Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shoobie for a Week

This past week family was visiting and I got to be a tourist in the city that I live in. From my knowledge of Rocket Power, tourist = shoobie. Sure I'm about 15 minutes away from anything and everything (the beach, Hard Rock, Sawgrass, Indians, etc.), but I never really got to treasure what some people may call paradise. I think for the first time in my 13 years of living here I actually enjoyed Florida. It seemed a bit absurd to take pictures next to things that I see on a regular basis, but someday I'll be able to appreciate these photos.

On Sunday we went to the beach. Fort Lauderdale beach isn't one of my favorite beaches at all, but we chose to go there because of the amenities and shaded areas. Early on, I went on a bit of a lactose overload and decided that I could eat cheese dip. Bad idea. I didn't feel well for most of the time we were there, but soaking in the sun and experiencing the tropical breeze made me feel better. We took a little walk to 7-Eleven since the hot dogs weren't packed, and no trip to 7-Eleven is complete without a slurpee. Actually, the only time I think I've gone to 7-Eleven without getting a slurpee was when we were in New Jersey earlier this year and it was snowing. After coming back from the slurpee superstore, I still wasn't feeling well enough to go in the water so I just sat at the shore and let the waves touch my toes while I watched the boats and parasailers in the distance.

On Tuesday we went to Sawgrass and did the normal shopping thing. For dinner we went to Rainforest Cafe, where I haven't been in ages...I think I was 8 or 9 the last time we were there. When at the mall we usually just walk around Rainforest because there are usually a bunch of tourists taking pictures everywhere, throwing pennies at the fake alligator in the little pond, observing the purple elephant reservation stand, or just crowding the store/playground in general...this time we did all of that. As soon as we were seated, which happened to be right next to the gorillas, a "thunderstorm" began. I forgot how real it all seemed. The rain and thunder sounded real, the lights flickered accordingly in perfect timing, and the animals all reacted. I'm sure my younger cousins enjoyed it more than I did though.

Wednesday we went to the Seminole Paradise (Hollywood Hard Rock) to visit the Okalee Village and Museum. It was horrible. Besides the fact that it was raining, the museum was tiny, so we didn't bother going. The outdoor portion could've been explored in about 10 minutes, but we stretched it out. There were alligators, bears, panthers, birds, skunks, raccoons and all those other animals that they showcase at Florida touristy places. The only plus of that trip was that there was a Wetzel Pretzel and they have the most delicious pizza pretzels and pomogranate lemonade.

more pictures with alligators

Thursday happened to be the most touristy of all. We went on the Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise, which took us around the Intercostal and New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The boats are docked near the Bahia Mar, right across the street from where we were beaching a few days previous. This was my 3rd time on the Jungle Queen, 2nd time during the day. I never had the opportunity to sit on the top deck, so I insisted that we sit up there. We arrived early so we got perfect seats at the front of the boat. I had seen all of this before, but it seemed so much cooler this time around. Regardless, we took pictures of all of the multimillion dollar homes of celebrities and other rich people, listened to the cheesy jokes, learned little tidbits about the area that were forced into memory during 4th grade, and kept hearing about Wayne Huizenga, the guy that apparently owns almost everything in South Florida. We passed by the museum, the prison, the downtown area, the las olas area, and lots of other big, expensive, important places.

The Museum of Science and Discovery + IMAX Theater

After a 45 minute ride we end up at a private island where there are animals, an alligator show, and touristy things to buy. During the night cruise there is an all-you-can-eat barbecue dinner with entertainment. I wasn't too interested in the alligator show since we'd seen alligators the day before and I saw a similar show before last year at Everglades Holiday Park when we went on an airboat ride.

