Saturday, October 27, 2012

Punishments in School

So, I had the worst P.E. class I've ever had this past week.

We were in class and currently we are playing basketball in small teams. A few people in the class didn't follow instructions or were not sure on what they were supposed to do (e.g. When there's a three against four game, what happens to the rotating of teams to different courts when the final score is tied). My P.E. teacher apparently was tired of this and thus made all the boys do arduous physical activity (the girls apparently were doing everything perfectly in their separate teams). He's an angry man and very easy to set off.

I will assign the following set of exercises to the variable x:

He made us run back and forth across our gym for about three minutes, then made us do fifteen pushups, and finally made us do twenty sit-ups.

So, anyway we were playing as usual and I guess someone did something wrong so he finally cracked and made us do x. Then he lined us up on a line, yelled at us, and put us into teams again.

Then we start playing again. One person did something wrong and guess what? We do x again. He then yells at us some more and puts us into new teams.

This would be bad enough. But then, he makes us do x again after another person screwed up. He didn't put us into new teams but after that no one screwed up again and we played basketball peacefully for the next 6 minutes.

My teacher is using a technique that I think is flawed. What he should do is instead of punishing the people who have followed his orders and do well in the class (like me; I've always been respectful and good to him, I've only forgotten my clothes for one P.E. class ever in high school, and I've averaged about an 8:15 mile) is punish the ones he thinks are misbehaving. Go tell them to do x instead of making all the boys in the class do it. Because of this, my chest/arm have been hurting usually pretty badly since the day after that class and it's been really annoying.

But maybe this was worth it. I mean, it was annoying having him switch our teams (originally, I had a really good team and he ruined it) because of people acting out and it seemed like this worked. Everyone was scared into making sure they did everything right. However, it was hard and it hurt me afterwards so I still think he should have punished the bad kids instead of the good, innocent ones.

Just a thought Mr. B,

 - Aidan

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thoughts About Youtube's New Layout

<sarcasm> Hey, lookie there! Youtube is rolling out a new layout to their site! </sarcasm>

But anyway, Youtube recently showed off the new theme of their site. Although it's not public yet, you can easily get the theme by following the instructions here (it only takes 30 seconds).

However, I advise against doing such things as these.

Open that image in a new tab and read along for my critique. Or you can just read along and trust that I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, the critiques. One thing is we have another case of "Whitespace". Maybe their design isn't completely finished yet, but this is a recurring theme with Google. Look at this screenshot I just took from my Google+ homepage:

Google seems to love ugly whitespace on widescreen monitors (which everyone has these days). If they could just put in some code to center the video, description, and comments for the particular screen it was on, then that would be fantastic.

Another issue is that this redesign looks like the Youtube from before the 2011 redesign. The background is white and I don't like it. Well, more specifically, the greyish matte color of the other design was a lot better. It was easier on the eyes and let me focus more on the video than the white color did, not to mention it was a lot sexier. I don't know why Youtube changed this; it seemed so much better. It baffles me.

Another gripe I have is the comments. The comments used to be so much more sexy (well, that's probably due to the grey color) and compact. Before, the comments were the Youtube account holder's name, the comment, and when you'd hover over a comment, it would give you the Like/Dislike and Reply feature. Now, you get the uneccesary picture of the Youtuber (seriously, who cares about pictures when you're just reading the comments?) and the Reply and Like/Dislike buttons are static. This just makes the comments less functional and uglier in my opinion.

Because of all the white that Youtube threw on us, the player looks out of place. The black player doesn't really go with the whiteness of the whole background. If you inverted the color of the player, or better yet, made it the grey that I liked, it would blend better with its surroundings.

However, the bars on the left and top of the page are nice. The left bar is collapsable and compact and they're nice grey color. They're not amazing in terms of design, but they're nice.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I'm sorry Youtube but I don't like it. I've seen many Youtube refreshes (as well as refreshes of things from Google in general) and I've never seen one that I didn't really like until now. This seems like a step backward from where it should be going and I hope that this is just a prototype and not the final thing. It's lack of sexiness, functionality, and common sense leaves me confused and disappointed.

- Aidan

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Modern Society and Technology has Influenced the Younger Generation

Typed two days ago and finished today:

I've been doing some thinking today. Thinking about how society, and more specifically technology, has influenced people. Some of those people include people close to me and that's what I will mostly talk about in this blog post.

So, the first one is my sister. I'd say she is a stereotypical teenager at twelve. Yes, twelve. She just got into middle school. Technology has made her, I believe, less creative and motivated than she used to be.

Ever since she got a computer (and then an iPhone) it's always been Facebook, instant messaging, Instagram and it never stops. I'll see her texting four people at once and constantly scrolling through pages of photos on Instagram or scrolling down to the depths of Facebook while on the phone with one of her friends. And this is a lot.

Too much.

