Friday, May 6, 2011

Newsletter #00070

May 6-2011

A few weeks ago I wrote an article detailing the sexist nature of the Girls State program, which I attended last summer. Today I got called down to guidance and yelled at. Basically I was coerced into sort of admitting that I had done something wrong by writing this article. I was told that guidance was now doing "damage control" for the "fallout" I had caused with the American Legion Auxiliary and that I needed to apologize to them and stop writing negative things for the Gardner News. Apparently they also complained to Andres Caamano from the newspaper for his role in publishing my article in the voice page.

Well, I'm just not going to be able to take that I'm afraid. Although I was bullied and coerced into agreeing to things I didn't want to agree to in guidance, I'll do whatever the hell I want.

So ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure, I present my article:

Girls State: An Exercise in Politics, or How to Be a Perfect Housewife?

It was about this time last year when I was excitedly planning for Girls’ State. As a self-proclaimed C-SPAN enthusiast, vice president of the debate team, and (hopefully) future politician in the making, Girls State immediately appealed to me. Encouraged to apply by my guidance counselor, I filled out an application, wrote an essay, and was selected to attend. Joining me were two of my best friends. Three of my male friends were to participate in Boys State, the counterpart to our program. For the first time in its history both programs would be held on the same campus on the same week.

Near the end of June, I skipped my last day of school and headed off to Stonehill College in Easton for what I hoped would be an informative and enjoyable week with like-minded, driven females from across the state of Massachusetts.
When my friends and I arrived on the campus, we were sorted into our respective towns. Bearing names like Friendship and Loyalty, I should have known then and there that something was wrong. However, I took things in stride, happy to have been placed in the town of Democracy, the only town whose name didn’t sound like it belonged to a Care Bear.

As the first full day rolled around I felt excited. The main part of the day’s agenda involved splitting up into our respective parties, nominating candidates for various positions, and forming committees. Perhaps naively, I expected those committees to be vaguely similar to those in our actual Congress—i.e. such as the House Committee on Ways and Means, or a committee on Education. Instead, we formed a Song Committee, a Skit Committee, and a Cheer Committee.
Yes, you read that correctly. While our male counterparts were busy debating real issues such as abortion and war, we females were hard at work sharpening up our performing arts skills. There was a fourth committee, the Platform Committee. I chose to join that one with a small group of other ladies, hoping that we at least would be able to accomplish something of substance. Instead, the Powers That Be relegated us to a state of minimal importance, allowing the three other committees to dominate the day’s events.

And the following day’s.

That however, was only the beginning. As the days went on, one of our only actual classes, to be held with Boys State, was cancelled. The reason? We needed more time to work on our (mandatory) Disney themed skits for the talent show at the end of the week. Not to be deterred, I decided to become involved with the Girls State newspaper. Even if I was the only one, I was determined to make something meaningful of the experience. When I asked how to become involved, I was told that I could write a short summary of that day’s events. It would be published at the end of the week in the newspaper. In contrast to this, the Boys State newspaper was published every day, and the boys writing for it were allowed to address real topics, including a discussion of the lively debate on abortion they had had.

Considering that of the current makeup of the U.S. House and Senate, only 17 percent of its legislators are female, while 50 percent of our nation’s population is—after having experienced Girls State, I know why this is true.

Never in my life have I experienced a setting that was more sexist or demeaning than Girls State was. In addition to having spent the entirety of my week being told to sing and cheer while all attempts at addressing real issues were brushed aside, the women of the American Legion Auxiliary spent the majority of our time telling us “not to ruin the boys’ week”, as though it was somehow a privilege that were be allowed to share “their” campus.

For those of you who are uninformed about how the Boys and Girls State programs are run, here is a breakdown. Boys State is run by the American Legion, a group comprised of our nation’s veterans. Girls State is headed up by the American Legion Auxiliary, or, the wives and daughters of our nation’s veterans. While at one point in time, many years ago, this made sense. Women were not allowed to serve in the military. Today however, this is a different story, and yet, this same gender division remains. As long as Girls State and Boys State are run as separate programs, Girls State will continue to be an old-fashioned, sexist program.

I realize that I perhaps sound a little bitter. Let me assure you that I am not alone in my opinions. Many times at Girls State, I had discussions with other girls about this gross injustice. All of us came out of the experience feeling not as though we were prepared to one day lead this great nation, but instead that we had been trained to stand supportive behind the husbands who would take on the role of leading.

In a time in our nation when men and women are supposedly equal, there are still great strides that need to be taken. The issue of sexism is one that is still prominent in our country today, and it is one that needs to be addressed at its roots.
Before attending Girls State, I hoped that it would be an experience I would carry with me forever. I suppose this is why they say “be careful what you wish for”, because, in the end, you might get exactly that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blog #00069

November 24-2010

To be, or not to be, that is the question:"
Should I live? Why do I live? Why do I exist? What purpose do I serve? What is my meaning, my purpose, in life?

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune"
Why do I suffer? What did I do to cause this? Could this have been avoided? Should I hold it in, and keep my pain to myself? Do I deserve this?

"Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them."
Do I rise up against those who suppress me? Take action? Fight back? Should I stand out? Be that one lone wolf who fights back? Even if it costs me? Costs me everything I hold dear? Am I willing to lose it all for something I believe in?

The quotes above come from Shakespeare's Hamlet, when the character of Hamlet is contemplating suicide. He questions if he should live or if he should die. I have pondered the same question; however, I have contemplated quite a bit more. I am not suicidal, but I do question what happens after death. What happens to our minds, where we "go". Fortunately, I have friends who ask these same questions. Together, we keep each other's minds active, and work towards examining every aspect of all these questions.
I love taking part in these intellectual discussions, where we drop the bounds of the real world and pretend that anything is possible, and actually believe it is. I'm not afraid to ask the question which everybody thinks about, but are too scared to ask. I have these life talks with my friends, and learn. I don't learn math or science, I learn life. We're all teenagers and we don't have a lot of experience out in the "real world", but we don't care. We're willing to discuss things that we're too young to know about. And we surprise even ourselves sometimes with revelations that we never thought were coming.
By questioning the world around me, I get to learn something new, every day. And I love it. I never want it to stop. I'll always be questioning things, always be that person to ask "Why?", be the one who seems annoying. But I want to know. I really want to know why. It's something that drives me to continue on every single day.

