It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like I’m Going Insane

Winter is upon us, my dear readers! And if you’re in the DFW area, as well as other parts of the country, it is literally upon you. For us here in the Big D, the storm hit late Thursday night, closing schools and businesses all across the metroplex. HALLALEW! Initially, I was excited. Thrilled. Elated. A three day weekend for me! Or so I thought. Though the storm hasn’t caused any huge problems for me (i.e. my car didn’t slide off the freeway, my power didn’t go out, etc.), but I have even forced into the solitude of my room for the sake of my own sanity. I can only deal with my family for so long before the “togetherness” starts to take its toll. Yes, the house is decorated for the holidays. Yes, we’ve played board games. But no. I cannot take it for very long. Am I a typical teenager or what? Anyway, I’m posting this on Sunday, which for me is day 3 of the frozen hell in which I am currently living. It’s not even like there is snow on the ground. It’s all just hard packed ice. It’s amazing to me how life in Texas completely shuts down when there is ice on the ground. Weather here ranges from soup to nuts, so we were bound to become a tundra for a few days sometime… Regardless, I took the liberty of walking around my backyard and snapping a few photos of the ice to share here. This ice is deceiving. It plays tricks. You look at it and think, “Oh how nice! Look at all that snow! Lovely!” Do not jump into it. Do not attempt to make a snow angel. Do not attempt to have any fun with the ice at all. It will kill you. Ok maybe not, but it will give you one heck of a bruise if you jumped into it..

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Hope you enjoyed these!

All photos taken on an iPhone 4S, and edited on an iPad using Snapseed (comprehensive snapseed post coming later!)

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like I’m Going Insane

The ACT of Losing Your SATurdays- My Test Day Survival Guide

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Whether it’s the SAT, the ACT or any other standardized test, test days can be stressful, monotonous, and just downright awful. Sitting in a gray classroom with a bunch of kids you don’t know, and waking up super early (on a Saturday, of all days!) to answer a bunch of questions is no fun, to say the least. But have no fear- I’m here with a list of tips to make your test day experience a little less awful.

#1. Frankie say RELAX

Feels like it’s easier said than done, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The SAT/ACT does not test how good of a person you are. It cannot determine whether or not you will succeed in life. It tells you how well you can take these tests. That’s it. I’m no psycolotyatriciologist, but doing your best to feel relaxed before a big test can help you do better! Your mind won’t be racing over the “what-if’s” or the “but-then’s”. Drink a hot cup of tea before you leave, listen to your favorite song on the way there, and don’t cram in any studying the morning of your test. A relaxed mind is a working mind!

#2. Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

During the SAT, you’re allowed to take a series of three 5-minute long breaks between sections, and during the ACT there is one longer break in the middle of the test. During these breaks, you’re allowed to munch on whatever snacks and drinks you brought with you. Foods like blueberries, blackberries and apples are known to help boost brain function and improve concentration, and almonds are a great thing to bring along for a little protein boost. Stay hydrated with a cold bottle of water, and get your caffeine in BEFORE the test! Don’t need those coffee jitters halfway through. Also, for your own sanity, pack a candy bar or chocolate bar or other naughty snack with you. It gives you something to look forward to while you’re testing!

#3. Get Comfy! 

Let’s be real here. You didn’t get up at 6:30 on a Saturday and schlep all the way to your testing center to impress anyone. Even if there’s a cutie in your test room, he/she isn’t there to pick up a date. (Side note: Can you imagine? “Yeah, we met while we took the SAT. It was really romantic, and I knew when she asked me to borrow a pencil that she’d be mine.”) Anyway, wear whatever you’re the most comfortable in. Grimy old Disney World sweatshirt from the eighth grade? Yup. Your nasty tie die tshirt you made with your friend last summer? You betcha. Lucky boxer shorts? Absolutely. No one will be taking your picture. No one will be judging you. (Another side note: If you judge others based on how they look the morning of the SAT, you are a special kind of rude.) My only real recommendation here is that you bring a sweatshirt or dress in layers. You never know how cold it’s gonna get, or how warm either! The first time I took the SAT, there was no A.C. in my room. And the second time, I didn’t wear socks and nearly suffered frostbite on my toes. Happy thoughts, and happier wardrobe choices!

#4. Work Out a Routine

In the weeks (or even months, depending on how much you care) leading up to your test, it’s important to carve out a little time each afternoon or evening to study for your test. Obvi, you shouldn’t blow it off, because then you’re hurting yourself. But, at the same time, don’t overdo it! Don’t spend more than 25 minutes a night studying for this test (depending on how much time you’ve got leading up to the test). I found it very easy to stick to my system when I knew that from this time to that time I would be devoted to studying. Set a reminder on your phone. Study with a friend. As you get closer to the test, it’s a good idea to make flash cards and spend some extra time hitting the books, but, again, don’t overdo it! Moderation is key. A fun idea would be to have an SAT/ ACT party the night before, and invite a few friends over to study and munch on some snacks. Just be sure everyone gets home on time enough to sleep a nice long time! Not that you’re a fuddy-dud or anything.

