Thursday, August 3, 2017

The DMV, The Happiest Place on Earth

Write about how you started driving (or why you don't).
It was only two months ago that I passed the written driving exam and obtained my learner's permit. Considering I turned sixteen in November of 2016, I discovered that I'm able to not only put off school assignments, but other things as well, namely driving. For whatever reason, I insisted that I wasn't prepared to drive, and thus deliberately provided any excuse I could to delay the attainment of my learner's permit. As one of my friends pulled up to school one day in a rusty, unhinged car, I figured that I could still wait to get my license. That is, until a few weeks later when another one of my friends pulled up to school behind the wheel. Then another. And another. Finally, as I engaged in lively banter with my circle of friends during breaks, I was surprised to find that I was the only one to not have a patterned lanyard dangling gleefully from my pocket, concealing a ring of keys at the bottom. As I stood there, envying my friends and their sleek licenses, I finally took the initiative to complete the online driver's training program that I had started months prior. 

Although I had finished the online program quite quickly after that point, I was unable to take the written exam because the local DMV was only open during school hours and closed during the weekends, leaving me with the options of either skipping school or waiting a few extra weeks. Of course, I waited the few extra weeks, dreading the fact that after studying for academic finals, I would have to study for another final of sorts: the driving written exam. However, because I was so motivated to start practicing actual driving prior to the start of the new school year, I studied incessantly, refusing to stop reviewing and covering any and all material related to driving. As I scheduled an appointment at the DMV, I was astonished to find that I only had to wait a few days, not months, for an appointment. 


Image result for excited gif
Now, it probably would have been more appropriate if I hadn't burst into the DMV, smiling and waving, but I couldn't help it. I was delighted to start driving, but from the looks of everyone waiting around in rigid chairs, I got the impression that I was the only person in the building happy to be there. 

I can tell you with great confidence that I had over-prepared for the written driver's exam. I was ready to write free response answers on parallel parking or entering the freeway, but in the end, it was all simple multiple choice. I can also say with great confidence that the textbook knowledge I gained of driving from such intense studying continues to benefit me as I drive behind the wheel. 

Sure, I've been honked at already, and yes, I've run over curbs as well, but I haven't had any issues with when to stop or go or identifying signs and their corresponding meaning. However, it is especially important that I learn to better control the vehicle because I have three younger siblings, which really means I have three younger people I'll have to start driving to practices and picking up from school. I must say that I don't drive for leisure or pleasure, I certainly don't find it "fun" or "enjoyable", but it is an essential skill, and hopefully one that I improve throughout the next few months. Because if not, I'll find myself being chauffeured everywhere by my mother. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Garlic-and-Onion Gum

Write a thank-you note to someone who gave you garlic-and-onion flavored gum.


George,
As I sit here writing this letter, meticulously forming my letters, deliberately formulating my thoughts, I can’t help but be disgusted at my reeking breath, and even more so disgusted at you. I don’t know how you figured it out. I haven’t told anyone, not even my parents. Yet there you were, striding up to me on some random day to offer me a piece of gum. Excuse me, a piece of garlic-and-onion flavored chewing gum. And you know what? You’re right. I do have a fear of bad breath, and if it weren’t for you, that’d still be a secret. I can envision it now. After I had eaten my lunch, I slipped away from the cafeteria and ran to the nearest bathroom just a few minutes before we were dismissed. Positive that no one else was lurking around, I gingerly took out my toothbrush and toothpaste. After one more cautious glance, I squirted my toothpaste onto my toothbrush and vigorously brushed every corner and crevice of my mouth. After minutes of brushing, I swished, blew, and spit out the toothpaste and topped it all off with a shot of mouthwash. I felt refreshed. At least that is, until you showed up. I was leaving the bathroom, flashing my gums when you came up to me and smiling, cupped a piece of gum in my hand, saying “This way your freshness will last all day.” With a grin, I popped the gum in my mouth and you ran off. It was only after I had returned to the classroom that I noticed. Noticed the fermenting flavors in my previously immaculate, pristine mouth. Bottles of mouthwash later, a burgeoning hint of mint is finally developing, but I’ll probably have to brush for the next thirty minutes to completely rid my mouth of that vile substance. So for now, I’ll try my very best to avoid you and especially your gum at all costs. As for you, don’t be surprised if I’ve replaced your water with mouthwash. Thanks again, but next time, don’t bother.

