Friday, January 24, 2014

Reality Check: Feminine vs. Masculine

As most on a Friday night, I decided to resort to good old Netflix to entertain me this evening. However, instead of the usual fictitious suggestions I get, a documentary was recommended for me. It was titled It's a Girl! For information on viewing this movie, which I highly suggest, click the link. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you did not actually click that link and are not actually interested in seeing this film, which is your loss. Therefore, let me explain what I learned.

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls(1) are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.
Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members.
The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.
Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

(This is the synopsis is provided on the website.)

In India, wedded couples get pregnant in hopes of a boy as opposed to a girl. This is because of a tradition known as dowry. Dowry is the price the family of the wife must pay to the family of the husband in order for the wife to be deserving of the male. There have been many accounts where the women are harmed because their family could not afford a suitable dowry. Families are often extremely against the birth of a daughter because of this financially harmful tradition, and therefore support the birth of a male to receive the benefits. In order to protect themselves against paying dowry, families commit gendercide, a term coined to define the genocide of infants or young women because of their gender.

These same issues are prevalent in China as well, where a policy limits families to the birth of one male, or if the firstborn is a female, a second shot at a son. Families who have more than two (legal) children are tracked down and are forced to pay a fine or abort the child they are pregnant with. In China, men are valued more as well, therefore firstborn daughters are often abandoned or killed to make sure the couple has a son.

If you are interested in learning more about this, I again suggest you watch the documentary. There are ways you can help as well.

This is a very brief summary of all of what I learned, as I mostly felt the need to spread word on a topic few people are educated about. Therefore, I ask you to educate yourself as to the goings on in other countries, for the basic human rights of these young women or infants are being denied on a horrendously frequent basis.

Thank you for reading,
-Sofia

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

School Elections; as analyzed from a politics freak

EDIT: Holy caps button. This was NOT meant to attack the candidates. It was directed towards voters for next year. See first paragraph x.x

That would kinda make a great documentary title. Just sayin'.

Now, this is not to attack the people who ran/won the elections. In fact, good for them. I congratulate them on their achievement in acquiring the positions. I want to appeal to the voters, actually. I am taking a step out of my comfort zone to share my opinions on the matter. I do not want to be treated negatively because I expressed my opinions, because in all honesty, this is the only place I seem to matter: the internet.

Alright, so here's the deal: This year in my grade, we had to elect Office Positions (President, Vice President, and Secretary). Now in all honesty, as soon as I heard the three most popular girls in school were running for office (one in each position), I was a little disappointed  Are these girls kind? Yes. Are they good people? Yes, of course. However, here is what my student body failed to review:
1. Have they ever cared about me or my opinions in the past?
2. Have they worked with Student Council in the past?
3. Have they volunteered to help with student services in the past?
4. Have they dedicated their time endlessly afterschool to see the improvement of our school?

Now, I actually had faith in our student body for a while. I thought people understood "Man, this girl has been working so hard for student council all year, and did a great job. Maybe she could run our class." or maybe "Golly gee, I really like that this candidate asks me my opinion on things. It makes me feel like I have a voice. Maybe they are the right choice."

There were plenty of amazing candidates. Great people who are experienced and who I know what do a great job. You know why? Because they make connections with people. They take the time of day to talk to someone totally outside their nearly "assigned" social role. You see, in my case, I come from two worlds. The land of the partner nobody wants to have, and the land of the partner people do want to have. I consider myself well-rounded in real life experiences. I know what it feels like to be on the outside looking in. I know what it feels like to be on the inside. I wanted a representative who cares about both sides. Because everyone truly does matter. Every single person in my opinion.

So I think I'll share who I voted for. Just to put it out there. Because I think my age group needs to learn why you elect someone to be your voice.

President: L.R: She has been a part of student council for a while. An active part. She knows what she is doing. She organizes and accomplishes. I may not be personally close with her, but goodness she would have done so well.

