Writer’s Block by Grace Meyer

Something that most people do with ease is harder for me. You guessed it, writing!

Wait, what?

Why are you in the writing center if you struggle in writing?

Before you go all out and start criticizing me to no end, let me explain.

Whenever I get out my computer and open a fresh blank page, I stare at the cursor disappearing and appearing again. I have some kind of assignment or essay to get done for school, but for some odd reason, my brain has frozen 

and refuses to generate any ideas! I tell myself to work on other homework in the meantime and come back later.

Distracting myself only works for an allotted amount of time before I am forced to look into the eyes of the truth standing before me: I have no idea where to begin.

This is the reason why I struggle to compose introductions and conclusions in all of my writing. I’m fine on the body paragraphs because once I have gotten the first one done it feels effortless. Also, I have significantly gotten better in giving advice on papers made by student writers. Because I have been trained in being an intern, it feels easy to help them express their thoughts and suggest strategies using big ideas and concepts instead of focusing on grammar and individual sentences.

I have a good idea how to begin the first and

 last paragraphs by using generalizations, and looking up synonyms to vary my vocabulary is always helpful. But whether I like it or not, I have a feeling writer’s block will stay at my side for the rest of my life.

Happiness Is… by Molly Spring

Happiness is trying something new

Happiness is the first snow of the winter

Happiness is time to myself

Happiness is the excitement of the last five minutes of a road trip

Happiness is holidays and traditions with my family

Happiness is laughing uncontrollably until i’m in tears

Happiness is the windows down in the summer with the music blasting

Happiness is working hard to get a good grade

Happiness is walking outside in the crisp fall air

Happiness is traveling around the world with my family and friends

Happiness is waking up to the smell of pancakes and bacon on Saturday mornings

Happiness is giving back to my community

Happiness is how I feel when I surround myself with loved ones

Happiness is dancing in the kitchen

Happiness is the pride I feel after a difficult workout

Happiness is pushing my boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone

Happiness is thinking back to good memories and reminiscing with friends

Happiness is appreciating all that I have in my life, and showing my gratitude to those around me

Happiness is accepting life’s challenges and finding ways to spin them into something positive

Happiness is something that everyone deserves

Why You Should Eat Lab Meat by Josh Skubby

Meat.Image result for cultured meat

You probably eat it. Globally, we’re eating far more of it than ever. While I love the taste of meat, and partake often, the industry’s rapid growth frightens me. Just as it should frighten you.

For many, the ethical treatment of animals is the chief reason to reduce or eliminate their meat consumption. 77% of consumers are concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food. While food producers should treat their animals ethically, there is a far more important reason you shouldn’t eat meat.

Regardless of how the animals are treated, they pose a very serious threat to Earth’s climate. Agriculture (primarily animal agriculture) is the second-largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions behind the burning of fossil fuels. It’s a distant second, sure, but in the fight against global warming we need to reduce emissions wherever possible. Animal agriculture drains Earth’s resources at an incredible rate, and it remains to be seen whether our planet can withstand the industry’s growth.

Well then have I got a product for you! There’s a new scientific endeavor that promises to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and virtually eliminate the slaughter of animals for meat! Lab-grown meat (or “cultured meat”) has been getting coverage for some of its big-name investors. But what is it and why should you care?

Essentially, scientists take a small, painless sample from an animal that contains “myosatellite” cells, which serve to repair damaged muscle in the animal. By simulating natural processes, these cells grow into the muscle that we’re accustomed to eating. A sample from one cow contains enough cells to produce 80,000 quarter-pounder patties.

Interestingly enough, this process theoretically applies quite seamlessly to animals beyond chickens, cows and pigs. The cells of exotic and endangered animals should be able to undergo the same process, so the general public may soon experience guilt-free snow leopard or panda steaks!

Beyond some interesting new meats, there are very compelling reasons to encourage this scientific advancement. The widespread adoption of cultured meat would reap immense ecological benefits. Land, water and energy use would all be slashed, as would greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional meat production. Land conservation in particular can further promote the safety of our planet. If we restore a significant portion of the land previously devoted to animal agriculture, it can act as a reinvigorating carbon sink. Such an adjustment would offset the emissions of other human activities in addition to the aforementioned positive effects of reducing animal agriculture in the first place.

