Note to self: Never grow up

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3050452Yep, that’s me; adorable, smooth-rolling two-year-old me. I guess I was a pretty cool kid, at least that’s what they tell me. You have to rely on your friends and family to really know what you were like back in the day where you could barely walk or talk. Life was about perspective. If the grown-ups said something was bad, it was bad. If they said you were cute, you were cute. Of course, the validity of that statement depended on whether the adult was being honest or just didn’t want to have to deal with an outburst of waterworks. 

When I was young, I depended on my parents to make my decisions. I couldn’t know what was right or wrong, I wasn’t big and smart yet. However, I knew one thing: I wanted to be. I wanted to be as tall as my dad, as smart as my mom. I wanted to be able to go where I wanted, when I wanted. I was determined to be a grown-up, my Barney firmly pulled along for the ride. 

I look back at mini me, and I can’t help but wish to be able to tell myself just one thing: slow down. Being a grown-up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; mom and dad were just playing a role, putting on a façade to make it through the day. Being a grown-up requires responsibility, matureness, and a lot of hard work. Being a grown-up requires part of your soul to die. 

I miss the days where I could waddle around to my little heart’s delight, not having a worry or care in the world. I’d eat when mom fed me, sleep when mom told me, and play until mom took me in. As I approach the end of my senior year, college looming in the near future like an ominous storm waiting to be unleashed, I know that my days of childhood are coming to an end and the time is nearing when I’ll have to be a mature, responsible adult.

Having approached the end of high school, I feel I’ve finally accepted the ultimate demise of my childhood. I’ve made adulthood out to be a horror, a nightmarish creature that preys on little boys and girls, dragging them out of their cribs in the middle of the night and forcing them to take desk jobs. In reality, being a grown-up isn’t completely bad. There’s the upside of independence that makes it worthwhile. Adults wield the power. They can go out with their friends whenever they choose. They can eat what they want when they want. The glorious privileges of adulthood would seem like heaven to a little child, but still I dream I could have a conversation with my younger self. If I could go back in time, I’d write myself a note, warning of the dangers and tricks of adulthood. It’d read:

“Amber Lee, I know the world seems big and scary. I know you want to be big, too. You want to be grown-up like mommy and daddy, and you want to take that second cookie from the cookie jar without them telling you to wait for dinner. It may not seem fair that daddy can go wherever he wants while you’re stuck in the stroller. But trust me, I’ve had a taste of being a grown-up, and I’ve found some shocking secrets. It’s not acceptable to play with Barney. In fact, that trend ends well before middle school, so you better get playing. Imaginary tea parties are so unimaginable that even an imaginary detective couldn’t find them with an imaginary microscope. Also, please stop complaining about naps, they’re the bee’s knees, and virtually inexistent in the future. Childhood goes fast, and adulthood is inevitable. Enjoy it.”

I’d hope she’d read it and go slow, enjoying childhood while it lasts. Well, someone might have to read it for her. She’s only a kid, after all.

YouTube Comments and Why You Should Avoid Them at All Costs

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YouTube_generation_900_450_90_s_c1_smart_scaleAn addiction that I have long since accepted and embraced is my obsession with YouTube. You can find my editorial on why I love YouTube here, but that is not the reason I have gathered you here today. I have another habit that I wish I could abolish myself of altogether- reading YouTube comments. Maybe it’s just the human race’s penchant for drama getting to me, or maybe I’m just attracted to the horrendous mutilation of the English language. Either way, it’s a habit that’s caused me too much pain already and needs to stop.

While the Comment Section of YouTube is a useful tool to leave constructive criticism or praise for a video, it has been recently overrun with spam, self promotion, and “haters.” The rare comment offering helpful advice or tips for improvement is easily lost within the muddle of inappropriate remarks and immature degrading of the content and/or the content provider. The Comment Section has turned into a vicious battling ground, with incessant hater posed against fervent supporter. Regardless of which side you’re on, there will be casualties.

The Comment Section serves as a distraction to the rest of the video, dragging attention away from the YouTuber and to the next brilliant insult or crude remark. When enjoying YouTube on my phone, I find myself scrolling down to read the comments and zoning out the video, hopelessly lost in the sea of horrific indecencies and immature prattle.

