Welcome... Homeschooling Teen is a free e-zine for homeschooled high schoolers and young adult alumni. Published once a month, much of the content is written by our subscribers, and there are many opportunities for readers to participate - whether it's writing book or movie reviews, sending in original short stories and poems, or submitting other articles of interest. Additionally, in each issue we feature a profile of a Homeschooling Teen and a Homeschool Friendly College. Write to us at
Preparing For College - ACT & SAT Information
Now is the time for high school juniors - especially if they dream of attending a highly selective college - to start thinking about taking the SAT and/or ACT. Besides good transcripts and letters of recommendation, entrance exams are an important part of the admission process. While some colleges have waived these tests as a requirement, many colleges and universities still rely heavily on SAT and ACT scores to help in admissions decisions. A typical applicant to a competitive college might boast section scores in the upper 20s for the ACT and above 600 for the SAT.
Sylvan SAT/ACT® Prep can help you prepare.
Find a participating Sylvan by clicking
HERE or visit
to find a center near you.
IN THIS ISSUE
Homeschooling Teen Profile: Seth & Rachel Hiser
College-Bound: Eureka College
Homeschooling High School: What Has Algebra to do with Life?
College Life: 10 Reasons Why Community College is Great for Homeschoolers
Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years: by McKennaugh
The World Around Us: by Eleanor Frances
The Razor's Edge: by Madeleine
The Sports Report: by Caela
Emily Rachelle Reviews: Saving Mars
Game Review: PS4
Anime Review: by Xbolt
And much more!!!
Be Somebody...Be Yourself
American Red Cross Month
Arizona Archaeology Month
National Nutrition Month
National Poison Prevention Week
World Math Day - Mar. 6
Pi Day - Mar. 14
St. Patrick's Day - Mar. 17
Palm Sunday - Mar. 24
Passover - Mar. 25
Good Friday - Mar. 29
Easter Sunday - Mar. 31
Click here for more March days:
REMEMBER TO RECYCLE
SAT WORD OF THE MONTH
INGENIOUSLY [in-JEEN-yuhs-lee] adverb - in an ingenious manner; done in a way that is clever and original. "The toucan's beak is ingeniously designed to be both strong and light."
Note: Ingenious and ingenuous are not synonyms. Ingenious means "characterized by cleverness" or "cleverly inventive" (an ingenious device or ingenious designers). Ingenuous means "candid" or "innocent" (an ingenuous and sincere statement).
See if you can find the word "ingeniously" used elsewhere in this issue!
MOVIE QUOTE- Can you guess what movie this quote came from?
"Fairy tales usually don't match reality."
(Answer: Troll Hunter)
E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month
With all the spam and questionable e-mail that lands in our inbox, it is a good practice to not respond to e-mails where you do not recognize the sender. If you do not know who the person is, it's best to be very careful and not respond.
The same goes for receiving e-mails that claim all you have to do is respond to "remove" your e-mail address from future mailings. Do not fall for the oldest trick in the book! By hitting reply and asking to be removed you have just confirmed your account is "live" just to be sold further.
What I do is review all my e-mail and if the sender is unrecognized and the Subject: field is unfamiliar I safely hit delete without opening.
Better safe than sorry!
This E-mail Etiquette Tip is provided as a courtesy by: www.NetManners.com
Do you like to write?
Well, why don't you send us something! Become a part of Homeschooling Teen magazine and submit a letter, article, poem, short story, report, or review to:
"But it's not just learning things that's important. It's learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters." ~Norton Juster
Please share your story! If you are involved with an amazing project, volunteer in your community, have a special interest that you're passionate about, possess a unique skill, talent or ability, or have accomplished something positive and extraordinary for a person your age or in your situation - be sure to tell us about it and we will feature you in our magazine! Contact:
Tell us about your favorite homeschool-friendly college, and we will feature it in an upcoming issue! email@example.com
Homeschooling Teen Profile:
Seth & Rachel Hiser
Seth and Rachel Hiser are a husband and wife entrepreneurial team who founded a company called BioVivara in 2009. BioVivaradevelops vivariums (Latin for "place of life") along with starter kits, accessories, and educational resources to promote healthy indoor habitats for exotic plants and animals. Their systems provide a framework for recreating the special environmental factors necessary to ensure thriving animals and plants. These enclosures are designed to emulate nature as much as possible, thereby enhancing plant/animal quality of life and owners' enjoyment of their plants/animals.
Rachel and Seth are both homeschool graduates who plan on homeschooling their own children: Dietrick, 4, and Eliana, 2. The family lives in the Columbus, Ohio area. Seth's background includes military training/deployment and product fabrication. Rachel has over ten years of experience in small business management, marketing, and consulting. The couple's BioVivara business actually started out as a solution to a problem related to their favorite hobbies - Rachel likes to grow orchids and Seth likes to keep dart frogs.
Even though Rachel wanted to collect and enjoy orchids, as a busy professional and mom she didn't have a lot of time to devote to their care. She had purchased a Phalaenopsis from a big-box store in the early 2000s, but it died. This is a common problem because temperatures and humidity levels in homes and offices often aren't what a plant needs, or the temperature/humidity levels may fluctuate so much that the plant becomes stressed.
Seth had been keeping exotic plants and animals since he was a small child. He built and maintained many aquariums, palaudariums, and terrariums through the years. However, he was always frustrated with the constant compensation necessary to keep the plants and animals alive, along with the environmental challenges of recreating their habitat to ensure that they are thriving (not just surviving). Animals and plants live in complex natural ecosystems, which can be difficult to duplicate artificially.
Seth says, "I've been keeping herps on and off for over 20 years but being in the Army meant putting off a lot of what I wanted to do in the hobby. But being in the Army did have one upside for my love of animal enclosures: I discovered the dart frog hobby in Belgium while stationed with NATO. I had never seen vivariums like these! It looked like they had recreated a rainforest and set it in their living room. I was hooked.
When I got back to the States I couldn't find anything to compare as far as design and function. I started making my own vivariums by retrofitting aquariums, then recreating what I saw in Belgium, the Euro Type vivarium. But, all the enclosures I created never felt quite right. They didn't have the level of control I wanted.
So, I began doing more research, breaking down vivarium construction theory to the very basics. Then, I started developing prototypes that would have the level of control I was looking for, along with the beauty and simplicity of the European designs. My father was impressed enough with my work that he gave me free rein in his fabrication shop and BioVivara was born."
Since the existing options on the market did not allow for the emulation of natural biotypes without extensive modification, Seth and Rachel began building custom enclosures, backgrounds, and vivarium accessories in 2008. They experimented with glass and acrylic in search of the ideal framework. To help fund their endeavors, they grew select hard-to-find plants, and sold them locally and online.
In 2011 they started working exclusively with acrylic due to its lighter weight, easier shipping, greater scratch resistance, and ease of customization. They continued to prototype comprehensive enclosure systems and began the process of patenting some of their low-maintenance innovations such as the patent-pending Water-Flow and Air-Flow System. The "flow through" system controls humidity, temperature and air movement while allowing a moderate pass-through of air from outside the vivarium.
In 2012, after two years of development, they launched their first comprehensive enclosures - the Miniature Orchid Desktop Vivarium and the larger Rainforest Emulating Vivarium - via Kickstarter.com, in an attempt to seek funding for materials and equipment needed to make the vivariums faster, with less waste, and at a higher quality for a reasonable price. (Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding platform for creative projects.) View BioVivara's Kickstarter video here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/biovivara/miniature-orchid-desktop-vivarium
The Kickstarter campaign helped Seth and Rachel take their designs to the next level and make their products more widely available. They now sell Desktop Vivariums online. There are several different options available - buying a vivarium by itself, as a kit with background and substrate, or as a complete kit with orchid, background and substrate. The large vivarium was specifically designed for dart frogs, while the mini vivarium can be decoratively placed on a dresser, bookshelf or desk. For more information, visit their website at http://www.biovivara.com and their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BioVivara.
BioVivara will be in San Diego from March 1-2, 2013, as a vendor at MICROCOSM. MICROCOSM is "a celebration of the beauty and uniqueness of ecosystems through the keeping of naturalistic vivariums and aquariums. MICROCOSM is a new kind of event that brings together enthusiasts from a wide variety of interests--some of them the best specialists from their respective genres--in order to promote overlap between hobbies and celebrate the diversity of the planet on which we live. The two-day event includes lectures, excursions, workshops, a vendor sale, and a live auction. All proceeds will directly support amphibian conservation through the programs and grants of Tree Walkers International."
Rachel Hiser's Entrepreneur Club for Teens
In addition to being co-owner of BioVivara with her husband, Rachel runs a small consulting business from home. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from DeVry University with a BS degree in Business Administration, specializing in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship. Prior to starting her own business, Rachel worked as an office manager for Kresge Contracting, administrative assistant for Gramercy Place Condominiums, and communications coordinator for Lighthouse Counseling Services. Rachel's experience also includes teaching homeschool co-op classes, tutoring teens and young adults, and professional training of others in a business environment.
