"C'mon Eric, get out of bed" the voice echoed through his mind as he awoke. "You don't want to be late for school do you?" asked his mother, finishing the usual morning statement. "I dunno, at least I'd miss some of language arts if I missed the bus" Eric joked as he threw of the covers and lifted himself out of bed. His mother went into the kitchen to finish her breakfast while he took his shower. Noticing he only had 15 minutes till he had to be out the door as he exited the shower, he decided to just grab a bowl of cereal after he was dressed. He picked out his clothes and poured a bowl of Frosted Flakes. He finished his cereal and hopped out the door after grabbing his backpack. He walked the two blocks to the bus stop and saw two of his friends. He chatted with them for a few minutes, until the school bus pulled up. The ride was short, for his school was only about 15 minutes away by car. After the bus unloaded, he still had about 10 minutes before the doors to the classroom hallways would open, so he headed to his locker. He fumbled with the lock as he always did, having to try three times before it worked. He grabbed the books for his first three classes, Language Arts, French, and Math. He walked over to the door that would lead to his first class, and was about to strike up a conversation with a few kids loitering around when the doors unlocked and he was caught in the flowing river of kids shuffling to their different classes. He caught on to the door frame of his first class and swung himself in.
He took his seat in the middle of the last row of desks. Mrs. Winsor, his Language Arts teacher, eyed the kids entering her classroom. After the bell rang, she proceeded to tell them about today's work. Eric had never really found Language Arts to be interesting at all. Today they would be doing a worksheet where you had to find words that were capitalized that shouldn't have, and vice-versa. Although it was a pretty menial task to him, there were over 60 of them. He got through them having trouble with only 3 of them, namely whether or not Swedish meatball was capitalized. There was still another half hour left of the class by the time everyone was done, so the teacher handed out another worksheet, this time one where you would say what type of word the one underlined is, be it a noun or an adjective or something else entirely. Eric couldn't remember which was which, he never really could. He had sat through the class where they had told him about all sorts of pro-nouns and adverbs, but it never sank in. The kid sitting next to him, who Eric had never really made any attempt to get to know, noticed Eric's nervousness. "Don't remember which is which?" the boy asked Eric, to which he slowly nodded. The boy was about to explain each of the types to Eric when he was stopped by a glare from the teacher. The boy than proceeded to write a quick explanation of each on the back of Eric's worksheet. Eric silently thanked him and finished his worksheet before the bell, although he had gotten quite a few glances from other kids as he kept flipping his page around to remember the description of each. He made a note to himself to do something about learning the types of words as he hurried to his next class.
He was one of the last ones to enter the French class, due to its distance from his homeroom. He didn't like the language so much as the information he got about the culture in France. He had always enjoyed learning about foreign culture. Recently he had picked up on European and Asian cultures, mainly focusing on customs of the area. "Bonjour class" said Mrs. Vubette with a light French accent. "Ohio Gozimus teach" replied a kid from somewhere off to Eric's left. Following the angry glares of five students, Eric spotted the round-faced boy with brown hair who was, of course, sitting right next to the blackboard. "Ah, wrong language Peter" She said, with a chuckle. Eric could never imagine himself being quite so forward with his thoughts as all those 'apple-polishers'. Unfortunately, they would only be doing the language today, so Eric didn't get to learn any new and strange customs. Perhaps he would have better luck later that day with his favorite class, Social Studies. The teacher needed to grade Tuesday's test, so she plugged in the TV and inserted a 'Muzzy' tape into the VCR. The teacher sat down and Eric's attention was drawn to the bright characters pointing to things and speaking in French. He grabbed his French binder quickly, a little too quickly in fact, for the contents spilled all over the floor in an unorganized manner. He quietly picked up the papers and rifled through them for the eternally growing page of Muzzy notes. He had originally just kept all of his papers in a little pocket, making it time consuming to find any one piece of paper in the jumble of tests and notes. He jotted down another note to himself to get a better way to handle that. The rest of the class was taken watching Muzzy and his pals doing weird things and repeating the names of highlighted objects. The bell rang just as Muzzy was about to eat an entire store full of clocks. The teacher shut off the VCR and reminded the children to study the days of the week because there would be a test the next day. The kids filed out of the classroom and to their next class.