One real benefit that I've gotten from asking all these questions is closure. Once I know the answer, I can come to terms with it and move on. In my past, I've had a not-so-perfect home life, floating between the two houses of my divorced parents. But by questioning over time, and learning that it really was for the best, I am able to accept the fact that even though I may have not liked it at the time, I can accept the fact that it was for the best.
The same can be said for when I get into a disagreement with one of my friends. When dealing with issue, I try and figure out the reason they did certain things, the reason I did what I did. I go over it in my mind, and talk with them. I can always find a way to forgive them. Personally, I don't think I could ever not forgive my friends. Though it may be a flaw in my personality, I find it extremely hard not to trust people, unless they've abused it. My friends mean a lot to me, I would not be who I am without them.

As a kid, I was constantly reading. You could never find me without a book. I read mystery, fantasy, horror, science fiction - everything. I noticed a certain trend in the books. The protagonist (or "hero" in my mind back then) always got to save the day. They would help somebody, and everything would turn out all right. The good guys would win. Even as a kid when reading these books, I acknowledged that this couldn't happen in the real world. When I turned 11 I would not get a letter in the mail telling me I was a wizard. I knew it was too good to be true. But I still hoped. I always hoped that I was wrong, that the letter would still come. To this day, I still have that hope inside of me. I still want to be the person who wins the day, makes all the difference. I want to change the world, be amazing. I'm trying to do that in my own way. By questioning the world, trying to figure out how it works, I try to find my place in it. I try and figure out the secrets of life with my friends. I want to be that hero, and I will always try to be. I'm still waiting for my letter.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Newsletter #00068

May 25-2010

Ok, so it’s been like what? 4 months since any of us last published one of these? Yeah sorry about that, again. I haven’t had much time to work on writing anything these past few months with AP history still going strong, but now that its over and I just finished two of my three finals I feel like I have all this time and no clue what to do with it. Plus its about five million degrees in my bedroom right now and I need to keep my mind off of the heat… so what better to do that than by writing? (Or you know, finding an air conditioner, but since that’s pretty impossible right now, I guess I’ll have to stick to this).

So a few months ago in AP history we were discussing the Japanese Internment Camps during WWII, and we had a discussion on it in class and we talked about whether or not the decision to lock up thousands of innocent Japanese Americans in camps because they “may” pose a threat to the country based on their nationality, could be justified.

I had really wanted to discuss that in a newsletter months ago when I was learning about it but obviously never got around to doing it. With the recent passage of Arizona’s new immigration bill, I thought it would be a good time to discuss both of these things, starting with the Japanese internment camps.

So, first of all some facts:

1) During WWII, approximately 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans along the Pacific Coast of the US were sent to live in interment camps, forced to sell all of their belongings with usually no more than a few days notice and leave their entire lives behind
2) In Hawaii, where the Pearl Harbor bombings occurred only about 1,200 to 1,500 Japanese of 150,000 were put into camps
3) Of the Japanese who were interned, 62% were American citizens

These were just some of the things that we learned about before we had our discussion in history. We were then put into groups and asked to discuss whether or not this decision could be justified during a time of war. I was appalled and stunned when I heard so much of my class arguing that it could be.

One of the great things about America is the rights we have. It doesn’t matter your ancestry, if you are an American citizen, you are guaranteed the same rights as everyone else.

Well… sometimes that is. I can think of a few examples right now where this isn’t exactly the case (can anyone say Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act?), and yet, our country, for all of its flaws, has seemed to always come around in the end. Black rights and women’s rights are now a reality, and hopefully the fight for Gay Rights will soon be as successful as past movements.

What always amazes me however, is when people who can easily say that women, or blacks, or gays, or whoever else should have rights, cannot see how those same principles and lessons apply to other things as well. Without due cause, none of the Japanese who were interned should have been subjected to the pain and humiliation that came with being locked up like animals in a pen.

And for all that our government and military tried to justify it as being for our nation’s safety, they had more than their fair share of flaws in their plan. For example, if you were a college student or wanted to serve in the military, those were both ways you could leave the internment camps. Yes, that’s right everyone, we don’t trust you to live your normal life, but we’ll trust you with a gun, fighting for the people who locked up you and your family.

And, its only because the Japanese in America were so dangerous that less than 10% of the Hawaiian Japanese-American population was locked up, despite being so close to where Pearl Harbor was bombed. Oh, that’s right, the Japanese in Hawaii were essential to the economy, so that’s why they weren’t sent away.

There is no reason to justify internment camps. They were created on the basis of an irrational, racist fear.

My father was born in Canada. He is now an American citizen, and, as I was born in the United States I am also an American citizen. Like many of the Japanese Americans interned, I am the child of a foreigner. Now of course, I can’t think of many people who would consider my father a foreigner. He’s only from Canada after all.

But what if we went to war with Canada? I somehow doubt that any of the people trying to justify internment camps in my history class would ever seriously think that my family should be locked up because we “might” pose a threat.

That is exactly what happened with the Japanese. Racial stereotyping.

It is what is beginning to happen in Arizona, with their new immigration laws.

Let’s go over a bit of what that bill entails, shall we?

According to “Arizona's law orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally.”

Right, sounds fine at first right? I mean, people shouldn’t be in the country illegally and all that.

Yeah, but then you look at the line “requires police to question people if there’s REASON to suspect they’re in the United States illegally.”

Reason? Interesting. That’s interesting. What exactly does reason entail?