To my fellow YouTube Fanatics out there on the interweb, I propose we cut all ties with the Comment Section, choke the weed at the core. Without a source fueling the debauchery, all motivation to stir up chaos will be lost. Without an audience, the disaster that is the Comment Section will be ceased.

“But, Amber! I want to show my support!”

That’s great! Click like or subscribe. Leaving a rating is a helpful way to show the video creator that his work is being appreciated. Additionally, even viewing the video once increases its views. A YouTuber is able to tell that his or her video is popular by the number of views it attains. If you can’t stop watching a video over and over again, those views will be recorded for the YouTuber to squeal over. If you have the urge to leave more specific advice, social media can be your expressive outlet.

Many a brave soul have attempted to right what has gone wrong in the Comment Section, either by defending  the creator or fighting against the haters, but I’m here to tell you that you’re valiant efforts are best suited elsewhere. The trolls have breached the Comment Section, and any sort of argumentation sparks their fire and breaths into them new life. By ignoring the Comment Section as a whole, the haters that plague the inter-depths will retreat to a mere memory, a Throwback Thursday in the wind.

I beg you, for your own sake, do not scroll further. Do not be drawn in to the devil’s snare of hatred and conspiracy. Do not get distracted from the reason you clicked on the video in the first place. And, for Heaven’s sake, do not click for all comments. You’ll regret it.

Playing an instrument can boost your health

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Howell Main Four

unnamed-8By Managing Editor: Amber Lee Carnahan

Music has, in the past, been shown to have a beneficial effect on the musician; however what those effects actually are isn’t as clear. It takes a lot of patience and practice to learn an instrument, but it is worth it in the long run for many reasons. In an age of abundant social media and distracting technology, taking a break from the world to attempt to learn at least one instrument could positively boost your wellbeing and change your life.

“When I’m playing my instrument I’m happy, I feel free, because I get the chance to make something beautiful,” says Anne Potts, a senior at Howell High School and a member of the band.

For many teenagers, a daily battle they must face is struggling with lowering self-esteem. Playing an instrument offers an opportunity to feel pride. Though the instrument most likely won’t…

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Little things that remind me I’m a Klutz

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There’s always a little piece of your personality that follows you to adulthood, haunting you at every turn or simply popping up after you’ve thought you passed that point of your life. As a little kid, there’s always that one trait you’re known for, that one characteristic that has a habit of becoming you. Some are known for their charisma, some for their wit, but me? I was known for being a Klutz.

My mom would always tell me tales of my klutzy endeavors- of that time I tripped over a piece of fuzz in the doctor’s office, or of the times during Sunday school where I would randomly fall out of my chair. I wasn’t ashamed of my clumsy nature. It was something that I’ve always known and was a defining part of my character. As I grew and matured, the clumsy aspect of my personality silently faded away until I was nearly normal.

My klutzy half never fully escaped me- it’s clear to me now that it has just been waiting in the shadows for me to trip over my own feet. Little instances in my life, caused by my excessive clumsiness peaking through the cracks of my composure, are a shocking reminder that I am still and will always be a Klutz.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee

Sometimes I like to try to be productive, and the only way I can manage to get any work done is with the help of copious amounts of caffeine coursing through my system. After setting up my work space with my computer on my lap and snack foods on a TV tray to my left, I immediately proceed to spill my freshly poured coffee all over the keyboard of my expensive laptop. The coffee wasn’t too hot, nor was it slippery; my hand just decided that holding cups was lame.

Of course, I panicked and ran into the kitchen, draping as much paper towels around me as I could without qualifying as a mummified corpse. After soaking up all of the beverage that I could see and saving my precious from a disastrous state of brokenness, I once again sat down to work, allowing my heart rate to calm to an acceptable rate. After recovering my mental state and that of my computer, I reach for my mug- only for it to once again spill, this time all over my snack tray.

It was at this point that I found myself amazed at my surprising stupidity. I was so shocked by my clumsiness that I just sat there for awhile, mesmerized by the dark liquid slowly oozing onto my carpet below. My accident-prone life flashed before my eyes like a tribute to my Klutzy endeavors, and I was forced to watch to the end before I could clean up the mess I made, again.

