Elementary School Graduation

Today was the last day of school for me in elementary school since I just graduated from grade 8, and next year I’ll be in high school. Last Tuesday we had our graduation ceremony, so I’ll mostly be writing about that this week.

For the past week, the whole graduating class has been preparing for graduation in various ways. We first started off by electing our valedictorian a while before. The people that wanted to be valedictorian for our class admitted themselves and prepared a short speech to persuade people to vote for them. Our valedictorian was elected by student votes, and after each candidate read their speech; everyone voted for who they want the valedictorian to be.

Then we made the graduation video that was shown at the actual graduation ceremony. We all split into groups of around ten or so, and together we made short 30 second videos that tried to reflect on some of the memories we had at the school. Then after that, one of our teachers took all of our videos and put them together with some other pictures from our Blue Mountain graduation trip. There actually wasn’t a lot of time for us to work on those videos because there were quite a few other school events going on at the time, so we only had a few days to work on them.

After the video, we rehearsed the actual ceremony in order to make sure that we knew where to stand, sit, and go during the whole thing. We practiced a few times before with everyone, and it was pretty simple.

On the day of the ceremony, there was a bunch of people’s parents and relatives. Everyone just followed what we did in rehearsal and did what we were told to do, and everything went pretty smoothly. The only thing that was kind of strange was that we didn’t know who won all the different types of rewards. If you won an award that required you to go up on the stage and you were sitting in the middle of a row of seats; you’d have to walk over some people to get to the stage. I guess they wanted to keep everything a surprise, but I think they could’ve organized it a bit better.

Once the ceremony was over we all got to take pictures until the graduating class got to go eat dinner in a separate room. The dinner wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say it was anything really special. It was more like a buffet type meal with a smaller selection of food items.

When you finished dinner you were able to dance on this really tiny dance floor, but most of my friends and I didn’t really go over there too much. We mostly stayed around our table talking and playing games for the most part. By the end, some people were crying on the way out even though we still had school for the next two days which didn’t really make sense to me since you’d see everyone tomorrow.

Overall, I had fun at graduation, and I even won some awards. It was pretty cool to see who won different the different types of awards, and I think our valedictorian’s speech was quite good as well. I’m not particularly excited for high school, but I don’t really mind. I have heard from some people that it’s a lot harder though.

Graduation Trip Day 2

Last week, I wrote about the first day of my class’ graduation trip, so if you haven’t read it yet you should read it first since it tells you what the trip is about. On day 2 of the trip we didn’t do as many things as day one, but it was still an interesting day.

When we woke up, we headed down to eat breakfast with the rest of our classmates, and before we went back to our rooms the teachers told us where to meet up to start our activities. The breakfast was a pretty standard breakfast buffet, so it wasn’t too bad compared to last night’s dinner.

As group B, we were free to explore the rest of the Discovery Pass until lunch, so my friends and I ended up going over to the Apex Bag Jump. It was pretty much the last thing that we were interested in that we didn’t do yet. At the jumping platform there are four bags at different heights, starting from bag one, two, three, and then four which is the highest. The people there made you jump off of bag one first to see if you were able to land properly the way they show you. Then if you want, you can continue up to the rest of the bags. I thought it was pretty fun since you usually don’t get a chance to jump off of high places, but that’s all the bag jump was.

For group B, we had our lunch scheduled early so most of us decided to just play some more mini golf until lunch. Unlike the previous day, we were able to get a scorecard to play, and we actually found it quite difficult to play the course. However, we still had a lot of fun playing.

Lunch was inside a café near the rest of the activities, and everyone got a lunch ticket that let you choose a meal from seven different choices. All of them were kind of fast food type meals like chicken fingers, burgers, and poutine, but you got to choose a piece of fruit and a drink as well. I had a cheese burger with fries, and it was one of those frozen beef patties that you get in a box, but it was alright.

After lunch, everyone in group B gathered together to go for our bike ride on the mountain. We went over to the bike rental center, and everyone got a bike and helmet to use. The bikes there weren’t that different from the one that I have in the garage, but I think they had larger tires. Once we got our bikes, we took them up the gondola, and at the top, there was this gravel area that you could ride around in as you wait for the rest of the group to come up. If you didn’t know how to ride a bike or didn’t feel comfortable following the trail you could stay in the gravel area, and just ride around. If you weren’t doing that, you would follow the guide through the trail where we went through a trail in the trees. They do have different types of trails from beginner to expert, but the one we went on was quite flat, and only had a few puddles. I didn’t really find it very hard, but some people in the back were moving slowly, so we had to stop and wait sometimes.

When we finished biking, we went back down the gondola to return our bikes and helmets. Then, we got all of our stuff back from our rooms and went down to the parking lot to wait for our bus. I think our bus was delayed since we were waiting outside for a long time, and whenever a bus passed by people were wondering if that was finally our bus. At one point our bus finally arrived and we were on our way home. Most of us slept on the way back since a lot of people found sleeping in the rooms slightly uncomfortable. The bus took us back to the school and everyone had their own ways of getting home from there.

