Saturday, June 30, 2012

Too Young for Old Stuff?

 Today my friend Hanna and I rode bikes to the library. I was looking for a copy of Northanger Abbey. You know, that book Jane Austen wrote that isn't Pride and Prejudice. I checked in the adult section because they never put classics on the YA shelves, even The Catcher in the Rye, where the main character is a sixteen year old boy. They didn't have Northanger Abbey, but I found Mansfield Park (Fanny Price, age 18), Sense and Sensibility (Marianne and Elinor, 17 and 19 respectively), and seven copies of Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennett, age 20).
I gave up and went to see if a copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls had been checked in. It hadn't, so I searched the nearby shelves for anything interesting. I noticed a book with the name Austen on the spine. Wondering what an author would write if they thought they might be shelved next to Pride and Prejudice, I pulled it off to look at the cover.

Anne Elliot, age 27. The oldest of Jane Austen's heroines by several years. The cover usually looks more like this:

According to the internet, HarperCollins thought that teenage girls are far more likely to read the Twilight Saga and ignore classics. So they took Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and even Shakespeare and created new covers specifically designed to resemble Stephanie Meyer's.
Twilight Series Covers Stephanie Meyer Bella Edward

HarperCollins Twilight Inspired Classics Book Covers Romeo Juliet Pride Prejudice Jane Eyre Wuthering Heights Bronte Austen Shakespeare
They have new taglines, too. I can't make the picture any bigger.
The Original  Forbidden Love...
The Love That Started It All
Love Conquers All
Love Never Dies (Bella and Edward's Favorite Book)

HarperCollins Twilight Inspired Classics Book Covers William Shakespeare Jane Austen Austen Midsummer's Night Dream Persuasion Emma Sense Sensibility
And here they branch out and explore species of flower that aren't roses. Love Casts A Spell, A Love Beyond Measure again, Love Is A Game, and Love is Blind.
So apparently, Love is some kind of immortal, playful, all-powerful, visually challenged wizard.
And you wonder why your mother warned you.
 So how did Persuasion end up in the teen section, and why was it alone? It could have been a shelving error. Or perhaps a troop of Twilight fangirls were crawling across the library floor on their stomachs and decided to liberate all the other flowery classics from the bottom shelf. They stopped to read the summaries, of course, and left Anne Elliot behind because she's the oldest. They learned from this that they were classics, but the flowers were still too alluring to resist.
We actually are capable of reading classics unprompted. As I mentioned in my last post, I have four friends who read Les Miserables, unabridged.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a pizza party with eleven girls. Now, all you boys out there who are dying to know what happens at an all girl party, we ate two slices of pizza each, put Pandora on as background music, and spent the next hour and a half talking. Somehow we got on the subject of books-Les Miserables, To Kill A Mockingbird, Hunger Games, and Pride and Prejudice.
For the sake of provoking interesting conversation (and because many girls had expressed displeasure that we were discussing books instead of boys) I gave them a question.
"Who's the hottest male character, Mr. Darcy or-" I stopped to think of another guy who could go up against Darcy. Gale, Peeta, or Jacob would divide them even further, and Edward would provoke feeling of disgust.
"Mr. Darcy!" My friend shouted. "No contest."
I don't doubt that the Twilight Saga is still big, but nobody cared about it much until the first movie came out. I probably knew about it before you. I haven't read about it yet, but I've known about it for years. A friend of mine mentioned the title, so I googled it. I remember I had to go through multiple pages before finding the website because all the top results were about the Twilight Zone.
But a lot of teenagers have read it. And we don't all worship it either. Mainly, Bella's the person we make fun of when we're tired of jokes about Justin Bieber and Obama (come on, you do it too. The bigger the fan club, the bigger the hate club).
Teenagers are capable of reading and appreciating classics, or any quality literature really.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Post About Les Mis

Way back in seventh grade, half my middle school went to see the high school's production of Les Miserables. We're supposed to take a fine arts field trip every year. That always consists of a few hundred of us walking down the street-we don't even have to turn a corner-and sitting in their auditorium for free. Of course, they could ship us off to some Italian art museum and that would be equally classy, but I don't think any of the teachers have thought of that yet.
So I sat there, watched the play, and decided it was amazing. The lyrics and tunes stayed in my head for the next three years, but I think I would have more or less forgotten it if it weren't for Esme.