Don’t Drop The Phone

Nothing screams “Klutz” like throwing your phone halfway across the room. There’s no clue warning of this occurrence, only the sudden exclamation of surprise as the phone tumbles across the room as if in an Old Western movie. My clumsiness seems to center around the functioning capability of my hands, or rather the lack of. My hands are as careless and wobbly as a newborn fawn, and it’s getting a bit ridiculous. I could be just minding my own business and reading fanfiction, when suddenly my phone thinks it’s Superman, flying across my living room and fighting crimes.

Nothing is more embarrassing than having a phone that thinks it’s Superman. The walk of shame to retrieve the flung cell phone is always a painful process, accentuated by the reminder that there is no escape for being a Klutz.

Poles Are Not Your Friend

While spilling your coffee and having a spastic cell phone certainly house their own level of embarrassment, there is nothing that beats the shame that follows from walking into a pole. I can’t remember a specific time when I have done this, but I know I must have, since every time I come near a pole or other object ejecting from the floor I have to tell myself not to walk into it. Your mind is a wonderful warning system, but to Klutz, the warnings are also a painful reminder of previous instances of shame. Walking into objects tend to stun the Klutz, which usually follows a hopeless attempt to brush it off and act like it never happened. Calmly walking away from the pole while continuing whatever conversation or action that had distracted you in the first place does not erase the shame of what occurred, nor does it erase it from the minds of anyone who saw it in the immediate vicinity. At least next time, you’ll know to watch out for the pole. However, if you’re a mega Klutz like me, that’s no guarantee that it won’t happen it again. In fact, you should probably just invest in a helmet.

There is no escaping the firm grasp of clumsiness. Being a Klutz is a lifetime responsibility; live with it.

YouTube: an underappreciated source of entertainment, employment

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Here is one of the articles I recently wrote for my school newspaper. Feel free to check out the Main Four and find other interesting articles to read!

Howell Main Four

By Managing Editor: Amber Lee Carnahan3606295240_09a280f1bd_o

Back in February 14, 2005, history was made when three former PayPal employees created the internet domain, “YouTube.com.” The website was designed to be a video-sharing hub where participants could share and view videos. Since then, YouTube has grown to an amazing popularity. According to YouTube’s Statistics, more than one billion unique viewers visit the website per month. Additionally, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute, making it literally impossible to count the number of videos on YouTube. With the limitless amount of videos able to be watched across a varying genre, YouTube is able to offer a bounty of entertainment for free, compared to the high cost required to have cable television. While YouTube isn’t a direct replacement for television since it doesn’t offer access to any series or movies, it is a more cost-friendly way to stay entertained.

Entertainment. There’s several…

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Five things to see or do “before it’s too late”

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I know I’m still young. I’m only seventeen and will have plenty of time to explore the world and such after I graduate high school. However, there are times when the realization that life is short and unpredictable hits me like a brick, and the following anxiety attack can similarly leave me gasping for air. During these eye-opening revelations, I look back at my life and can see the dazzling trail of emptiness and nonsense that my journey through time has left strewn behind. Sure, I’ve gone on family vacations and experienced the awkwardness and fulfillment of a first job, but I’ve never done or gone anywhere that extreme. I haven’t seen any of the world’s wonders beyond my own backyard. I’ve never done anything crazy. Before my life story inevitably comes to an end, I want to be able to fill its chapters with worthwhile adventures.

Write a Novel

Ever since I was little and able to read, I have always wanted to write my own book. Not only did the possibility of becoming famous with a bestseller intrigue me, but the idea that a real person- other than my mom, who is kind of obligated- might read my novel and be a fan of its world and characters, of its plot twists and agonizing cliff hangers, fascinated me. Being heavily involved in multiple fandoms and able to truthfully say that the fandom life is the only life for me, the mere thought that one day my book could have its own fandom, with all the craziness and devotion that comes attached, simply baffles me. My one goal before I die is that I’ll be able to leave a legacy behind.

Get a Tattoo

My mom would freak out, it would hurt like hell, but one day I want to get a tattoo. Not now or anytime soon, but eventually I want the privilege to share the joy or stupidity of getting a tattoo. I am probably the least extreme person you could ever meet, but the idea of taking a risk and trying a new experience excites me. The tattoo would probably be something geeky like a Doctor Who quote, but it’d still be a great story to tell my hypothetical future children. Or maybe it’d be better if I left that chapter of my life out of their bedtime stories.