A career girl at heart, Rachel says, "I've experienced so much and had to work for every success; nothing has been handed to me in my life...Since my mid-teens I was responsible for my financial well being. I started college at age 17, but because I had to work and support myself, I didn't graduate until I was 25." In the meantime she married Seth, her high school sweetheart and debate partner, at age 21. Rachel's professional passion lies in small business development and she would like to get an MBA in Entrepreneurship, while her personal focus is on child development and homeschooling.
Starting in March 2013, Rachel is going to host an Entrepreneur Club for homeschooled teens! Are you a teen ready to explore the adventurous world of entrepreneurship? Or are you a parent with teens who are interested in entrepreneurship? Then this club is for you and your family! In this club, teens will learn what it means to be an entrepreneur, learn from real successful (and not-so successful) entrepreneurial stories, explore their own potential, and even gain feedback and support in starting their own business. Did I mention this club is 100% free?
Each month will have a primary topic, lesson plan, and discussion session. Students will have the opportunity to create short presentations, such as sharing their business ideas for critique and feedback, or presenting updates on what is and is not working for them. Presentations could be via a PowerPoint presentation or prerecorded video. Any student interested in submitting a presentation must contact Rachel at least one week in advance.
The first club meeting will be on Wednesday, March 13 at 1:00 pm CST. The topic is "Introduction to Entrepreneurship" - we will talk about what entrepreneurship is and is not, get to know each other, and share some resources to help you evaluate your skills and opportunities. This club will meet once per month, typically the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm CST. The meetings will last approximately 60 minutes. Can't make it to the live club? Don't worry, all meetings will be recorded so you can watch and listen at your convenience. Click here: http://www.currclick.com/product/78213/Entrepreneur-Club?affiliate_id=643
Why I Hate Fairy Tales, by Rachel Hiser
Many (dare I say most?) American children grow up reading and watching "happily ever after" fairy tales. Lately I've come to I wish I hadn't been raised on such things. Why? Because these stories set us up for false expectations.
First: There is no such thing as happily ever after. Even when we do meet our perfect prince in shining armor or the princess of our dreams, it is just a matter of time before the truth of our imperfections start shining through. Relationships do not just magically work over the rest of our lives. Instead, relationships are work. Rewarding, amazing, pleasurable, satisfying, encouraging, joyful, fun, and a host of other things that outweigh the work part of it. But still work.
Second: There is no fairy godmother to swoop in and make everything better. God may bless us. He may redeem us. Friends and family may support, encourage, and uplift us. But, we have to work to improve our lives, our health, our circumstances and our relationships.
Third: The decisions we make DO matter. There are consequences to our actions that we have to live with. Yet, the stories we are brought up with teach us that we can make really stupid decisions and someone will come rescue us. It is foolishness (and maybe some childishness) to imagine that we can squander our resources (time, energy, health, money, relationships) or take them for granted and then figure they will still be around when we want them.
I've been trained all my life to idealize the fairy tales I was brought up on... And, so, I find myself in the midst of these childish and foolish feelings of wishing things would be easy, that the hard stuff would just go away, that I wouldn't have to work so hard... It's a bit embarrassing to admit, really (and there I go admitting another silly personality flaw: pride). But, it's true.
Wishing you joy in your journey!
|Please share your story!
If you are involved with an amazing project, volunteer in your community, have a special interest that you're passionate about, possess a unique skill, talent or ability, or have accomplished something positive and extraordinary for a person your age or in your situation - be sure to tell us about it and we will feature you in our magazine! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Homeschooler's Guide to World Missions
Free eBook from CollegePlus!
Have you or anyone you know thought about going on a missions trip? Or maybe you've already been on one and are ready to go again.
Whatever the case, we want to help you impact the world with the Gospel.
That's why we're really excited about our new ebook," The Homeschooler's Guide to World Missions."
In the ebook, Elizabeth Fox, CollegePlus coach and Director of Global Encounters, covers everything you need to know about going on a missions trip.
From deciding where to go, examining your heart, paying for the trip, and what to pack, to name a few, Elizabeth shares valuable lessons learned from her extensive missions experience.
But what if going on a missions trip isn't something you've been thinking about? Well, here's what Elizabeth says in the ebook:
"...and if you're about to say, 'Well, this ebook is definitely not talking about me!' let me just say that I did not start out as the ideal international missions adventure candidate. I actually had no desire to leave the US. Ever. Keep reading a bit further to see if I just might be writing about you. If you make it through section one without seeing yourself in here, you have my permission to stop reading."
So, even if you don't think you're interested in going on a missions trip anytime soon, you'll want to download it for future reference. You just never know what God is going to call you to do - yes, I say that from experience!
Please share your story!
If you are involved with an amazing project, volunteer in your community, have a special interest that you're passionate about, possess a unique skill, talent or ability, or have accomplished something positive and extraordinary for a person your age or in your situation - be sure to tell us about it and we will feature you in our magazine! Contact:
Homeschool Friendly Colleges
Eureka College: Ronald Reagan's Alma Mater
Eureka is a small residential liberal arts college in north central Illinois. The 112-acre campus is located about 20 minutes east of the Peoria metropolitan area and 2 hours southwest of Chicago. The college setting is lovely with its rolling green lawn, lush trees, and Georgian-style red brick buildings with white framed windows and ivy-covered walls. Two of the college buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eureka is one of the towns along the Ronald Reagan Trail, a series of roads that connect places in northern Illinois that were of importance to Reagan's early life.
Before Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood film star, Governor of California, and President of the United States, he was a student at Eureka College. Reagan enrolled on a Needy Student Scholarship in 1928 and graduated in 1932 with a bachelor's degree in economics. Among more than 4,200 American institutions of higher learning today, only 22 can claim to have given a future U.S. President an undergraduate diploma. Throughout his career, Reagan maintained a lifelong relationship with the college. Other notable Eureka alumni include Neil Reagan (the brother of Eureka's most prominent alumnus), forty-two college and university presidents, seven governors, and members of Congress.
The college, originally named the Walnut Grove Academy, was founded in 1848 by a group of abolitionists who had left Kentucky because of their opposition to slavery. It was the first school in Illinois (and only the third in the United States) to educate women on an equal basis with men. Eureka College was chartered in 1855, and is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Eureka offers four-year, full-tuition scholarships to students interested in pursuing ministry in the Disciples of Christ. Eureka also welcomes students of all backgrounds and faiths. Its stated core values are learning, service, and leadership.
A strong sense of community - along with some of the finest, dedicated, caring individuals - has helped make Eureka one of the best and safest campuses in the nation. The Eureka faculty excels at scholarship, teaching, and mentoring students. Three of every four faculty members have the highest degrees in their fields. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1, with many classes smaller. The structure of the curriculum places a strong focus on the mutual development of intellect and character. With small classes, excellent academics, a close-knit community, and a rich heritage and tradition, Eureka offers an environment that you won't find on many other college campuses.
Currently, just under 800 students are enrolled in Eureka College. Most of the student body comes from the state of Illinois, while some students are from other states and countries. In the U.S. News and World Report 2010, Eureka was ranked as a Tier 1 Midwest Regional College. ("Regional college" refers to smaller institutions that draw most of their students from the surrounding area.) U.S. News has also consistently ranked Eureka as the #1 Value in the Midwest Great Schools/Great Prices category. Eureka is one of just 58 colleges profiled in the highly selective National Review College Guide: America's Top Liberal Arts Schools.
Eureka offers a classical liberal arts education with 30 degree programs and pre-professional programs. Majors and minors include: Accounting, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Studies, Criminal Justice, Economics, Elementary Education, English, Environmental Studies, History, Political Science, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Music, Music Education, Organizational Leadership, Philosophy and Religion, Physical Education, Psychology, Secondary Education, Sociology, Spanish, Special Education, Technology Applications, Theatre Arts, and Drama. Pre-professional programs include: Art Therapy, Pre-Actuarial, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Ministry, Pre-Music Therapy, Pre-Nursing, and Pre-Veterinary.
The academic program at Eureka College seeks to maintain a balance between requirements which all students must meet, and freedom for each student to select those courses which will best match and further one's own interests, skills, and life plan. All Eureka students are required to acquire and demonstrate skills in composition and mathematics. The college also requires each student to study natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, fine and performing arts. These requirements ensure that every student will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and become a well-rounded person while exploring common cultural heritage. Eureka students also have an opportunity to study off-campus through programs in countries around the globe.
Eureka College boasts that its historic commitment to small enrollment gives every student a unique opportunity to participate in campus activities, building confidence and leadership skills. The college encourages personal development socially, interpersonally, and morally through student engagement. The Student Activities Office at Eureka strives to promote co-curricular involvement in organizations and activities both on and off campus, in order to cultivate holistic student growth and in turn support the mission of Eureka College. With more than 40 clubs and activities to choose from, extra-curricular life at Eureka is active and diverse.
