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Walking Out Of The Woods

Posted 29 January 2002, 9.36 pm by marilee

My education has been anything but average. There are times when I consider this a blessing, although, there are also times when I wish I could have been like every other child.

I was having coffee with my mother the other day, and she enquired about how the whole quest for higher education was coming along. After telling her all the good news, I confessed that upon taking a practice SAT I totally boomed on the math parts. I must have sounded a bit discouraged and looked downcast because she said something along the lines of, "Well honey, what did you expect?" She paused, and then added, "You haven't had any sort of formal education. You've never gone through the system that prepares you for this sort of thing. Think of it this way, you are like someone who has just stumbled out of the woods and doesn't know any English. You have, amazingly, picked up enough words and social skills to get by and have fairly interesting conversations with people but that's about it."

Normally, these types of remarks would spark up my insecurities enough that I would fire back with counter examples of how I had a perfectly well rounded education, one might say a better education than most, although, she was right and I knew that. It didn't even bother me that much, if anything I figured I should be patting myself on the back for how far I had gotten.

To understand my situation, I must explain my schooling history and why it is I ended up in each educational insinuation along the way.

By age five I still hadn't been exposed to large amounts of peers before, nor had I ever lacked total attention. As a baby, I was deaf for quite a long while, almost the whole time undiagnosed, due to ear infections. This meant I learnt to talk and read later than most children. Also, since I couldn't hear, I learnt to look to my surroundings for information, which in fact, lead to a short attention span when it came to concentrating on individual information sources. All this meant I was a shy, quiet and kind of spacey little kid. My parents feared putting me in our overcrowded school system that didn't have the funding to care for any child's special needs would not only lack any benefit to my development but might in fact destroy me.

They decided that a private school was the only answer. At a private school, surely, the class sizes would be small enough and I would get the attention I needed. They were, they thought, paying enough for such elite treatment. Considering I had just learned how to speak properly, I unfortunately hadn't learned to read yet. The teachers at my school came to the conclusion I must be "slow", without much investigation or even the courtesy to tell my parents of their discovery concerning my learning capabilities. They thought it would be best not to spend any extra time or effort trying to teach me how to read because I likely wouldn't catch on and instead would let me sit during reading time doing nothing. One day I innocently asked my mother why some girls had to sit under the stairs and some girls didn't. She asked me who made these girls sit under the stairs, I responded that the teachers did. She asked me what these girls had done to be punished, I told her I didn't know. She asked me if "these girls" meant me. My eyes filling up with tears, nodded my head slowly. My parents, once they found out what was going on, were outraged at the money they'd wasted and took me out of the school instantly.

They took me to a tutor and I learnt to read at a highschool level in the course of a couple months. After that, they placed me in my local public elementary school. Each day I grew a little quieter, looked a little sadder and cried longer every night. My teacher yelled at me, called me names and hit the students. By this point, I'm sure my parents were at their ropes end. After a year and a half of this, it was finally enough, once again they knew they had to search for another option or they might lose the happy little baby they had once known for good.

I can remember my mother telling me about my new school. "What will I have to wear? Do I have to wear a uniform?" "No, no uniform, you can wear whatever you like." "Do you know where my desk will be?" "They don't have desks, they have a table though." "Where will I sit at the table?" "Wherever you like, it's a big round table, you can choose where you want to sit. You can also sit on the carpet." "What classes will I be taking?" "I don't know, they were reading and drawing when I visited." "Oh. Okay." "Go to bed now. You'll see it in the morning."

It was a little house with a big backyard. There was in fact a table, and all the floors, except the kitchen, were carpeted. There was a large room in the front of the house were most of the school meetings took place, a small library where we would put on little plays, a bathroom where we'd do science experiments and a computer room full of Macs. There was no curriculum, there were no teachers, classes were requested by children and mainly would consist of science experiments. I spent most of my time there reading science magazines and comic books, using the internet, playing computer games which my friend Jeff would make, climbing on the tree outside and putting on little plays with my friends.

I only touched a text book once while I was there. It occurred to me that I had stopped learning the things I had been while I was at a regular school, and this some what bothered me. I went into the library and found the only text book that was there, a grade eight math book. I took it home and got my dad to teach it all to me over the next couple weeks.

