If your family is like mine, and you aren’t planning on going anywhere this summer, do not fear. You can almost always find something worthwhile to spend your time on here in Austin! I’ve put together a list of things yall can/should/probably will do so you aren’t bored out of your mind.
Plan a road trip to somewhere nearby. The cool thing about where we live is that Austin in centrally located, so it takes about the same time to drive up to the Dallas area as it does to the coast. Then there are plenty of destinations in between! If you’re looking for just a day-long trip, I’d try somewhere like Six Flags in San Antonio, or Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.
Plan a weekend Camping trip. We’ve got sooo many great state parks in the area, and it’s generally pretty cheap to go rent a campsite for a night or two. There’s also local parks like Emma Long where you don’t have to drive too far. My family’s really into campouts, so a few of my favorite places we’ve stayed have been Enchanted Rock, Garner State Park, Inks Lake, and Palmetto State park.
GO SWIMMING.Especially at natural springs like Barton or Hamilton pool or Deep Eddy!
Apply for jobs If you haven’t already. Make sure you pick something you enjoy, maybe something outside that can easily be temporary/just a summertime job. Then you’re free when school starts again or you leave for college in the fall.
Check out local shows. A lot of the problem of summer boredom comes from not having anything in particular to look forward to! If you go check out who’s playing at Stubbs or any other local venues, you can usually find something you like for a relatively cheap price! I encourage you to attend shows for bands you may not have heard of as well, a lot of times the best concert experiences are when you don’t know what to expect!
Pick a regular outside activity. You’ll spend time getting active rather than staying in playing video games, you’ll get the tan I know you all want, and you’ll have fun! For example, my goal this summer is to go paddle boarding on town lake! There’s a really cool class they have in partnership with Black Swan Yoga where you do basic yoga classes…on paddle boards. It looks amazing.
Find money-making opportunities. It’s always the worst when you run out of money, especially during the summer when you’re not spending the majority of your time in school. Offer to babysit, do yardwork, see if your parents will reimburse you for cleaning the house. In the long run, you can do a lot more if you aren’t constantly broke all summer.
Volunteer. If you’re still in school, summer is the perfect time to get volunteering hours done especially if you’re in IB! Regardless, volunteering consistently looks good on any college applications, and it makes you feel like you’re making a difference. Always good.
I hope some of this has helped you guys! And let me know how you plan to spend your summer, whether or not you’re staying in town.
This is something I’ve been wanting to post about for a looong time, mostly because I’m a HUGE advocate for APS. Frankly, it’s most likely not something you’d want to check out if you didn’t know anything about it. Firstly, you have to erase any image in your mind of what a poetry slam is ( A.K.A. Lots of bearded beatniks wearing black berets and hitting bongos) because the Austin Poetry Slam is nothing like that. At all. I first started going when one of my friends, an Anderson graduate, was performing in the slam. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down and for the next hour, saw something like this:
The poetry performed here is different- it’s not Shakespearean sonnets or wishy-washy rhyming poems, it’s powerful, personal, funny, and distinctly slam-style. These poets use spoken word to communicate things: whether they’re political, comedic, anything they want to say. Here’s the way it all works: The slam is essentially a contest with a $50 first prize, is open to anyone who wants to enter. The “judges” are randomly selected audience members, who hold up score cards after each poet recites a three-minute long piece. The scorekeepers, who APS calls the “Voice of God” announces the score after each poet, to which the audience either cheers or boos. To say the least, the atmosphere is incredibly laid back, open, and full of creativity.
I recommend going on a night when there is a “Feature Poet” or it’s indicated as being “semi-finals” or “finals”, as that’s when you’ll see the best of the best. Some of the best regularly featured poets include (and I’m using their stage names here) Good Ghost Bill,Lacey Roop, Cupcake, Kevin Burke, Zachary Caballero, K Ruckus, and many more gems. You can see more of these guys and read their bios here. A few months back I went on a feature night and saw these PHENOMENAL guys from New Orleans who rapped/sang and performed spoken word with cello music. Now…you may be thinking, “dear god that sounds weird”, but trust me- it’s worth your time. So check it out!
This past weekend I decided I needed to catch myself up on recent films that had been getting attention. Or at least, those that didn’t seem awful.