Ronald Reagan's four years at Eureka are a testimony to the principles of initiative and involvement in college life. He was a Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity member, yearbook feature editor, and Boosters Club president. He played football, was the leading swimmer, ran on the track team, and was a basketball cheerleader. He appeared in 14 plays, served two years in the Student Senate, and in his senior year was elected Student Body President. Reagan admitted later in life that he might have been accused of majoring in extracurricular activities! All this time he was also working in the dining hall on campus. And yet long after Reagan had graduated from Eureka with an economics degree, his presidential advisors were impressed by his grasp of economic theories.
A member of the NCAA Division III, Eureka College sponsors the following teams for intercollegiate competition: men's and women's soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming/ diving, golf, cross-country, track and field, men's football and baseball, and women's volleyball and softball. The new Bonati Fitness Center, part of the Reagan Physical Education Center, features state-of-the-art equipment for fun and effective exercise options. In addition to the Fitness Center, the Reagan Center houses the Gymnasium and Aquatic Center. The Reagan Aquatic Center is home to the Red Devil Swim Teams, and it also provides recreational opportunities for the campus and the greater community.
Ronald Reagan visited the Eureka College campus many times as an alumnus, trustee, Honorary Doctor, governor, and President of the United States. This relationship is documented in many linear feet of college records, published materials, photos, and videos held by the Eureka College archives. These collections are organized into three main groups: Textual Materials, Photographs and Media, and Museum Artifacts. In 2011, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth, Eureka College dedicated the Reagan Research Center and Archives within the Melick Library on campus. Funded by Mark R. Shenkman, a member of the Ronald Reagan Society at Eureka College, the goal of the center is to acquire and house every book and doctoral dissertation ever written about Ronald Reagan as a resource for students, scholars, and the public.
Eureka College is also home to the Ronald W. Reagan Museum, located within the Donald B. Cerf Center. The museum contains a collection of over 2,000 items largely donated by Reagan himself. The objects and documents are arranged to highlight Ronald Reagan's accomplishments throughout his lifetime: his student days at Eureka, his movie and television career, his eight years as Governor of California, his campaign for presidency, and his two terms in office. Quotes on the walls in maroon and gold (Eureka College colors) are taken directly from President Reagan. This museum is the largest collection of Reagan memorabilia in the world outside of the Reagan Presidential Library in California. Admission is free and it's open to the general public.
The Ronald Reagan Peace Garden at Eureka College is another tourist attraction on campus. The garden was created in honor of a speech that President Reagan made at Eureka College on May 9, 1982. Some people consider his address one of the first steps toward the end of the Cold War. To commemorate President Reagan's commitment to world peace, the college dedicated the Ronald Reagan Peace Garden on the 18th anniversary of what is known as "The Eureka Speech." The Peace Garden includes a bust of Ronald Reagan, and a large section of the Berlin Wall that was gifted to the school in 2000 by the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Reagan Leadership Program at Eureka College is a highly competitive undergraduate scholars program, offering distinctive co-curricular opportunities and full-tuition scholarships. The Ronald Reagan Leadership Fellows Award is given to incoming freshmen based on leadership, service, and academic excellence. Joanna Guevara of Rockford, Illinois, won the award in 2012. Guevara graduated from Hillside Christian Home School, where she was a member of the Homeschoolers Impacting Society organization and the National High School Model United Nations team. She has also been involved in other activities such as helping to lead youth events at church, performing in dance activities and musical theater productions through Christian Youth Theater, and participating in the Reading Buddy program at the local public library. Guevara plans to major in theater arts and drama with certification in secondary education.
Eureka provides a private college education at an affordable price. While ninety percent of Eureka students qualify for financial aid, the college is trying to get away from the vicious cycle of need-based aid by lowering the tuition. Unfortunately, the college simply cannot accommodate everyone and entrance is limited, but Donna Neff (Admissions Specialist) says, "Eureka College does welcome homeschool graduates. They need to follow the same admission standards and procedures as High School graduates. The secondary school report may be filled out by a parent as they do not have a high school guidance counselor." Applicants must submit ACT and/or SAT results, and if you have earned fewer than 30 transferable semester hours, you must submit your high school transcripts. Homeschoolers will need to list their 7th/8th semester high school curriculum on the Secondary School Report if it is not included on the transcript.
For more information about Eureka
Homeschooling High School: Helpful Tips
What Has Algebra to Do with Life?
By Sarah Del Rosario
Math teachers and parents alike hear the same question from their students and children. They want to know why they need algebra. After all, it does not appear to them that they will use these complex equations and odd symbols anywhere in life.
Modern educational theory stresses the importance of taking questions like this seriously and not brushing them off. Students do need to know why they are studying certain subjects or it is unlikely that they will ever focus all their effort on them. The problem is that sometimes these questions are hard even for experts to answer.
Why should you study algebra? Fortunately, there are several good reasons why anyone should study algebra and they should be fairly easy to elucidate to the youth of today.
Getting a Job
Too many people shirk their responsibilities with this reply and simply use a circular kind of logic. You need to get a job someday and you have to get at least a high school diploma to get a job. Increasingly, a full college degree is required. Since they study algebra in high school and college, you therefore need algebra, so this line of argument goes.
However, this just leads to the next question that is about why they study it in high school and college. Kids are smart enough to see that the first answer is not really an answer. It just makes the imposition of algebra seem all the more unjust.
A better answer might make allusion to the increasing prevalence of high tech jobs and the disappearance of many of the jobs that kids might imagine themselves doing. If they want to be involved in computers or tech in any way, algebra will come in handy. This is especially true if the student wants to be a part of developing software or designing hardware. In fact, they use much more complicated math to perform these tasks and algebra is just the first step in reaching that level of mathematical thinking.
This answer is harder to explain but it is valid and students deserve valid answers even when they are difficult to understand. The fact is that this level of math is challenging and it forces you to think in new ways. Many experiences in life will force you to think in new ways in order to overcome them. Algebra is practice for difficult problems that each student will face in life.
Students may protest these answers and point out that they are decided on a career. They can then demonstrate that this career does not use algebra in any way. Therefore, they point out with a smile, they have no use for algebra.
The use of unknowns in algebra makes perfect examples for this defense. If a student says that there will be no x or y in their life, point out things like doctor's bills. You know that every month you have to pay so much for rent, cars, insurance but you do not know what your medical costs will be. Any budgeting that you do in life is often dominated by these unknowns that may have to be included in your budget equations.
With these answers in reserve, it should be easy to tell a student why algebra is necessary in life.
Sarah Del Rosario a professional writer. She currently contributes at Help Your Teen Now. Help Your Teen Now brings together a vast collection of resources that will help families find their bearings and learn more about addressing teen issues. For more information about the importance of algebra in any life, visit http://HelpYourTeenNow.com
The Sports Report, by Caela
2013 NBA All-Star Weekend
The 2013 NBA All-Star weekend was from Feb 15th to Feb 17th, in Houston, Texas. On February 15th the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge was played. On February 16th the Sears Shooting Stars Challenge, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest were played; these make up All-Star Saturday Night. On February 17th the NBA All-Star Game was played. In the Rising Stars Challenge is a game between players that are in their first year or two in the NBA. The Shooting Stars Challenge is where there are four teams consisting of three players, with two teams representing the Eastern Team and the other two the Western Team. The Skills Challenge consists of six players, three for each team, and they all compete. There are two rounds. In the first round, all six players compete, and in the final round only two players compete. The Three-Point Contest also consists of six players, three for each team. Whoever makes the most baskets who wins the contest. The Slam Dunk contest again consists of six players, three for each team. There are three rounds in the first two; the judges give the points and in the final round the fans get to vote how had the best dunk. Once all the challenges and contests are over they add up all the points and see which team wins. The All-Star Game is just like any normal basketball game but the best players of both conferences play each other.
The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge: The teams were Team Shaq and Team Chuck. The players for team Shaq were Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers; Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Zeller of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors; Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats; and Andrew Nicholson of the Orlando Magic. The players for team Chuck were Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets; Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets; Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs; Bradley Beal and Alexey Shved of the Minnesota Timberwolves; Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic; Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons; and Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings. In the first half Team Shaq scored 66 points and Team Chuck scored 90 points to take the lead 90-66. In the second half Team Shaq scored 69 points and Team Chuck scored 73 points to win the game 163-135.