Cheers,
Samuel Orla


Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Two Biggest Lies of Every Reader

When I'm not blogging or napping, (which isn't very often), I'm most likely slouching in a leather chair, picking my way through a novel or writing one of my own. Now, like most readers, I hate being interrupted. Therefore, when I'm intently reading and clearly do not wish to be bothered, when asked, "What are you reading?", without glancing away from the page, I silently raise my book so that the title is clearly displayed. And sure, it's slightly annoying to respond to such questions as "What are you reading?", but since I as a reader haven't lied yet, no harm no foul.

Now, we all know that one person who insists on a thorough plot summary as well as character analysis in response to the question, "What are you reading?" And when this known individual comes around asking "What are you reading?" while I'm slouched in my leather chair and perhaps sipping a warm drink, without moving my head, I lift just my eyes from the page to glare directly into theirs. Like so.

                              Image result for reading gifs  

And if that isn't enough and a spoken answer is required, all readers (myself included), smile sharply and utter these two lies.
Interrogator: What are you reading?
Reader: A book.
Interrogator: What's it about?
Reader: Oh, nothing.

A book?! Oh nothing?! Now those statements are indeed, the two biggest lies of every reader. When you respond to the "interrogator" with the phrase, "a book," sure, you're telling the literal, fundamental truth, but you're still lying. You're lying, because you're not just reading "a book", you're exploring and discovering a new existence. You're absorbing the lifeblood of another reader who at some point decided that they not only wanted to read and explore, but wanted to write and create. You're not reading words on a page, you're reading the lives and experiences of those whom you have never met before.

And even worse, you have the audacity to say that the book you're reading is about, "oh, nothing"? Because the book you're reading is most certainly about something. And that "something" is important enough to you that you're willing to momentarily leave the "something" of your own life to attempt to experience and understand that "something" of another person's life.

So, the next time you're asked the question, "What are you reading?", be sure that you remain the honest reader and don't answer, "a book." And when you're also asked, "What's it about?", don't respond, "Oh, nothing." Because that would be lying, and only writers lie.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Corners - A Short Story

Writing Prompt: Write about someone that was buried alive.



I’ve always despised enclosed, suffocating spaces. Yet there I was, in an enclosed, suffocating space buried several feet under layers of dark soil. Consequential to hours of incessant shouting, my throat and lungs were raw and tense. In a vain attempt to soothe the pain and conserve the remaining air, I breathed slowly and deliberately, consciously inhaling small sums of oxygen and subsequently holding my breath. However, even in small doses, with each spurt of air I inhaled, claws scraped my flaking lips and slithered down through my esophagus, only to puncture my already coarse lungs.
  
           Although each inhalation was punctuated by such fits of splintering anguish, as I lay in silence, detecting my haphazard breathing pattern, I realized that I had never considered that the interiors of coffins could be so comfortably furnished. I relaxed and allowed my eyelids to drift to a close, actively prodding and poking my surroundings while delighting in the soft, padded frame of my confinement. Contorting into a curled position, I patted what felt like a blanket covering my lower body and pulled it toward my head, simultaneously nestling the side of my head into a thick pillow.

As comfortable as the coffin’s interior was, as I relaxed, numb to the excruciating pain I had endured for hours prior, I lurched upright, slamming my head into the also padded overhead casing of the coffin. Shuddering, I quickly recovered and concentrated my efforts into escaping my enclosure. Sucking a breath in, I heaved upward, my shoulder rising to shrug against the ceiling of the coffin. Unsuccessful, I tried again, but crouched and braced my legs to provide extra support and leverage. As I strained my neck, tensing every tendon and fiber of my body, my legs soon collapsed and I lay motionless and silent. Raising my hand, I caressed my palm on the ceiling of the coffin, feeling no difference in the overhead casing save for minor creases it had suffered following my attempt to escape.

Returning to a prostrate position, as I squinted, attempting to make out any distinguishable detail from the coffin’s interior, it was only then that I noticed how penetrating the darkness of the coffin’s interior was. I was essentially gazing into a dense, velvet nothingness that folded and twisted around my limbs. I viciously clawed at the darkness, desperately trying to peel away any layer of blackness I could, until I felt an odd protrusion on the far end of the coffin’s overhead casing.

