Saturday, 18 October 2014

September: Listverse, Open Night, Science Olympiad, Misc

Why can't I blog about just one topic? Oh well, I don't care. This blog is meant to be relaxing, I have other things to worry about.

SO, what I've been up to. I'll start with the quickest things.

On October 10th (just over a week ago) I got my second article published on Listverse. Here it is, title changed by them but it's cool, right? Also, there are atheists and christians and Democrats and Republicans arguing in the comments so that's something. It's about ridiculous school policies, and in researching for that article I was a little disheartened by parts of humanity, I must say. Also, I don't think I posted the link to my other Listverse article, so that's "10 Bizarre Cases of Hospital Addiction" and you should totally click on it to make me happy. I'm not coercing you at all, I swear.

Open Night! This'll be a fun topic. Last Wednesday, my school had its biannual Open Night, where the school prepares all sorts of fancy stuff and then invites all the eleven- and twelve-year-olds (aka prospective incoming first years) to try it out. I'm a Fifth Year, as I've said, so this was my last Open Night. Which is sad. It is. Open Night fills me with school spirit and I love my school, so I really enjoy it. On Wednesday I was in the Choir and Ukulele Orchestra (we did two shows for the parents) and also manning the Young Scientist stand with the other Young Scientist from last year. It got a bit boring, especially after everyone moved away from the Main Hall (where the Young Scientist stand was) and I still had to stay there making sure no one stole the trophies (I really should've got a picture of them all together, but sadly I do not possess the foresight for that kind of thing).

A letter arrived for me week before last inviting me to the National Trials of the Science Olympiad for another year. Again, lack of foresight means I don't have a picture of the letter which would've been nice, but whatever. After much angst I chose to study Biology and the exam will be in two weeks. The likelihood of me succeeding and being chosen to represent Ireland in Austria is exceedingly low, particularly with the rampant cheating (based on what I saw last year), but I'm giving it a go anyway as I am unable to resist opportunity. It's becoming a problem.

Sadly this means I can't go to the CTYI Hallowe'en Reunion, or really celebrate on Hallowe'en night because I need to well-rested.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I joined the school Chess club, but I did, and at the moment I am utterly terrible at chess, but I'm working on it and I think it's healthy to accept being bad at something and then learning from your mistakes. Would be a lot easier if my sister would stop teasing me about it though....

I've kept up Duolingo, I think my streak is practically unbroken so that's good. I go on occasionally, and Codecademy I've been stuck on this one problem for ages so I can't move past it and thus I just avoid it.

I'm really enjoying Maths class at the moment because while it's hard, it's never boring. But this particular part of the Complex Numbers chapter is ... unpleasant. Here's a photo of one sum. Ouch.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan Review

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 2011
Pages: 240
Rating: 2.5

*Deep sigh*

I got this book from this handy new shelf in school where you can just take one whenever, and I was looking forward to it. Then I opened it and saw that it was written entirely in verse. I almost put it back. Novels made of poems weird me out, I guess. But I got used to it, and the book took about an hour to finish.

The Weight of Water is about Kasienka, a twelve-year-old girl who has emigrated from Poland to England with her mother ("Mama") in search of her disappeared father. They're in a one-room studio struggling to get by while Mama refuses to give up on the search for Kasienka's father ("Tata"). Kasienka is enrolled in a nearby school and has to deal with isolation and bullying as the story goes on.

Kasienka finds refuge in swimming (thus the title) and in a boy in the Year above her, William, who takes a liking to her. At first she's put into a class a year younger than she needs just because she's an immigrant, but they move her up after exams, which was a detail I liked. About midway through, her neighbour Kanoro locates her father - but Tata's living with a new family in a nice suburban house and doesn't want to come back home, though he and his wife do let Kasienka stay at theirs some afternoons. When they see the squalor Kasienka's living in in the studio, his new wife even offers to let her live with them indefinitely. She struggles with it, but says no out of loyalty to Mama.

I couldn't really identify with Kasienka because she's twelve and in such a different situation to me. So I might put it in upper MG rather than YA.

Honestly, not much really happens in a book this short. The characterisation was good, especially of Kasienka and William, and we get a really good sense of Kasienka's emotions. I think the best part was the writing, which was lyrical and sparse and dainty and really just pleasant. If poetry works for any novel, it's probably this one.

I was left feeling pretty underwhelmed when I finished, though, because The Weight of Water doesn't seem to follow any strict narrative arc and rather just chugs along. Which is good while it lasts, but forgettable when it's over. In my opinion.

This was Sarah Crossan's debut, and I've reviewed another of her novels here (this one is YA dystopian, not in verse, and got a higher rating from me).


I'm holding off on reviewing Only Ever Yours until I find the words to express myself in a worthwhile manner.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


In my shortest post so far...

Only Ever Yours by Louise O' Neill just irreparably broke my heart. It's been days and I'm still incoherent about it. Review ... at some point.