase info. One then takes the hold paper, aligns it with the book so that the last name is running vertically down the spine, and then puts a rubber band on them.   My first hold was for someone with the last name "Persons." I printed out the sheet, rubber-banded it to the book, and walked over to the "holds" shelf. It's organized by the alphabet. I found the "P" section and placed the book on the shelf. Then I looked at the book next to it. The last name of the customer placing a hold on that book was "Peoples."   So in front of me was "Peoples" and "Persons" next to each other.   This was probably the highlight of my day and I find it really awesome, I just wanted to share it with you guys. :P Serendipity like this is rare and I like to appreciate it.

Samsara

Samsara

 

Advent of Summer

My junior year of high school has been the toughest year of my life so far. Due to overstretching myself between extracurriculars, leadership positions, and tough academic classes, as well as a severe development and diagnosis with Major Depressive Disorder, it's been not so happy sunshine all the time. The two feed into each other and cause a third issue: a terrible sleeping pattern. This triumvirate of terrible things has plagued me.   I've been going to therapy since last February. It's helped a lot, particularly in self-perception regarding my depression. And I've been doing my best with schoolwork and mental/physical health, but the 24/7 schedule I've fallen into has made it tough for me to take a break, get a hold of everything, catch up, and then be able to dive back in and give it my 100%. This has led to me looking more and more forward to the summer, as some sort of final release from the drudges of this school year.   I'm looking forward to the orgiastic catharsis, if there will be one. I've learned a lot this year, and I'm thankful for it. I've grown drastically as a person. But right now, I just want to get regular sleep. :P   I'm excited for this summer. One week left until I'm a high school senior! :D

Samsara

Samsara

 

American Gods

Just finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Awesome book. It's like Percy Jackson for adults. Anyone who likes Percy Jackson or fantasy should try it out. It's a bit long, but worth it. :)

Samsara

Samsara

 

Sophomore Year Wrapup

It's been a pretty great school year.   I made lots of new friends, had my (to-date) favorite teacher ever, gained confidence in myself, and managed to get stellar grades.   By the end I had decided to run for Student Council and look for a leadership position in my school's South Asian Club. So now I'm the Acting President of Student Council for the next school year as well as one of the Vice Presidents of the South Asian Club.   Oh yeah, and I started my own club within the school. To summarize it: it's a do-it-yourself volunteer association. Members would propose causes/issues/charities that they want to help-out/benefit/raise awareness for and then they would propose projects to work towards their goal. The club gives them people with like minded goals and intents to work with as well as the infrastructure and backing of a high school organization. It doesn't start until next year, but I'm beyond excited.   I signed on for a bunch of tough classes next year. AP Language & Composition, AP World History, AP US History, AP Calculus, and Honors Spanish 4, as well as Journalism 1. The only classes I'm not particularly excited about are AP Calc and Honors Chemistry. The only reason I'm taking AP Calc is because I am required to take math for another year, and Calc is the only option. And the AP Calc class in my school is easier than the Honors Calc class. Honors Chemistry I can tolerate because everyone should have a basic understanding of chemistry. The rest of the classes I'm really excited about and ready to learn and work for. :)   Oh yeah, and my parents got me some cool stuff as a reward for straight As. A printer, because our printer has been busted all year and I've had to print from the library or ask friends to print stuff for me all year. Four books: The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov (which is a beautiful leather bound publication), Arabian Nights (also a beautiful leather bound publication), The Hobbit (collectors edition), and Candide. They also got me a Halo: Reach poster. I'm so thankful. They're the best. I love my parents.   Also, speaking of Halo Reach, I've finally gotten down to playing the campaign for that. I was on the fourth mission for over a year. Now I'm on the last one. Exciting!!!     So that's it, Sals. My first blog entry in forever. Expect me to be a bit more active from here on out :)

Samsara

Samsara

 

New Year, New Me

A week and a half ago, my dad had a stroke. He was admitted to the hospital two days later, and was there for the majority of winter break. He had a clot in one of the veins that led to his brain. If we took him to the hospital even a day later, he most likely would have had another stroke, suffered permanent brain damage, and would have had a severe speech impediment for the rest of his life.   This is him two days after coming back from the hospital. He got extremely lucky and made a full recovery, with no permanent brain damage. He looks messy and has a scraggy beard, but that's what a gruelling week in the hospital does to you.   My New Year's resolution, or actually, my life resolution, is to not take anything for granted anymore, especially my family. I am extremely grateful that my dad came back with no harm done.   Love your family, guys. :mad:  

Samsara

Samsara

 

It By Stephen King

I just finished it. Having never read a Stephen King novel before, I had no idea on what to expect.   I was so immersed. I've never been so into a book as I have this book. And I was terrified. I had always doubted the ability of a book to scare you, but I take that back with all my heart. I would have nights where I would put the book down and try to sleep, but instead, my mind would be racing and I would nearly shriek at every noise.   It wasn't just the horror bits though... it was so much more. Stephen King painted the most enthralling picture of childhood that I've ever read or thought about. The real focus of the book was about being a kid, and what happens when you grow past those golden ages.   It's moments like this that remind me why I love reading. I thought that you guys would appreciate it. ;)