Eric entered the Math class quietly and took his seat at his four-person cube. The teacher looked at the papers in her hands and started calling out names for people to come up and grab theirs. Eric wondered what the papers were and why the teacher had started when the bell hadn't even rung yet and only half the class was present. When Eric heard his name he hopped up to the teacher and grabbed his paper. He looked at it once he got back to his desk. In red ink splashed across the top of the page was the letter "B". He let out an audible sigh. He had been really tense during the test and thought he did worse, although an "A" would have been better. The teacher turned on the overhead projector and started going through each problem even one kid missed. Although Eric didn't consider himself to be the brightest bulb in the batch, even he felt somewhat ashamed at how many times the teacher had to repeat how to get the correct answer to the same kids. By the time the teacher got to the problems he missed, class was already half over. Once the teacher explained how to do it, he had no trouble getting the correct answers. Apparently you were supposed to get rid of the number in front of the variables in the parentheses first. The teacher finished up the last few problems, the correction method taking up all but 10 minutes of class. The teacher said they could have free time, as long as it was quite, and also that she suggested they work on tonight's homework. Eric did just that, pulling out his Math book and finishing half of that night's homework before the bell rang again. Eric knew that if he didn't hurry, by the time he got to the cafeteria all the good stuff would be gone, so he grabbed his bag and started shoving his book into it mid-run.
In between Math class and the Cafeteria lunch line he was now in, he slammed into two kids, knocked another one into a door, and ended up getting side swiped by a kid's backpack into a wall of lockers. However, he still made it in time to catch one of the last two pieces of cheese and pepperoni pizza. He enjoyed his pizza, and chatted with a few friends till the bell rang signifying lunch was over. He stopped by his locker and grabbed his Science, Band, and Social Studies binders and books. A second bell rang as the doors to the classrooms unlocked and he headed to Science.
Science was a mediocre class by Eric's standard. He wasn't a huge fan of it like some other kids, but there still was some interesting information and exercises now and then. He felt it really ran hot and cold. Today was simply a video about aquatic animals and a worksheet where you would write down the name of an animal you saw on the video that matched certain criteria like 'changes color' or 'runs on surface of water'. The class passed quickly enough, the video only halfway done and his sheet almost completed. Eric grabbed the music sheets and the Band notebook from his backpack and carried them in his hands to his next class.
Eric had always wanted to learn how to read music and how to play a certain instrument. When they all picked instruments, the Band teacher, Mr. Grizzo, had insisted that someone has to play tuba first. Some chubby kid from across the room had volunteered while almost all of the other kids wanted to play the snare drums. Eric did not get why they were so popular. He had chosen the trumpet, for he did not want to set a constant beat like many other instruments usually had to. Today they would be doing their first practice with all of the kids playing at the same time. He hit most of his marks on time during the practice, but the Tuba was still having some trouble with lip vibration, and another trumpet just couldn't keep up. In the end what they had was a jumble of individually obnoxious sounds coming together to be even more nauseating. Oh well, it was their first real practice. He wondered if there was some way that he could increase his air capacity, for he kept falling short on held tones. The bell rang and he gathered his books to head over to social studies.
He walked into his last and favorite class with a bit of bounce in his step. Plastered across the wall was a giant map of Australia. Eric didn't know much about Australia, so maybe he would learn something cool in class. Although the lesson ended up being about the terrain and climate of Australia, Eric had caught an interesting factoid the teacher had mentioned as a passing comment. Apparently, almost all of Australia's population was on the East Coast. He wondered where the densest populations are in the US. The rest of Social Studies class went by without any trouble, but unfortunately there weren't really any other facts besides information about climates. The bell rang once again, and all the kids headed toward the buses.