She's smiling, so that either means she's thinking about theater or ways to torture her little sister.
Esme was already thoroughly addicted to the preforming arts when we saw Les Miserables. This was during our second semester of seventh grade. That means she hasn't shut up about it for the last year, semester, and month of June. She owns the soundtrack and has seen every movie version of Les Mis, as we lazy Americans call it, in existence. Ever since I told her I had a blog, she's been bugging me to do a post about Les Mis. She took French in eighth grade specifically because of the play, and then she read the book.
They paid authors by the word in those days.  
Our city arts council put on the student version this summer, so for the last few months of school I'd walk into homeroom and hear:
"Guess what, Eliza? I get to go pick through dead bodies tonight!"
"Eliza! I get to rob a house on Saturday!"
"I died last night, Eliza. In a barricade!"
This barricade.

So I had to see it.
The day before, I was sitting around with some people I know from church, teenagers and youth leaders alike. We were discussing the play since it's kind of big news. This one hotshot guy in his thirties started bragging about how he read the book.
"The whole book?"
"Well, the abridged version."
"My friend read the real one. She was thirteen."
"Oh. You should read it."
I thought to myself, But I want to enjoy my existence. "Why would I want to do that?"
"It would make your mom so proud."
I read Little Women when I was nine and I can stretch my top lip over my nostrils. She should be proud of that. I brought up the book discussion with my mom.
"I'd be proud if you cleaned your room."
Anyways, I saw the play. Two years is a long time to forget how amazing it is. Now I can't get the song "Little People" out of my head. Emse is thrilled to have converted me to "Mis-dom", as she calls it.
My favorite character is Gavroche. He's this brilliant, cheeky street kid who hangs around the poor people and student rebels. I love the way all the rebels-who are probably supposed to be in their twenties, though they're being portrayed by teenagers-shut up and listen to whatever he says. When he informs them that somebody has died, nobody asks him for causes or sources. They just sit there in silence. Until Enjorlas starts singing about it. And when he tells them Inspector Javert, who has up until this point successfully pretended to be their loyal compatriot, is in reality a spy, everybody loads their guns.

When you hear "student version", you'll probably assume it's dumbed-down, major themes, conflicts, and dialogue eradicated. Or that all the swearing and references to prostitution have been censored.
No, it's all still there. They just shortened it and gave it a special logo.
I feel like somebody's going to say, "Of course they had to keep the swearing in, otherwise teenagers wouldn't be interested."

Cosette never carries a book stack in either version. She isn't one of the students. She  probably never went  to school because she and her foster father move around a lot to evade Inspector Javert...but you don't care, do you?

Didn't I just tell you the first time I saw it was in a high school? School. The profanity's only acceptable because it's coming from a professional script. Like how required reading books were written by professional writers, so Ray Bradbury and J.D. Salinger can swear all they want.
We actually are capable of appreciating quality entertainment. Contrary to popular belief, teenage boys don't spend every waking moment playing video games, and teenage girls don't subsist on a strict diet of Twilight, Gossip Girls, and Glamour magazine. Oh, and get this-we read books. Most of us don't even own a personal kindle. 
The three people I know who have read actually read the book-the real book-are all teenage girls. The oldest is seventeen. 
Les Miserables is a classic, it is amazing. But that doesn't mean we can't understand it. It would probably be hard for young children to appreciate, but not the 14-18 year olds who were preforming it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So We're Pests Too?

I've seen some pretty stupid apps before. Most phones and iPods have calculators, so why should anybody need a specialized app to figure out a sales price or even count for them? Yes, just tap the screen and the tally goes up one number. I'll assume it's made for single fingered people unable to count with their hands.
But this one is just downright annoying. It's called "mosquito sounds". Now, what could possibly be wrong with an app that drives away pests, especially if you can't hear it?

