Treehouses, Huts and Forts

I chose to review this book because I love building things, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the zero people who actually read these posts. All my life I have built things, and I actually built a treehouse in Maine once.

How to Build Treehouses, Huts, and Forts gives you step-by-step instructions to build all sorts of shelters. For treehouses, it gives you instructions on how to pick the right tree, how to make the platforms and floors, as well as some carpentry tips. After that, it gives you materials lists and how-tos for the more difficult parts of the different builds. The book also tells you how to make a catapult, tennis ball cannon, and treasure chest, along with several snow forts.

One of the treehouses in the book is a Mountain Stream Hut. It is basically a bridge with a roof over the center. I really like it due to its simplicity and practicality. It can be used as a bridge for hikers and backpackers, or even an overnight shelter. And, as the book points out, if you build it in some woods, you can cut down a few trees to make it, rather than buying the supplies at a hardware store. I would really like to build this “hut” somewhere.

This book reminds me of several other books I have about building treehouses and huts because they are very similar in content, only with different house designs. I also have a book that doesn’t really tell you how to build treehouses but has many different pictures of awesome ones people have built. I have a treehouse book called Treehouses and Playhouses You Can Build by David and Jeanie Stiles, the same people who wrote this book.

I think the author of this book is trying to get kids outside and building things, and attempting to provide most of the important information that they would need.

This is a great book, from my treehouse loving, totally unbiased point of view. I would give it a solid six out of five, with an extra helping of maple syrup goodness. Hey, syrup comes from trees, I thought the joke might work.

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Snow Crash

I was at Green Apple Books a little while ago and was browsing their science fiction section when I saw a book with a sword on the cover. I was like “ooh, a sword, and picked it up. The book was called Snow Crash, one of Neil Stephenson’s first books. I began reading it, and I really liked the futuristic-ness of it.

The book starts out in a world where cities have seceded and become corporation-run city-states. Outside of the city-states, you can pretty much do whatever you want. There is a virtual world called the Metaverse, where you can be safe from all the nasty bits of Reality, until someone programs a virtual information-virus that turns programmer’s brains to mush. The virus-makers then proceed to suck out all the blood of the programmers and use it to spread the virus to a ton of other people. They aren’t going to stop until the whole world is infected, and the only people who can stop them are the main character, Hiro Protagonist, a teenage delivery driver named Y.T., and a group of semi-special ops soldiers from the Mafia. The Mafia is a corporation that runs, among other things, a high-speed delivery pizza company.

One of the characters in the book is a teenage girl who goes by Y.T, or Yours Truly, so you never know her real name. She is a Kourier, a kind of high-speed parcel-delivery person. Kouriers ride skateboards and use a “Magnapoon” or “poon” that magnetically latches on to vehicles to travel around and deliver things. I would like to meet her because she is confident and very snarky at times, but she is really nice underneath her cynical exterior.

This book is similar to The Giver, and The Hunger Games in that they are very futuristic and dystopian. Snow Crash was published originally in 1983, and so far the present is eerily similar to the future that the book talks about. Large companies and corporations control a lot of daily life, and can’t be punished or controlled easily. If we continue on this route, our country might end up like in the book.

The author is trying to give a warning as to what could happen in our high-tech future.

This book was really good but quite confusing. There were a lot of long words that even I, a person with a large vocabulary, didn’t understand. I could guess what most of them meant from context, but some I had to look up. I would recommend a minimum reading age of 13, just because the words are so big and the dialogue is hard to follow in some parts of the book due to the complex subject matter. Other than that, it is a great book and I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Dealing with Stress

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,  some of the techniques Siobhan gives Christopher to deal with stress are to slowly take deep breaths, and count the cubes of cardinal numbers. Some of the situations I find stressful or overwhelming are public speaking or speaking in front of a large group, or doing any sort of timed writing exercise. I, like Christopher, have techniques for dealing with stress. When I have to speak in front of a large group I usually take deep breaths and focus on one point in the audience, rather than the mass of people watching me. With writing, I tend to try and convince myself that I can do it despite what my subconscious is telling me.

Trips

The longest trip that I have gone on by myself that I can remember is taking BART and the bus home after school. It was pretty fun and once I started I felt more independent than before. The only thing I got stuck on was figuring out which bus to take because there were several lines that I could take but I didn’t know whether they would stop where I wanted to get off. The weirdest situation I have ever gotten into on public transit was this one time on the bus when this guy got up in my face and started shouting random words at me. I just kind of ignored him and he went away. It scared me a little bit because it wasn’t exactly nice to have some random crazy person shouting in my face.

Lies

The first time I was lied to by someone with authority over me was the lie most children are told. That Santa is real. It’s not a bad lie at all, and it makes most kid’s childhoods better. I first started realizing that my parents were lying when I began to read books that told stories where he didn’t exist, and when that one know-it-all friend everyone has insisted “Santa isn’t real. My parents told me so.” Eventually, I came to accept that fact, but I wasn’t mad that my parents lied because I had had many fun adventures trying to catch him. My favorite one was when I was six or seven. I rigged up a motion-sensitive camera to try and get pictures of Santa leaving presents under our tree. When I got up in the morning, the camera was on the couch with a note that said something along the lines of “stop tryna catch me you silly kid” except more nicely.

I have lied to kids younger than myself many times, usually to keep them from bothering me while I read or did homework. I would say something like, “hey, you’re not supposed to be over here right now. *teacher’s name* told me so,” or “your parents are looking for you, go find them.” I don’t think that those kinds of lies are particularly bad, but that could just be from my point of view and the little kid is actually devastated that they trusted me. They probably had forgotten about the whole thing less than two hours later, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Pocket Stuff

Some of the things I have in my pockets on a daily basis are my phone, wallet, and keys. On my keys I also have a flashlight and a USB drive that I installed OS X on. That allows me to use any computer as a screen and run my stuff off the thumb drive. My wallet has some money, my library card, my Clipper card, and my school ID.

These items show several things about me. My keys and clipper card show that I’m somewhat independent. My thumb drive and phone show that I’m a techy person, and who doesn’t need a flashlight? My library card shows that I like to read. I don’t know why I carry my school ID around, because I don’t know what it’s for.

Aspergers Syndrome

The symptoms of Asperger Syndrome are categorized as behavioral, muscular, and mood. The behavioral symptoms are aggression, compulsive behavior, fidgeting, impulsivity, repetitive movements, social isolation, and persistent repetition of words or actions. The muscular symptoms are the inability to combine muscle movements and poor coordination. The mood symptoms are anger, anxiety, and apprehension, as well as depression, intense interest in a limited number of things, learning disability, nightmares, or sensitivity to sound.

There is a wide spectrum of difficulties that someone with Aspergers has to face. They might find it hard to understand that conversations are a two-way process, or have problems interpreting gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice. They also have difficulties with unwritten social rules, like when it is appropriate to touch someone and what things are OK to talk about in public.

One thing I find difficult in my daily life is staying on task. I have a tendency to get distracted and forget what I was doing, especially when I’m on my computer. I remember something I had to do a few days ago and finish that, but in doing so I get completely sidetracked. In order to keep myself on task, I try and stop to think about what I’m supposed to be doing. It helps keep me working on one task at once so I don’t get distracted.