A First Kiss

One thing that might seem a bit odd to some people is the fact that I’ve never had a boyfriend, or even gone on a date before. A lot of teenagers my age have already had multiple drama-filled relationships and story-worthy “first dates,” but I’m the odd one out. For the most part, I’m fine with this fact. I’m only seventeen, and I “don’t need no man” to be happy. The truth remains, however, that I’ve never experienced the weirdness of a first kiss, and I hope this can be changed before it’s too late and I die alone, an old maid with twenty-one cats.

Go to London- Again

Okay, so I may have lied when I said I haven’t really gone anywhere special. In 2011, I was able to fly to London. The only reason I tend to not count this trip is because I wasn’t there for me, not completely. I got the opportunity to travel to London, full expenses paid, through a babysitting gig. There are two adorable blond toddlers that I often babysat, and their uncle was getting married- in London. I know, I’m jealous too, but to be fair, his fiance was British. Anyway, long story short, I was hired to help watch over the kids during the week of the wedding. While still a bunch of fun, I look forward to revisiting London without having to worry about my charges getting hit by a car.

See the Bermuda Triangle

A lot of conspiracy surrounds the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, stories of ships and planes vanishing without a trace being the most popular. Nonetheless, I have always yearned to visit the Bermuda Triangle, even if I have to become one of the mysteries. Some people like to say how they’d prefer to die; I generally believe vanishing at the Bermuda Triangle would be an amazing way to go- talk about a legacy! I chose to write this one last because it has the high probability of being the last thing I ever do. Which, honestly, is kind of awesome.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer once said, “Carpe Diem. Seize the day, ’cause tomorrow, you might be dead.” Life is short but in no way limited. What would you want to do before it’s too late?

Daylight Saving Time is Trying to Kill Me!

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I’ve never exactly had a healthy sleeping routine. After making it through the wear and tear of a day at school, I like to embrace any free time I can get my greedy little hands on. A pattern has arisen that probably isn’t the best for my student career, but my YOLO levels have been pretty high lately.

After making a harrowing escape from school through the horrendous bus systems, I tend to arrive at my humble abode around three o’clock. After shredding the confines of clothing and embracing the warmth and comfort of my pj’s, I grab a snack and melt into my lounge chair, television remote in my hand. My technological craving isn’t for cable television, however. My addiction is to the one and only YouTube. Time slips by after I press play, and I can only assume I fall into some sort of a comatose state.

Eventually, I start my homework. If I wanted to be a better student, I could start earlier and put more effort into my assignments, but my senioritis has kicked in full force and I’m a very illogical human being(sorry, Spock). Luckily, I usually don’t have that much homework since I have time to finish most at school.

On a regular night, I start to wind down to meet sleep around eleven o’clock. Perhaps if I limited my caffeine intake(Coffee Addict, through and through) and time spent surfing the web, sleep wouldn’t be so difficult to obtain. Insomnia, alas, is my ever present friend through the agonizing hours of night. My second wind takes control, and I suddenly have the urge to do everything but sleep. If I didn’t have school to worry about, I’d become nocturnal.

There are times when I just want to give up on the idea of sleeping and just pull an all-nighter, but I’m sure my parents would strongly disagree with my stroke of genius. Instead, I end up spending most of the night and early morning just lying in bed, contemplating life and the secrets of the universe.

Or thinking about food, which is even worse than the anxiety of life because then I’m hungry, and who can really sleep when their hungry? Thinking about food will lead to me wanting food which ultimately will give way to a secret escapade through the house in quest for a midnight(literally) snack, with each creak of my old floorboards threatening to give away position and foil my plans for food domination.

Fortunately, these nights are usually few and far between. Generally, one night of agonizing insomnia will lead to me being dead tired the next day, which will cause me to sleep like a log that night.

Which leads me to the topic of Daylight Saving Time, my nemesis. So far, I’ve had two consecutive nights of insomnia, and I smell a pattern arising. Regardless of my political views of DST(which are that it is useless and obsolete, but I digress), the loss of an hour has started to affect my sleeping habits, and if anything can be learned from me, it’s that I’m lazy and love my sleep. Sleep and I may have a complicated relationship, but I can safely say we share a mutual hatred for Daylight Saving Time.

Complaining will get me nowhere, but my sleep deprived mind is unaware of that fact. What are your feelings towards Daylight Saving Time? If you hate it also, you can join my cult(we have cookies!). If you love it, well… it’s obvious you’ve already been brainwashed. You will be missed.