Changes

Because of this global pandemic situation, all the standardized tests including APs and SATs are modified. Currently, all the SATs before are canceled and the college board announced that if this global pandemic situation continues they might change the policy and make students take SAT online. Cancellation of SAT on March was devastating for me, first of all the school announced that SAT testing is not happening the day before testing date, and March SAT was the test that I was looking forward to getting the score that I wanted since I’ve been studying a lot for it. 

AP testings are also modified in a way, where they allow students to take it at home and most of the AP testings contain 2 FRQs, and the college board announced that they will still grade those APs on 5 point scale.

These modified testings upset me frankly, but it is a situation that I have to deal with. I will try my best to get a good score on those testings. 

Again I hope this situation gets better soon.

PC: VHTSP.com

Weakness

Humans are weak. We’re not born to be the fastest runners, the strongest lifters, nor the most adaptive creatures. An infection could kill us, or a virus, even a fall that happen to hit your head. It’s weak to be human. 

I had this toothache for three days last week. It was the infamous wisdom-teeth that everyone has. As soon as I mention it to someone, they gave me the deepest condolences. Everyone would likely have the wisdom-toothache at some point in their lives. Humans share the same weaknesses. 

Pain medicine kept me alive. In those three days, the toothache took away my nice sleep, my patience, and my pride to be human. Advil, Tylenol, Advil, Tylenol again… Every 4 to 6 hours, I had to sedate myself to keep the pain in an unreachable box somewhere in my head while it is ready to burst out of the box at any second. 

Fortunately, my surgery was moved up by the dentists as my teachers negotiated with them, begging for them to treat me earlier. The wait might take 5 or 6 days before the time change. Knowing that I couldn’t overcome a little toothache, that my survival depended on luck and sympathy, I felt so weak, and so rotten.

Three hours before the surgery, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. “Not even Advil?” The mere thought astounded me. The wait was painful. Without using the pain reliever, trying the hardest to distract myself, with a swollen face… 

On the way to the surgery, I wondered what people did to their wisdom-teeth before, you know, before all this technological madness. Did they just suffer? Did they die because of a toothache? 

Humans are weak.

Photo Credit: mystrengthsandweaknesses.com
Music Credit: Music written by Daniel Licht, from the show Dexter, Music played by Symbiose Piano
This song happened to be played while I was writing this blog, I thought it fit the mood

Daily Mandala Challenge: Everything You Need To Know About This New Self-Care Trend :)

A Mandala is a symbolic spiritual geometric design which, when reflected on, has the ability to bring out profound inner transformation.  The Mandala is self-expression in the design, meant to represent the universe. The first evidence of Buddha Mandala art dates back to the first century. The Mandala is rooted in Buddhism but later became present in Hinduism, new age spirituality and other religions. Each Mandala has significance and represents an aspect of wisdom and is supposed to remind the meditator of a guiding principle. The Mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones with the assistance of deep healing. 

The “Mandala a day” challenge was created by Australian artist Elyse Lauthier and it is now showing up in select areas across the world. Drawing, painting or somehow creating a Mandala a day helps express yourself creatively in ways you wouldn’t normally. It promotes self awareness and Chakra alignments. 

The Challenge is simple: Each day you make a Mandala and simply let your creativity flow, embracing your originality. Creating Mandala is therapeutic because you can express your feelings through art. The Mandala a day challenge is a form of meditation and art.  Mandala’s take “The meditator on a wordless journey into the minds deepest mysteries” said in Eastern traditions. 

Another way to fully grasp Mandala’s intentions is to work/meditate with them. I would recommend investing in Mandala Source Book by David Fontana and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, as it gives you specific guidance while approaching the artworks. The book includes 150 Mandala’s grouped in four sections: beginning Mandala meditation, healing mandalas, nature mandalas, And other mandalas. This book is a good reference for your own Mandala challenge or meditations. 

Obtaining Mandala mindfulness is a path of self discovery. This challenge challenges us to open up and learn more not only about our conscious minds but also our unconscious minds as we remain unaware of the deeper mysteries of our inner selves through Mandala realignment.