Vice President: E.H: This candidate was a realist. She is so, so intelligent. I know how she thinks. She analyzes problems from all different angles, considers all possibilities and solutions. She speaks incredibly, and is all business. I have never seen her forget something. I think the disadvantage she had was that she was new, and people did not recognize her name.

Secretary: R.M: Where do I begin? She speaks with everyone. She includes everyone. She cares about everyone's opinion. Responsible, organized, understanding, and ready to work. She has been a huge part of student council all year, filling in for current officers when needed and doing extremely well. I love how she handles others, and herself. I admire her, in all honesty, for her dedication to our school.

So there you have it. Those are the people who are not your representatives. As I complain about this popularity contest, I realize that I had nothing to do with it myself. After witnessing this, I may consider running in the future. Because I want to see change.


-Sofia

Monday, March 4, 2013

Devices and Schools: Yes or No?

In this wonderful 21st century, most of us are attached at the hip to a device of some sort. You know- a businessman and their laptop, a teenager and her iPhone, an office worker and their tablet. Everyone seems to have an electronic lifeline these days, including children. Most people I know have at least a phone, and from there an e-reader, tablet, or iPod. But schools themselves are reaching out more to students through these portable devices. At my own school, all of our grades are found in an online database.

At our school, we are (were) fortunate enough to use these devices in class for educational purposes. I myself carried a 7 inch tablet that acted as a planner, many textbooks, my science notes, my grade book, my books that I was reading, a place to do online homework, and a place to research. It helped me organize myself.

But Sofia, you may ask, you generally blog to to challenge the things around you. It seems like this is great for you? Right? Wrong. About two weeks ago, we had these privileges removed. Students were taking pictures in class of substitutes  posting on Instagram (intelligent, right), and playing music out loud with profanities, among other things. So because of these few students, our entire grade is now electronic free. This was especially different to me. I could no longer access my homework from my tablet, iPod, or computer. I could no longer be able to always have my notes, study guides, and textbooks with me when I needed them. I had to stop reading about 6 books I was in the middle of on Wattpad. I could not just look up a quick answer to a question I had.

Because of the actions of a few, many people had to pay.

In my opinion, devices in school are a great idea. They let us access things, plan our homework, and give us a little bit of a nicer experience than staring at 20 year old textbooks all day.

The problem is the students. I am sure the people (who know who they are) barely care that they took away something from their peers. It was funny at the time, and that is enough to satisfy a teenager.

It also did not make sense to me how the school handled it. We all got it taken away because we "should have told the students it was wrong." Ever hear of cliques? The little packs of wolves our little teenager minds automatically decide us into. The people do not care, ergo their group do not care. And I do not know of anyone who walks up to a random person saying "Whoop! Don't do that! You are not obeying the acceptable usage policy and could be punished!". See? They should have just banned the devices of the students who were the problem, not the innocent ones who enjoyed reading a book off of a screen, for crying out loud.

So I challenge students, my dear, lovely peers, to get their act together. Some of us grew up a year ago, some of us never will. I advise you at least pretend you are able to handle carrying a device with you throughout the day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Watt Watt?

Recently I have been reading unpublished books off of a website. Well, I figured I might as well add something to their vast library!

The book is called Opposed, and I'd love it if you read and shared it.

The way Wattpad works, you basically write a book part by part, and if anyone is interested they follow along as you write. 

If you would like to read my book-in-the-making please use your pretty little mouse to click this link.

I really, truly want to entertain some people, so I hope you get the chance to check it out!

Adios,
-Sofia

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hey Guys!

I'm expanding my platforms, learning new things, etc. In order to improve my mediocre photography skills, I have joined Pinterest. Follow me or let me know what you think!
http://pinterest.com/zanssy/
Smiley,
-Sofia

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Rights and Their Abusers

In History class, we are learning about our unique rights as Americans.

Let me explain which rights  I intend to cover.