#5. Know the Test

While these tests, in the long run, are relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things, knowing how they are structured beforehand can give you an opportunity to work out a strategy. On the SAT, there are 1o total sections. One 25-minute writing section, 6 25 minute sections (mixed math and reading), 2 20 minute sections, and one 10 minute section, with three breaks interspersed among these. Also, on the SAT, you’re given one raw point for every correct answer, and lose one quarter of a point for every wrong answer. Omitted answers neither gain points nor lose points. So, unless you’re shooting for a perfect score, don’t worry about answering every question. On the ACT, you ARE counted off for omitted answers, so try to answer as many as possible! (Also, on the SAT, questions in each section are organized with the easiest ones at the beginning, medium level questions in the middle, and the hardest ones at the end of the section. Use that to your advantage!)

#6. You’re Not in this Alone

Everyone in that room is in the same boat. They’re all a little nervous. They’re all feeling unprepared. They’re all trying to get into college just like you, and they’re all just doing their best too. Don’t sweat it too much! Do your best and everything will work out. Don’t let these scores define your abilities and your worth as a person. They’re just numbers.

Tallyho,

Harry

The ACT of Losing Your SATurdays- My Test Day Survival Guide

I’m Alive

Barely.

SOO much has happened in the weeks during my blogging hiatus. 4 papers have been written. A short story is in the works. Brides have fallen down stairs. And coolers have been painted. Welcome to my life. More posts to come, but until then, I leave you with this hot pic of me.

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Let’s pretend this didn’t just happen.

As always, y’all should totes mc’gotes follow me on my Pinterest and my Tumblr

I’m Alive

Of Naked Greeks and Ice Cream Sandwiches.

On the day before the last day of summer, my friends and I, (plus my friend’s very fantastic and sweet mother), took a trip to downtown Dallas to visit the Dallas Museum of Art. Or DMA for those of us in the know.

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Part of the Dallas skyline, as seen from the highway.

Our mission: view the traveling exhibit The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece for our AP Art History class. The exhibit is on loan to the DMA from the British Museum, and is a huge treat for art enthusiasts to go and experience while it’s here in the Big D. For those interested, the exhibit is on display until October 6th, and the DMA even has days where the exhibit is free to view. (Score!)

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More after the break!  Continue reading “Of Naked Greeks and Ice Cream Sandwiches.”

Of Naked Greeks and Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Band Kids and Other Minor Annoyances- Blog My Life, Aug. 22

Hello all!

I’ve decided to start using my blog to journal about my day-to-day life. That’s what blogs are for, right? Maybe I’ll post about each day, maybe about an entire week.  We’ll see… Either way, I’m calling this little series “Blog My Life”! Titles are fun.

Today, I awoke super early- 7am! Early for a narcoleptic like me, anyways. Today’s task: take pictures of band students for the group picture in the yearbook. We decided the best way to go about getting a group picture of 300+ band kids was to shoot each kid individually on a green screen, and superimpose them together in Photoshop. That way, we’re not wrangling 300+ kids at once, and also, everyone’s face is visible in the final photo. Fun stuff.

Things start out perfectly swimmingly. I have a rhythm, I have my little speech prepared to give to every student. I’m smiling, even though it’s painfully early, and I’m starving! Then things take a nasty, nasty turn. A click. A dramatic beat. A drop of the heart. A wriggle of the eyebrow. A gasp of the mouth. My camera thinks today is the day to give up. He is apparently tired of me overworking him, and decided to take a nap. A permanent nap. Here I am, with 250 kids left to go, and my trusty sidekick goes kaput. I’m still heartbroken, and at a loss.

But thankfully, a quick call to my art teacher got me a fancier, newer camera, and I was back on my feet in no time! Then the battery died. But yet again, art teacher to the rescue! I completed my musical mission! Nothing is more exciting than trying to get a tuba to fit into the boundaries of a green screen.

Today’s lessons:

1) Never underestimate the helpfulness of a hoarding art teacher.

2) There is always a backup camera.

4) Keep smiling, and it’ll be over before you know it.

5) Band kids can be awkward.

 

Au revoir!

-Harry

 

p.s My camera is a Sony a55, and it’s only 2 years old! Any ideas what the problem may be, fellow photogs? It literally made a clicking noise, went black, and won’t come back on. Maybe this is finally a sign I need to buy a Canon…

Band Kids and Other Minor Annoyances- Blog My Life, Aug. 22

How to Paint a Parking Spot

At my high school, it’s a custom for incoming seniors to purchase an assigned parking spot in the fabled “seniors-only” lot, and paint it with any design or image that pleases their little young adult hearts. As I, myself, am entering my final year of high school, I participated thusly. I waited in line for an hour, spent a little too much money on paint, braved the sweltering Texas-in-August sun, and got to work.

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As I’m sure it’s easy to tell, I painted my spot as a giant, vintage looking, and (sadly), non functional camera. I’m in yearbook. I’m a photographer. It made sense. The process was fairly straight forward. Acquire spot. Plan design. Acquire paint. Paint design. And while the process in itself was rather simple, the execution of this process proved otherwise. Paint that likes to get spilled everywhere, brushes that like to get all frayed and gross, sunburns that like to make you look like a freshly boiled lobster. However, with some help from some awesome friends, patience, and a little brie cheese and crackers, this spot here came together just fine. Even though it feels like excessive effort for something I will be parking my car on top of…

Au revoir!

-Harry

How to Paint a Parking Spot