It's also known as "teen repellent". Can you hear it after the first few seconds? To me it barely has a sound later on. It's more of a presence in my brain, worming its way through crevices, barely touching the insides of my ears. But as I'm typing this, several minutes after I muted my computer, the inside of my right eardrum throbs. There's a ribbon of pain traveling a short way down my throat in that soft place where the neck meets the jaw.
My twelve year old brother has been yelling at me to stop as I've tinkered with the sounds. His sixth grade teacher, now retired, used to play a tone similar to this and he doesn't like it. My mom, who is somewhere in her forties, couldn't hear it at 14 khz.
It's also available in another form bluntly called "teen torture."

By the way, we don't all look like that guy.
Businesses use it to drive away young customers who just might be the type to loiter or vandalize or maybe shoot the cashier. Of course, older people are just as capable of those things.
Let's look at some of the problems with this:
1. You're scaring away business, morons.
2. Not all hearing is standard, plenty of adults can hear these tones.
3. Not all youth are up to no good.
4. Even if you have something against teenagers, don't forget that younger children can hear this-louder.
How many times have you seen a mother in a grocery store, out of her mind with a screaming baby?

There was a case in Wales where it was banned, but it's still mostly legal. Cruel and unusual punishment...for shopping?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

And My Self Esteem Goes Up

Last night my family forced me to go to this family reunion we have every year. It's at the same park, we eat the same food, and that same family always has their own bag of Doritos. I have two girl cousins around my age, but this year one of them was in Japan and the other stayed home or something. It was okay because I made some new friends. The first was this two year old boy named Boston who had something blue smeared around his mouth. I amazed him by jumping of a four foot platform and landing unharmed. He has an older sister, who asked for my help getting this specific leaf down from a tree. I asked her what her name was.
"How old are you, Riley?" I don't usually make a guess with little kids because they get offended when you're off by a whole year. Age is like having cardboard boxes crammed full of stuff sitting in your attic. When you only have four or five, you treasure them. Once you start to have around forty, you just wish they would all go away.
"Six and a half, and he's two."
"I'm Eliza. Guess how old I am."
She stared at me for a moment. "Twenty?"
"Lower than that."
I'm 5' 1'' and I weigh around 110 pounds. "No, lower than twenty."
Her eyes lit up. "I know-you're a teenager!"
"Good. Guess how old I am."
"It's less than twenty."
"Close. Fifteen."
I've had people think I was sixteen before-twice, actually-but never twenty.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Five Good Reasons