1. Freedom of speech
2. Freedom of religions
Notice that these two are both basic rights. Rights that everybody knows.

Recently, a "hate video" went out attacking the Islamic faith. This had LOADS of people fired up. Before I begin my rant, here are a few facts:
1. I have not watched the video, nor do I intend to.
2. I am basing my opinions off of what I have heard and read.
3. I am not trying to offend anybody, simply open our eyes.
4. If you wish to see the pictures and you are viewing this from Facebook, click the link to my blog.
Here is my opinion (because that's why you're reading this):

Are you kidding me? You do not just insult a MAJOR religion like that. The Islamic faith is, indeed, a respectable one. A religion with so many followers cannot be as bad as (I have heard) the video tries to say. With my knowledge of the Islamic Religion (aka World History class last year) I know that Muslims are not horrible people, they do have values, they do have prophets, they do have gods. Wait, so am I saying these guys have a religion similar to others (Judaism, Christianity)? HECK YES I AM.
See? 21% That's 12% less than Christians. BIG RELIGION.
What type of person would do this anyway? Most of them are in hiding! (The actors, directors, writers, etc.) They knew what they were doing was wrong. They knew it would spark anger. And they were quite stupid.

The thing is though, they are technically allowed to do this. They have the right to express their opinion with that video just as I do with my blog. What can the government do? Well, not much. They cannot violate these people's rights. Which kind of stinks in this situation.

And then of course, we have the aftermath. *Dun dun duuuuuun.* 4 Americans in Libya were killed as a protest against this awful video. I do not understand how the video people could have not seen ANY retaliation coming (OH WAIT! THEY DID! THEY'RE IN HIDING NOW!). 

Oh, and then theres the fact that this weirdos don't just hate Muslims. No, because that's clearly not enough. According to an article I read last night (forgive me, I forget the name, publisher), they also have something against mormons? Just, why? I have no clue. And did I mention that they are Christian? *Brain melts because of stupidity being typed* As Christians, they should have the conscience to think "Hey, they are humans, just like me. Maybe I shouldn't attack their religions brutally." Facepalm.

So, to my generation of little Americans,
I ask then when you grow up, you respect religions. You respect other people, and that you are KIND IN GENERAL.

Thanks for your time,
-Sofia

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How I Would Change Facebook

So recently I joined Facebook.

I do like being able to keep up with my friends and that, but there are many downsides.

First of all, I will find myself constantly looking at my Newsfeed. Like, obsessively. A major time waster. Also, I hate it when you totally disagree with something somebody posts. There is no "dislike" or "slap in the face" button, yet there is a "like" button. So how are you supposed express your opinion. "Oh, I don't agree with this." *Presses like* *Three seconds later presses unlike* "TAKE THAT! HAHA!" I mean, really.

Also don't particularly understand this:

"Inspirational quote that has nothing to do with the picture."
-Somebody I do not know

It's not that I mind it, I just don't get it.

Then there are people who are mean to each other. I cannot stand that. Posting your problem as your status solves absolutely nothing! I have seen it in action! If you have a problem with somebody, no need to broadcast it to infinite and beyond! Be nice, or say nothing.

And then, there is my biggest problem with liking. Close your eyes and think of how many times you've liked a page, a post of someone you don't know, a place, or whatever. Multiply that by like 200. That is how many times most people receive "Your friend Bob McPie Liked "Hats". And is it annoying? Yeah, kinda.

Next up, swearing! I just don't like it. The end.

Hmm... what else...OH YEAH! GAME REQUESTS! Trust me, the 72nd time you ask me is the same as the first. I have no desire to play "Chef Town" or "Internetburg" or whatever. Nor will I the next time I am asked.