Well, considering the fact that illegal immigrants in this country don’t have a certain strange light glowing around them, or a third eye, or anything else that could differentiate them from anyone who is a legal citizen of this country, it seems to me like your race is now being considered reason enough to suspect you’re illegal.

It would be rather inconvenient for police to stop every single person on the street and check the status of their legality wouldn’t it? Which means that they need a quick way to determine who should be asked and who shouldn’t be.

Basically this just means that if you are Hispanic, or look Mexican, or look something that’s not your typical WASP, you can get stopped by a police officer and made to prove that you aren’t illegally here. You can have be Arizona born and raised, but hey, you don’t look “white” enough for our nation, so can I please see some identification?

Arizona’s policy is the most ridiculous instance of racial stereotyping that I think has come along in some time, and the fact that it’s an actual law, rather than a group of people choosing just to act rude in their own time makes things even worse, because its so much harder to put a stop to.

Honestly, why doesn’t Arizona just make all immigrants wear yellow stars on their clothes or something? At least then they can stop pretending that they aren’t acting like a bunch of Nazis; it will be right out in the open for everyone to see.

I realize my views may come across as rather strong, but it honestly disgusts me to see people who will fight any day of the week for one group’s rights, and fight the next day against the rights of someone else, for no reason other than that they feel one prejudice is justified and not another. No prejudice is justified, and I hope that our nation starts realizing that sooner, rather than later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Newsletter #00067

January 19-2010

Ok, so I had just seen Josh’s status about writing a newsletter and I realized how much I as well missed doing these. It certainly has been a very long while since I’ve last written one, and when I was looking through the blog the other day I realized that we really needed to start doing these again. So hopefully this is the start of the newsletter comebacks!

This past weekend I went to the 70th AIC Model Congress in Springfield MA and the experience was so interesting that I decided to write about it today. Considering how many of you newsletter readers contributed to helping Lauren and I perfect the bill, you are probably also curious about the trip. And if you aren’t well so be it. Don’t read this then, lol. Also, this newsletter is really long, feel free to skip around. I had a lot to say.

So the trip consisted of 10 of us from Gardner, the 8 delegates and 2 observers and of course Mr. Francoeur and Mr. Aho. We left Thursday afternoon and arrived at the hotel a few hours later. What generally happens the first day is that we get to the hotel, unpack and then go eat the best pizza ever at the Red Rose in Springfield. After we eat we come back and its time for the emergency session.

Basically this is the one session of debate at AIC where everybody, observers and delegates debate the same bill at the same time. The bill is a surprise to everybody before you get there. There’s supposed to be time to socialize before debating and so Lauren and I had totally planned to do that and to make friends so that we could get people to vote for our own bill, however we were shy and unsure of how to start a conversation and ended up talking to like one person, lol.

The emergency legislation this year was a bill that would basically legalize all currently illegal drugs in the country. Seriously, until you’ve been there you don’t realize how intense these debates can be, which is generally why I saw nothing at the emergency session. Although good points were made on both sides, the bill ended up failing.

Day 2 (Friday) is when we really start to get going with the debates. After breakfast and the keynote speaker we split up into committees to debate 6 or 7 bills. We do this is usually two sessions, a morning one and an afternoon one, but if you are unlucky enough to not finish in time they make you stay after dinner and finish.

The bill Lauren and I were sponsoring on Legal Joining was supposed to be 2nd but there was a problem (well, multiple really) with getting the correct, amended version of the bill passed. To make a long story short we actually had to come onto Facebook to get the correct copy of the bill.

Anyways, one of the things most of you probably don’t know about unless you’ve done it before is what we actually do at Model Congress to debate a bill. So I’ll break it down for you.

1) The sponsor of the bill (or 1st in favor) takes the floor to speak on the bill.
2) The sponsor generally closes themselves so that no questions can be asks while speaking.
3) Once they are done speaking they open themselves and people start to ask questions about the bill, using proper procedures and whatnot (I won’t get into these here)
4) The sponsor yields the floor and a 1st opposed comes up and does the same thing but speaking against the bill.
5) Repeat with the cosponsor (2nd in favor) and 2nd opposed.
6) After all 4 of these speakers are done you enter general debate where anyone can seek the floor and speak for or against the bill.
7) During general debate any amendments that have been written for the bill are presented and then you vote on whether or not to read them. In committee if the amendment is read there must be a debate on whether or not to pass the amendment itself.
8) After everyone is done debating someone says “Motion to move to previous question”, which is basically a motion to vote on voting. (Yes, voting takes FOREVER. You have to take an initial tally, then vote on voting or vote on reading the amendment or whatever it might be. Then if that passes you vote on the actual motion. I believe they may also do another initial tally in the middle of that but I can’t remember)

This is basically the process you go through for each and every bill. On top of this there’s all the different points (of inquiry, query, order, personal preference, parliamentary inquiry…) and motions. It’s kind of a lot to take in. Plus you have to be careful to always speak through the chair instead of directly to the person you are asking the question of and to make sure your question isn’t rhetorical.

Anyways, enough with the logistics of things. In the first day of committee our group only passed 2 bills, ours and another one about funding for pluripotent stem cell research (which was actually one of my favorite bills presented). Our bill passed 13-12-0 (that is, 13 in favor, 12 opposed and 0 abstentions)

I was very happy with how debate went. Although some people didn’t seem to comprehend that our bill in no way interfered with religion, many people had some good points about the bill.

The second day at AIC they usually hold a dance. 2 years ago it was a really cool magic show. The dance was a lot of fun. All us Gardner kids also went swimming and in the hot tub which was nice.

Saturday was the third and final day of AIC. This is the day when they split you into 2 groups—House and Senate. My delegation was in the Senate this year. This day is for debating all the bills that passed through committee the day before.