Lab-grown meat may sound like a scientific pipe dream without much staying power. Currently, this is somewhat true. If the average person can’t afford the product, its continued success is unlikely. As of last September, eating a synthetic quarter-pounder would run you about $600. That figure doesn’t exactly scream “dollar menu” like conventional hamburgers. In 2013, however, the first lab-grown burger cost over $300,000 to produce. That incredible price reduction indicates the increasing viability of this young industry.

This development has the potential to transform the way we produce and consume meat, but not everyone is as enthusiastic as I am. Public opinion polls don’t entirely agree on the American public’s willingness to eat cultured meat. Generally, folks are quite willing to try the food, but hesitant to replace conventional meat in their diets. This is a positive first step, but this trend must shift in the long run if we hope to supplant conventional meat.

Unfortunately, certain established industries threaten to strangle this baby in its cradle. Interest groups seek bureaucratic backing in their fight against cultured meat. Just last year, the US Cattlemen’s Association filed a petition to the USDA arguing that meat not coming from slaughter isn’t “meat” at all, and should be labeled accordingly. While consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they eat, cultured meat is still meat. It’s the same animal cells, curated in a different way. Restricting that label purely to conventional meats serves no other purpose than to alienate potential customers from eating the product.

It may sound silly, but lab-grown meat can revolutionize our kitchen tables. If it succeeds, animals and the environment will benefit greatly. If it fails, the flaws inherent in our current system threaten to inflict lasting damage upon global ecology. In an era where global meat consumption continues to rise, critically analyzing our current procedures is more important that ever. Despite its infancy, I believe cultured meat can and will supplant conventional meat as an ecologically-friendly alternative.

If we give it a fighting chance, that is.

 

The Top 10 Reasons for Snow AND Cold Days by Bronwyn Warnock

 

  1. Snow days provide a temporary break from the school building. Everyone needs that.
  2. The sheer joy of waking up to a snow day and not having to truck all the way to the school building in the early hours of the morning.
  3. It is an even nicer feeling when the school distract calls school off the night before, so that both the students and the facility can know that they any sleep in.
  4. Not having to dig your car out of the tundra we live in called Cleveland.
  5. During snow fall and winter weather, car crashes injure thousands yearly. Nearly 39% of all car crashes during the winter season are because of the unfortunate winter weather.
  6. While January 16th is National Do Nothing Day, snow and cold days allow people to have another lazy day off.
  7. For some, snow days are a way to catch up on school work and other responsibilities.
  8. While I know I have mentioned sleep earlier, I am going to again. The average teenager needs 8-10 hours of relaxing sleep.  Speaking as a teen, my friends and I are lucky if we get 6-7 hours of sleep with all of our school work, extra-curriculars, and responsibilities.
  9. School is great and all, but hanging with friends or just being able to talk with them (not about school), is great. Snow and cold days give a social break and trust me, everyone needs it.
  10. To place it in simplest terms, it is just dangerous to even step outside when it is sub-zero temperatures. If you have the guts to walk outside of your door in that condition, the amount of clothing you must be wearing is just not right.

Relaxed Nothingness??? by Ava Byrne

I have been reflecting on our 5-turned-6 day weekend and I realized something. I have never felt as relaxed as I did during those 6 days. I cannot remember ever feeling this way all of high school. Not on the weekends, not during winter break, not during spring break, not ever. Why was I so relaxed you ask?? There was absolutely nothing to do. There was nothing hanging over my head. I was just… at peace. See, I do nothing quite frequently but that time is usually spent with underlying anxiety. This feeling occurs because I’m usually doing nothing to avoid doing something.  Not this weekend though. It felt amazing to do nothing without a care in the world. 