The Sears Shooting Stars Challenge: The teams were Team Harden, Team Westbrook, Team Bosh, and Team Lopez. The players on Team Harden were James Harden of the Houston Rockets; Tina Thompson, a women's basketball player of the Seattle Storm; and Sam Cassell, a retired basketball player. The players on Team Westbrook were Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder; Maya Moore, a women's basketball player of the Minnesota Lynx; and Robert Horry, a retired basketball player. The players on Team Bosh were Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat; Swin Cash, a women's basketball player of the Chicago Sky; and Dominique Wilkins, a retired basketball player. The players on Team Lopez were Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets; Tamika Catching, a women's basketball player of the Indiana Fever; and Muggsy Bogues, a retired basketball player. In the first round Team Westbrook and Team Bosh won to go to the final round and in the final round Team Bosh won.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge: The six players in this event were Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, and Jeff Teague for the Eastern Conference; for the Western Conference the players were Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets, and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. In the first round Jrue Holiday finished in 29.3 seconds, Brandon Knight finished in 32.2 seconds, Jeff Teague finished in 49.4 seconds, Damian Lillard finished in 28.8 seconds, Jeremy Lin finished in 35.8 seconds, and Tony Parker finished in 48.7 seconds. So the finalists were Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard. In the final round Jrue Holiday finished in 35.6 seconds and Damian Lillard finished in 29.8 seconds winning the Skills Challenge as a rookie.
The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: The players in the three-point contest were Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Steve Novak of the New York Knicks for the Eastern Conference; Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Hornets, Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs, and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors were the players for the Western Conference. In the first round Paul George made 10 baskets, Kyrie Irving made 18 baskets, Steve Novak made 17 baskets, Ryan Anderson made 18 baskets, Matt Bonner made 19 baskets, and Stephen Curry made 17 baskets. So the finalists were Matt Bonner and Kyrie Irving. In the final round Matt Bonner made 20 baskets and Kyrie Irving made 23 baskets to win the Three-Point Contest.
The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest: The players in the Slam Dunk contest were Gerald Green of the Indiana Pacers, Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors, and James White of New York Knicks for the Eastern Conference; Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers, Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz, and Kenneth Faried Denver Nuggets were the players for the Western Conference. In the first round Gerald Green scored a 50 on his first dunk and a 32 on the second dunk for a total of 82 points. Terrence Ross scored a 50 on his first dunk and a 49 on his second for a total of 99 points. James White scored a 45 on his first dunk and a 32 on his second dunk for a total of 77 points. Eric Bledsoe scored 39 on his first dunk and a 50 on his second dunk for a total of 89 points. Jeremy Evans scored a 47 on his first dunk and a 43 on his second dunk for a total of 90 points. Kenneth Faried scored a 39 on his first dunk and a 50 on his second dunk for a total of 89 points. So the two finalists were Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans. In the final round the fans got to vote on who had the best dunk. So Terrence Ross got a 58% of the vote and Jeremy Evans got a 42% of the vote. So Terrence Ross won the Slam Dunk contest. So at the end of the night and all the points from each event were added up the Western team won 140-125.
NBA All-Star Game: The All-Star game was between the East and the West. In the first quarter the East scored 26 points and the West scored 31 points to have the lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the scoring was a bit closer, with the East scoring 39 point and the West 38 points for a 65-69 lead at halftime. In the third quarter both the East and West scored 39 points but the West still held the lead at 104-108. In the fourth quarter the East scored 34 points and the West scored 35 points to win the All-Star Game 143-138.
So congrats to Team Chuck for winning the Rising Star Game and the Western Conference on winning the All-Star Saturday night and the All-Star Game. Good luck to all the players and their teams in the rest of the season.
Super Bowl XLVII (47)
This year's Super Bowl was between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Super Bowl was on February 3rd 8:30 Eastern Time. The half time show was performed by Beyonce. This is the seventh time the 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl; they have never lost a Super Bowl. The Ravens have only been to one Super Bowl that they won against the New York Giants in 2001 34-7.
First Quarter: The Ravens were the first to score. They scored a touchdown two minutes into the first quarter. The 49ers scored a field goal five minutes into the first quarter to make it 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Second Quarter: Eight minutes into the second quarter, the Ravens scored another touchdown to make it 14-3. With two minutes left in the quarter they scored another touchdown to make it 21-3. The 49ers scored another field goal with only seconds left in the quarter to make it 21-6.
Half Time Show: Here are the songs Beyonce sang for the half time show: "Love on Top", "Crazy in Love", "End of Time", "Baby Boy", "Bootylicious" with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams aka Destiny's Child, "Independent Women (Part 1)" with Destiny's Child, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" with Destiny's Child, and "Halo".
Third Quarter: The first play of the quarter was Jacoby Jones running a Kickoff Return for a touchdown to make it 28-6. Then there was a blackout caused by a device that was made to prevent a blackout but it malfunctioned. This device is called a relay. After about 40 minutes the third quarter started again. The 49ers controlled the rest of the quarter scoring two touchdowns eight and ten minutes into the quarter and a field goal with only three minutes left in the quarter to make the game 28-23.
Fourth Quarter: Three minutes into the quarter the Ravens scored a field goal to make it 31-23. Three minutes later the 49ers scored a touchdown to make it 31-29. With four minutes left in the quarter the Ravens scored a field goal to make it 34-29. The 49ers got a safety with only four seconds left in the quarter but it still wasn't enough to win the game ending 34-31.
Congrats to the Ravens on their second Super Bowl and their first in the last decade. Have a good off season and good luck to you next season.
Sport Events in March
NHL: There will be 223 hockey games in the month of March.
MLB: There will be 448 Spring Training Baseball games in the month of March.
NBA: There will be 238 basketball games in the month of March.
PGA Golf Tour: The Honda Classic is from Feb 28th to Mar 3rd. The Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com and the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship are from Mar 7th to Mar 10th. The Tampa Bay Championship is from Mar 14th to Mar 17th. The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard is from Mar 21st to Mar 24th. The Tavistock Cup is from Mar 25th to Mar 26th. The Shell Houston Open is from Mar 28th to Mar 31st.
European Golf Tour: The Tshwane Open is from Feb 28th to Mar 3rd. The World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship is from Mar 7th to Mar 10th. The Avantha Masters is from Mar 14th to Mar 17th. The Mayback Malaysian Open is from Mar 21st to Mar 24th. The Trophee Hassan 2 is from Mar 28th to Mar 31st.
LPGA Golf Tour: The HSBC Women's Champions 2013 is from Feb 28th to Mar 3rd. The RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is from Mar 14th to Mar 17th. The Kia Classic is from Mar 21st to Mar 24th.
Men's Tennis: The ATP Abierto Mexican Telcel and the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are from Feb 25th to Mar 2nd. The ATP Delray Beach International Tennis Championship is from Feb 25th to Mar 3rd. The ATP BNP Paribas Open is from Mar 7th to Mar 17th. The Sony Open Tennis is from Mar 20th to Mar 31st.
Women's Tennis: The WTA Brasil Tennis Cup is from Feb 24th to Mar 2nd. The WTA Abierto Mexicano TELCEL is from Feb 25th to Mar 2nd. The WTA BMW Malaysian Open is from Feb 25th to Mar 3rd. The WTA BNP Paribas Open is from Mar 6th to Mar 17th. The WTA Sony Open Tennis is from Mar 19th to Mar 30th.
Caleb Moore was born to his parents, Wade and Michelle Moore, on August 28,1987, in Krum, Texas. He is a professional snowmobiler, as is his brother Colton. They both have competed in the Winter X-Games. He started his career as ATV racer. When he switched from ATVs to snowmobiles he learned to do a back flip by landing his sled in a foam pit that his dad built. The 2010 Winter X-Games was Caleb's first professional competition as a freestyle snowmobile racer. At this point he had only had one month of practice. He won the Bronze medal in the Freestyle division and finished sixth in Best Trick. He won a bronze and a silver medal the next year: Bronze in Freestyle and the silver in Best Trick in the 2011 Winter X-Games. For the third year in a row he won the Bronze medal in the Freestyle and his brother Colton took the gold medal in the 2012 Winter X-Games. So in only three years he went from "Beginner's Luck to Serious Threat". On January 24, 2013, during the Snowmobile Freestyle part of Winter X-Games XVII, that was held in Aspen, Colorado. He was attempting a back flip (a trick he has done several times) when the skis of his snowmobile got caught on the ground as he was about to land. He ended up flipping over the handlebars and upon landing, the snowmobile fell on top of him. On that same day his brother was also injured, sustaining a separated pelvis. At first his injury didn't look to be that bad because he got up and walked of the course under his own power. He went to the hospital to be treated for a concussion. While there the doctors discovered bleeding around his heart, and he was diagnosed with a heart contusion. They airlifted him to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he underwent heart surgery. After the surgery they found a complication in his brain. He died on January 31st 2013 at age 25. One week later his family invited the public to observe a moment of silence for Caleb. Best wishes to the family our prayers go out to them and may Caleb rest in peace. God Bless.
Caela's byline: I am the oldest of six children. I am a Christian. I love watching movies, playing on my computer, and I love watching sports. I want to go to Syracuse University, and eventually become a sports journalist. My favorite sports are hockey, football (soccer), and golf.