Samsara

Samsara

 

Best Christmas Ever

Opened my box and   RISE AGAINST TICKETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas as well!!!!!!     ;) ;) ;)

Samsara

Samsara

 

Spanish Project

Tomorrow, we get to do one of the most fun projects I've had for school yet.   We get to record a video of us rapping in Spanish, teaching you how to make nachos. There's some other stuff in there too (a three-act video, in which the rapping-nachos is only one part), but that's the part I'm most excited about.   Can't wait :)

Samsara

Samsara

 

I Demand

An instant demotion of redmonke.   He has posted things in the DM boards.   Things too disgusting for any man to read.   Things that will never be washed away from my brain.   Things that will keep my up at night for the rest of my being.  

Samsara

Samsara

 

Consumer Therapy

Decided I'd give myself a little treat for getting straight A's this marking period :)     Yes the lamp is new too :D

Samsara

Samsara

 

Results Of First Debate

[extract][/extract]WE WON!!! And I won best speaker!!!!! Also I was only 4 points away from a perfect score!!!!!!!!!! AND IT WAS MY FIRST DEBATE!!!!!   :( :D :D :D :D :D :D   The judge said that our team was the best he's seen so far, and he was completely shocked that it was my first debate and that I am a sophomore. The other team has had like... six debates so far this season? My team is replacing the previous affirmative team, because they were on a pretty bad losing streak and we beat them out for the spot.   Also, my cousin came out of his operation sometime yesterday. He's been asleep for most of yesterday and this morning, but he woke up a little while ago and we Skype'd with him while he's in the hospital. He's had most of his tubes removed, except for one that kind of goes over the top of his head. He'll get that removed and patched up sometime soon. It's so amazing to think that they've opened up the top of his head and tinkered with his brain. Modern medicine is crazy. Anyways, he cried! Which is great! Because recently he has had difficulty showing emotions, and to see him crying reassured all my doubts. And he is so cute, guys!!!! I have to put a picture of him on here sometime soon.   Today was altogether a very good day >.<   And thank you to all the guys who wished me luck yesterday! I really appreciate it! :D

Samsara

Samsara

 

On Homework

I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted. I will manage my time better and not get distracted.

Samsara

Samsara

 

Operation Theater

This Tuesday, my three-year-old cousin will begin his brain surgery.   I honestly don’t know how I should be feeling. I want him to be well. But I’m so worried. The stuff that the doctors have been telling us isn’t that great, but it varies from week to week. That in itself is so worrying.   I feel bad for his parents. I can’t imagine the excruciating pain they’ve gone through this past year; and I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of how worried they must be.   Tonight he’s going to be entering the hospital. I Skype’d with him for the last time before he’ll go in his surgery; he was bald. They had to shave his head for preparation of the surgery. I guess that’s what really struck home this thing for me. This intangible feeling of the whole charade, that for some reason, this isn’t real and this isn’t happening.   But you know what else I saw? He was watching some sing-and-dance show on the TV and he was playing along and dancing to it. And that gives me some hope.   Ugh, I’m trying to type out coherent thoughts about this, but it’s just a big muddle of apprehension and hope.   I hope that Zee turns out okay.

Samsara

Samsara

 

Techinical Issues

Laptop's motherboard is fried. This computer is as archaic as Tabt. I've been going on Sals from my phone lately. New laptop will be here sometime in November.   Love you guys <3

Samsara

Samsara

 

Samsara Is Missing!

Lately my activity has plummeted like a naive man into Paris Hilton's vagina. I promise you guys that I have somewhat legitimate reasons!   Hopefully I'll get a long blog post up tomorrow with an update on everything that is going on. I've been planning on writing that all week but i never got the time.   Love you guys!!

Samsara

Samsara

 

Update On Cousin

So my cousin has not been doing well. Recently, his limbs have started to grow weaker and he's reverted back to crawling. His epilepsys and seizures are becoming more frequent and he's in the hospital again.   After some thorough testing they've concluded that there are sac-like things that are disrupting his frontal lobe, causing weak motor skills, lack of speech, autism, seizures, asymmetry in the brain. Basically that stuff will slowly drain his brain until he becomes braindead, and then eventually he would die.   My dad called one of his neurologist friends to get some more info. My dad gave him the situation and all the details and stuff. His neurologist friend did all his internship in Australia (where my cousin and his family are living) and has a lot of information on their treatment model. He says it's very experimental, kinda the opposite of what my cousin needs. He said it'd be optimal to 1. get a second opinion 2. see if they can arrange to have the surgery in either america or the uk.   Even after my cousin goes through the surgery there's a good chance that he will still be very mentally handicapped and there is a huge chance that he'll lose speech functions.   :D

Samsara

Samsara

 

Back In America

I had my Taco Bell. It was great. I'm never going to eat again. I'm so stuffed.   Also, nice doggy!es! Now that I'm back in a first world country...     Over the next couple of days I'll patch together a massive blog entry that will summarize my entire trip with a dumpsterload of pictures.

Samsara

Samsara

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