My delegation (me, Lauren, Katie and Mary) sat at a table and another group of kids from Belchertown joined us. It was great actually because as it turns out, they’re pretty much our twins. We spent much of the Senate session making cootie catchers and coloring Disney pictures with crayons. Hahaha its always good to embrace your inner child.
There was another problem with our bill (2 times again actually) on the last day so our bill ended up being like 4th or something to be debated. I was surprised with how many people supported our bill. Other than the occasional person who refused to listen to a word about the bill and decided instead to talk about how it went against our founding fathers’ religion and whatnot, it was a really good debate.

Our bill passed through the Senate 44-16-1, so almost 75% of the people voted for it, which was really cool. Pretty much the rest of the first day was spent the same way, debating bills and such until Gardner decided to leave early.

Yeah so, that was AIC. This is my third year attending and I think the trip becomes more fun every year. Gardner wasn’t even hated this year! Hahaha we made friends for once.

Anyways, I think the whole process of government is really interesting and Model Congress definitely gives you a good introduction to what our senators and representatives do on a daily basis. I’d be interested in possibly pursuing a career in politics, only I don’t know if I’d ever be elected for anything since our country (and I really did read this somewhere) is less likely to vote an atheist/agnostic into office than a Muslim or a recent immigrant. Go figure. I guess I’m secretly evil or something, who knows.

Ok, well I hope you enjoyed reading this because it feels good to be back hopefully in the swing of things with these newsletters. Now we just need to get Brad back on board!

Oh, and remember if you want to read our past newsletters they are up on www.newslettergroup.blogsp and I have a blog of my own at

Newsletter #00066

January 19-2010

EDIT: First Newsletter of 2010!

66... One number away from the number 666, the so-called "Devil's Number". Something with Book of Revelations in the Bible or something. I don't know.

Uh, yeah. Just doing this because I really don't have anything else to do. Midterms this week, already did English and History. French and Physics tomorrow. Je sais deja tous de mots en francais que j'ai besoin de savoir a demain. (I already know all the French words I need to know for tomorrow.) And in Physics we get an equation sheet. So yeah... Nothing to do.

I was reading the past Newsletters, and realized how much I miss them. Putting in the quotes, writing about random things. It was fun. So I've decided to do this one. I don't really have much to talk about though. I'll be rambling, which is what I normally do. Yay for ADD. :P

I recently found a college, that I think is actually perfect for me. It's the Wentworth Institute of Technology. After taking Drafting I this year, I realized how much I really do like it. I've been thinking about majoring in CAD or Architectural Design, but this school has a major that I'm really interested in. This is copied from their website:

Civil Engineering Technology, B.S. degree

Civil engineering technologists are among the most established and respected of all engineering professionals. Historically, civil engineering technology has focused on the design and construction of infrastructures such as highways, bridges, buildings, utilities, treatment plants, dams, tunnels, subways, and airports. In addition, the profession is now equally concerned with preserving the environment.

As a student iin our Civil Engineering Technology program, you'll be prepared to enter the profession as a productive member of design-build teams with the potential to become an innovative technical problem-solver and industry leader. You will acquire technical skills such as surveying, laboratory and field testing, and the use of computers for analysis, design, and computer-aided drafting (CAD). The math and computer-based curriculum includes courses in structural analysis and design, soil and foundation design, transportation engineering, municipal planning, fluid mechanics, and water and wastewater treatment design. Classroom studies are complemented by applied lab work, and the successful completion of two co-op work semesters beginning junior year. This program is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. (See for information about TAC/ABET accreditation.)

As a graduate you will choose from a variety of careers, including positions with engineering consulting companies, state or federal government, local municipalities, construction firms, or architecture/surveying companies.

This program has basically everything I could want. I love analyzing, designing stuff (anybody remember the school mentioned way back when that Brad and I were designing? I've actually started building a 3-D model of it on the computer. It looks really cool. :D ) CAD is something I haven't done a lot with, but we're going to be doing next year in Drafting II (Architectural Design). It'll be lots of fun.

I just realized I write quite a bit about what interests me, and not what is interesting to me is not necessarily the same for other people. Oh well. :P

So yeah... The whole Coakley/Brown thing-a-bober, I didn't really care for it. People were saying that she bashed him, and then vice versa, and blah blah blah. Sure, more politics. I'm normally interested in them, but I think that my life has just been so hectic with worrying about my History midterm (FINALLY DONE!) and whatnot, it just got pushed to the side. I'll see the effects of what happens probably in a month or two. Until then, I really don't care. I couldn't have voted anyways. Minors don't get that right.

Hmmm... I was recently asked by Patrick what my favorite ice cream flavor is. I have many, but I really do enjoy Chocolate Chocolate Chip, in case anybody is interested...

I got an iPod Touch for Christmas. It's quite enjoyable. I use it more than my phone now, and normally my phone's battery is dead. ^.^ I want an iPhone, that way I don't need to worry about two electronics.

I don't buy my music legally. It's where I get all my music, all my games, everything. It's amazing. If you ever need any help with it, just ask. You can get movies, games, music, anything. It's quite useful. And it's all for free. Now I just hope that some stalker FBI Agent doesn't find my Facebook, and this note exactly. Like that'd ever happen.

Kasey is writing her Newsletter right now. We both feel the need to procrastinate, and for some reason this has sparked Newsletter creativity within us. Whatever, I'm enjoying writing this. Let's see.... anything else? I want an interesting topic...


For those of you who don't know, Chase Community Giving is going on right now. If you've seen any of my Facebook statuses, or even my profile picture, you'd know. One of the charities (that is currently in the lead with the most votes! :D ) is To Write Love On Her Arms. It is an amazing organization, and they'll be using the money to launch a brand new helpful tool in suicide prevention, called IM Alive. (I Am Alive; Instant Messaging Alive) This client will be staffed by trained people in crisis situations. It'll be a big help for those who don't want to call things like 1-800-SUICIDE. This will be something amazing, I'm sure. For more information, go to to vote for them, and see what they have to say. Their regular website is

TWLOHA is an amazing, cause, and I support it so much. Really, go on their website, and read what they're about. They want to raise awareness about teen suicide and self-harm. To show your support for this, when there is a TWLOHA Day, you simply write the word "Love" on your arms. It helps raise awareness. The next day is February 12th, and we will actually be having some stuff going on at GHS.