My heart thundering and beads of sweat crowning my forehead, I shifted my torso to face the condensed protrusion. With an outstretched palm parallel to the floor of the coffin, I fingered the ceiling until I brushed across the fine lettering. Punctuated with spaces and capitals, I traced the lettering with my fingernail, struggling to make out the sentence I assumed it displayed. After laboring over the inscription, I finally pieced together the poorly written sentence:
         Corners are escape.
     
      Without thought or hesitation, I stroked the spines of each corner of the coffin and heard latches snap with each brush. As I reached for the final corner of the coffin and snapped its corresponding latch, I heard a soft ringing overhead.
   
             As the ringing stubbornly proceeded, I awaited another sound, a voice, a shovel. Alas, still, that was all I heard. I resorted to counting seconds on my fingers in intervals of ten, allowing monotony to reduce my disappointment.Nearing four thousand, I heard it: chink. I had heard it. I had heard the sound of freedom, of rescue, of escape. I knocked and beat on the ceiling of my coffin in response, and was rewarded with the satisfying sound of another chink. Gnawing on my fingers, I hopefully listened for more sounds, removing my fingers from mouth only after the coffin was heaved open and I gazed into the cold, shallow eyes of a bearded man. Sharp wrinkles and creases accentuated the corners of his eyes and lips, and his stringy, fraying hair was caked with grease. Without a word, he hoisted me from the coffin, and scanning the vicinity, lay down into the coffin himself, oddly gesturing to me that I should close the coffin.
     
    Vigorously shaking my head and denying his unfathomable request, I silently strode away, tripping over a bell I had not noticed, the bell that had been my salvation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dishonesty and Taking My Own Advice

I recently wrote a post listing strategies I recommend to boost productivity during the long summer days. Although these techniques are helpful and (most likely) effective, I personally can't vouch for their efficacy considering I haven't utilized or practiced them myself. And because I recently returned from an extensive vacation and consequently neglected blogging in its entirety, I decided to test the tips I gave myself. In hindsight, I probably should have tried and tested these tips prior to writing an advisory post about such techniques.

1. Make a Schedule
The first technique I explained in my previous post was creating a summer schedule. This summer schedule to which I refer is not created by randomly marking a blank calendar or chart, but by taking one's school schedule and substituting summer activities for classes. Although apparently complex, this process is actually quite simple and summarized in the image below. I actually thought this was the most helpful of all the techniques I listed, because I've personally had some difficulty staying on task for prescribed amounts of time. (Outside of school, that is.)

2. Turn Off Notifications
Now, this was a relatively easy one. I've never had any issue ignoring the (few) notifications I receive across all of my devices. However, being a computer and technology incompetent guy, the most difficult part of this procedure was figuring out how to disable notifications in the first place. Although I toiled in the settings of my devices for extensive periods of time, I finally figured it out after returning to a manual. This technique was quite helpful in limiting distractions. Although insignificant for myself, I understand how helpful this strategy would be for those that find themselves constantly wandering to their devices, drawn by the illuminated screen and the banners flashing across its surface.

3. Get Organized
This task proved to be quite difficult, primarily because after returning from vacation, my family and I moved to a new temporary house for a month. Consequently, all, and I mean all of my belongings are stowed away in storage or in poorly labeled boxes. (I'm to blame for that one). However, having a set of essential items in my backpack, I finally managed to gather enough materials to create a makeshift, haphazard environment for my summer productivity.

I may have mentioned in my previous post that I had used these techniques and strategies beforehand and they were supremely effective. And if I do say so myself, they are. However, I obviously should have used these strategies before advocating them, and for that I apologize to the select few readers that are viewing both this post and also viewed post preceding it. Until then, I sincerely wish you the greatest of luck in summer productivity, and if these tips were of any assistance to you or someone you know, make sure to leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How to be Productive this Summer

Now that school has finally finished, I find myself at home and primarily unproductive. Mindlessly watching videos and sleeping are two such unproductive activities consequential to the lack of organization and order in my days. I've now learned that with all of this time on my hands, it is imperative that I avoid all couches, mattresses, and electronics, lest I cannot pry my body from a collapsed, resting position or my eyes from a glowing screen.