I feel like she needs to put down the phone and actually focus on us sometimes. It's not that she doesn't talk to us or that she ignores us, but she's just always on it. When I'm out with my family, friends, and (especially) girlfriend I rarely, if ever, look at or check my phone. It makes the other person think, "Hey, this person is paying attention to me, thus I'll pay attention to him and talk to him". This is good. It enables conversation and promotes doing things together. Like yesterday, I went to a friends house with another friend. We played the piano together, played Super Smash Bros together (notice, this includes technology but we are all doing it together and conversing at the same time; it's actually quite funny and conversation inducing), played cards together, looked at a turtle, and ate cookies. And it was fun just with the people!

My sister, however, spends most of the time with her friend in her room, listening to music, texting, going on Facebook, etc. Do you notice what's familiar about these activities? They were the ones that I mentioned above that you could do alone. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't do with your friends from time to time, but when you're with them you should focus mostly on them because with technology, it's a gateway to others.

She used to do more: go to the park with her friends, play Pokémon with them, paint, go horseback riding, do things that not only benefited her by spending and connecting with others, but benefitting the person at the other end.

Another example with sort of the same problem is my friends Mason and Merritt. Mason and Merritt recently have each acquired an iPad. That's great; I love my iPad and it's been an amazing device since I got mine about one and a half years ago. But, when you spend every second on it, it can have the opposite effect of being amazing. They will go to Instagram, then to Snapchat, then too some multiplayer biking game, then to a text conversation, and then literally repeat the process again a minute later while me and my other friend are in the room.

This is too much.

They are focusing on the iPad and others instead of on me, my other friend, and his twin (Mason and Merritt are twins). They are somewhat addicted to this and I know how this feels. Before these iPads, we'd do more stuff as a group and it was mostly fun. Now, it's just annoying.

I might be bringing up extreme cases but you have to realize that this is happening to three people close to me. It's just scary to think that if a good majority of the people I'm close to are being affected by this, how is it affecting the rest of the younger generation?

Also, this technology is literally taking up our lives. I don't think Chloe, Mason, or Merritt have any sort of productive hobby (I know Mason is in cross country but other than that I don't know). I think people should have something that they can share with the world or "show off". For me it's my writing (including this blog), my music, my videos, and Twitter feed. I feel like I'm enriching peoples lives with those things; sharing my thoughts and opinions with the world. Mason, Merritt, and Chloe are not enriching the lives of others or contributing to anything but rather doing things for themselves. Sure, posting on Instagram can be good (it can be relatable to posting things on Twitter) but if that's all you have, I think you need something a little bit more sophisticated to share with the world. Another example is my girlfriend, @Rainbow_Foxy on Twitter. She posts art on FurAffinity and has a pretty successful Twitter account. She is sharing her thoughts, opinons, and emotions with the world and I like that about her.

Am I saying that they need to start putting in hours at the homeless shelter and start learning the trumpet? No, but they have to do something with their lives other than just pleasing their friends and the people around them. They need to contribute something to others, I believe. Maybe they're not ready for that yet, but they need to start thinking about it soon.

And this is affecting not only the people around me, but the younger generation. They are becoming less motivated, I believe, and strive for less. They accept things with less quality. I saw this great picture on FailBlog that said something like:

"90's Kids -
Rebels: Didn't do well in school, listed to bad music, etc.
Regular Kids: Did well in school, had a good future, etc.

Kid's Today -
Rebels: Do well in school, have good future, etc.
Regular Kids: Don't do well in school, listen to bad music, etc."

I think this is slightly true. It has become more normal to be less than best. This needs to change. Although not all of the blame is on technology, it's a big factor. I could write more about this (and maybe I will in the future) but this is what I have to say for now. I know this isn't as organized as it could be but I hope you get my point: connect with the people that you like around you and don't connect with others. Do something productive that does not only benefit you in a way, but can benefit lots of others. Something as simple as posting things on a blog or posting art is something that I consider to be enriching society.

Thanks for reading,

- Aidan

State of My Youtube Channel

Well, since my girlfriend recommended I do a blog on this I will!

So, if you've noticed (or probably not noticed) I haven't posted a video in about a month.

This is bad. But there are reasons:

  1. The biggest reason is I get (basically) no support. Yes, I know I need to put out frequent videos (or at least videos on a decent schedule) to gain supporters but I did that for about a year. I got very little in support. I maybe get a comment every two weeks if I'm lucky and I get about and average of 10 views on every video I make. So, as you can see it wastes my time and is basically pointless if I make videos for a wall. It's very frustrating.
  2. I have very little time. Ever since school started, I've barely had time to do the things related to video games. I haven't played Minecraft in about a month, the last time I watched any Youtube subscription feeds was a week ago, and I generally just play very little video games now. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I don't have the time. I have school work, piano, and a girlfriend to take care of and I go to sleep at about 12 every night.
So, those are some legitimate reasons for me not posting videos. My girlfriend (@Rainbow_Foxy on Twitter) loves my videos and it's one of the reasons she started liking me. 

Trust me, I like making videos. There's just no point right now. If I could be doing better things with my time than making videos for no one, then why would I waist my time doing that?