1. Teenagers should have a say in the way schools are run.
If it weren't for us, there would be no schools. We're what education is all about, but everything is determined by parent associations, teacher unions, and district superintendents.
"Oh, but teenagers don't know anything about running a school."
Maybe not. And maybe an adult leukemia patient doesn't know anything about running a hospital. But he knows when the hospital food is bland, when the nurses are slow on administering his medicine, and I bet he has a very strong personal opinion about that health care bill. Shouldn't he, of all people, have a say in the way he's going to be treated? It affects him most of all.
Likewise, we may be the only ones who know what's going on.
2. Teenagers should have a say in the way the government is run.
When you think about it, we already do. Consider the Arab Spring. Was is sparked by fifty year old men in suits, sitting around a conference table, systematically planning protests? Maybe to a certain extent. And then we've got facebook. There's no age limit that can prevent you from making an online movement.
But I'm talking about a legal say. Our parents and teachers can loose jobs in a bad economy, tell us we aren't affected. We breathe in polluted air from trucks we don't drive and factories where we don't work.
"But you can vote in a few years anyways, why be impatient?"
We'll also be working and going to college in a few years. We'll be paying college tuition and taxes. Plenty of us are paying taxes now. And those things can affect us before we're old enough to vote.
Let's use Obama as an example, seeing as he's currently the world's favorite scapegoat. Nobody under the age of 21 can be held responsible for putting him in office.
I'm fifteen. My sixteenth birthday falls four days after Election Day this year. Whoever the adults of America select as president this year will be president when I turn eighteen and go to college. If he messes up, I won't be able to help fix it until I'm nineteen, exactly two days short of being twenty.
And then there are the unfortunate few who will never be adults. Who would Trayvon Martin have voted for? We'll never know.
3. Teenagers should be taught about young people in school.
"What did they ever do?"
Not only are the contributions of young people to historically significant-Joan of Arc, Louis Braille, Claudette Colvin, Johnny Shiloh-they're interesting. My eighth grade U.S. History book contained over 900 pages. One was about children and education in the colonial days, one for the girls in the Salem Witch Trials, one for child labor laws, one about teenage culture in the 1950's, one for young people protesting the Vietnam War, one for the twenty-sixth amendment. If you count two other pages containing paragraph-long mini biographies for Joseph Plumb Martin and Sacagawea, that makes a grand total of eight pages. Less than 1/100 of history.
And they wonder why some of us don't want to learn anything. It doesn't seem relevant. Time to enrich the curriculum.
It's not just history. The authors of The Outsiders, Frankenstein, and (surprise) Anne Frank were all teenagers. Even math-ugh-has some cool people. Evariste Galois, who died in a duel when he was twenty, created an entire branch of algebra.
And I thought I knew some geeks.
4. Teenagers should not be discriminated against in places of business.
I don't know how many of you saw the story I posted last month about a trip to the doughnut shop with some friends. To make it short, we were told to leave our backpacks by the door so we couldn't shoplift. A few minutes later, a woman walked in with a bulky handbag. She was allowed to carry it throughout the store undisturbed.
Statistics show 25% of shoplifters are under the age of eighteen. Do the math-that makes 75% adults.
If you wouldn't do it to an adult, there's no logical reason to do it to a teenager.
5. Teenagers should not be subject to unjust stereotypes.
"We stereotype? When?"
For the record, we do not spend all our time drinking, smoking, doing drugs, having sex, getting tattoos, piercing various parts of our bodies, texting while driving, texting some more, playing video games, and watching TV while doing junk food. And turning thirteen doesn't automatically make somebody a loud mouthed, sassy, disrespectful, trouble-making brat. That's why I started this blog in the first place. No matter how obedient or intelligent or religious or just plain normal you are, you get lumped in with anybody who ever misbehaved.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Grandmas, Oranges, and Getting Famous

Not nerdy. Just passionate. Okay, maybe that is a little nerdy in and of itself.
Top Three Things I Love About Youtube:
1. Favorite childhood TV shows. Once you streaked home from school every day to sit on the couch with your eyeballs plastered to the screen, you knew exactly when they began and quoted lines until your family told you to shut up. Then you kept on quoting them and your siblings decided they weren't too fond of you anymore. Years went by, and you'd think about them from time to time, find yourself humming scraps of the theme song under your breath. You rented the DVD from the library once and went back through every episode, but aside from that, it's been absent from your life.
Suddenly, one day, you're a young adult sitting at the keyboard with absolutely nothing worthwhile to do. On a whim, you google the name of your show, just to see if there's a fan website or wikipedia page. Lo and behold, every single episode is available on youtube. You're overjoyed, even though they're twenty-two minute episodes chopped into annoying ten minute segments, so you have to watch that same Toyota commercial in order to watch the last minute and twenty-seven seconds.
For me, it was Redwall and Liberty Kids.
2. That lady who plays the grandma in the Julian Smith videos. Hilarious, satirizing, and stereotype defying. I heard she died. If that's true, the youtube community mourns her loss.
3. Video tributes! It's just mind-blowing to know somebody out there cares enough about something-a movie, that same treasured show, a book, a historical event-to spend days, hours, weeks creating a four minute multimedia masterpiece. It doesn't matter to them if they don't go viral, the purpose it to connect with a small, widespread population of fans. So what if it's only been viewed 473 times in two years? It's there to be one person's favorite video, that one they watch over and over until they have a sneaky suspicion about where the 73 came from.
Top Three Things I Don't Love about Youtube:
1. Watching a three minute commercial for a 1:32 video. Why?
2. Youtube millionaires hot shots. Fred's pretty funny, and the Annoying Orange isn't that bad, but they don't need their own TV show on Cartoon Network. They already have people watching.
3. Poorly made videos. If you're going to do a documentary, get a good camera and somebody who knows how to use it, possibly yourself. Then take clips of people doing things, causes and effects, insert relevant pictures. Do you think we want to watch a jiggly video of your mouth and your pores and your hand wiping your nose and your eyes staring down at the keyboard, all of it with your blank office wall and people screaming in the background? And you wonder why you haven't gone viral.