So, as I thought about any sound advice to give regarding summer productivity, I finally compiled a list of short tips that may aid you in being productive this summer.
1. Make a Schedule
So, I decided to try something interesting: I took my old school schedule, which lists a starting time of 8:15 and ending time of 3:00, and substituted productive summer activities for the classes on this schedule. Thus, my productive activities are equally divided into eighty minute chunks while leaving the afternoon free. However, minor adjustments should be made to compensate for differences in eating times and of course, unnecessary periods for passing between classes. Furthermore, by following a summer schedule that parallels your schedule for school, the transition back to school in a few months will be seamless.

2. Turn off Notifications
Now this one is more difficult, as it requires a concentrated and constant effort to resist enabling notifications again. However, as I have found, by disabling notifications, whether from social media or even e-mail, it is significantly easier to resist returning to these distracting applications and thus detracting from your summer productivity. This is so because the purpose of notifications is to subtly encourage the recipient of such notifications to return to their corresponding application. And, if you're like me and receive constant updates on various platforms and systems, then the cycle is seemingly never ending. But once you disable those pesky notifications, productivity will be easy.

3. Get Organized My final piece of advice, although probably goes without saying, is to remain organized. It's easy during the summer to become disorganized and disordered, but by adopting a pattern of organization during summer similar to that of the school year, you'll not only be productive during the summer, but be prepared to return to school in the fall. Furthermore, by consistently organizing materials prior to beginning a specific summer project, you subsequently limit unnecessary interruptions and distractions.

I hope that this was a helpful post, (because if it wasn't, I wasn't very productive in writing it). Although these steps are all beneficial in bolstering summer productivity, this isn't the only way to be productive during the summer. I advise you to combine these ideas with your own to produce a summer program that is personally effective and efficient. And with that, make sure to enjoy your summer as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Original Poem Post 4 - "The Sculptor"

At last. This four day succession of "original poem posts" is finally concluding. (I'm getting worn out myself). Here you go.


the sculptor
arched his back and strained his neck
as he glanced
over his subject

without breaking his line of sight
he concentrated
and reached for his chisel
resting on the table beside him

he scraped at the stone
prying away layer after layer
as if etching onto its soul
the soul of another

as loose rocks and pebbles showered
down upon his shins
bubbling red rivers streamed across leg
yet he did not look

gingerly mixing the dirt
on his hands
with the seeping maroon
on his shins

rubbing more vigorously
so that the two substances combined
he brushed the sculpture
with the dull paste

splattering red
onto the face of the sculpture
and streaking red
on the sculpture’s abdomen and hands and feet

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Original Poem Post 3 - "I had been here before"

My apologies for (another) poem, but here you go.


I had been here before


when I was able to shriek at the heavens in soprano
and wasn't afraid to do so

when I thought this fence was for keeping people in
not keeping people out

when I thought that the dying flowers under my feet me weren't given enough water
but not neglected

when I thought the sidewalk was meant for running
not walking

when I could reach my arms through the gaps of this fence
without getting stuck

I used to guess my height in comparison to the fence
I was always shorter

I would stand on my toes and reach for the sky,
bracing myself against this very fence

now, I don’t need to guess about whether or not I'm taller

I don’t need to brace myself against this fence

is it that everything is different?
or nothing is the same?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Original Poem Post 2 - "Roots"

Now that you've read my first poem, I'm now sharing the next poem I wrote, "Roots". I think that this poem is in fact better than "Rocks", but I won't know for sure until you read it and let me know.



Roots
Buried underneath soil and trapped
Under
Layers
And layers

These undeserving and unacknowledged roots were driven into the ground, never
properly organized. ordered. straight. parallel.
instead, writhing in deep convolutions and contortions as if squeezed by a velvet hand
and expanding to occupy the blackness of the empty, restless earth.

Though fated by nature to descend
into the depths of hell and never stretch to the heavens,
the twisted tendrils accept
such rigid fate as normalcy, as if growth is supposed to spiral downwards.

Slaves to thick, penetrating darkness
amidst a sea of obscurity and lack of understanding,
the roots are shackled
with bonds and links tightened to the illusion of separation.