So, with all this negativity, I should try to do something to change it.
So here are my "Rules to Facebook" follow them or don't, I just thought I'd say this:
-Whenever you don't like a post comment "DISLIKE" until Facebook people get the memo and add the button.
- Stop being mean. Just stop. Please.
-Save your likes on things like "Sleep" or "Food" or whatever it is that everybody knows you like because, hey, most people like those things too! But do they broadcast it to the cosmos? Nope.
-Don't swear
-Do not bombard your friends with game invites. They just might all gang up on you and throw your computer in an active volcano yelling "SACRIFICE! SACRIFICE!"

Not trying to be rude, just saying. :)
-Sofia

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm Back... To Talk About Food.

Summer is over now, so I will blog again.

This time it's about something I am really quite agitated over.

School lunches.

'Nuff said right? Wrong.

This year, most children have had a change in school lunch menus. I am welcome to change, but not this one. In order to hit all the bases on this topic, I have decided to pick on an article. This one in particular because it is facts and not many opinions. You can find this article here. My responses will be highlighted.


School meals are about to get much healthier, and at some local school districts, the change will be significant. That sounds about right.
This fall, school districts have to meet strict new nutritional standards for school meals, a requirement under the federal Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010. Woop. 
The law aims to provide children with well-balanced meals and teach them about healthy eating. It’s also designed to curb childhood obesity. Or possibly starve us? Everybody leaves the cafeteria hungry. There is not enough food to get a GROWING CHILD through the day. 
Meals must now contain more whole grains, and less sodium and saturated fat. Portion sizes will be reduced, and calorie limits will be in place. Portion sizes will be reduced- let's think about this for a second. Even with the old lunches, most people would go up to get more food because they were still hungry. I, quite frankly, enjoyed my yogurt for "desert" or a little cookie to gnash on. So making them even smaller is just flat out stupid.
But perhaps the biggest change will be the increase in the variety of fruits and vegetables. There will be more of them, and students will be required to take at least one serving of fruits or vegetables with their meals. The fruits and vegetables they serve us are nasty. It's the same thing every week. Under ripe, unidentifiable plums (I think), weird, tiny apples, the lemon-lime-orange, and if we are lucky, nasty canned pineapple. Veggies that are not salad are flat out gross. Such as, what was it? Brown or red celery?
“The children will have to take either a vegetable or fruit on their tray. Previously, it was an option,” said Jane Pepin, director of nutrition services at Hudson Falls. It was less wasteful previously.
If students pass on the fruits or vegetables, they will be charged a la carte. In addition, schools won’t receive the federal reimbursement for the meal. *BOOM* Mind blown.
There is a concern fruits and vegetables will be wasted if students choose not to eat them. But by providing a wide assortment, school officials hope students will find something they will eat. Wide assortment? Okay. Right. Let's go with that. Students will find something to eat? Heck no.
School officials say the new regulations will create challenges in preparing meals because now there are restrictions on how many foods containing grains can be served in a week. Because grains are so bad for us.
Fruits and vegetables must be fresh, which will be more expensive for schools. Schools are required to serve legumes, which will be new for some buildings this year. Fresh? Yeah right. Right after we are allowed to eat sugar again.
Milk must be either fat-free or 1 percent. Yay! Water milk?
Calorie limits will be set based on the age of a child. Meals cannot exceed 650 calories for students in grades k-5. For grades 6-8, the limit will be 700 calories. It will be 800 calories for high school students. Ha. That's funny. Because we know most ADULTS last on similar portion sizes.
Students will also have to get accustomed to smaller portions, which officials say could be a tough adjustment. YEAH NO DUH! We go from being sort of hungry after lunch to super hungry after! Students aren't going to adjust. We (and our parents) are going to be unhappy until we get the nourishment we are paying for.
“The kids might think the portion size won’t be big enough, especially for older kids,” said Anne Sheehan, the food service director at the Glens Falls City School District, which also prepares meals for the city’s other public school district, Abraham Wing School. So change it?