You can be a Homeschooling Teen reporter or columnist! Please send information about what you like to write about, the reason you want to take on the challenge of a monthly column, and an example of your work to:email@example.com
10 Reasons Why Community College is Great for Homeschoolers
When you think about college you usually picture going off to some far away school, being subject to a lot of temptation and bad influences, and living in a bug infested dorm with a load of rowdy teenagers. However, college does not have to be like that. In fact, community college is a great way to start your college education off on the right foot while still staying close to the comfort and safety of home. Here are some reasons that community college could be great for you:
1. Save money - The first reason I always give for going to community college is the great savings. I tell you I have done it all. I went to private colleges and state colleges. I went to online schools and community colleges. And of those various avenues of education community college was by far the most affordable option. Since my family did not have a lot of money my community college expenses were paid for, including books, through government grants. I even got a little money back! Think of it, being paid to go to college. On top of that, expenses were reduced because I could live at home still. I did not have to pay for an apartment or dorm and I got to eat home cooked meals every day, which was much better than eating cafeteria or fast food. If I had wanted to I could have taken public transportation to and from school also and reduced costs further still.
2. Close to home - Staying close to home is a great idea for many homeschooled teens. I mean, going to college is hard enough without losing the support system of friends and family right? Not only that, but by staying where you are familiar, you know where to look for help like tutoring, you know what to do on weekends and holidays, and you never have to worry about being homesick. Plus, like I said, it is a lot easier to let mom cook than to do it yourself!
3. Great education - Do not be deceived, community college classes are just as good as ones at the universities. Like I mentioned, I have tried it all. You know what I discovered? They are all the same. Sure, you will have good and bad teachers, but the overall classes and curriculum are identical. Once you reach the college level everything is pretty standard. That means you can take your first two years of basics at a community college and be well prepared for 'real college' whenever you chose to go.
4. Fast degree - Another aspect of taking your first two years of basics at a community college is that you can get an Associate's degree fast! It is like a halfway make reward. No one can dispute that you have been to college then! (Which does happen, sadly enough.) By getting your Associate's degree you will find it easier to transfer credits as well.
5. Easy to transfer - Speaking of transferring, most community college credits transfer completely to in state schools. However some out of state schools may give you trouble. By getting an Associate's degree you bypass much of that and can transfer with your credits intact, meaning you do not have to redo classes and spend money. Did you also know it was a lot easier to get into your first pick school as a Junior rather than a Freshman? By the time you have shown your mettle in community college the university will be chomping at the bit for you to come there and finish your education. For those who did not get great scores in high school (if you went) this is also a way to start over from scratch and get into a quality university.
6. Early start - Community colleges have other benefits too. Many schools offer early start programs. That means you can take college course for college credit while still in high school. This can save you tons of time and kill two birds with one stone. Hands on classes like Biology and Chemistry are often hard for homeschoolers to do at home. Why not take a college level class and get credit for both? You can also start before your friends by taking summer classes and even winter classes. Get finished faster and on your way to a job you love.
7. Faster classes -Speaking of faster, community colleges often have accelerated classes. Things like math or languages are sometimes combined into one semester. You can take Algebra 1 and 2 or Spanish 1 and 2 in half a year instead of a whole year. Winter classes only last a couple of weeks but count the same as a full semester. There are all kinds of ways that these classes can help you graduate faster.
8. Diverse environment -Another aspect of community college that you might not have thought about is the diversity. Not only are there many races and religions in a community college, but there are also many ages. Unlike a traditional university, the age of the students is not relegated to teen and twenties only. Instead there are young adults, older adults and even seniors taking classes. This variety can help you to experience more of what real life is like. After all, your job will not be with people all your same age. You can learn how other generations think and feel and get insight from people who are looking to start over fresh as adults. As a matter of fact, my mother returned to community college as an adult and loved to help the teens to think about life from a different point of view.
9. Smaller size - While some universities boast of having campuses the size of a city or classes bigger than a baseball stadium, community colleges are all about the personal touch. Classes are usually smaller and the teachers are open to talking to the students and answering questions in class. The campuses are usually within walking distance and easy to access. You get to know the students you go to class with and most community colleges have a small town feel rather than a big city hustle.
10. More help - Speaking of the personal touch, community colleges offer things that bigger universities can't. Help for the disabled (learning or otherwise), one on one tutoring with the teachers for free, and even job interest testing are some of the services they offer. Since community colleges have a variety of students with different needs, they are more comfortable offering help, even with 'dumb' questions. For first time college students this is a great asset and can help you get acclimated to the new environment. Some community colleges even offer counseling for students that are having trouble coping.
Overall, community college is a great choice to homeschool students and recent high school graduates. It offers all the benefits of a university but also allows you to stay where you are comfortable. Why put more stress, more debt and more chaos in your life? Check out your local community college and see if it will work for you!
Author Bio: Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to www.babysittingjobs.com. He personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.
Becoming an EMT: How Do I Get EMT Training?
By Issac Mills
It's wonderful that you have made the decision to become an Emergency Medical Technician, but now, the challenging work begins. And regretfully, the solutions to oft-asked questions typically aren't very easy to come by.
How exactly do I become an EMT, anyway? Just how do I pinpoint what university to apply to, or what qualifications programs have in place? Is there a minimum age qualification? Are there defined recognitions that are obligatory?
The reality is that every training program (and each and every state) holds their own list of criteria that they're searching for in a student. Therefore, the applying process can differ from program to program.
With that pointed out, there are a few typical requirements that are already in place. Here in this article, we'll talk about these requirements in hopes of better explaining the EMT training process, which we know can appear a tad intricate.
First, let's start with just the fundamentals. Even though every program might be slightly distinct, in most cases, you will need to be eighteen years old to enroll in an EMT training program.
Although you are required to be eighteen, you do not have to possess a college degree. Among the terrific things about becoming an EMT is that the career of an Emergency Medical Technician does not demand a great deal of education or experience. Although a number of jobs normally may require you to have many different degrees, when you apply to an EMT training program, you only have to have a high school diploma or GED.
With that said, you will definitely also need to hold a valid vehicle drivers license. And with the standard EMT job description requiring EMTs to perform CPR on individuals unable to inhale and exhale on their own, you'll also be required to hold CPR certification at the Healthcare provider level.
Individuals applying to EMT schools will need to have the ability to read at a 10th grade standard or higher. A number of programs, in their effort to make certain their students meet their requirements, will require that you take specified evaluation exams (such as COMPASS, for example).
It's also necessary to take note that as an EMT, you will often be in connection with a number of individuals -- both at the scene of an accident and inside medical centers or other medical facilities. This means that you're expected to be in very good overall health.
To verify that, you'll probably be asked to supply a record of a recent physical examination. Combined with the physical, you'll be required to supply evidence that you've received several booster shots. The list of required vaccinations may differ somewhat, but will very likely involve proof of a current Tuberculosis immunization, along with Hepatitis, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella.
As soon as you're accepted into an EMT school, you can expect to get somewhere around 100 hours of focused training. While training is often performed in the classroom, you may also get your training in the field (on an ambulance, for example) or in medical settings (inside a medical center or medical facility).
In contrast, while EMT training can last approximately 100 hours, people curious about becoming a paramedic can expect to receive 1,300 hours of education.
After you graduate from your EMT training course (which will likely take anywhere from 3-6 months on average), you'll most likely wish to take the NREMT examinations.
The NREMT certifies EMT and paramedics on a national level. Though holding national certification by itself doesn't authorize one to truly operate in the state of their choosing, the aim of the NREMT is to verify that that all EMS employees in charge of handling patients are capable to work.
The NREMT examinations include a computer adaptive test and a skills test. After you pass these exams, (and ready to operate as an EMT), you'll then need to fill out an application for a state EMT license.
To receive a state license, you'll need to apply to the EMS agency in your local area. The application procedure can quite often be as easy as providing some mandated documents to the agency for review, or as complicated as taking an obligatory state exam to secure your license.
The moment both your EMT certification and state license have actually been acquired, you're then able to seek out employment and ultimately get hired as an EMT.
If you're still interested in learning more about EMT training, or are even ready to learn about paramedic training, be sure to visit Paramedic Training Spot to acquire more helpful information on both noble careers in Emergency Medical Services.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Issac_Mills
Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years, by McKennaugh
A Quarter of America's Children: Missing Forever
There are times in our American history that we remember shamefacedly. Times when we whipped blacks until they bled; when we made them into our slaves. We said they were not humans, and, somehow, still thought we were righteous and justified before God. Why we believed he loved people with white skin and not people with black is beyond me. Oh, yes, there were times that our country did deeds in the name of God that were indeed being done for the devil. There was a time that we forced the Indians on a Trail of Tears, killing them, tearing them from their homeland, stripping away their identity. There were times that, in America, we locked the disabled in appalling institutions, said that they were idiots and thus did not deserve a life of love or hope. And we look back on these things our nation has done and think, "Surely if our generation was placed in that time we would not have committed such acts. Today we have knowledge; then we were ignorant."
And, yet, today, something terrible is happening. America, land of the free and home of the brave, has indeed given us freedom -- perhaps too much, for we have freedom to take away the life of a child.
Each year, another quarter of the babies meant to be born are missing. Gone. Forever. How can a country go on when it kills its own countrymen? And, yet, we abort our sweet babies.