Unable to see their neighboring strands
  Their companions
Unable to hear the subtle shuffling of growth
  Their maturation
Unable to smell the richness of the dirt
  Their odor

But still able to swallow in gasping, sputtering gulps
the pure, immaculate liquid of clarity and life,
And still able to soak
The maroon liquid of seeping, sinking cruelty and death.

The roots violently lick their
chapped lips and desperately croak in coarse tones
gasping for a brief response,
but all noise goes unheard, lost in the thick soil.

Even with their throats parched
and their pleas unanswered,
the roots claw at the soil hoping
to feel a solid form different from the fine earth.

Scraping and scratching and clawing
the dirt peels away to reveal
more blackness and more earth,
causing the roots to extend and grow to fill the gaping space.

And with such growth and such understanding
follows unity and connection as the roots finally
penetrate the black earth to clasp hands
and experience and touch and feel the warmth of another’s palm.

Although the darkness and the blackness were omnipresent,
the roots finally stretched to heaven
In stretching to one another

Though still unable to see the light, the roots were no longer blind
Though still unable to hear the chorus of their neighbors, the roots communed through touch
Though still unable sense the breath of other strands, the roots inhaled company and exhaled unity

Now able to grasp and trace
the weathered palms of their brothers and sisters,
And able to interlock
With the crooked, jagged arms of strangers

Friday, May 26, 2017

Original Poem Post 1 - "Rocks"

Before you read (and judge) this poem, I'd first like to point out that poetry is not my favorite (by any means) form of writing. It's often difficult to understand, and even more difficult to write. As I will explain after I have posted all five of my original poems, I did not write these poems by choice, but by necessity. So, if the quality is lacking, as I'm sure many of you will point out, just bear with me. And to provide some idea of how my poetry did (or did not) improve throughout the year, these poems will be consecutively posted once per day in chronological order.

Now, I would love to read any poetry you have written, so if you're comfortable with doing so, drop a link in the comments and I'll check it out.

And yes, I am aware that I wrote this poem about rocks. And no, I was not drinking (I'm too young anyway). Basically, this poem was written long after dark and with several cups of coffee. Enjoy (or don't).


Rocks
I remember stacking
Piles of rocks,
Noticing that they always tumbled and scattered and fell
When they were seven high.

I remember packing
Those same stones
Into an empty box
To bury in the attic and save for later.

I remember rediscovering
Those worthless chunks of earth
When I was searching for something else,
Wondering why I had gathered them to begin with.

I remember hurling
Those rough rocks
As if I were David himself,
Shattering the glass of my Goliath.

I remember tossing
Pebbles
At a boarded window,
Never shattering that glass division.

I remember sifting
Warm sand
Through the landscape of my palm,
Wondering If I was also sand on some shore.

I remember packing
That same sand
Into an empty bottle
To sprinkle on the sidewalk and the soil.

I remember stacking
Piles of rocks,
Noticing that they always tumbled and scattered and fell
Before I could even pile two on top of each other.






Sunday, May 7, 2017

List of Must-Reads I Haven't Read

As the school year now concludes, my English teacher decided that as a gift of sorts, she would compile a list of her favorite books and present the list to us. After briefly glancing over the list, I recognized the majority of the books listed, but had only read a few. So, if you're looking for something to read, take a look at this list and see if you feel, perhaps...inspired.

(All titles I have read are listed in bold. I didn't bother indicating which works I recognized because that's just about all of them.)

Novels
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
The Last Lecture - Mitch Albom
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl
Walden - Henry David Thoreau
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
The Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams
Emma - Jane Austen
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
1984 - George Orwell
The Stranger - Albert Camus
War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Doors of Perception - Aldous Huxley
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Rabbit Run - John Updike
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Brothers Karamazov - Fyodore Dostoevsky
The Call of the Wild - Jack London
Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Ulysses - James Joyce
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - John Le Care
Night - Elie Wisel
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
The Stories of Eva Luna - Isabel Allende
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
The Passionate God - Rosemary Haughton
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
The Odyssey - Homer
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
The Prince - Machiavelli
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
Inferno - Dante Alighieri
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
The Cider House Rules - John Irving
The Green Mile - Stephen King
No Country For Old Men - Cormac McCarthy
The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Now that is quite a list. And a long one at that. Also, according to this list, apparently I've been reading the wrong books for my entire life. Now I guess the next thing to do would be to actually read the books on this list. But truthfully, this post should more accurately be titled "List of Must-Have Reads I Haven't Read (and Most Likely Never Will)." And I don't know that for certain, but I'll more likely than not start making my way through this list when I have the time to do so, (as in summer or retirement.) Until then, the best of luck on your journey reading and let me know in the comments which novels you have read too.