In the middle of grade 6 I moved to another alternative school, but this one was a little different. They actually made you do work. I saw a text book for the first time in years. I basically went from a grade three level to a grade six level in one day. I had a little trouble with math and French but I picked up on the rest of it quite quickly.

Finally, after two and a half years of actual academic work, I'd caught up to my grade level and it was time for highschool. There was, of course, a problem with this. I had to leave the one school that actually had taught me anything I wouldn't have just learnt by staying at home. The images of my first couple of school years flashed into my mind and I couldn't get them out. While everyone else was applying for advanced programs and mini-schools I was contemplating suicide as the only real option. My parents applied to a few for me and I got into each one. Looking back now, I would have jumped at the chance for those kinds of opportunities, but I hadn't grown enough yet and I was scared. Finally I found a high school just like my elementary schools where I spent the whole time playing. I applied and got in. Due, solely, to my own motivation I completed my grade nine and ten in one year and they told me that if I wanted any more credit I would have to move on as they weren't able to grant anything higher then 10. Figuring that I was old enough to deal with "normal" people I thought I'd try finishing my education at a "normal" school. It wasn't much surprise that after two weeks I dropped out and got a job. I never really looked back or regretted it to any degree I'd admit until now.

Since that time, when I have been tested to see what grade level I would currently be placed at, the testers are always surprised because although in some areas I have college level skills in others I lack even those skills of your average eight year old. This is, of course, due to the fact I skipped most of my academic life, popping in only occasionally when I felt like it.

So now, I am an 18 year old who can bullshit her way though a year of algebra and calculus but can't even help a 10 year old with some of the tricky questions on his or her homework. I can write a perfect essay without a single grammar or spelling mistake but I wouldn't be able to tell you what an adjective is if my life depended on it. My education is full of holes, actually, huge gaping chunks. I wonder what life would have been like if I'd taken any of the opportunities to have a "real" education. I also wonder if I'll ever be able to fill in all those gaps. I know that it is imperative I fill in enough that I can get by at college, just the same way I had to fill in enough to get by in grade six. What concerns me is that by the time I have my degree it's possible I will still be in this same predicament. Of course, if that is the case, it might not actually matter.

A little novel...

Posted 29 January 2002, 8.05 pm by Sickan

Eternal life

Chapter 1
He looked out on the grey afternoon and tried to count the endless drops falling from the sky. He imagined that the big drops were blood and he was witnessing Armageddon. The apartment was small end messy – there were sheets of old newspapers all over the place and beer cans and take-away food scattered over the table and floor. He looked upon his lab-top and remembered what he was doing – writing a novel. He had to finish it next week – but his mind was dead – the endless stream of ideas and thoughts had come to an end. He climbed down on the floor from the window still and stepped loudly on a cheep beer can. He didn’t care. Actually he didn’t care about anything anymore, now everything was dead to him, life was dead but he wouldn't surrender to the emancipated death just to free his soul – he would write a short story so great that he could live through it.
He sad down by the computer and looked at the never-ending pause-screen – a little smiley-face jumping around on a black background. He pressed enter and the screen turned blue and he looked at an empty sheet of digital paper, a little black line blinked under the menu – a sign to symbolize his empty dead mind. He pressed a button and “Suicide is Painless” streamed out of the speakers next to the black computer – he leaned back and listened to Marilyn Mansons comforting voice telling him to give up – but he wouldn't – the world could not win, he was to strong. He leaned forward again and started writing.

"The density was growing. Soon it would form a drop so big, that it would finally surrender its hold on the wall and draw a thick crimson line down the green tapestry. In the far reaches of his shattered mind, he could recall some teacher telling him, that red and green were contrary colours, and that they would compliment each other when they were presented together. The way this single drop caught his eyes in a hypnotic trance assured him that his teacher had been right. Now was the moment, finally gravity took the small drop, and it ran towards the floor."

Suddenly he stopped. He felt watched. He looked around, but there were nothing to see. Of course not, no one had been there in months so why would they come now? He remembered he really didn't had any friends anymore – they had all left town to get a “better life” they said. They had al married in a fairly early age and properly already been divorced. He shook his head. Why even worry about them now? Soon he would be famous and rich and accepted in society and then they would all eat their words again.
There it was again, just a little sound, like the wind in an empty alley – someone or something were out there and it were watching him. He looked around, but he was alone.