Will we someday look back on this and shake our heads at the horror of it all, like most of us do when we think about the slavery that flourished here? Or will we continue on this path of ours, stealing life from precious infants? The President-the very person leading our country-believes that we should be "pro-choice." Will the rest of us follow his advice? Or will we have the strength to stand on our own, let our voices rise, speak for little ones unspoken for? Should we be pro-choice over being pro-life? Do we value our choices more than our children?
Approximately a little more than 4 million children are born each year. Over one million are aborted during that same time period. That means a quarter of our babies never give that first cry, smile that first smile, take that first step. A quarter of America's children ceased to exist here on earth. Not because of hunger or war or accident. No, because of choice. Can anyone really believe a baby is just a bit of tissue? I suppose they could, but not without believing that you and I are just pieces of tissue, too. Doctors have many theories to justify abortion by, but, when examined, do any of the theories stand? In the book, Where There Is Love, There Is God, Mother Teresa says, "Abortion-A murder! By whom? By the mother. By the doctor. How terrible. That little innocent child; that unwanted child; that aborted child. Right there, in the family. Maybe nobody is going to die in your family for a piece of bread. But that little one has to die because you don't want it."
If you're a human, if I'm a human, than a baby is certainly a human, too. Out of the womb, it would be a terrible crime for someone to kill a baby. Inside the womb, it is permitted.
What would our nation be if we had allowed our children to live? Since 1973 an estimated 54,000,000 babies have been aborted. Fifty four million. 54,000,000 people who would have grown up, gotten married, had children. 54,000,000 people who would have changed the world. But they were never allowed to take that first breath.
Let there be life. --McKennaugh
McKennaugh Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org) is sixteen years old. She lives in Troy, Pennsylvania with a handful of crazy, creative, but mostly wonderful little brothers.
The Razor's Edge,by Madeleine Richey
If by looking at the title of this article, you thought it would be about something nice, pretty, and harmless, you wouldn't be alone, but crystal is one of the many names for methamphetamine, a deadly drug. It goes by crystal, glass, ice, speed, poor man's coke, go, amp, chalk, crank, zip, and countless other names. But the problem with methamphetamine, probably most commonly referred to as 'meth,' is far different from that of other drugs, because meth, instead of having to seek out a dealer and buy, you can make.
The effects of meth are destructive to the human mind and body. The use of the drug can cause hyperactivity (mania), headache, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, diarrhea, high or low blood pressure, and almost any other unpleasant physical symptom you can imagine. Psychologically, it is equally as damaging, and may cause, but is not limited to: hallucinations (including delusions of power, invincibility, and increased confidence without cause); anorexia; paranoia; mania; and anxious, repetitive pulling of hair or picking at skin. Meth is highly addictive, and can be insufflated (snorted through the nose); ingested (by swallowing); injected intravenously, which produces the fastest high; smoked; or inserted by suppository (which you may look up in the dictionary if you are so inclined).
Stimulating the central nervous system, meth is an odorless, bitter tasting, white, crystalline powder. It works by causing an increase in release of dopamine, which, if you remember from previous articles, is often associated with reward-driven learning and is commonly affected by highly addictive drugs. The rush or 'high' users experience after snorting or injecting the drug is caused by the fast release of large amounts of dopamine, associating the taking of the drug with pleasure (that is where the reward-driven learning comes into play.)
Prolonged use of meth leads to impaired motor skills, and some recent studies have shown that the chronic use may cause severe damage to the portions of the brain that deal with emotions. Other dangers include the spread of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases through the use of infected needles that are often passed from user to user. Meth is made from chemicals and over the counter drugs that can be bought by almost anyone at the local Wal-Mart or drug store. As for exactly what ingredients are used and how it is made, I think that is better left unsaid. The less that information is readily available, the better. Methamphetamine, though it may look like pretty crystal, is far more dangerous than its appearance would lead you to believe. Though it is most commonly abused by addicts, it is occasionally prescribed by doctors, but in much smaller amounts than taken by drug users. And sadly, the chemicals, which are often stored in the fridge, can leak into food and be unwittingly served in fatal doses to unsuspecting victims.
Madeleine, 16, says: "I want to help people and I want to tell stories, especially the stories of people who don't have a voice of their own. Some of them have faces we recognize-the faces of family and friends, maybe even the face we see when we look in the mirror. I want to share with you the information I have about all these things, so that maybe you can recognize them and walk away from danger or help out a friend who doesn't see it or saw it too late." Visit her blog at http://yourstorydieswithyou.blogspot.com
The World Around Us
Birth Control Pills Label Needs Environmental Health Warning
By Eleanor Francis
You might assume that the recommendations by the World Health Organization, as well as a variety of studies done in England, the Netherlands, and Denmark, might give pause to the German-owned Bayer company in its promotion of their newest incarnation of the hormonal birth control pill Yasmin, which contains an estrogen compound called and Ethinyl estradiol ("World"). The third generation birth control pill, Yasmin, also contains the progesterone drospirenone, which contains potassium, linked to the increased occurrence of blood clotting (Bederman, Kientz). Bayer has faced sanctions and had to pull ads aimed at teens that claim benefits such as preventing acne and PMS, and the FDA strengthened warnings for the Yasmin pill (Meredith, "Birth"). Given the many lawsuits against Bayer's Yasmin, many might question whether this has gone far enough ("Health"). Since environmental health affects human health indirectly, the hormonal pill should be banned as an environmental hazard or required to be sold with a warning label containing a simple and direct message because not only the environment but women and teenage girls in particular face risks equal to if not greater than the lung cancer risk faced by a smoker.
Why is a drug that has been classified as a group 1 carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans) by the World Health Organization treated as a standard for women's health and featured in ads targeting young teen aged women? The synthetic estrogen hormones are not eliminated by water treatment plants (AP). High concentrations of these hormones can and do affect wildlife and humans generally - not just the women taking the hormonal birth control pill. According to Luke Dery, "estrogen has been tied to changing the endocrine function and harming the brain of both animals and human beings" (Dery). Because Yasmin is the highest profit producing-drug that Bayer makes, they appear to be able to afford a strategy of marketing, followed by restrictions and penalties resulting from lawsuit settlements (Feeley, "Research," "Contraceptives").
World Health Organization. Pharmaceuticals: A Review of Human Carcinogens IARC International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsGroupOrder.pdf
In a chart provided by the WHO, oral contraceptives are clearly listed as group one carcinogens (the 1 beside the chemical indicates it is included with other Group 1 carcinogens). This means that estrogen is known, without a doubt, to cause cancer.
Even if Bayer faced further restrictions, such as paying to pollute waterways, the fact remains that the hormonal contraceptive pill is known to be harmful to the environment and humans. According to a website by the Watershed Institute at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire: "Overexposure to estrogens have been correlated with increased rates of breast, uterine, and prostate cancer; heart disease; and stroke; as well as decreased muscle mass, sperm count, and sex drive in humans" ("Estrogen"). Although the hormonal contraceptive pill is curiously not listed among the sources of estrogen on the university website, it is implicated in a video produced as a public service advisory ("Estrogen").
Effects of estrogen, as seen in a graphic from a University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire film called "Estrogen and Estrogen Mimics." Pedal and Paddle Pollution Video Tour, Part 9, Lower Chippewa River. YouTube. 3 Feb 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcBDXdNsbTY
When environmentalists hear about the water pollution resulting from hormonal contraceptives, they are quick to point out other sources of synthetic estrogen deriving from pesticides such as atrazine, cattle raising practices, and plastics, such as BPA Bisphenol A, found in a wide range of products ("Can," McGuire). This is a valid point. Yet, no one has claimed the birth control pill--essentially a steroid-as the sole source of estrogen contamination in water. Ignoring this fact, environmentalists generally invoke the precautionary principle except when hormonal contraceptives are involved. Increasingly, however, it is becoming clear even to environmentalists as well as those inside the pharmaceutical industry that dangers exist for the environment, specifically for animals and humans. Mary Buzby, the director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc., said: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms" (qtd in AP). Hormonal contraceptives are designed to operate at the micro scale for the sole purpose of interfering with female fertility within the endocrine system. They do not disappear when taken but are released later when a toilet is flushed. The fact that these steroids are endocrine disrupting compounds means they are particularly dangerous when present even in trace amounts.