And then we've got the whole concept of going viral. It's everybody's dream, you admit it. Everybody thinks they can upload a video or start a blog or a tweet or a picture, and it will make history over the course of three days. Cute kittens go viral, a sixteen year old's sentence goes viral, a picture taken in Russia goes viral, and they aren't even worth looking at. Certainly you can do it, too.
There's a reason for that thinking. There's a reason it seems like everything you look at is viral. It's because you read the teasers on yahoo or msn, one of the top ten videos on youtube catches your eye. But that's all. You don't go digging for other things. When was the last time you went beyond the first page of google? Everything you look at is viral, because this 1/1,364,903 is all you look at. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Teenage Brain Takes That as an Insult

I've been hearing this lecture time after time. It usually comes from teachers or church youth leaders, I have yet to hear it from my own parents. The discussion can start any way, but kicks in about the moment you hear the phrase "You aren't fully mature yet." This is followed shortly by the words " develop", "developed", or "development", often in "your brains haven't fully developed." Over the next minute and a half, you'll hear "risk taking", "cognitive", "reasoning", and " decision making". In the middle of all this, they'll mention the frontal lobe and how teenagers are, if you want it bluntly, stupider than adults because our brains are underdeveloped.
What I can't understand is how a class full of teenagers can sit there blank-eyed and soak up the message. My teenage brain takes than as an insult.
"Oh, but there's science to back it up."
Maybe, but have you seen the data yourself, or did you just skim the article? I'm guessing it was the National Geographic cover story from October 2011.

Ooh, pretty colors. Enticing. Or were you drawn to it by the psycological content?
Yeah, not many people frequent psychology websites. And read the speech bubble-I made it conveniently large just for you. "We're not as crazy as you think."
Let's look at some pictures more culture based than science based.                                            
Alcohol? Self-induced learning disability? Now, now, cartoonists. That second one is politically incorrect. Can't have that now, can we? Oh, and my "sleep deprived" section is much bigger than that, more of an overalll influence than its own little corner.

The judgement gland, located next ot the love lobe, is shaped like a heart? I don't get that.

Why are all of these teenagers are male? And why is school so important that it needs its own section?

Forget the brain for a moment. Why is that guy's body shaped like the Eiffel Tower?
Youtube and ipod don't need sections. That's all stored in the pocket. Counter-strike? Does that refer to interpersonal relationship battle techniques or some band I've never heard of? I'm leaning toward band because my friends have made it very clear that I live under a rock. Who is this Jessica Alba person, singer or actress?