There were iguanas and all types of birds (including peacocks) walking all over the place, but I enjoyed the monkeys most. For the first time ever I actually felt bad for caged animals since they all looked so sad and bored. After about 45 minutes on the island we returned the boat and set sail back to the other side of Fort Lauderdale. On the way back we took an alternate route and passed by Port Everglades to see the the Royal Caribbean [whatever] of the Seas docked. How I miss cruises... Shortly after the port we were back at the dock and it was all over.

just another cloudy day in Fort Lauderdale

On the flip side, yesterday we got a taste of Florida Snow...soot. There were terrible storms in the afternoon and I'm guessing lightening struck a tree out in the Everglades so there might've been a fire(there were no news reports; it might've just been small). We walked out of Walgreens only to see a hazy setting of low thick black clouds and smell smoke in the air. Little white ashes started flowing down, looking almost like snow. It was kind of scary and cool at the same time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Late Night Ramblings

5:03 am EDIT: Something suddenly moved me to check Pinnacle. Exam grades are up. I got an A on my AP English final!!!!! At the beginning, I didn't think it was possible. Too bad it didn't help my grade, but I'm still happy

It's 3:46am and I think the Internet has gone to sleep. No new forum posts, everyone's status is 'away' or offline.

I've been listening to a lot of Flobots lately. I heard Handlebars quite a while back and thought it was interesting, and a few days ago I heard another one of their songs and was hooked.

Pizza Hut's Tuscani pastas are delicious. Especially the Meaty Marinara. It's fast food, but its real -- amazing!

Friday the 13th passed by without me noticing that it was Friday the 13th. Adult Swim had commercials about it for days, some how I managed to forget...

I feel the need to rearrange my room again. I probably shouldn't. I probably won't.

I'm babbling. And I made two posts less than an hour apart. Time to stop.


I just ran across a folder of writing pieces that I wrote between late 8th grade and early 9th grade. What an angsty little early-teen I was! Some of it is hilarious, some of it is corny, some stuff just plain horrible that has me thinking "why the heck did I write that!?". This definitely warrants a creative writing blog that I've been putting off for so long. Here's one from early 9th grade:

School has started once again
Time for my brain to go full spin
Summer's not over, but we still go to school
And I think that is just cruel

Got my classes
They weren't that great
Time's like molasses
Speed up for heaven's sake!

Intro to Info Tech
What a pain in the neck
I'm not learning anything
Isn't this supposed to be high tech?

German is a favorite of mine
Auf Wiederzehen is my favorite line
I love to learn about Deutschland
I hope to know it like the back of my hand

Biology Honors seemed like something I'd like
Instead I wish that I could take a hike
And oh how I love Ms. Flip-Zip Crazy
Her presence is the opposite of fresh cut daisies

Gifted English I is a little challenging
But it is very intellectually stimulating
Analyze this, who, what, and why
Not time to think, no time to sigh

Computer Applications
Ha! Must be a joke
It's no fascination
Thought it was a hoax

In Recreation there's nothing to do
Half the time I stare down at my shoe
We play Mancala, Chess, and Connect Four
How much longer 'til I can be out that door?

Concepts of Engineering isn't that hard
We've already learned about memory and sound cards
The thick PC book is what we read from
Just do the questions and test, then you're done

High School isn't all that bad
You can't let the small stuff get you mad
I can see great opportunities ahead
If only I could get out of bed

I'm seriously LOLing at myself now because I was just as pessimistic about school 3 years ago as I am now. For some reason I thought that I used to like school. I still love learning, but just not going to school and doing useless things. Do I really hate school? Or has Dillard made me this way? I completely forgot that we used to call Ms. Miller FlipZip because she used to use the phrase when she was ranting about petty stuff like pages being stapled horizontally instead of diagonally or something. I should write another one of these for this past year...

EDIT: Came up with something really quick. It's sooo cheesy.

Junior year has come to and end
No surprise -- I'm at Dillard again
Same ol' stuff, just for the 3rd time
Next year I should reach my prime

What a year it has been
All the work, I can't seem to win
PSAT, ACT, tests every week
Frantic about if my scores will peak

Calculus, a seemingly challenging class
Luckily it wasn't hard, I managed to pass
I learned how to derive, manipulate pi
And discovered the TI-89 does not lie

Second class was Electronics 2
I learned most of this stuff at CMU
Studied circuits, didn't challenge us
How the heck did I end up with a B+

AP Psych was quite the thrill
Disorders, behaviors, anti-psychotic pills
I learned more about Bio than I did in 9th grade
Loved this class, hope the memories never fade

Interactive Design was really cool
Dealed with a lot of web design tools
Built my first site, all from scratch
I think this course and I were a match

Second semester came too fast
The homework-less nights did not last
I ended up taking Physics online
FLVS from eight 'til nine

AP English was a bit of a shock
So much work, I'm jumping off the dock
I think we were prepared quite well
But only my exam grades shall tell

Robotics again with Research V
We never got to take our ROVs for a dive
Independent projects to wrap up the year
Nothing hands on, didn't touch a gear

AP US History was the class to dread
How was I supposd to cram this all in my head
I was terrified about the exam
The night before, I rushed to cram

Now I'm a Senior, one more year
Nothing more at Dillard that I fear
Apps, tests, graduation, all that fun stuff
High School life -- I've had enough

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday!