My girlfriend wants to record something with me (like, while she's in the room sort of thing). She's also going to spread the word about this to her followers (she has a lot more than me and I don't know why >_<). Hopefully this can garner enough attention.

I don't think anybody out there cares about me, my videos, my blog, or my Twitter but if you do or have the slightest interest in what I do, thank-you. Any word of encouragement makes me feel ecstatic inside and you can send me message via Twitter if you'd like (@throughthemines). 

What happens if this totally fails?

Well, if after a certain period of time I get nowhere with the videos and nothing seems to be working then I guess I could rebrand my channel. My main interest is music and I could rebrand my channel as "Aidan Jones" or something and try my hand at music; maybe do covers of things, record music, write my own music, etc. Basically, it would be centered around music. I already have musical videos on my channel right now but it's not the main focus. If people obviously don't want to watch me play video games, then maybe they'll want to watch me do things with music. This would also mean I would get more into Soundcloud.

Will you delete your channel or remove your videos from Youtube if this happens?

No. I am actually quite proud of the videos I've made and believe they are of good quality. I will most likely just switch the theme and rename the channel.

So there's what's happening. If you've been reading this, God bless you. If you like what I do, tell your friends, your grandpa, your neighbors, anybody!

Thank-you from the bottom of my heart,

- Aidan

Summer, etc.

So today I went on a walk.

A long walk.

I walked to the park down the street. I then went on the bike trail and sat behind my girlfriend's house for a while. Then I walked to another park.

What I was thinking about the whole time:

I miss my girlfriend.

More specifically, I miss Summer.

I miss how we'd go to the park every week.

I miss how I'd go up to her door and she'd greet me with a hug. We'd then take some water bottles, some blankets, and walk to the park, her hand in mine.

We'd come to our spot, lay down on the blanket, and we’d lay together mostly. The sun filtered through the trees above us and the breeze blessed us with it's sweet, cool air. I'd hold her and kiss her and tell her I love her and how beautiful she is. She'd sometimes get up and run around for me to catch her and hold her. Other times, she would be on my chest smiling her sweet smile and I'd look at her and lay my head down, closing my eyes and smiling and I'd feel content. Then we'd walk back, holding hands or with our arms around each other, to her house and she'd kiss me and I'd get on my bike to go home.

I also miss how she would act like a kitty; how she would meow and avoid water.
How she would be so concerned while I was on a ledge; how she worried for my safety.
I miss her, "I love you"s.

I miss there being no stress, no work, nothing to do but love each other and have fun.

I really miss those days.

I really do.

I went past both of our spots. I laid down in one spot and imagined her their. There was another couple in our other spot. They were happy.

And when I stood at the back of her house and I knew she was in there, I felt better knowing she was there; that she was tangible.

However, I can't test her tangibility.

She might as well be a memory or an apparition. I want to hold her again and tell her I love her.

I'd also like to go to the park again with her someday. So I can relive those beautiful Summer days that I long for so much.

So that's what's been going through my mind. I've felt sad over this but I'm feeling better. I hope I can see her soon.

Only 7 months 30 days 3 hours until next Summer.

- Aidan

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Best. Thesis. Ever.

(Yay for stock imagery!)


I know I don't write a lot on this blog. I wish I had more things to talk about and more time -_-

But anyways, I did have something I wanted to share with the world this Wednesday evening.

So, at school I'm in Honors English AP (not to brag or anything) and we're working on planning and setting up a paper with the topic of entertainment and it's influence in society (agreeing and supporting whether it's good, bad, or a little of both). Today we took some thesis statements from various students and put them on the board. The whole point of this is to critique and fix errors in our thesis statements so that not only them learn, but the entire class get help. My English teacher is standing up there, talking about the various thesis statements on the board (lots of them were very wordy) and then we come to this little gem:

"Since the dawn of entertainment and media, society has experienced dark age, marked by a decrease in moral activity and a decline in the innocence and joys of life."

My English teacher broke out in laughter after reading the first five sentences and so did the entire class, including me. It was hilarious and it's one of the reasons English is my favorite class. Another interesting note was that not one person in the class noticed this thesis on the board before my teacher got to it.

After laughing for about two minutes, the class finally settled down slightly and my teacher decided she should come back to it later.

There's just so much good stuff in this thesis:

"Since the dawn of entertainment..."

What, are we watching a nature documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman?

"...society has experienced dark age..."

"Society has made us all poor, dirty peasants,  plagued not by the black death, but by the torture and sadness that entertainment brings". I mean really now!

"...decline in the innocence and joys of life."

Well, innocence is correct, but joys of life? Sure, more you get a more wholesome and filling experience spending time with a loved one or friend, but most of our life is not spend talking to another person. And doing things associated with entertainment with another person (such as going to a movie, playing a video game together, etc.) can not only by wholesome, but filling and enriching as well.

Plus, the "joys of life" just sounds plain cheesy. X3

But hey, that's just my opinion.

That is my dissection of this wonderfully bad thesis statement. I found it very enjoyable and I hope you did too.

Thanks for reading,

- Aidan