Overall, the trip was a fun experience for me, and I was able to do all sorts of different types of activities with my friends. I think a lot of people took pictures, so they’ll even be putting those into our graduation video too.

Graduation Trip Day 1

Every year, my school takes a trip to Blue Mountain in Collingwood for the grade 8 class that graduates. Since I’m now a grade 8 student at the school that will be graduating in a few weeks, I was able to go with the rest of my classmates on the trip.

Before the trip even began, there was lots of talk about whether or not we would be able to stay overnight at the Blue Mountain Inn. Our school has a history of occasional stays overnight at Blue Mountain, but usually, they only take a day trip there. A lot of students were trying to convince the teachers to let us stay overnight because we’d be able to stay there longer and do more things. This was many months before the trip, so there was plenty of time for the teachers to decide, but they ended up letting us have the overnight stay.

The day before our departure, we were reminded of the different things to bring and when to arrive at the school to leave on the bus. On the day of, we all got onto a Coach Canada bus which was a lot different from our normal school buses. It had air conditioning, more comfortable seats, and more space. Most of the students, including me, were happy to not have to sit in the usual school bus seats since they weren’t exactly the most enjoyable to sit in for long periods of time. To get from our school to Collingwood took around two hours, so people were kind of just on their phones, listening to music, talking, or sleeping on the way there.

Once we arrived, we had to walk a little bit to get to the building where we’d keep all our stuff before we checked into the hotel. We were introduced to the Discovery Pass that the Blue Mountain Resort had for schools which included various activities. Our schedules were set so that there were two groups that did the same activities at different times. Not only did we have the Discovery Pass activities to do, but we also got a chance to do their Timber Challenge High Ropes course on the first day and trail biking on the second.

After they separated us into groups A and B we each started with our activities. Since I was in group B, we started with the Discovery Pass activities which include the Cascade Putting Course, Open-Air Gondola, Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Wind Rider Triple Zips, Apex Bag Jump, Village Scavenger Hunt, and Climbing Wall. Most of these activities are pretty self-explanatory, so what we were able to do was go around to any of these different activities and have fun as long as we arrived back at our group’s agreed meeting spot when it was our group’s turn to do the Timber Challenge. Most people started with the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster which is pretty much a roller coaster up in the mountains. I found it pretty fun, but it’s nothing crazy that you’d find at Canada’s Wonderland. The Open-Air Gondola is just a gondola that takes you up inside of a cylinder that you can see out of in 360 degrees. I went with a few of my friends, but some of them were scared of heights so it was pretty funny to watch them; especially when how the gondola occasionally stops. With my friends, we did those two activities before we had to go do our Timber Challenge. The Timber Challenge is a ropes course up in the trees where you go through different obstacles to reach the end. There are things like zip lines, tight ropes, and rope walls that you have to do. We first got our harnesses put on, and went through the safety test to make sure we knew the rules and what to do. After that, we were free to run the course. I had done a ropes course in Costa Rica before, so it wasn’t too bad for me, but I know some people were really scared of doing the course.

When our time was up on the course, I did the Wind Rider Triple Zips with my friends which is a longer zip line than the ones in the ropes course. I think it was pretty fun except the arrival point at the end of the line was kind of rough. A few of us gathered together later to play as many holes of mini golf as we could before time was up. Eventually, we met back up with group A to collect our luggage back and go to our rooms. I was in a room with my friends so we didn’t really have any issues except our air conditioning unit was really loud and our washroom door didn’t lock properly. After we settled in we had dinner in the hotel restaurant buffet. The food was okay, but most of the meats were really dry and there were almost no vegetables.

After we all ate dinner, we went back to our rooms, and we were free to do whatever until 10:00 when we had to go back to our rooms to sleep. My roommates and I stayed in our room for a little bit doing our own thing until people started saying that they were going to walk around in the village that was also in the resort. We joined them, but almost all the stores there were closed so there wasn’t much to do. Everyone ended up going back after taking a few pictures, and people just started room hopping until it was 10:00. At 10:00, the teachers would take everyone’s phones and you were supposed to go to sleep, but my roommates and I ended up playing cards until around 12:00 when we decided to sleep. We ended up having to turn off the air conditioning because it was too loud, and some of us kept on talking, so it took a while before we all slept.

Overall, that’s the rundown of what I did on the first day of my graduation trip with the rest of my classmates. I had a lot of fun, and I have more to write about for the second day.

Using Stock GarageBand Samples

For the past few months, I have been working on writing a song with the help of my music theory teacher. At the moment, we are trying to make the stock GarageBand string section sound more realistic and more expressive.