Well, this is a rather lengthy Newsletter, and I'm quite pleased with it. I enjoyed writing it, and I really want to keep doing these again.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
- Mark Twain

"The future depends on what we do in the present."
- Gandhi

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Newsletter #00065

December 31-2009


Well, I haven't written one of these in quite awhile. I've stored ideas in my head (some of them are forgotten), but what is spurring me to write this newsletter is one of my latest (re)discoveries: Pokémon.

Pokémon is amazing, just to be simple. My favorite Pokémon is Bulbasaur (as you can tell from my profile picture). The very first game I played was Pokémon Blue on my green GameBoy Color. I still remember the day I got it. The game was quite fun. I can still recognize any of the original 151, I know the game inside and out, I will never forget them. Some people who don't like Pokémon, well, I just think you are lacking something in your life. If you never got the chance to play, well, now you can.

First, I'll explain what is going on. To run the games, you need a program, called an emulator. This allows the game to run, and works exactly like a GameBoy. It plays the sound and the screen that you control. On the original GameBoy, there's a few buttons, being A, B, Start, Select, and a directional pad. The emulator uses the keyboard as these keys, and you can set them to be whatever ones you want. I personally prefer having the A key be A, the S key be B, the Shift key being Select, the CTRL key being Start, and the directional arrows as the keypad. You can customize them however you see fit.

*Disclaimer* The legality of downloading these games is questionable. It is not illegal, but it is not fully legal either, it's the gray area. If you have any misgivings, don't trust it, then do not download. I'm not responsible for any viruses you may get, or computer hardware malfunctions. The websites I've listed have not harmed my computer, however, there are websites out there that can. I am NOT responsible for anything you download, what I'm saying is merely a suggestion.

To begin playing, you need to get the emulator. Click on this link to get it.

That will begin a download, and when it's finished, you'll have a file that you can't open, yet. To open the file, you need another program, called WinRar. To get this program, go to this link:

If that link doesn't work, try:

The first one is the 32-bit, the second is 64-bit. Depending on what computer you're running, one of them may not work. If the one you download the first one, but it doesn't work, use the second. If you still have trouble, just ask.

Run and install the program. Don't worry, everything you've gotten so far is perfectly legal, there's nothing wrong with these programs. :)

Now go back to where you downloaded the emulator. It should look like a pile of books. Right click on pile, and click "Extract Here". This will create more files for you to use. You can delete the file called, that file won't do anything for you. The file you want is called TGB-Dual. That is the emulator. However, don't run it just yet, we want to get the games first!

For the list of games, you want to go to this website:

That has a list of all the GameBoy Color games. Click on P, and go down until you see Pokémon Blue. The available games for download for Pokémon are Blue, Red, Yellow, Gold, and Silver. Choose which one you want. If you want the more modern versions, Ruby and Sapphire, go here:

Click on which game you want, I'm going to use Pokémon Blue for an example. After clicking on the game, a file will download. When it's finished, go to where the file is. It will be another set of books. Right-click, and click Extract Here. Delete the website page that gets created, and you'll have a file named Pokemon That is the file you want. Go to where you downloaded the emulator, and run the file (TGB-Dual).

A small black screen will pop up. To change the button orientation, go under Options, then click on Keys. I would suggest doing this now even if you don't want to change it, so that you know what buttons to push. These can be edited at anytime you're playing your game.

To play the game, go under File, then GB1 - Load. Navigate yourself to where you downloaded and extracted Pokemon, and then click on the file, and hit open. The game will start to play. Have fun!

*Disclaimer* The legality of downloading these games is questionable. It is not illegal, but it is not fully legal either, it's the gray area. If you have any misgivings, don't trust it, then do not download. I'm not responsible for any viruses you may get, or computer hardware malfunctions. The websites I've listed have not harmed my computer, however, there are websites out there that can. I am NOT responsible for anything you download, what I'm saying is merely a suggestion.

That's quite a lengthy newsletter, and it's more instructions than anything. I hope you enjoy the games as much as I do. :)



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Newsletter #00064

September 30-2009

Well, I've been busy with schoolwork, so I don't have the time to write a newsletter. Maybe sometime soon I'll be putting my own out. But for now, here is a guest writer, a devoted Newsletter follower, Andrew White.


Everything I say here is solely my opinions, my theories.

I have been thinking too much lately (lately was lately around the time of the sidewalk sale). I've been thinking about how and why a lot. For example, why do people's emotions keep going up and down? Why is life a roller coaster, or a negative sine wave? I believe it's because god wants us to be happy, courageous souls for, possibly, a purpose higher than our current existence (Remember, we will always feel a high after a low. This proves life is good). We are put on this planet to affect other people in negative and positive ways, with negative ways making way for positive ones. We even affect ourselves. And when people affect others negatively, it’s only so we can feel good later, and more courageous. Downs always lead to ups, like a cycle. Like a roller coaster, a roller coaster that lasts throughout your entire state of consciousness. But when the cycle starts with a down, you can only change the next wave starting with a down. The opposite is also true. What I mean by state of consciousness is that when you’re unconscious, the rollercoaster isn’t moving. It doesn’t start back up until you’re conscious. I also believe God has a plan, and we are here to fulfill that plan. What is that plan? I don’t know. I'm only human.

Something Josh said really helped me with some stuff I think about often, too. Like, everybody needs a little pain. It's an essential life tool. It keeps us going on. If we were comfortable our entire lives, we would get bored, and weak, and our life would be so incredibly boring and unfulfilling. Like I said before, God wants us to be strong, happy, courageous and fulfilled. The bad always leads to the good by way of good karma. Life is a vicious circle. You're down, you're up, you're down, and you’re up. The circle starts out small, and gets bigger and bigger as you grow. I believe that one can live forever if one doesn’t get too low, or too high. How strong is that low/high? Again, I’m only human.