H was home again 15 minutes after the bus arrived, but was already kissing his mom good-bye again right after a 5-minute rest. He hopped on to his bike and peddled out of his subdivision. After a mile of peddling, Eric reached his destination. The 3-story library sat before him with a wealth of information, all at his fingertips. He ditched his bike outside and entered the building. He walked up to the desk where the librarian sat. They exchanged greetings and the librarian asked Eric whether he wanted Internet access. He nodded a yes and she told him to use number 5. Eric trotted over to the computer with a number '5' drawn on it and sat down in the comfy chair in front of it. He clicked the 'Internet' icon on the desktop and launched the browser. He used a search engine, trying 'population United States' and ended up, after 5 that were not what he wanted, at the 'Population Reference Bureau'. After a few more clicks he eventually ended up with list of the population of each state in the US. He eventually found the 5 most populated from highest to least high: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. All of which were over 12,000,000. The reason the population was so spread out was pretty obvious: all the land has a use in America, as compared to the unfertile, desert climate of anywhere west of the mountains in Australia. He smiled at himself for remembering that from his Social Studies class. Since he was on the Internet already, he figured it wouldn't hurt to find some new information about Australia. He found numerous sites about Australia. He chose one entitled "History of Australia" and dove right in. He found another new interesting fact here. Apparently Australia was originally a prison colony! England sent a bunch of convicted felons in big boats to Australia, where they formed their own society. He found that fact to be particularly interesting and wondered what would happen if the US were to send some of its felons to an island. Nowadays they would probably build boats for themselves and get back to shore. He frowned at that thought and started wondering if jails were the best place to hold prisoners. Maybe in the future, prisoners could be sent on missions to colonize other planets. He spared a glance towards the clock and was surprised that an hour had already passed. He always lost track of time when he was on the Internet. He had homework, so he figured it would be a good idea to start heading home. He informed the librarian of his departure and headed home.
By the time he was home, his mother had already finished making dinner, and his bowl of macaroni and tomato sauce was starting to get cold. He didn't mind, so he ate the whole thing and thanked his mom for making it. He grabbed his Math and French books from his backpack and headed into his room. It only took him 10 minutes to finish his half-done Math, and another 15 for him to feel sufficiently fluent in speaking the days of the week in French. Since he had the rest of the night as free time, he decided to pull out a piece of paper and decided to work with a little hobby of his. Remembering his thought about planet colonization from earlier that night, he decided to title his paper "Moon Base Alpha". It wasn't an original name, but it would help him visualize it. He started imagining what would be necessary to keep life alive on an alien landscape, food water, air, and then started in on his work of building a fantasy moon base. Although he couldn't tell the difference between a 'Victorian' versus an 'American Gothic' style building, he had still found the designing of buildings to be rather enjoyable. First, he imagined the basic shape of the building and the positioning of the various rooms. Next he drew connection for any incoming supply craft, and started positioning various necessary items like air vents and lighting. He decided to attach poles to the walls to better control oneself with the lighter gravity. After he drew up the positioning of everything, he started to make measurements for entryways and ceilings. He leaned back and smiled at the plans in front of him for a moment, making sure everything looked okay. He grabbed the paper and dragged it back to his Internet-less computer. After booting it up he ran the '3D Homemaker' program. Although the program was made for present day homes, with a little imagination he could still look at his new base in 3D. He set up all the walls and ceilings, referring to his previous plans for measurements. He inserted doors and windows, and necessary furniture. He smiled at the picture in front of him. He was now exploring his moon base in 3D, it being just like he imagined it. He called his mom in, and she marveled with him at the colony that he was inspired to make by a class about Australia. He chuckled to himself about how he managed to connect the two. His mom informed him he had to go to bed, so he reluctantly turned off the computer and put away his plans. After getting cleaned up and putting his homework away, Eric hopped into bed. His mom kissed him goodnight and turned off the light. He fell asleep soon enough, the calm darkness being his last memory before he would be awake again the
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First Upload: December 29, 2001