"Estrogen and Estrogen Mimics." Pedal and Paddle Pollution Video Tour, Part 9, Lower Chippewa River. University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. YouTube. 3 Feb 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcBDXdNsbTY
As the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire video notes, America's plumbing infrastructure was built at a time when people were not aware of the dangers of estrogen and estrogen mimics. Projected costs to revamp sewer systems are huge (McKie, "Water"). Reverse osmosis, for instance, is capable of removing pharmaceuticals; however, it is extremely expensive and produces several gallons of polluted water for every drinkable gallon (AP). Currently, there is no required testing or established federal limits for trace amounts of drugs such as contraceptives in the drinking water, and regulations do not address trace pharmaceuticals.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the newest oral contraceptives is the extensive marketing to teens (Alley, "Bayer's," "Birth," "EU"). Like cigarette advertising of the past, which played on a young person's desire to belong and to behave in mature, cool ways, the Yasmin ad depicts high school age girls in cliques or pairs, who seem to be in on a secret. The girls in the ad huddle together, leaning in to find out what the others know, giggling together excitedly or looking off in the distance, as if having an "ahah" moment. The ad implies that Yasmin provides entry to a secret club, and what young woman doesn't want to be part of the girl group that's in the know? The ad makes it appear as though casual sex is on a par with a sporting activity in which one takes proper precautions and then can go ahead.
Yasmin Commercial. YouTube. April 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoKSL8eBrW0
In reality, however, casual sex leaves casualties. Sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, being used, degraded, left broken hearted: contraceptive use often leaves women devastated. Young women are especially vulnerable to sexual assault, heartache, mood swings, and depression. Steroids put women at risk for a long list of side effects, among which ishigh blood pressure and blood clots because the blood is thickened (Balinski). This makes the heart work harder. In an article called "Hormonal Contraceptive Use Among Adolescent Girls in Germany in Relation to Health Behavior and Biological Cardiovascular Risk Factors," scientists found that teenage girls on hormonal contraceptives experienced an increased risk of cardiovascular problems (Du). Apparently, women with higher than normal levels of estrogen are at higher than normal risk for strokes and heart disease. These are serious health risks, and youth does not minimize the risk.
More long-lasting consequences include infertility and interference with the selection of a husband, something most teens probably have not considered. Taking the pill for a long time can interfere with the woman's menstruation so that she fails to return to a regular cycle when she stops taking the steroid. In some cases, women never regain their fertility. Equally disturbing are the studies showing how the pill affects the choice of mate in humans (Phillips). The interference is caused because the way a hormonal pill works is by mimicking pregnancy. This affects the man looking for a mate, because a pregnant woman is not in her fertile time and thus is not attractive as a mate. Steroid use, in a sense, makes the woman less attractive.
This is not just a matter of dating selection either. Because the best immune system protection and expectation of fertility is derived when the man and woman provide divergent genes, a woman traditionally was attracted to men who smelled different from her relatives. Humans have receptors below the eyes that perceive the pheromones through smell. Some theorize that a woman on steroids is seeking a male with the instincts of a pregnant woman, who seeks brotherly or fatherly protection. Moreover, the researchers found women on steroids no longer show a preference for males with distinctive facial or vocal features that are traditional cues of masculinity ("Unnatural").
To avoid the problems found, for instance, in the Russian royal line's propensity for hemophilia, humans have a system for screening potential mates that prefers diverse genes. The best choice of mate, it turns out, is one with divergent genetic qualities, yet women on the pill tend to go with the pheromones that resemble a relative's. Women traditionally gravitated toward men displaying masculine qualities; not so on the pill (Wenner). Less immunity from diseases may be one of the long term results in the offspring of women on steroids (Roberts). The pill confuses the process of attraction and disrupts the normal patterns of interaction between men and women.
A woman on steroids overlooks or dismisses men that were once at the top of her list. According to the studies, her body thinks she's pregnant, so the woman on steroids is not interested in men in the same way. Although still dating in the hopes of finding a lifelong partner, the woman is less likely to attract the man best suited to her genetically (Phillips). Teens are trying to fit into their adult roles, and many want to find a lifelong mate. By offering the hormonal pill to teenagers, we are disrupting normal dating patterns and putting them at great risk of cardiovascular problems because adolescents are already experiencing an influx of hormones and the pill may put them at a greater risk of blood clots.
The teen brain is not totally finished developing. Even those not altogether opposed to contraceptives question whether teens should ever be prescribed hormonal birth control. As Katie Clancy points out, girls as young as twelve are often placed on steroids to "regulate" their periods, yet healthy menstruation is characterized, especially at first, by its irregularity. Clancy questions whether hormonal contraceptives will damage what is actually very sensitive human biology. Further, Clancy highlights the fact that accumulated or lifetime exposure to estrogen is a known risk factor for cancer. For these reasons, she specifically cautions against prescribing steroids to adolescent girls (Clancy). Jacking up the estrogen levels in a teen may permanently mess up the brain's own regulation orchestrated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
If the concern is unwanted pregnancies, surely it is wise to look at a method that has been shown to be effective in reducing out of wedlock pregnancies among teens. Many commentators have noted the low success rate of teen contraceptive use, often referred to as a high discontinuation rate. In contrast, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that teaching abstinence reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies. Contrary to the expectation voiced by former President Bill Clinton and others, those taught about the benefits of abstinence did not lead them to behaviors that would allow them to get AIDS later (Ertelt "Study"). The teens were actually able to refrain from sex until a later age than those not provided with abstinence education. The study concluded that abstinence programs encourage teens to take a long view, teaching them to consider their long-term goals of education and career or having a family. By comparison, the safe sex program was less successful (Ertelt "Women"). Clearly, there is a better alternative to pushing steroids and emergency contraception on young girls.
Do patients routinely read all the fine print provided with a prescription? Most scan the pages briefly and assume the doctor evaluates the risk for them. The small print is often overwhelming, and the tendency of a healthy person is to suppose the doctor would not prescribe it if the risk was too great. However, as has been argued here, the chemical hormone estrogen is a known carcinogen and should not be used as a routine medication ever. According to the World Health Organization, estrogen causes cancer in humans. Because of the insistence on what has come to be known as reproductive rights, physicians apparently prefer to take a hands-off approach, accepting the feminist charge that steroid drugs are required for women's health. Given the increasing research on the detriments to the environment as well as health concerns and unwarranted risks for women and adolescent girls, steroids should be banned outright - or at least sold with a simply-stated warning label in bold type face on the outside of the package:
The World Health Organization has declared estrogen a Class 1 known carcinogen. This means that the International Agency on Research for Cancer that is part of the WHO has determined estrogen causes cancer. In addition, teens on oral contraceptives are at additional risk for Cardiovascular Risk, STDs, and unwanted pregnancy.
A more complete warning could be placed at the top of the page of medication information:
Risk of developing blood clots: Blood clots and blockage of blood vessels are one of the most serious side effects of taking oral contraceptives and can cause death or serious disability. In particular, a clot in the leg can cause thrombophlebitis and a clot that travels to the lungs can cause a sudden blockage of the vessel carrying blood to the lungs. The risks of these side effects may be greater with drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives, such as [brand name of drug] (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol), than with certain other low-dose pills. Rarely, clots occur in the blood vessels of the eye and may cause blindness, double vision, or impaired vision.*
*Adapted from "Petition to Ban Third Generation Oral Contraceptives Containing Desogestrel." Public Citizen. 6 Feb. 2007. http://www.citizen.org/notmypill
For a complete list of works cited, see: http://www.homeschoolingteen.com/2013/03/birth-control-pills-label-needs-environmental-health-warning/
Adventure in Israel
By Joseph W.
A few weeks ago, my dad, brother, and I went to Israel. We had many fun experiences, but I'll only mention a few of them.
On our first day in Israel, we went to Caesarea National Park. Caesarea National Park boasts a Roman theater, a crusader city, the Byzantine square, a palace, a public bathhouse, an ingeniously designed network of streets, and much more.
The theater is the oldest of its kind that has been discovered in Israel. It lasted for hundreds of years after its time, which shows Herod's engineering capabilities. This theater could hold four thousand spectators, and was frequented by many Romans. This theater was renovated, modified, converted into a castle, and abandoned after the conquest of the Arabs.
The palace -- once an extraordinary structure but now only a fraction of its former grandeur -- also has a story to tell. This palace had a pool which some archaeologists believe was used by Caesarean fishermen.
Probably the most exciting of Caesarea's structures is the Herodian amphitheater. This is where the excitement was, where simpletons gathered for the sometimes gruesome but never dull entertainment. It was used for chariot races, which is interesting because chariots were considered to be the product of modern technology. The chariot races were not unscathed by the bloody desires of the unoccupied audience. Men were seriously injured and sometimes trampled while racing. Sporting events and plays were also held there. One historical account states that some amphitheaters may have been filled with water, in which there was a sea battle. In this play real ships and slaves would be brought in. Although many slaves and martyrs were slaughtered at these events, the audience was thoroughly entertained.
Another wonder of its day was the Harbor. The very existence of a harbor in such an area was a magnificent stroke of genius to the canvass that, once completed, portrayed the fine city of Caesarea. It would not be an overstatement to say that it truly was a glorious piece of art. The sands at the Harbor were unstable, and would be unable to support any structures that they might try to build in the water. But Herod, in a stubborn craze, was determined to have his own way -- with or without nature's permission. He began the construction of hundreds of wooden crates, which he filled with lime rock and volcanic ash. He then sunk the crates, and stacked them on the sea floor. The ash and rock (due to a chemical reaction initiated by the water) turned into cement, and created strong foundations. He made his own breakwater, lighthouse, and ware houses for the incoming ships. Caesarea, as a result, became rich.
