How to escape education’s death valley

“10% of kids are being diagnosed with ADHD. I’m not saying there’s no such thing – I just don’t believe it’s an epidemic. If you sit kids down hour after hour doing low-grade clerical work…don’t be surprised if they start to fidget!”
– Ken Robinson

New post coming soon! I’ve got some great news to share!
Kenz

Fifty Shades of Gay

“[I] asked people to quantify themselves on a scale of one to 100 percent gay, and I watched so many existential crises unfold in front of me. People didn’t know what to do, because they had never been presented with the option before.” – iO Tillett Wright

The Evolution of a Bookworm

Hey there everyone :) How’s your day been? I’m feeling very compelled to write something, but I’m not sure what just yet. ←That’s fair enough warning; rambling may follow. Well, I might as well start with reading. Because I talk a lot about how I feel regarding all the books I’m reading, but I’ve never really mentioned how I feel about reading itself. You may think (if you’ve visited my other pages) that I’m a pretty hard core reader. I really don’t plough through a book a day…though I can if need be. I guess I’ve been through quite a few stages in my bookworm life…

Stage 1 (age 2-3)

Cheryl and Bradley have a two-year-old daughter who will only nap for one hour in the afternoon. In order to lengthen baby-free downtime, they place a small stack of Little Golden Books in the corner of her bed, so she will have something to do when she wakes up. A bookworm is born.

Stage 2 (age 4-8) 

Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones, The Giggler Treatment**.  ‘Nuff Said.

Stage 3 (age 7-12)

I started reading books probably out of my age range like Harry Potter (of course), Inkheart, Peter Pan, The Historian, and yes, I’ll admit it (because I was 12), Twilight. I liked adventure books. The bigger, the better. The more fantastical, the better.

Stage 4 (age 11-15)

It was at this point in my life that I found a Nora Roberts book on a shelf in our house. Because of that one book, I went through a phase where I read standard harlequin romance novels by the truckload. A little embarrassing, actually. And then I read an article that said people who read romance novels are far less likely to be happy in their own love lives. It makes sense. Nora Roberts (at one point, the only author I would read) has written a lot of books…over 200. They’re all very different, but they all have the same formula which includes a happy ending; I have yet to read a Roberts book that didn’t end in a marriage, a proposal, solving the mystery, or getting the bad guy. It’s very confusing when all the characters you read about find the perfect mate, and you can’t even find someone who makes you happy more often than they annoy you. This realization is when I stopped reading the romance novels.

Side note: I had found someone who made me happy more than he annoyed me at 11, but I was too dumb to know it then. I’m not so dumb anymore—he still makes me happy more often than he annoys me…kind of :p

Stage 5 (age 17-now)

I didn’t read much of anything for quite some time, with the exception of a couple high school English books. My first and second go at Grade 12 English (5% increase in English mark = acceptance to Queen’s) were very important times in my bookworm existence. In both years, we were given the opportunity to choose between a bunch of books. I picked The Handmaid’s Tale the first time, and The Glass Castle and The English Patient the second. I wasn’t expecting much considering given they were grown-up, award-winning books (blech!) so imagine how surprised was I when I actually really enjoyed them.

And so, I am at the stage in my bookworm life where I sprout two little wings and make an effort to read as many award-winning/classic/must-read books as it takes to find my favourite authors. You may have noticed my 1001 books page and my library page. These are my attempts at educating myself in the world of literature, beyond harlequin romance and The Giggler Treatment.

Well, it’s quite late and I do believe you all know a few too many dark secrets about me that I generally don’t advertise. Since I suppose you won’t all share dark secrets of yours, maybe you could leave your favourite book in the the comments. I’m always looking to add to my wish list.

I’m honestly surprised you read this far. You must be as crazy as I am.

Your crazy bookworm,

Kenzie

**NOTE TO ALL PARENTS: read The Giggler Treatment with your children, or gift it to them if they’re older. All I can remember about that book is dog poop, a shoe, and laughing until I cried. I think I read it 50 times. I will gift you with a sample here.

More than books…

Hello everyone :)

Whenever I watch a movie scene in an old university library or study hall or personal office, there is always one very specific thing that I am drawn to, if it is present. One thing that I’ve always wanted, no matter what life-phase I’ve been in. One thing that—if I had it—would signify my growing up, one thing that would result in better grades and more thoughtful, careful work. Anyone who knows me would probably assume that this item is a certain book, or more likely, all the books in the world. They would be mistaken. I want this particular artifact more than books.

This particular artifact, as strange as it may sound, is a lamp. Not just any lamp though. I desperately crave a blueish-green, single-shade, brass-based Emeralite banker’s lamp sitting on my desk. I can’t fully explain why but for some reason this lamp symbolizes (to me, anyway) the hard-working, uninterrupted, meticulous studiousness of people who go on to do great things. I would rather spend time reading or writing by the deep emerald glow of this lamp, than by sunshine on the beach, by candlelight, moonlight, or any other kind of light.