Effort is never wasted. One may think it is, because it is not immediately rewarded. But in fact, one will be rewarded for the effort in the near future. One just needs to associate the effort with a future event by telling their self that they will be rewarded. You have to have faith. Faith is a very powerful thing. If you have enough faith in an event, it will happen.

Pretenses and prejudices only exist so we can laugh at them, at the right moment. Although, if one can’t laugh at them, it’s not a big deal. One just needs to accept them for what I said they are. Once that happens, one will enjoy life a lot more. Life was meant to be enjoyed. The price is hefty, but it’s well worth it. This works with many other things that people label negatively. Disease, poverty, hatred, they all exist so we can laugh at them. Also, where would happiness be without sadness? It would be in the same place sadness is. They are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have happiness without sadness. What would you compare it to? Thank you very much, Pandora! =D

These quotes further my theory from the beginning of the newsletter.

"Fear is an essential tool in life" - Josh Caron

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." - Mary Tyler Moore


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Newsletter #00063

September 27-2009

Wow its been awhile since any of us have done one of these! Although, to our defense (myself, Josh and Brad), we have been absolutely swamped with AP homework and band. Pretty much I don't even sleep anymore and things are only going to get worse in October. Please try and bear with us if you can. I promise these newsletters aren't dead!

Anyways, what I wanted to talk about today, was actually a site called Some of you might have heard of it, either if you are a part of S.A.D.D. or if you payed attention to the things the group did last year at our school. Basically the site is supposed to discourage tobacco use, and in fact, the number 84 comes from the 84% of Massachusetts teens who are supposedly tobacco free. People on the site also discourage things like underage drinking or drug use.

Recently put out an application looking for people to be paid bloggers for the site. I applied and got one of the positions. What that means is that every week for about the next year I will be putting out a 300-500 or so word blog on the website and getting paid to do it! My blogs will probably focus primarily on life and some will have some sort of anti-drug/tobacco/alcohol message in them, although not all of them will be. They (IMO) won't be as fun to write as one of these newsletters, since I'm never going to talk about say fanfiction or steampunk or Burning Man in one of them, but at the same time, they are still a lot of fun to do.

On the site there are 6 other bloggers, guys and girls, most of whom are juniors and seniors at high schools across the state. I've been reading thier blogs as they are posted too and they are definitely interesting to read. As it seems to be going so far, one blog is posted each day (give or take) and from what it seems, mine are posted on or around Thursdays. I highly recommend you check them out, especially since I can't guarantee too many more Newsletters from myself in the coming month. Right now the comment feature is broken for the blogs. You can comment but no one, the writers included, can read them yet. But once its fixed it would be nice to see at least a few of you reading and possibly commenting on some of the blogs on the site.

Anyways, here's some links for you:

1) (general website)
2) (the blog page. Everyone's blogs are posted here. I have two up so far and my username is kkamll)
3) (my user page for the website)

There's the links for you. Feel free to check it out. And sorry that this newsletter is mostly just me promoting another of my blogging things. Slightly uncool of me since I haven't written a newsletter in a month, but w/e.

Oh and before I forget, if anyone is interesting in doing a guest newsletter for me sometime in October let me know through a message or something. I don't want these newsletters to die but I won't really have time to write this next month. I can't guarantee I'll let you just because you ask, but I probably won't turn anyone down if they have something interesting to say. I will however still edit whatever you like (basically just proofread it and stuff). So yeah, if anyone's interested let me know!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Newsletter #00062

August 29-2009

Ok, so for this newsletter I’m going to talk about a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a while—fanfiction. Some of you I’m sure know about fanfiction and what it is, perhaps even having read it or wrote it, while I’m sure others of you are pretty much clueless about it. Since it happens to be one of my favorite things just about ever I decided I would tell all of you a little more about it and why it is so great. (Also, this is ridiculously long so feel free to skip around. I’d recommend reading the reasons to read fanfiction in the beginning. I also put a dictionary of fanfiction terms that you might or might not want to read and finally I put the different ships I read and which fandoms they are from. And yes, I will define ship and fandom for you in a moment.)

First things first. What is fanfiction?

Fanfiction is a work of writing using characters from an original novel, TV show, movie, video game, etc. Every book, TV show, movie or whatever it may be and their fans are referred to as a fandom. For example, according to Wikipedia “The Harry Potter fandom is a large international and informal community drawn together by J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The fandom works through the use of many different forms of media, including web sites, fan fiction, podcasts, fan art and songvids.”

Ok, so you’re probably thinking, sounds great and all, but why would I want to read fanfiction?

Fanfiction is great for a number of reasons. First of all, if you are a fan of a certain book, for example Harry Potter, fanfiction lets you continue reading about characters you already know and love in a variety of different settings. Fanfiction writing generally encompasses all sorts of genres, despite the original genre the author intended.

A big part of fanfiction is shipping. I will get to some other fanfiction terms later, but this is such an important one that I decided to mention it now. Shipping is presumably a term derived from the word relationship and involves the reader or writer pairing two characters together romantically. With such a large portion of fanfiction involving romance in their stories, most readers want to know before they read a story what ship is involved in the story. Ships that occur within an author’s original universe are known as canon ships.

Shipping is a large reason that I enjoy fanfiction. One of the fandoms I am a part of is the Harry Potter fandom. If you’ve ever read Harry Potter you know that canon (or real) relationships from the books would be Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, James/Lily etc. Although I like James and Lily as a pairing I am not such a Harry/Ginny or Ron/Hermione fan. When I read fanfiction I usually read Draco/Hermione, Ginny/Draco or Albus Severus/Scorpius fanfiction. (Albus Severus is Harry’s son and Scorpius is Draco’s son). Even though J.K. Rowling never wrote these relationships in her books, fanfiction allows me to read stories with these pairings in them.