I had mixed feelings about Caesarea. I felt awe at the once-mighty city, but sadness for its current condition. We saw many pillars and rocks laying on the grass. It was difficult to picture Caesarea at its prime, or to imagine that the rubble on the side of the path was once a structure. It truly was a unique experience.
Another exciting site we visited was Ammunition Hill. Ammunition Hill is in between a modern residential area and a university, on Mount Scopus. It seems to be just another sight, but the many dreadful accounts and information testify otherwise. The trenches and concrete pill-boxes which once contained the nightmares of many sacrificing men have become a silent testimony.
The Arabs and Israel were at war [in June 1967]. Israel was fighting to gain Jerusalem back. There were many fortifications around Jerusalem. In order to be effective, all the surrounding fortresses needed to be captured before any effort was made towards capturing Jerusalem. The time was almost ready. One of the remaining fortresses was between the Israelis and the Holy City - Ammunition Hill.
Ammunition Hill was thought to be the most fortified of the hills that surround Jerusalem. It was first owned by the British, who left it to the Jordanians when they evacuated. The Jordanians renovated the fort, making it even stronger. They build a confusing network of trenches, dotted with many conspicuously placed pill boxes. Machine gunners would hide in these small pill boxes and kill any unsuspecting enemy soldiers that would walk by. The advantage of the pill boxes was not only the protection, but the anonymity possessed by those who were inside. Standing over this place is an enormous watchtower, which gave whoever was in it an advantage over the enemy on the ground. This beast of a fort was taken by the Israelis, and I found it riveting how they did so.
In a craze of explosions, the Israeli soldiers took the trenches methodically - one by one. Brave commanders, who led their squads from the front, were the first to be shot. The men who assumed the role as commanders asked men to sacrifice their lives by giving cover for the advancement. One soldier wrote in his journal that it was like hell. You saw your friends falling and then it was your turn.
The bunkers were the hardest won of the obstacles in Ammunition Hill. After repeated attempts by the Israelis to kill the Arabs in a bunker, they used a massive amount of explosives to blow the bunker up. The hero of that event was David Shalom. While he was under heavy fire, his friends were tossing him mega explosives. He apparently gave no thought to himself as bullets were whizzing past the fifteen pound packs of explosives. When all was ready, he lit the fuse and tried to escape, but enemy soldiers blocked his path. He crouched and survived the blast.
Today, the once mighty fortress is a national park. Soldiers and civilians alike are given tours of it and are told of the bravery displayed where they stand. Because of those brave soldiers, people can walk in the bunkers without any worries. They can walk the grounds that had become a grave to many, and not worry for their own safety. Art, poetry, and many other things now decorate the walks of the bunkers.
It was sobering to walk where soldiers fought and were killed. I walked through trenches, into the pill boxes and bunkers, and read the entries the soldiers left behind. It was a very interesting experience.
During my trip to Israel, my mind was enlightened by those two parks. They left an impression in my mind and I enjoyed every minute of my experience.
A special thanks to my Dad. It was a great vacation.
Emily Rachelle Reviews,
Saving Mars, by Cidney Swanson
Jessamyn must make a choice: save her beloved brother or her planet?
When an accidental fire destroys ninety percent of their food supply, Marsians trust aspiring pilot Jessamyn, her genius brother Ethan, and a select few others to fly to Earth and smuggle out precious ration bars. However, TerraMarsian relations have been either hostile or nonexistent for over a century. When the raid goes south, Jess finds herself facing some hard choices: go with her gut or her heart with the Terran boy? Focus on saving her brother or her planet? Can she even manage to do either?
This book was written by Cidney Swanson, author of the Amazon bestselling Ripple trilogy and nice writer friend of mine. I raved about her previous books, hosted a guest post by her, interviewed her, and held giveaways of her books. She's one of those writers that (even though you know all writers are real people) feels true-to-life and so personal! Her books are amazing; that is fact.
Saving Mars, as I already said, is about a girl who's grown up on Mars and her genius but alter-abled (not dis-abled!) older brother. Explaining the plot would give things away, but that's not because the good parts come late - it's because the entire book is good parts! The characters are relatable. The sibling relationship is realistic and heartfelt. The whole living-on-Mars thing, which a lot of books/movies make look great but very fictional... well, it's hard to explain, but basically, after finishing the book I literally had to remind myself that it was made up. I kept thinking about TerraMarsian relations, the Marsian climate, the experiments and technology and politics - all of it was so believable!
I hadn't expected any romance when I picked up this book. I mean, Cidney is a master of teenage love (Rippler? Oh, sigh!), but Saving Mars is about siblings saving a planet. You don't miss it in the beginning; it's unnecessary, which coming from me says a lot. When a boy does slip in a little over halfway through the book, nothing feels forced or added-in. It was such a natural part of Jess's story - he belonged there, just like every other person in her life. Their relationship was part of her fate, her path in life. It was all so beautiful and natural!
With the Ripple series, I mentioned I had one problem - language. Cidney personally spoke to me about that later. Guess what? Saving Mars uses realistic dialogue, language included - but no actual language! You'd have to read the book to understand what I mean, but I was very happy. While I have no idea whether I had a part in this, I like to think I did. ^.^
The writing style in Saving Mars is so different from Rippler that a stranger to both could easily read them and not know they had the same author. Yet they're equally great, and anyone who does know of Cidney would see her in both. I don't know how she does it, but Cidney manages to give each of her characters an appropriately different voice based on their personality and background, while retaining her writing voice as author at the same time. That's the mark of a great writer.
I give Saving Mars five stars, and beg Cidney to hurry so I can get the second book! I received this book for free from the author in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Emily Rachelle is a homeschooled junior in love with Jesus and the world of words. Find her every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes (http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com) where she discusses books, family, media, faith, and life as an atypical American girl.
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By Nick Maker
PS4 is coming!
If you missed the February 20, 2013 console presentation, I'll describe it for you guys and gals. See, rumor has it that a new console is emerging right before our very own eyes and the rumor was true. Introducing the PS4 everybody!
Sadly this isn't the real thing (BOOO!). Calm down folks, when I was watching the presentation they didn't even show the console- just the controller.
They said that the controller will have a share button with which apparently you can post some stuff and show it to your friends in the Sony Entertainment Network, which is not bad. You also get a touch screen which, honestly, in my opinion: why a touch screen? The Wii U showed the use of the screen and it is good, but why the dual-shock controller with just a touch screen? It has the joystick to move around for what purpose? Sorry, I know it is just an early info release on the PS4 and I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, so I'll wait and see how it turns out. I think it has something to do with the console which I wish they started out at the beginning and showed the games last. I heard that the console will have 8gbs (I think the Wii U deluxe edition beats that), and the graphics will have an x84 a CPU of 8086. WOWs.
Trust me. I'm not kidding you when I saw the trailers of the games. One of my favorites is Watchdogs. The graphics were so real that I thought that sooner or later, on the next generation of games, it will be so real that they will look like us in the real world OFF SCREEN! Oh yeah, the games on the other hand look pretty great, and here are a few lists they show.
Deep Down (working title)
Final Fantasy (TBA)
Infamous: Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Rocketbirds 2: Evolution
The Witcher 3: Wild The Witness
Some games I find cool, but there is one bad side for all the cool features of the console: no back work compatible! Yes, it is not PS3 compatible, and that I find not good on my wish lists. Sure, they said that they will make PS3 games downloadable, as well as PS2 and PS1 games. That is good, but for me I'm pretty much of a cheap person who doesn't spend much money since I need it for college. Learn my words everyone. It will be helpful when buying or being foolish spenders. That is why I prefer rental, so that no one will complain that I have to live with it, but remember it is just my choice.
So that is all for this month, hope you all have a great day and I'll see you next time.
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Anime Review, by Xbolt
Touhou Project Side Story
Touhou Project Side Story is a Touhou anime that was released in 2007, predating A Summer Day's Dream by a year.
Unlike A Summer Day's Dream, which was exceptionally good for a doujin product, Touhou Project Side Story should have had the subtitle "How Not To Make An Anime."
It featured bad character designs, worse animation, laughable special effects, and a story that seems to be little more than terrible fanfiction. Ouch.
The "story" is about Lunarian culture, and hence focuses on the crew from Imperishable Night, with some original characters. (This was made before Silent Sinner in Blue, which contradicts just about everything here.) And... My goodness, is that a MAN?! Sacrilege!!
As for effects, the whole movie looks rather blurry. It's almost like they turned the bloom up way too high. I'm like: "No! Stop it! Games already use that effect way too much!"
The voice acting wasn't as bad as the rest, though. (Except for Reimu and Marisa, who sound horrible. Fortunately, they're only on for five minutes.)
You can watch Touhou Project Side Story in six parts on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB6B0184B2932DD97
Visit Xbolt's blog: http://blog.xboltz.net
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