I can't tell if this teenager is supposed to be a human or warthog.
Slang decoder? What is this, A Clockwork Orange? We don't talk that differently. I can't think of a single word teenagers use that adults wouldn't be able to define. Some grandiose type words are favored unfairly over synonyms (epic, legit) and certain nouns are used as adjectives (hard core, ninja).
Even these definitions won't apply to all teenagers. Slang is regional and ever changing, and we're not the only ones using it.
Now let's get down to the actual science behind these discussions.
A study by neuroscientists (smart people) at Emory University was featured three years ago in the Scientific American. Three years-that's plenty of time to read and used as backup for lectures. But I've never heard a reference, most likely because
1. It contradicts the stupidity stereotype
2. The average person of any age does not read the Scientific American
Here's an excerpt.
"If the existing theory about the teen brain is correct, then the higher the ARQ score, the less developed the white matter should be—but that is not what the Berns team discovered. "It was surprising," Berns says. "I assumed we'd find that risk-taking would be associated with an immature brain." In fact, he found the opposite—a strong positive correlation between engagement in dangerous behaviors and the increased myelination typical of mature brains. In other words, young people who engage in dangerous behaviors generally have a more adultlike brain than their conservative peers.
Against conventional wisdom                                                                                                                As for the conventional thinking about the teen brain, according to Berns, "after reviewing all of the neurodevelopment stuff, I couldn't really find any link between brain development and adolescent risk-taking. Nobody denies that the brain develops or that teens take risks, but how the two got intertwined is beyond me." Nevertheless, the accepted view of the teen brain is so powerful, Berns says, that his paper faced a lengthy and tumultuous review process." 
I bet it does. And even if Professor Berns' research is faulty, even if teenagers' brains are scientifically stupider than our adult counterparts, that doesn't mean it's right to use this argument while speechifying to a room of youth. It does hurt. Science has also proved that the male brain is larger than the female brain. I'm not sure why we needed science to back that up. All you have to do is glance at someone's skull. A hundred years ago, this proved without a doubt that men were superior to women. A man could say this to a class full of girls and most of them would stare back, blank-eyed, assuming there was science and logic to back it up. After all, this is a man, he must know what he's talking about. And young girls can't go around correcting authority figures, can they?
Luckily for me, some of them did.
 Now how about somebody else shaking up the status quo?                       

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We Didn't Start the Fire-But We Sure Enjoyed It

This is somebody else's, plundered from google images. Mine was much prettier.
My entire ninth grade year's worth of schoolwork, hoarded over the months into a single stack, is 4 1/2 inches tall. That may not sound like much, but paper is thin. It takes approximately 108 sheets to make a half inch. In other words, that's 900 papers.
Those aren't skewed statistics. This pile was purely paper-homework, in-class assignments, notes, and a few take-home fliers, much of it double-sided. I didn't count in folders, which are sufficiently thicker than papers, or binders, or my planner, or my math notebook. I recycled a few math and Spanish papers back in January and kept a few projects I happen to like. But besides that, it's all there.
AP geography portfolios. Science fair. Math worksheets. AP geography practice tests. English reports. AP geography chapter outlines. Spanish term projects. AP geography vocabulary definitions.
Diversity didn't matter in the end. All of it burned the same.
It took hours. My friends came over around nine, bringing marshmallows and their own piles. While we waited for my dad to come home and start the fire, we sat on my back porch, eating M&Ms and screaming out the lyrics to "What Makes You Beautiful" or whatever else they pulled up on my iPod.
That phase of the party lasted about half an hour. The following three were spent shoving papers into the fire pit nonstop. We barely had time to roast s'mores. At first we crumpled individual papers in an effort to spread the fire to the coals, which never actually cooperated.
Fire is one of the most beautiful things known to humanity, especially when this is the fire you've been looking forward to since we did this last year. It's what got me through those grueling nights of geography homework (you know you're an honor student when you consider sleep a hobby), just thinking of these blasted papers catching fire. It's funny, as much as I hated them, I never deeply imagined the fire itself. It was more the general idea of burning, all this busywork being gone and over. I didn't envision it the way things turned out. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I was too busy to run into the house.
I love the way pencil lead shines silver with flames beneath it, the brilliance of light through white paper, the green glow blue paper casts. The way it crumbles in on itself, brown tinged with violet edges shrinking to black. The heaps of ash sheets when we began igniting entire heaps to speed things up. The way you find whole papers surviving unscared when you stir up the ashes. The black crumpled pieces wrinkled with orange. Embers shooting off into the night like the fireflies we don't get in Utah.
I did my folders later, the colored ink bleeding teal. My Spanish binder dangled from a marshmallow stick. The plastic bubbled and conformed with the cardboard, the pink kitty cover fading, any grotesqueness shielded by the light.
My planner, which I almost didn't dare do. I treating the thing almost like a diary. My depressing daily homework lists, my doodles of stars, and the bucket lists, weekly goal lists, and over-the-summer lists. It died in pagey wafers and took forever about it.
My finale was my math notebook with all the feelings of boredom and contempt it held. Goodbye to my dooles-a seahors, a dinosaur, a volcano, a Victorian style manor.
Hmm. That might have been useful for next year. Never mind.
My friends were done more quickly. They just finished seventh and eighth grade, so they didn't have the option of taking honors classes. Hanna and Natalee left early because of curfews. My friend Ashlin picked up on their piles once she was done with her own, but I was burning all through the night until we finished at 12:30 A.M.. The ashes flowed over the edges of the fire pit, even after we knocked some into the dirt and released some as embers, dancing up to the heavens like the fireflies we don't get in Utah.