Another great thing about fanfiction is the length of stories. Most times when you buy a novel it is at least 50,000 and sometimes upward of 100,000 or more words. In the fanfiction world stories can be any length the author chooses. Drabbles (according to Wikipedia) are stories exactly 100 words in length, although myself, and many others, refer to stories fewer than 1,000 words as drabbles. From there, I’ve read stories in varying lengths. Sometimes a few thousand words are all that is needed to tell a short story. I’ve also read stories ranging in the 30,000s and 40,000s (too short in real life to be considered a novel) and stories that seriously are longer than the longest books, upwards of 200,000 and 300,000 words. Just last night in fact I read an Albus Severus/Scorpius fic that was 95 chapters and over 140,000 words. That’s basically a really long book if it were a published book.

Another great thing about fanfiction is that it allows you to read multiple stories with the same characters, and even better, once you find a favorite fanfiction author or multiple authors, most tend to write more than one story with the same characters. I know I have certain authors whose writing I love and who have written many stories with the same characters.

You’re probably thinking that fanfiction writing can’t be all that great. After all, a true writer would just use their own characters and go get published or something right?


Although there are a lot of really bad fanfiction stories out there, there are a ton of great ones too. Most fanfiction writers do write original fiction as well and I have heard of a good deal of published authors who either wrote fanfiction in the past or still do it for fun on the side. In fact, I’ve read a ton of novel-length fanfiction with writing as good as, or better than in some published novels I’ve read.

The best part of fanfiction though is probably that it is free and can be read online. While fanfiction can be found in a variety of places, the website is a big site for almost any genre. Of course, stories on this website aren’t screened before they are posted so there are a lot of bad quality fics on the site. Livejournal communities are another big place to find fanfiction stories and are usually devoted to one specific fandom or ship. Other independent websites also host large communities of fanfiction writers. One important thing to note about though is that they don’t allow RPF (real person fiction) or fics with explicit content.

Now that you know a bit more about fanfiction you might be thinking about trying it out and seeing if you like it. But you probably don’t know where to start, or all the terms associated with it, which can make your first foray into fanfiction a little difficult. (Wow, lots of alliteration there). Anyways, to help you out I’m going to compile a list of fanfiction terms and their definitions. (If you happen to read or write fanfiction and want to contribute to this list or argue one of my definitions feel free to post in the comments)

Canon- Information that either comes directly from a specific work, or has been stated by the author to be factual. Ex. That Harry has a son named James is a canon statement.
Fanon- Generally the opposite of something known to be canon. A fact that is fanon is something that does not come from the author’s original universe or has been stated by the author to be false. Ex. Dramione, otherwise known as the ship involving Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger is a fanon ship since it doesn’t happen in the Harry Potter novels.
Ship, Shipping, Shippers- A ship is a relationship between two characters, usually shown by putting a slash between two characters names (Draco/Ginny) or by combining their names in a way that is specific to that ship. (Kris Allen/Adam Lambert is collectively referred to as Kradam) Shipping is the act of pairing characters together in a relationship and a shipper is a person who ships two characters.
Slash and Femslash- stories involving gay couples. Generally slash refers to male/male stories but can be female as well. Femslash (or femmeslash) is the term sometimes used for female/female stories. (I know other terms are used in Manga/anime but I don’t read those so I can’t really tell you what they are)
Het- stories with heterosexual couples.
IC and OOC- stands for in character and out of character. Usually refers to how a specific character or characters are acting in relation to how they are normally perceived as being.
AU- alternate universe. AU stories are stories with major changes to canon facts, such as setting or time changes, bringing back characters that are dead in the canon world or making good characters evil.
Gen- a genre of fanfiction that is short for general. Usually denotes stories with minor emphasis on romance or stories that can’t fit into one specific genre.
Parody or Badfic- stories that are usually written on purpose by an author. They are meant to be funny and usually incorporate cliché plot points.
Angst- stories where one or more characters suffer torment of some kind, usually emotional angst.
Beta reader, Beta read- a beta reader is like an editor. They read an author’s stories and help correct grammar, spelling, etc. They might also help an author with plot points and characterizations.
Crossover- fiction that involves characters from multiple universes combined in one story.
Fluff- stories with very little substance or plot.
PWP- Porn Without Plot or Plot? What Plot? Seems pretty self-explanatory to me.
Future-fic- again, rather self-explanatory. Takes characters and writes about them far into the future.
Mary Sue- an original character introduced into a fanfiction by an author that is basically the “perfect” character. They tend to be disliked by readers because they tend to be flawless and un-realistic characters. Not all original characters are considered Mary Sues however.
MPREG- a type of story involving male pregnancy. Obviously this can’t happen in real life but I guess some people enjoy reading MPREG stories. I however, am not among them.
OTP- One True Pairing. Usually a reader/writers favorite ship within a fandom.
RPF- Real Person Fic. Stories involving real people, usually actors or other celebrities. Because certain websites refuse to post these types of stories ( for example) they are usually found in livejournal communities, among other places.
One-shot- a story that is told in one go as opposed to a multi-chaptered fic, with obviously, multiple chapters to it.
Smut- like PWP, these stories usually involve just sex w/out a plot.
Squick and Kink- Squick- something in a story that could potentially be uncomfortable/offensive to a readers. Stories with potential squicks should always have warnings. Kink- something in a story that may appeal to/turn on a specific reader. Squicks and Kinks are generally related b/c one person’s squick may be a kink to another reader.
WIP- work in progress. Refers to a story that is not yet completed by an author.
Non-Con- non-consensual sex (rape) w/in a story. Should always be posted as a warning to readers.
A/N- author’s note. Sometimes placed before or after a story and is a personal note from an author to their readers.
Songfic- stories that are written with a specific song as inspiration. May contain the lyrics to the song within the story.