In recent years, school districts have made gradual adjustments to offer healthier foods. Many have already started using breads with whole grains, while offering low-fat milk and more vegetables. Which I was absolutely fine with. But this? Now instead of having kids buy "okay" lunches, they are packing there own, filled with cookies and sugar and food the schools refuse to offer. Yeah, you're right. Much better.
As a result, the law won’t require drastic changes for some schools. But for others, large changes are in store. Shush yeah.
Queensbury is one example. Whole grains were only used at times in the past. There were also fewer fruit options.
Superintendent Douglas Huntley said the changes will be noticable.
“There will be a significant difference,” Huntley said. “The bottom line is, the meals are much healthier.” And grosser.
Queensbury, though, is going a step further. The district will introduce new themes to lunches at the middle school and high school buildings.
Meals will be prepared from scratch as opposed to before, when frozen foods were used. Programs to teach about nutrition will be launched at the elementary levels, and cafeterias will have new displays to create a more enticing food court-style environment. Yeah, that makes us happy.
Some school districts are struggling to meet the regulations. How? It's cheaper for them!
At Newcomb, the school district has hired a dietician to help revamp the menu. The school hopes to start serving the more nutritional meals by October, said Superintendent Clark Hults. *Facepalm*
By having to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, the cost for the school will increase, Hults said. Poor schools, buying the worst quality "fresh" fruits and vegetables possible.
“It will be a much greater expense, absolutely,” he said. “It is very difficult for us to get food, even in the North Country. Now, we are talking about purchasing fresh fruit, fresh vegetables. It’s difficult to get things (brought up) to the North Country.” Nowadays, we have magic wheel boxes called trucks. 
A school district’s food service operation is supposed to be self-sustaining. Most of them rely on government reimbursements and revenue from meal prices to function. The government is paying them to starve us? Way to knock out obesity, or should I say, a healthy amount of body fat.
To cover the cost of foods, meal prices will rise at some schools. *Massive facepalm*
For instance, Glens Falls will raise meal prices by 10 cents. It will increase 15 cents at Queensbury, and 25 cents at Stillwater. Get less, pay more.
Another issue for schools will be the taste of food as healthier options are introduced. Yeah...it's pretty nasty.
Fort Ann tried foods with whole grains in the past, but students did not like it. The district’s food service company has worked to find tastier products, and the district hopes students will approve the new choices. In this case it is the students fault. Whole grains actually taste better, it's just that most of them are thinking "Ewww.. healthy. That's gross".
“The challenge is trying to find foods students like and will eat while meeting these healthy guidelines,” VanBuren said. HOW ABOUT REAL MEAT? Gosh, this fillers and pink slime are just disgusting. Give us  real meat or give up now! This bugs me to the extreme! Do you want to eat "chicken" with the consistency of jello that looks like a sponge? NO. How is that healthy for starters?! And while we're at it, let's give up on Mexican food. Schools will never get it right. Ever.
School officials say time is needed for students to accept new foods. They hope students are patient as schools adjust to the new regulations. We will never accept this. Have schools not noticed the peaceful rebellion?
“If they can all be patient as we get through all the hurdles and barriers, everything is going to be fine. The food is going to be good,” Sheehan said. Just like they will serve real meat. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.
So take that government. I'd also like to point out I am not alone on this. We, as a student body all across America, are tired of these cruddy lunches.
Packing more often
-Sofia


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Comic Wars

Browsing through Google+, I came across this:


FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay $20,000 in damages - The Oatmeal »
Remember FunnyJunk? Almost exactly a year ago I published a blog post about my comics being stolen, re-hosted, and monetized on FunnyJunk's website. The owner of the site responded and some of the...



So basically, this guy named Matthew with a comedic brain makes comics for his pretty cool website. This other guy from a site called "FunnyJunk"  takes his comics for his website (BTW they are competitors). The FJ dude is now suing the Oatmeal for some ridiculous claims. I cannot wait to see how this turns out.
Good luck Oatmeal,
-Sofia