Don't you think it's slightly ridiculous, that all this comes from a normal year? Am I the first person to count and analyze it like this, or just the first to enjoy it?
We did enjoy it alright. I hope every day of the rest of my summer is this amazing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

This Responsible to Ride

Every middle school within reasonable driving distance has a long standing tradition of taking the graduating class to Lagoon, what Utah has instead of a Six Flags. My school does the ninth graders. Schools who didn't have an overpopulation crisis decades ago and changed the grades around as a result take the eighth graders.
We rode this:

And this:

And these:

This one made my face hurt.

This one apparently goes backwards. Didn't see that coming.
"Who wants to sit in front?" "Oh, I'll do it." Not the smartest thing I've ever done with friends.

Not us-we stashed our bags in the bushes on most of the rides, so I only took one picture and I'm not sure how to upload it. Anyways, you wouldn't think it was possible for me to sit in front again. I am, of course, a reasonably intelligent person. Never mind that it's a round thing in a river, so clearly it turns around a lot.
One of the best parts was getting to see my friend ride her very first roller coaster.

Now, if only I had a picture of the face she made. Her second roller coaster ever was the creatively named "Roller Coaster". It was built in 1921 and burned down sometime in the fifties. They didn't  get any creative ideas when they were rebuilding it, like using metal. And sometime in the sixty years since then, they stopped painting it. People call it "the white roller coaster" to distinguish it from the others. It does look white in pictures, but up close it's mostly brown. You can see the little metal plates holding it together. They're the same color as duct tape, which seems a little suspicious to me.

And we didn't die.

Ah, the Wild Mouse. Tell me, if the corners of the track are rounded, why does it make sharp turns? There's nothing like dangling off the edge while being slammed into your friend as you're shouting your wills to each other. The part that makes it relevant to this blog happened while we were standing in line.
1. I found out who's been leaving those mean 'anonymous' comments because she's too lazy to sign in. And no, Esme, you can't leave another mean retort because I paid back the money I owed you for lunch, ice cream, and admittance into the park in less than twelve hours-plus 9% interest you didn't even ask for.
And now I'm doing math in the summer. Curse you, Ms. Oberg! Actually, I learned how to do proportions in seventh grade from my nice math teacher. Why didn't I just say 'plus $2'? Alright, Esme, you are the smart one. Don't read that.
2. I saw the You Must be This Tall to Ride sign. It brings back the dark days when I was under 46 inches. I feel sorry for all the dwarfs/midgets/pygmies/whatever the polite term is who have to ride the kiddie rides their whole lives.
Height restrictions are one of the most common and sensible forms of ageism. Little kids are so cute. It's less of a tragedy when an adult takes a turn over the edge. But here's what I don't understand. The sign said persons under 46 inches (117 centimeters) were not permitted to ride and persons under 50 inches (127 centimeters) were not permitted to ride unless accompanied by a responsible person. Not a responsible adult, a responsible person. That's a first one. I like it, but it doesn't really make sense if you think about it. At 46 inches, your life is in danger if you ride this roller coaster. Come back next year and you're fine, so long as a responsible person is next to you the whole time. Maybe 50 inchers are still tall enough to be thrown from the cart, but any responsible person would reach out and grab hold of a leg and keep hold throughout the whole jarring, dipping ride.
I'd certainly hope most people would try, regardless of age.