I take after my Dad in that I am a chronic procrastinator. Unlike my Dad though, who relishes in the time crunch of doing something last minute, I tend to become overwhelmed and freeze. The past two years I have become much better in managing my time but I still have a tendency to leave my homework until Sunday night. I don’t like how anxious procrastinating makes me and I’m ready to vanquish it once and for all. That is why I’ve decided that this semester, the last semester I will ever spend at Shaker Heights High School, I am turning over a new leaf. I am going to try to the best of my abilities to complete my homework at the beginning of the weekend so I can have at least one day of relaxed nothingness. Procrastination?? I don’t know even her. I will report back on how this goes in my next blog.

Modern Art by Fenner Dreyfuss-Wells

In my last blog post, I wrote a stream of consciousness that made me laugh a little bit and threw in a few line breaks. In my mind it had no meaning; there was no idea that I attempted to convey. Our editor told me, quite reasonably, that he couldn’t make any changes because he didn’t know what it meant. I’m sorry, Josh. It felt lazy, and a bit fraudulent. I feel guilty for writing without a purpose in mind, and for not taking my time.

On the other hand, how can one call artistic expression illegitimate? What about the millions of dollars art collectors pay for squares of unpainted canvas? Maybe the meaning is for someone else to find. Maybe we should attach some value to things that just sound nice, things that take our minds on a little walk, that catch us off guard.  Maybe there’s something to be said for the feeling gathered from skimming the surface of language without a single thought toward the deeper meaning of the words, if that meaning even exists. sharp edge ice crackle brisk pop snow thirst dirty trick bury warm donut?

UNO by Abigail Beard

Image result for uno reverse card

Playing UNO with my baby brother is exhausting! I love him with my whole heart, but he tires me out! How could so much energy be in something so small? It baffles me to this day!

Our routine is a never-ending cycle. Once you start playing, you can never get out. The only stops are snack-time and nap-time.

First, I shuffle the cards while he occupies himself with his latest toy. He’s so spoiled, so I only shake my head and sigh.

Then I deal the cards. He has this idea that if he gets an UNO card, he wins the game. He always yells out when he gets one and I always shake my head–the brain of a child is remarkable.

Next, I put out the first card from the deck. He always gets confused over whether he should put down his own card or whether he should take the starting card for himself. I always let him go first.

We play our cards. I always have to tell him when his turn comes.

Then the end of the game comes. When he has UNO, he always tries to slip his last card in even though it doesn’t match the number or color of the one before it. He knows what he’s doing, cause he always looks up at me with his wide eyes as he slips his card on the top of the deck and then he says “oops, sorry” when I call him out on it.

He’s funny.

Whenever I win, crickets.

But when he wins, all heck breaks loose. He screams out “I won! I won!” Then he goes in for comparison points. “Abigail, you know I won and you didn’t” and then he wants to play again.

And then I re-shuffle, and re-deal because I love him.

Two Years Later by Claire Ockner

it is that time of year again,

the day is almost here –

the one that stained my calendar

and cost me all my years.

 

the pages turn, the months unfold,

each seeming like the last –

but all are stained by that cursed date,

that makes the present past.

 

twenty-four pages ripped,

but each feels like the first –

two years, or minutes, I’m unsure,

since the day that my world burst.

 

two years your head’s been made of stone, 

two years my heart has froze –

And still it feels like minutes since

our world was overthrown.

What is Normal? by Tomasina DeLong

I have been writing college essays lately and at one point, I caught myself using the word normal. This prompted me to ramble for another paragraph about what “normal” is. I deleted this paragraph because it was unnecessary, but the ideas have not left my mind.

In that context, I said that I wanted to be normal. This meant that I wanted a life without complications. I wanted a life where I not only looked “normal” but lived a “normal” life as well. This was in reference to my medical conditions — I want to be able to go to a friend’s house or leave the country without fear that my breathing and allergies will flair up. I want a life with all of the good and none of the bad. I think about kids at school who are ordinary and don’t have to leave class every day to visit the nurse. I envision that the lives of my peers are simple — without complication — but everyone has their own problems. Even if it is not evident, everyone has their own struggles.

No one’s life is normal because there is not one typical life that a majority of people have. I desire a life that is non-existent, because there is no such thing as normal. I started to think about what my life would be without the things that make my life difficult, and I realized that there are good things that have come from my “abnormal” life. I have good qualities and character traits that have come out of my personal struggle. Good relationships with people and new personality traits have emerged. I am proud of how I have grown from these obstacles.