To be continued...

KKK for KIDs

Posted 29 January 2002, 6.21 pm by Craig

I don't know what to write about this link so just go visit it. Warning the colours are almost as bad as the Killer Japanese Seizure Robots website and the music in the background should be banned!!

Please Note
I am in no way associated with the Ku Klux Klan, I just find this link funny!!

Indefinable Experience

Posted 29 January 2002, 3.59 am by Berly

Ever think about how important experience is?
Experience. Better than intellect?

Anyone who has ever sought a job has likely been evaluated based on experience. Accepted and at times rejected based solely on their level of experience. This is considered a fair method of evaluation.

Look at the words empathy and sympathy. As I was taught, empathy can only be felt if I have actually experienced the same circumstances that the target of my empathy is experiencing. Sympathy is something I feel when I can imagine how someone feels. Apparently it’s all about the experience.

How do you know which experiences are right or beneficial for you? Too little. The wrong kind. Too much. Just right. I think most of us believe that a life of crime leading to extended stays in the pokey is something we would not enjoy, and would not want to experience. But for this and other examples not as clearly defined as harmful – how do we know?

Parent to child – peer to peer – friend to friend – mentor to student: “Listen to me, trust me. I know for a fact that you do/don’t want to experience _____________.” And conversely: “Listen to me, trust me. Don’t believe everything you hear/read/see. Find out for yourself…except where my advice is concerned.”

Wisdom. How does one become wise? Experience. To me, this feels like that theory on galaxies and black holes. It says that you can’t have one without the other. What do you think?

Can any experience, good or bad, be known by anyone but the actual participant(s)? I think we can come close, but not close enough. We can offer virtual experience via advice, example and visual aid. Ultimately the wisdom must be gained by the inquisitor, through his or her own inimitable experience.

Killer Japanese Seizure Robots!

Posted 28 January 2002, 5.14 pm by Craig

This is one of the weirdest websites I have come across in a long time.

Killer Japanese Seizure Robots!

Warning, if you have seizures due to flashing lights, Do NOT visit this site... That is unless you like having a seizure ofcourse!!

The AKpCEP Store

Posted 28 January 2002, 12.59 am by marilee

Finally, AKpCEP has a store! If you look over to your left you will see the link, click on it and buy yourself a new wardrobe. Why buy from us? It supports the site and also helps advertise, which means more hits. We all like it when we are part of something big, these shirts will remind you of how (unlike most people) you can truthfully claim you are.

Ignoring all the political reasons, these shirts are just damn cool. Keep checking back to find limited edition T-Shirts and new designs. This store is ever changing, so keep yourself updated.

I encourage all Staff and AkpCEP fans to send us in their ideas for shirts and new products. If you don't see something you like now, it doesn't mean we couldn't have it up soon as long as you provide input.

I also would love it if people sent us photos featuring themselves in our products. We can start a thread in the Shed and post them up there.

Seriously folks, wouldn't it just rock if you were walking down the street and you noticed someone in one of our shirts? It can and will happen, but only with your involvement!


Voov Experience

Posted 27 January 2002, 7.26 pm by Berly

I found this site while doing some legal research, believe it or not.

This is a site dedicated to "Germany's annual psychedelic trance festival". I had never even heard of a trance festival. It sounds like it might be similar to the Burning Man thing here in the States that I've heard so much about. *shrug*

Have some time on your hands? Check out VooV for a little fun. Go to the Impressions section and check out some of the festival attendees. Download some of the quicktime video shorts that were put together.

Flash Movies

Posted 27 January 2002, 5.55 pm by Craig

Here are my top three flash movies of the week. Enjoy them...

Harry Pothead

Rooftop Skating

Stick Man

That's all for today, Check back next sunday for my top three flash movies of the week!!

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I took this photograph in North Vancouver, by the water. These birds are everywhere, all the time. If you are standing in the middle of a crowd of these birds, you realize just how horrid they are. The photo I took actually makes the birds look respectable and that's why I like it.


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Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness


80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!


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