9. Drumsticks

This is a brief entry about the different types of drumsticks and their uses. Drumsticks are the artist’s brushes, sprinter’s shoes, and mathematician’s calculators. It is one of the most essential supplementary and complementary drummer’s items.

Drumsticks vary in colors, material, types of tips, and most importantly, size and length.

The three most commonly used materials for making drumsticks are maple, oak, and hickory. Hickory is the most commonly used stick, for it is the hardest.

There are also two types of drumstick tips, including wood tips and nylon tips. Wood tips usually give softer sounds while nylon tips provide clearer and louder sounds. There are also different shapes of tips, which include “waterdrop” and “round.” Round ones are usually used for powerful rock musics.

Drumsticks also differ in sizes. 5A, the most commonly used drumstick, is useful for orchestra percussions and regular drumming. 7A, a slightly thinner and shorter one, is good for jazz. 3A, the thickest one, is used for metal.

There are other types of drumsticks, too, including the mallet (used for timpani or smooth jazz) and brushes (for blues and jazz). (Some are shown in the photo. It’s quite fun to collect them!)

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8. Soccer

I’ve been playing soccer since I was 6 years old. Soccer has been the most popular sports in Korea, especially after the 2002 World Cup where Korea made it to the semi-finals. We became one of the few Asian nations who made it up so far.

Throughout the past 12 years, I’ve used 6 soccer shoes (commonly called cleats), from Lecaf, Nike, Adidas, Nike again, and Nike yet again. For my personal taste, I like Nike cleats the most.

The most recent one I purchased is Mercurial Vapor 3, which is sadly obsolete by Mercurial Vapor 4, and hackeyed with numerous scratches and age (the red and silver one in the picture).

In less than six months, my last soccer season in my high school life begins. I got to start practicing!

7. Childhood Access to Electronics

NYT Article: So Young, So Gadgeted

Electronics, such as games, Internet, MP3 players, and cell phones, are being rationalized. As days go by, their “benefits” seem to overwhelm the inexorable consequences that follow. Just a decade ago, electronics were prestigious. They were huge, ugly, inefficient, but new. I remember my dad couldn’t make a call while driving because the cell phone could not pick up a signal while the car was in motion.

Nowadays, they became a “given.”  As electronics became economically flourished and proved their potentials in markets, they are blossoming rapidly, even among children. Even in my own school bus, I see elementary kids holding the newest DS, iPod, and others in their hands. It is truly amazing how fast the technology has been improving for the past decade.

However, the spread of electronic usages results in some irreversible consequences, especially among children. If they are overused, it can lead to health, educational, and social developmental problems. First of all, their health deteoriates. The cell phone signals create enormous amounts of radiation that can be hazardous to the brain development and function. Also, uses of electronics reasonably decreases the amount of physical activities, possibly leading to obesity. Imagine a kid playing Nintendo DS every afternoon. He might turn like…

Secondly, and most importantly, children might develop educational shortage from overusing electronics. The electronic companys actually say their products ameliorate and significantly develop the children’s brain and cognition. They say playing with electronics is part of Piaget’s Preconventional Stage. However, if the electronics do all the work and thinking for children, what would they learn? The electronics also interfere deeper relationships with parents and friends. Yes, they might make more friends by having the newest item. But children, especially of young age, need parental love and touch. It is scientifically proven that children who interact more with parents develop more socially bright, and educationally inquisitive and active. What would a child do if they listen to iPod all day along? Make them participate in sports, music, discussions, cooking, reading, and/or writing, not electronics!

Electronics bring countless conveniences to our daily lives. However, I believe it is important for children to actually experience some of the old, “inconvenient” ways beforehand so that they can actually appreciate what’s given to them. As the quote “EVERYONE knows that babies crawl before they walk, and that tricycles come before two-wheelers” states, children should not be exposed to the newest technology and electronics. Electronics might be an obstacle for numerous possibilities for children, including social development.

If Jean Piaget were alive, he would say any type of exposure to new experiences helps children to develop. As the most influential developmental psychologist who appears in every chapter of our AP Psychology textbook, he would probably say that electronics do help child development. However, he would most probably state that it might be a big obstacle for child’s social developments, including development for parental respects. I believe children should get exposed to electronics at minimum age 12, where they develop certain cognition (according to Piaget).

PS. I personally want Apple Mac Pro for college.

6. Chinese Olympic Opening Ceremony

Article from NYT In Grand Olympic Show, Some Sleight of Voice

The Chinese Olympic Opening Ceremony for year 2008 was undoubtably one of the most magnificent event in Olympic history.

The Chinese government spent more than 40 billion US dollars to make this event the most memorable. However, in terms of the whole picture, was it effective?

I personally believe that the Chinese effort to create everything “perfect,” “synchronized,” and “huge-scaled” actually created a reverse psychology for some people, including myself. The fact that they put so much effort on what is being “shown” on television and not so much in other aspects creates doubt from the viewers. More than half of the Beijing residents cannt drive more the three weeks, nor smoke. Although their best intention is to represent China as a clean, perfect nation, I believe the efforts got besmirched by the one huge issue: lip-sync. The two children had to be deceived in order for the ceremony to run smooth. These issues become more serious and inhumane as we’re dealing with innocent children. Just because a girl is “not pretty,” and a girl doesn’t have the “right voice,” the girls got deceived, and the whole world got deceived. How can there be a better image of China left in people’s minds? I opine that there could’ve been a better alternative.