There is no such thing as “normal.”

My Writing Process by Ian Marr

 

Sunday, January 6th. 9:13 AM.

I stare at my computer monitor. A blank sheet of paper stares back, untouched by words.

A research paper. Requiring eight sources cited with a minimum of 1,500 and a maximum of 2,500 words.

I tell myself that I’m going to finish it today. Who knows when I’d be able to make myself sit back down and work on it later?

I swallow and begin typing. It’s 9:34 now. Straining myself, I finish typing the last word of the title. 11 words. This is going to take a while.

10:50 AM.

277 words. I have 4 tabs open that are unrelated to the assignment. I’m not worried though. After all, the day is still young, isn’t it?

11:16 AM.

277 words. I found a cool new YouTube channel. This guy’s making videos about various stories he has to tell from his high school years. They’re pretty engaging. I should really get back to work.

11:45 AM.

346 words. I’ve more or less paraphrased the entire first half of one of my sources. That’s definitely how writing essays works. The teacher probably won’t notice.

12:20 PM.

381 words. Time for a lunch break! I heat up a few slices of leftover pizza from two nights ago. The pepperoni slices are still a little cold. Otherwise, it’s alright.

1:08 PM.

381 words. That lunch break took a little longer than I though. I sit back down in the swiveling chair in front of the computer. I can’t work on an empty stomach, can I?

1:40 PM.

473 words. I have come to the conclusion that research papers are incredibly boring. How any one person can spend hours grading these is beyond me.

2:33 PM.

604 words. I found a website with lots of games available that I used to play when I was younger. A quick trip down memory lane ought to be alright.

3:28 PM.

604 words. Did I really just spend an hour playing that? It wasn’t even that fun, now that I think about it. Still, it was pleasing for my nostalgia.

4:15 PM.

698 words. Almost halfway there; I decided a while ago that I wouldn’t be getting far beyond 1,500 words. I really need to figure out how to focus better… I think I’ll Google how to avoid procrastinating. That ought to work.

4:52 PM.

760 words. I’m finally starting to feel a little anxious about finishing this research paper. But, nothing for it but to keep chipping away, I guess.

5:10 PM.

802 words. I wonder if I can use a Wii Remote as a controller on my computer… seems logical to me.

6:29 PM.

802 words. The Wii Remote doesn’t work at all.

6:37 PM.

802 words. Mom says that dinner is ready. I’m glad; I was waiting for something to take my mind of the remote that wasted over an hour.

7:00 PM.

802 words. Mom wanted to watch some television, so I guess I have to go do that now.

7:55 PM.

802 words. I fell asleep in front of the television. Probably a well-deserved nap, but I really should get back to work.

8:36 PM.

911 words. I wonder how long it would take her to notice if I copied and pasted an entire source into my paper.

12:18 AM.

911 words. I woke up to find a massive line of sssssssssss lining the whole screen. There’s a little fewer than six hours before I need to get ready to leave for school. I can get this done by then, right?

12:59 AM.

1,032 words. My eyes keep closing and I’m losing my train of thought. Why did I do this to myself again? I need sleep.

1:45 AM.

1,126 words. I reread my latest paragraph to discover that I had absolutely no recollection of typing most of its content. I don’t know how I managed to do that, but I’m not complaining.

2:32 AM.

1,209 words. I’m going to make myself a bowl of instant ramen. Time for a late-night snack.

3:38 AM.

1,209 words. It turns out that it takes a lot longer to eat a bowl of ramen when there are memes to be browsed on your phone.

3:56 AM.

1,298 words. The day is no longer young. Maybe I’ll just finish the rest at school. At least two hours of sleep would be pretty nice.

4:34 AM.

1,367 words. I’m so close!

5:20 AM.

1,411 words. Seeing the morning fast approaching, my focus shoots through the roof. Just a little bit farther…

6:00 AM.

1,511 words.

I type the final sentence just as I hear my alarm going off from upstairs. As I stare at my finished handiwork, I feel a rush of relief… and remember that my next essay will likely turn out the exact same way.