...to my blog. It was really on June 1, but I was a little busy then so I forgot.

Now I want cake.

Extended Exhale

School ended on Thursday, which means I'm officially a senior now, and my summer has begun. I'm a bit ticked that exam grades aren't on Pinnacle (and they probably won't be), so I won't know the final verdict until report cards come out. I felt that I absolutely aced the AP Lang final, but who knows now...

So yeah, I don't think I've ever been at school after school on the last day (picked up last year, out with friends the year before) but this year was pretty crazy. It all started in APUSH (the last exam) when someone came back from the restroom saying that there were people lined up outside of the fence and police cars all over the place. Less than five minutes later, sirens are heard. Hmmm, what happened? A few more minutes pass and loud yelling sounds along with a rush towards the southwest direction is seen/heard. Confused about what is going on, the bell rings at 11:50am and everyone rushes out, DJ and I heading in the opposite direction towards McDonalds...it's an Early Release Day tradition.

It was a surprisingly clear walk, except for the mob of people spontaneously changing direction right outside of school. There were about a dozen police cars outside of the school and tons of traffic. McDonalds was absolutely empty when we walked in. Being that there was 40-50 minutes between the time that school ended when buses left, it was typical to see a ton of people there. Being that we were coming from a relatively far building from the exit, we'd typically not be first...but there was no one there. A few people showed up shortly after, but no where close to the crowd you'd even see on a regular weekday. So we leisurely walk back to school because we didn't have to rush since the typical 20 minute trip only took 10. It was extremely hot though. When we get back to school, there's a bit of a strange site; the gates for cars to enter/exit are both closed, but the pedestrian entry was open. MeanSecurityLady was physically blocking the pedestrian entry. She didn't speak to anyone else, but somehow picked out from the crowd that we were trying to get back to the bus loop. With relief, we scooted to the front of the crowd...to no use!

MeanSecurityLady: "Uh-uh y'all can't come in dis way...y'all gotta walk ALL the way around!"
Us: "ALL the way around?!"
MeanSecurityLady: "Yeah, where the buses come in"

For those of you that don't know the area, it's a pretty long walk. I've actually never walked on that side of the school before. The red line is the extremely long route (did I mention it was HOT!) we took on Thursday, the green line is the route that we typically take.

As we approach the bus entry gate, some other friends are walking back telling us it'll be impossible to get in and that security on that side mentioned that they had to walk around to the main entrance. HA...not going back again. We tried to tell them that they'd be rejected there, but they kept going, and so did we, determined to get back in the school somehow. Just as we're 20ft from the gate, a huge fight breaks out across the street and they begin closing the gates. We ninja our way in JUST as the gate is closing, and security yells at us from the inside "y'all lucky!". You would've had to have seen it to believe how smooth it was. The gate closed less than 4 inches behind me. They would've had to open the gates when the rest of the buses came in anyway...

After that ridiculous journey, you'd think that that was the end of the drama for the day. Nope! We got back to the bus loop around 12:15pm, so there was enough time to chit-chat, say goodbyes, and eat our deliciously fattening fries. A CBS4 helicopter suddenly appears out of nowhere. Now a helicopter is usually no big deal since I-95 is right next to the school and there are always accidents and runaway criminals and whatnot, but this time the copter was hovering directly over the bus loop and circling the perimeter of the school. People start waving and such, I snap a picture (didn't come out too well). No one knows whats going on, by the way. All of the "trouble" is outside of the school. The rest of us were just locked in.

Just when we thought it was over, 2 cops on motorcycles pull up to the bus loop. Why? I don't know. Then, I turn to the left and 2 guys with bullet proof vests just seem to appear out of nowhere. It was weird. A few more buses arrive and then they suddenly take off without any notice. I barely made it (along with everyone else).

Still don't know what happened, if anything happened at all. Just glad to be far away from there.