Ratings: Fanfiction stories are usually given ratings. The system of ratings varies between sites. Livejournal communities tend to use the MPAA movie rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17) to rate stories. Other places like use a system that is basically the same except that it goes K, K+, T, M and then on some other sites X or some other equivalent for NC-17.

Anyways, I’ve basically written all I can think of right now for fanfiction. If you actually read this entire thing I’ll be surprised, but I wrote it mostly to encourage people to try fanfiction and as a reference tool of sorts for if you do.

Before I finish this off I thought I’d share the pairings I read in fanfiction. I know some of you probably read fanfiction so you might be interested in this. Or you know, I might be the only one interested in which case I still really don’t care b/c I’m going to tell you anyways, lol.

The main fandoms I read are Harry Potter, Avatar and American Idol (which obviously involves real person fiction which I realize isn’t for everyone). I also want to start reading fics in the Torchwood universe but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. (Torchwood is an AMAZING British sci-fi show. Watch it!!!!!)

Ships I read:

Harry Potter:
1) Draco/Hermione- One of my OTPs for this fandom
2) Draco/Ginny (less often than Draco/Hermione)
3) Albus Severus/Scorpius (next-gen fic)- another of my OTPs
4) Lily/ James

I also am going to try and get into the pairings Harry/Draco and Remus/Severus. My new favorite type of fanfiction is slash, so I have been reading a lot more of it lately.

1) Zuko/Katara- OTP. This is about the only main pairing I will read for this universe but I also don’t mind Aang/Toph when it comes up in stories.

American Idol:
1) Kris Allen/Adam Lambert

1) Jack/Ianto- OTP. Just about the only canon ship that I ship. And its slash! Just another reason I love this show so much.
2) I probably wouldn’t read it as fanfiction but I also like Tosh/Owen, Gwen/Owen and Gwen/Rhys (other reasons I love this show. All of these pairings have at one point or another been canon.) Also I can't forget Jack/Jack and Jack/Captain John

Yeah, so that’s basically it for me. I do ship a variety of other ships in different fandoms, but I haven’t really read any fanfiction for them (yet). If you have any questions about anything feel free to comment!

And thanks for reading! (If you didn’t read this entire thing I don’t blame you) Also, if you do read/write fanfiction please let me know! I like talking to other fanfic readers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Newsletter #00061

August 22, 2009

It's been a while since my last newsletter I realize. My apologies on that. I've been really busy with band camp and other things. And, to be honest, I wasn't actually going to do a newsletter today but there was something I really wanted to write about so here's an impromptu one for you all.

What I wanted to talk about today is a condition that I, and many others in the world have (approximately 1 in every 23 people, or so scientists think). It is called Synesthesia and there are many different forms of it. According to Wikipedia, Synesthesia is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

Basically what this means in layman's terms is that seeing or thinking or hearing a certain thing can lead to another, involuntary reaction involving a different sensory reaction. For example, one type of synesthesia that occurs in some people is the type where letters, numbers, months of the year, days of the week, etc. are associated with a specific color. For synesthetes with this type of synesthesia, these color associations are involuntary and consistent.

There are many different types of synesthesia, such as people who have reported seeing color when they hear certain sounds, or tasting a specific taste when they hear a certain word.

As far as I can tell from my research into synesthesia I have two types- Ordinal Linguistic Personification and Spatial Sequence (or Number Form) Synesthesia.

Ordinal Linguistic Personification is a type of synethesia where the synesthete associates letters, numbers and other things like months of the year and days of the week with a specific gender and usually personality. I have been doing this ever since I was a little kid, and until I read about this type of synesthesia online I didn't even realize that other people didn't always do this. For example, this is what I think of gender wise when I think of the alphabet or the numbers 0-9

Also most numbers and letters have certain personality traits. For example, Three is kind of a tomboy and sometimes in my head appears more as a guy than a girl. Five and Six are close friends. One is a rather studious, boring type of guy while Four is more fun loving and is kind of a jock. Seven is pretty much a jock too. Seven is also a teenage guy who is really smart. Eight is quiet and nice and pretty much a mothering type.

Those are just a few of the things that I have always associated with my numbers and letters in my head. It must sound crazy to someone without this type of synesthesia but to me its perfectly normal and I've been doing it all my life.

The other type of synesthesia I have that until recently didn't even know had an actual name is Spatial Sequence or Number Form Synesthesia. Basically, people with this see numbers in a specific mental map sort of thing. It can also happen with dates, months of the year and days of the week.

Its sort of hard to explain but for me I see years in a specific timeline. It always seems to hover in front of me and extends at a diagonal facing slightly towards me in either direction to my left and right. When I am thinking about a specific year I find myself mentally placing my body at that position on my timeline and looking forward or backwards into the other years. Now that I try and write out what it looks like it sounds really ridiculous and I realize I haven't done a good job describing it, but basically I always seem my months of the year, days of the week, years, and even letters and numbers in a certain physical position when I think of them and I have always automatically thought of them that way. And all of those things have different mental images if you will.

Its all a little confusing to try and describe to someone, especially if that person doesn't actually have that specific type of synesthesia. It makes me wish I had the type where I associated colors with my letters, if only because it is an easier type of synesthesia I think to describe to a person than Number Form Synesthesia.

Another interesting thing about synesthesia is that it's believed to be genetic and linked to the X-chromosome due to the fact that scientists have seen synesthesia passed from Mother to Daughter, Father to Daughter and Mother to Son but never from a Father to a Son.

Anyways, I thought this was a topic that would be interesting to share and to see if anybody who reads my newsletters has a form of synesthesia. (For more information on the different types of Synesthesia or on Synesthesia in general I'd suggest going to this page here

If anyone else has any form of this condition tell me in the comments because I'd be interested to know. Especially if any of you have the types I have and can relate to what I said above. I know that Tim Gamache has the color one and sees colors associated with letters and numbers but does anyone else?