Friday, May 5, 2017

For the Love of Canva

If you didn't already know, the reason that my blog graphics aren't as horrible as they could be is solely due to Canva, perhaps one of the greatest websites ever created. Being a person that has great difficulty with technology, especially with coding and designing software systems, Canva is the most intuitive program I have ever stumbled upon.

I originally created all of my designs on the computer using the Canva software, perusing the endless backgrounds, icons, and designs available to customize my graphics. Better yet, to make the transition from the Canva program to my blog even easier, Canva created a specific layout designed especially for blogs. But it doesn't end there. Canva also designed specific layouts for all social media platforms, and even for album covers and greeting cards. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful this program has been in creating my blog posts.

After selecting one of the aforementioned layouts (poster, photo collage, invitation, card...the list is endless), the program directs the user to the platform where the selected layout may be designed and edited. To further simplify the designing process for those that still struggle with editing software, (that would be me), Canva created custom presets available to be selected and reused over and over and over and over again.

If the user is feeling especially creative, the program prompts the user to select a background and continue by adding illustrations, shapes, lines, and even charts. To simplify the addition of text to user designs, Canva also pre-formatted text boxes with appealing patterns, colors, fonts, and sizes.

Now the saving grace of this platform is the ability to upload images to the system, giving users the ability to easily and conveniently access desired images without the constraints of the images already in the software. (Don't get me wrong, the options in Canva are great, but just in case a user is interested in uploading their own images, this tool can be quite useful.)

Canva recently sent me a personal email stating that I'm "one of Canva's most active users." And to recognize my commitment (I know, too much), Canva is offering me  a free one month trial.

Interestingly, Canva also added a new option recently labeled "I ♥ Canva." When I first saw that section, I was wondering why such a category would have been designed for the program. But after writing this post, I realized that indeed, that category was designed for posts exactly like this one. And yes, I really do "♥ Canva."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wallowing in the Water

The day I've been dreading the entire semester has arrived - the day when we started swimming during PE.

Now I must admit that because it was a scorching, blistering day, that swimming was refreshing, at least to an extent. Swimming has never been a great talent or skill of mine. Sure, I know how to swim. But if I had been on the Titanic, I'd guess that my chances of survival would have been close to zero. However, if I was asked to relax in the hot tub with my friends for an hour or two, that I could definitely do (and very well.)

There were a couple swimmers/water polo players in my class that obviously swam competitively from how practiced (and fast) they're laps were, but I was content with wallowing in the water. Then again, I certainly wasn't the worst swimmer in my class since some of my classmates were asking me how to swim certain strokes.
                                                        Image result for swimming gifs aquaman
The pool at my school is actually pretty nice. As in, there are definitely worse bodies of water to be swimming in during a PE class. My greatest hardship swimming during PE would be breathing. The pool at my school ranges from thirteen feet deep to around six feet deep, and because I'm only about 5'4", I'm sure you can guess how difficult it was to keep my head above the water.

But besides the obvious difficulty I experienced while treading water, swimming was actually a lot better than I had expected. We didn't play any games or something fancy like water polo, but it was hot enough that swimming laps across the pool was perfect.

I was fortunate enough to have remembered both a towel and swimming trunks, because there were several kids in my class that forgot both. The majority of them that forgot these swimming (essentials?) just swam in their PE uniform shorts and called it a day. And I would've thought that drying off would've taken forever too, but with all that heat bearing down, I think just about everyone was dry pretty quickly.

Well, I heard that tomorrow we'll be playing water polo, and I'm not quite sure what my opinion is on that. Hopefully there aren't any (good) water polo players in my period, because I've heard from the classes last semester that the experienced water polo players are no joke, as in, throwing the water polo ball behind their backs to score or something ridiculous. (And by ridiculous I mean that I wish I could do.) As for now, I should probably go and practice my own little water polo routine in the bathtub in preparation for tomorrow.