When you write out your notes in MIDI, GarageBand’s program may not play them exactly how you want them to. In our case, we first wanted to fix the timing of the notes because all of the notes were quite delayed and off beat. We ended up shifting all of the notes back a little bit to make sure that when you actually hear the notes they’re being played on time.

After that, we noticed how some of the notes were quieter or louder than others. This was because, in GarageBand, the default samples are played in a way where it takes a while before the note is played fully. This means that the beginning of a note is a lot quieter, making shorter notes quiet. To fix this, we changed the velocity of certain notes. Particularly the very legato and staccato notes, which are notes that are very smooth and notes that are very quick and sharp. For the legato, we lowered the velocity making them quieter than before, and for the staccato, we made them louder by increasing the velocity. We wanted to make sure that most of the notes are played at a consistent volume with no big leaps in dynamics.

Now that we had all of our notes being played correctly, we wanted to change the way they sounded in order to make them sound more realistic. Starting with the EQ, we looked for different types of frequencies that we didn’t like depending on the instrument we were using. For example, with the violins, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t have too many low frequencies since they weren’t apart of the instrument, but also getting rid of any sharp or buzzy high frequencies. Another small thing we added was some reverb, which is almost like the echo of a room that simulates the instruments actually being played.

Finally, we had all of our notes being played correctly and sounding good, but there was almost no expression, so they were all kind of flat notes. While they sounded like real instruments, they didn’t sound like real people were playing them. To fix this, we went back to the note velocities we used to change the volume of notes. We thought about which notes we wanted to put emphasis on especially in the staccato region. This helped a lot with the flow of the music, and it made the music sound more lively.

Overall, I was quite surprised with how well we were able to get the default GarageBand samples to sound. Before, they were pretty terrible and didn’t sound that good. However, we were able to create something that was usable that actually sounded pretty nice. Later on, we’ll be trying to record some guitar, and maybe even add some other instruments.


Most of the times when I play games, I’ll play either CS:GO or osu! because for me they’re the most fun, and you get to compete with other people in one way or another. A few weeks ago I started playing some more Tetris, and now I have quite a lot of fun playing it.

I used to play Tetris every now and then if I was really bored, but I never got into it that much because I wasn’t that good, and it seemed like a mostly single player game to me. My brother has been into Tetris for a while, and if you check his blog he has written multiple posts on different types of Tetris variations that he’s played. Sometimes when I played my own games on my computer, I’d see my brother playing Tetris next to me. I eventually noticed how he was sometimes playing against other people, and that’s I found out about Tetris Battle 2P which was a game mode on the website Tetris Friends, where you play against other people in a ranked system. I’ve always liked games where you have ranks and get to compete against other people so I was pretty interested.

You win by either getting three KO’s which is when you make the other player top out, by having the most KO’s in two minutes, or by having the most lines sent in two minutes. The level system worked in a star rating where you’d start at rank one with two stars out of five, and if you won a game you’d gain a star. If you lost a game, you’d lose a star. If you reached five stars at rank one, you’d go up a rank and your star rating resets to two at the next rank. It was also possible to skip ranks if you beat your opponent easily. The ranks capped out at rank 20 on the Tetris Friends website.

For the most part, I only used standard Tetrises in my games which is when you clear four lines and send four lines of garbage. I managed to get to around rank 15 until I couldn’t rank up anymore because I just wasn’t fast enough to beat other players. I stopped playing for a few months, and the only times I played after that was when we had parties and my brother would let people play multiplayer Tetris on his Nintendo Switch. Another day when I was doing my own thing, I saw my brother playing Tetris Battle 2P, and he lost against another player that wasn’t using normal Tetrises. Since I could almost never beat my brother I was interested in what strategy this other guy used to beat him, so I asked my brother what the other player was using. It turned out that the other player was using a strategy called the side four-wide combo where you are able to clear single lines in rapid succession which ends up sending lots of garbage very quickly. Up until then, I had only ever heard of Tetrises and T-spin Doubles.

The four-wide combo is supposedly one of the most powerful standard setups in Tetris, so I started learning it. It was difficult at first, but I was able to learn the side four-wide pretty quickly. I tried it out at rank 15 on Tetris Friends, but I still wasn’t able to win as easily since I wasn’t fast enough. Then, I learned of the better variation of the side four-wide called the centre four-wide where even if your opponent sends you lots of garbage you’ll still be able to survive since the pieces will always spawn in the centre.

I played more often than I used to on Tetris Battle 2P and got up to rank 17 on the site until just yesterday when the website shut down for reasons I don’t know about. Now, I’m looking at getting Puyo Puyo Tetris on Steam since it’s a very popular version of multiplayer Tetris with a ranked system other than Tetris 99.

Overall, I still wouldn’t say that Tetris is my new favourite game, but it’s now one of the games that I’ll play more often than others. I’m still learning more about different strategies and how to improve in general. In the end, I guess I’m starting to enjoy it more after seeing how it’s quite a skill based game with ranked systems in place since those are generally the type of games I like to play.