It may sound to you like a little girl imagining her life a thousand times better if she could only have a pony…and it is kind of like that. Except that even if I’m wrong about the extraordinary inspirational and encouraging powers of this lamp, I’m still left with a pretty decoration and more light than I had before.

I’d love to know if anyone else has wanted something seemingly arbitrary this much, and if you ended up getting it.

Enjoy your Tuesday, folks!

Kenzie

Possible Solutions to the World’s Water Crisis

In my World Issues class, we’re researching environmental issues in the world today, some of which include non-renewable energy resources, deforestation, atmospheric pollution, and my favourite, the water crisis.

I’ve done a lot of research on this, so I wouldn’t mind sharing it with more than my bored World Issues class. The slideshow can be downloaded in the link below.  You’ll get the most out of it if you read the notes under each slide, as they explain most of the points.

Possible Solutions to the World’s Water Crisis

I hope you enjoy and learn a lot from this presentation.

 

Two Types of People

Most people have a “two types of people” theory.  You know, there are two types of people in this world: those who drink Timmy’s and those who drink Starbucks; those who do their homework, and those who appreciate all the free time.  There are those who understand dichotomies.  There are those who pee in the shower and those who lie.

Well this is my theory:  There are two types of people:  those who say “It was just a phase!” and those who say “Embarrassing as it was, that’s part of who I am.”

Imagine, for example, getting a tattoo sometime before you turn 30.  Now at this age, you are definitely not finished baking.  You’ve still got a lot of living and learning left to do.  But you’re still a full person, with opinions, attitudes, and emotional connections.  In my opinion, if you spend some time thinking about something that means a lot to you at this point in your life and you get a tattoo of it, you shouldn’t regret it.  I think it’s damn important to have a connection to an image or phrase before you get it permanently stuck on you.  For example, a man who converted to Christianity after a near-fatal accident getting a tattoo of a cross?  That’s commitment.  Some dude who saw the same design in a book and thought it looked pretty cool?  That’s lame.

My whole point is that we grow, and every day we develop just a little bit.  Our experiences build on top of each other, and make us who we are.  So, if you’re the uptight businessman who spent his teenage years hanging with the goths and emos or the environmentalist who used to order take-out every night, remember who you were, because it’s part of who you are.  The people who can accept their past as part of them just seem to be so much happier.  That’s just something I’ve noticed lately.

PS, I saw Water for Elephants with mum the other day!  Incredible movie, funny and beautiful. And I hear the book is even better.  I would suggest it to anyone!

Greenpeace Top Ten Tips for Living Green

In 2008, Greenpeace wrote The Greenpeace Living Guide.  If I could post the whole book for you, I would.  But I know most people don’t care enough to read the whole book.  Apparently, so does Greenpeace.  So they started the book off with their top ten tips to living as green as possible…

  1. Drive less — walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible.  If you have to drive, carpool and choose a car with the best mileage per litre you can find.
  2. Eat fewer animal products — meat and dairy products are incredibly resource intensive. It’s estimated that the grain used to feed livestock in 1 year in the US alone, could feed the world 5 times over.
  3. Eat organic, locally grown, GE-free foods — cut out the synthetic chemicals you ingest, and the greenhouse gas emissions involved in transportation.
  4. Buy less — save money and the environment.  Before you buy something, consider who made and under what conditions, how far it travelled to get to you, who really benefits from your purchase, how long it will last, and if you really need it.
  5. Choose fair trade — the global economic system uses whatever it can to generate profit, even humans and the environment.  Demand that your local stores carry fair trade certified products.
  6. Reduce airplane travel — this could be one of the most important things you do for the environment.  Take a train or bus for short trips, use video conferences instead of flying out for business meetings, and plan local vacations.
  7. Reduce waste — buy in bulk, and bring your own reusable bags, containers, and mugs.  Reduce energy waste as well: use compact fluorescent light bulbs, turn off the lights, and turn down the thermostat.
  8. Look into your municipality –ask your municipality about recycling, hazardous waste, water use reduction, pesticide-free lawn care, and rebates and incentives for green and efficient products.
  9. Tell everyone — word of mouth is the best advertising.  Get your friends and family involved, share green tips and this book.  The goal is to make green living the norm.
  10. Get political — Work for systemic change.  Canada needs environment and resource regulations with teeth, and politician with the guts to enforce the law.  Internationally, we need a regulatory system that can keep pace with the ever-expanding system of global trade.  And most importantly, we need international systems that privilege people and the planet over profit.