Image from Pinterest.com

2020 Siege Invitational Brief

Since 2017, the hit tactical FPS Rainbow Six Siege has hosted an eSports event in it’s home town of Montreal called the Six Invitational, due to the process in which teams are selected. If you are a prospective team with an eye on the now $2,000,000+ dollar prize pool, there are a few ways in which you can attain a spot in the 16 team bracket. The first, as the name suggests, is to be invited by Ubisoft, the game’s developer. The second is to get first place in one of the four regions (North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe) during the normal Pro League season. After each season though, the teams that performed well get to compete in a Final in order to attain one of those rare spots. The third method is to come first or second in a Major Tournament, i.e. DreamHack Montreal. Tickets just went on sale, and there are some major differences this year from previous Invitationals in team participation. G2 (formerly Penta) has swept almost every major event for the past year and a half, including the two most recent Invitationals. But this year, they were not able to attain a position at the LAN event. When they won their first Invitational in 2018 with a 3 map comeback against NA’s EG, their roster consisted of Fabian, Pengu, Goga, Shatte, and jNSzki (Joonas). But as of December 2019, only Fabian and Pengu remain from their original squad, now with their top fragger Kantoraketti, support player UUNO, and the newly added CRYN. Although outside factors could be significant in their declination of dominance, these dramatic roster changes are likely the cause. But the giants that remained in power do not even have a spot at the Invitational this year, due to an all around lackluster performance. The lineup currently consists of eight teams (two of each region) which qualified through the normal Pro League season, one team (TSM, NA) that qualified through DreamHack, one team (Liquid, LATAM) that qualified through the OGA PIT Minor, and one (Empire, EU) that qualified though the Raleigh Major (where they defeated G2). There are four spots remaining, one for each region, as well as a position designated for the team that receives a formal invite from Ubisoft. As it stands, there are numerous teams that have shown incredible talent and promise, so no matter what,the upcoming Invitational should be unique and exciting, with plenty of upsets and re-hosts. Tickets are available now, event goes from February 7th to 14th.

Image result for six invitational 2019 g2

Pengu holding trophy after winning the 2019 Invitational. Credit: Rainbow Six Siege

To be sure, unsure, etc.

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I don’t know much about most things, but I do know that some things are just supposed to happen, and some are not –

I know that the moon is supposed to rise in the east and that dogs are supposed to bark at each other through chain link fences and that pomegranates are supposed to stain my shirt sleeves

and I know I would never want to be inside when they sky looks the way it did tonight.

But I’m not so sure that things are supposed to be like this;

I am not so sure that the pepper tree I stopped at today is the same type of pepper tree that I grew up with. It didn’t remind me of home in the same way they usually do. It should have been familiar to me, and it wasn’t.

I’m not at all sure of people like you, and I am not sure that the world should be melting and that we should all just be okay with it.

How should I be allowed to miss things before they’re gone? How can I possibly miss you when my hands are on your face and you’re standing directly in front of me? I’m not sure how that is even possible, and yet I do.

I must remind myself to look up every once in a while.

Does shampoo cause cancer?

We use shampoo in our everyday life. “Dove,” “Head & Shoulders,” “Suave…” There are over 10 categories of different shampoo, but often times we’d use shampoo without investigating what we’re actually putting on our head. 

Photo credit: bustle.com

Cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, is a kind of emulsifying agent used in the making of shampoo products. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), cocamide DEA is an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means it has the potential of causing cancer. 

However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has declared that there is no need to worry. In a document that gets updated only when needed, and hasn’t been updated since the March of 2018, it says “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics” because the NTP‘s (National Toxicology Program) study result in 1998 didn’t find a connection between DEA and cancer. Plus, if the customers still want to avoid using carcinogen-related products, they can do it simply by “reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label.” 

So, it would be overreacting to panic. Nevertheless, checking the ingredient statement of the products that we eat, use, spray, and wash with, is indeed important. We use shampoo everyday, but do you check what you use, everyday?

Photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com

Siege Pro League Changes

Rainbow Six Siege is a first person tactical shooter developed in 2012. It grew quickly, and within the first year, it had a thriving professional esports scene. Now, in 2019, there are dozens of teams, close to 50 if you count challenger league. There are tournaments that have prize pools topping one million dollars. So as the Siege Invitational 2020 looms on the horizon, with the Japan Major in the forefront, some big changes are coming to the North American team rosters. The biggest surprise is that Evil Geniuses, who in 2018 competed against Penta (Now G2) in the Invitational Grand Finals, lost both their captain (Canadian) and their coach (Gotcha) in the same week, picking up Modigga in place of their former leader. This in turn balanced many of the other NA teams, giving SSG a boost by swapping Chala with Canadian, as well as giving Team Solo Mid the confidence to win Dreamhack Montreal with their new coach, Gotcha. There were a few other swaps, such as Jarvis from DZ and Hyper from Rise Nation. With all of these balances and swaps among the NA teams (with the exceptions of Rogue and Reciprocity), Season X is sure to be an interesting one, with some big upsets along the way. Be looking out for Dark Zero, TSM, and SSG, as all are neck and neck in the standings for a spot in Japan. Also, a quick note on the EU side of things, G2, GiFU, and Penta all seem to be uniting in the goal to bring down the champions of the Raleigh Major, the Russian giants of Empire. With TSM and Empire Esports already having secured spots at the invitational in February, the Siege community awaits a barn burner in Japan, which takes place on November 9th of this year.

Credit: SiegeGG

Portraiture

There is something deeply fascinating in the looks people give no one but themselves.

Right after you drive by someone smiling, waving out the window.

And it’s unbearable eye contact with yourself in the rearview mirror.

So deeply it cuts, your focus lands into your own conscious 

Like staring through the viewfinder

And as you rotate your hand the background comes into focus

your eye lands upon your own face staring back at you

Frowning

And you can’t figure out why you might look so sad

I think I ignore myself so often that sometimes when I happen a glance in a mirror

It can actually be scary

Disturbing

Upsetting even

Is that a function of me forgetting to be introspective?

Maybe focusing so much about what other people think of me

That I don’t think of me

I want more than anything to capture those moments

In other eyes

So that maybe I could make someone think of themselves

So that maybe they might glance into their own eyes

And horrify themselves 

To allow for excruciating introspection

And to showcase

or maybe even just to see

those moments of introspection.

The moments where instead of looking out

Your vision rests precariously on the inside of your eye

That would be a good portrait

The kind of portrait I want to take

But I have to figure out how first.

Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

Opinions, likes, and school walkouts

To begin,
For all of my peers who participated in the national school walkout today, I want to thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being catalysts for the change that our country so desperately needs. We know what kind of world we deserve to live in, and we are making it a reality.

Credit: TruthRevolt.org

Growing up in an age of technology, social media and internet access can be a double-edged sword of sorts. We can use our technology as a platform for positive things, like spreading awareness and voicing our opinions on all sorts of matters. But, that can also result in a nearly obsessive need to receive validation for our experiences. This validation comes from documenting and posting about almost anything that occurs and is worthy of being noticed.

This dichotomy poses a question: If you don’t post about it does it even really matter?

I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just genuinely curious if that is a justifiable way of life. I’m not saying I am immune to it, but I would also like to think that I’m not dependent on my social media, nor do I find validation solely through it.

Something I noticed throughout the protesting that took place today is a lot of people seemed to have no idea why they were a part of it. Sure, they knew that it was in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, but they were mostly participating just to follow along with everyone else.

Credit: Polkscan.com

I received several messages, posts, etc. talking about the protests and ways to be involved, which I appreciate, but in lots of ways they all seemed so disingenuous. I am fully supportive of young people’s activism. But when you send me snapchats of yourself wearing an orange t-shirt to “show ur support!” I can’t help but think that you really have no idea what you care about, you just want me to know that you “protested.”

When asked what you believe, you can give a coherent reply. But when asked why you believe it, you have no idea.

It’s almost as if you don’t even care about the victims of all of the past shootings, you don’t even know why people are fighting for stricter gun control/laws. You only care about how many likes you got or how many people viewed your story.

Being a part of a protest itself (actually being an active activist) should be validation enough, it shouldn’t need to be found on instagram. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it.

So, yes, I understand and agree with the fact that social media can be used to spread awareness and to generate change. I also realize that these walkouts were fueled by social media, and that without it we wouldn’t have accomplished such a large-scale and widespread protest. But when half of the people I see posting have no idea what the significance of it is, it just makes them seem ignorant and it takes away from the importance of today’s events.

It is inspiring to see so many young people who already have such strong opinions. But if you have no idea why you have certain beliefs, if your beliefs don’t have a purpose or a foundation, then you might as well not believe in anything.

In order to be effective you must first be informed.