The one that stuck with me was Tree Of Life, an independent film starring most notably, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. The movie as a whole DID leave me thinking, which is something I always appreciate…however, it wasn’t contemplative thinking so much as it was me questioning what just happened. The movie had very little actual scripted dialogue and relied mostly on stringing different shots together to create the story which was, essentially, about a troubled boy (Penn) remembering growing up under his abusive father (Pitt). This seemed like an interesting plot to follow, if only I could’ve actually followed it. I got the main idea of what was happening, but most of the time I was lost. They would show scenes of the family, then in between go into these stylized sort of representations of their lives. The mom would be floating on top of a tree, the house is underwater, then somewhere in there is a shot of a supernova overlaid with the little boy’s voice whispering things like “where are you” or “what does it mean?” I wanted SO badly to understand, so I basically watched the whole thing nodding my head slowly and saying things like, “hmm” every few minutes. Only to be left wondering what Sean Penn walking on a beach had to do with Brad Pitt playing a church organ. Lots of non-sequiters, which I’m sure had some kind of elusive meaning…but none to the audience. Here’s a clip:
It goes without saying that the cinematography was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. That’s what I loved about it, it was such a work-of-art kind of film that you couldn’t keep your eyes off the screen. I just thought that both Pitt and Penn deserved way more acting time, as both of their characters were phenomenally developed. I wanted more clarity on the story, because it was a great one. I would definitely recommend seeing this IF you’re into art films. If not, you’d most likely get frustrated that the plot isn’t moving along.
While walking the halls of Anderson lately, I’m sure you all have seen those giant new posters that just say, “ATHEIST” on them surrounded by little blurbs stating things like, “reasoning”, “logic”, and, “skepticism”. Number one, they’re a little bit obnoxious (ahem, Mr. Taylor) and number two, they really got me thinking- should we have religious clubs at school? And I’m not just talking about Atheists, I’m also addressing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Anderson Jewish Association, virtually ANYTHING associated with religion at school. Now I am in no way saying any religion is wrong, nor do I discourage being open about your faith, but I do think it’s important to decide whether or not clubs like this should be allowed.
For example, teachers and administrators are not allowed to preach to us about their religion, their beliefs, or lack of them. This is of course based on the separation of church and state. And in Texas, teachers cannot teach Creationism in science classes, which in my opinion is rightfully so. If you believe in creationism, great. Believe in it! Challenge and question evolutionary theories…at home. School is a state-run institution, which is precisely why church is not affiliated with it. However, now that we have religious clubs like these, it could threaten that system.
On the opposing standpoint, not allowing religious clubs in schools violates the First Amendment and could be viewed as a form of censorship. There have been several Supreme Court cases that have addressed issues exactly like this one. For instance, the Westside vs. Mergens case in 1990 ruled that the 1984 “Equal Access Act” prohibits public schools from discriminating against clubs because of their political or religious viewpoints.
But is it really a form of discrimination against religions, or rather, is it preserving the tolerance and acceptance of all religions by not allowing the students to create religious divides? Where is the line drawn on religious discrimination and tolerance? And should we, at Anderson, allow religious clubs? I’m curious as to what people think about this one, because it certainly got me thinking!
So I’m in IB Art, which literally rules a small part of my life. And we’ve been studying and researching different art forms so we can choose our medium for the remainder of the year! So far, I’ve been thinking about photography, but I learned something that could be a bit of an issue. There has always been a bit of a question in the art community, especially for classical painters, sculptors, etc.- Is photography art? It’s a legitimate question. There is apparently a big difference between snapping a picture of your friends posing or a pretty sunset and actively coordinating, designing, then taking a photograph. And the differences can often be very small, like the use of lighting and such. But really, the thing that makes photographic ART stand out is the fact that it is all intentional, I’ve learned. For instance:
This photograph is fairly obviously intentional- the use of shadows and lights and the photographer’s goal is to capture the shadow on the wall. The important thing to remember is that the photographer is actively waiting for this exact event to happen so he can capture it! Here’s some other things I really like.
Okay, I know it’s cliche or whatever to take pictures of flowers, but I think this is an exception. The lense has been put slightly out of focus which creates a really nice effect, not to mention it’s been photoshopped in order to make the colors more vibrant. I would love to do stuff like this!
I LOVE this one. First of all, it uses a model which is generally awesome because you can manipulate their position just by asking them to move. Second, the filter used is great, and finally, see that part of the top right corner that looks like it’s burning? That’s because it was edited on a computer to look as though it were orange, and then it was actually printed off and burned from underneath. So the photo is obviously art, as it has been manipulated with intent from the photographer.
I cannot wait to get started! I just really hope any pictures I take turn out as well as these. And I reaaaally hope they “count” as art.