Friday, December 24, 2010

The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The show must go on...:)

It has been a long silence..:)
There were plenty of things (work, personal issues etc) that kept me busy. As a result I begin realizing that my English is getting worse and I really should get back on track and resume my regular practice.
I am going to revitalize this blog :) I want to continue writing TOEFL and GRE essays. The reason why I have chosen this way of improving my English is because it is more difficult to write on some TOEFL and GRE topics and follow a certain template than just blogging about mundane things that occur in my life. However, sometimes I will write about daily events too

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TOEFL essay

It is important to keep up with the latest fashions.

There are a lot of people who point out that fashion is a way of communicating with others and, to some extent, a nonverbal symbolism of external expression. They act like fashion industry agents, which use all possible methods to convince us that it is important to keep up with the latest fashion. In my opinion, we should not follow the latest trends in fashion and spend our time and money satisfying the greedy interests of the fashion industry.

First, if we all try to keep up with the latest fashion trends it creates a situation in which everyone is wearing the clothing of the same style and color. We may lose our individuality when trying to fit in with the crowd. The latest fashion threatens our creativity and personality. The latest trends simply stifle our way of thinking. Moreover, we should all bear in mind that the very aim of the fashion industry is not to teach us style, but to trick us into buying “fashionable” things--things that may not make you beautiful, but will definitely add some unnecessary expense to your budget.

Secondly, the fashion industry often relies on leather, fur, and other animal products. Many people prefer clothes made from these natural materials. However, they should not forget that they become accomplices in killing of animals when buying a leather jacket, a fur coat, or a pearl necklace. When you purchase such products you also create demand for them and thus encourage the murder of rare and helpless animals.

In conclusion, we should not succumb to temptation to keep up with the latest fashion trends. It does not make sense to abandon your own style and follow a trend just because everyone around you keeps saying you must do it. We should be aware of the fact that the fashion industry is a danger to the environment. You should wear clothes that look good on you and that suit you best. You should keep away from the latest fashion and preserve your own uniqueness.

Monday, September 28, 2009

TOEFL essay

It is acceptable for parents to use physical force to discipline their children.

If asked, most parents would say that they do not use physical force to discipline their children. However, what people say in public does not necessarily reflect what they actually think. Many parents do use physical force when there is no other option left but tend to conceal this fact. To my way of thinking, physical force is not only a good way of disciplining children when they misbehave, but also an important part of sound and healthy approach to raising children. In fact, the harder you hit a child, the more likely the little bastard will listen to you next time around.

First, sometimes children can be unbearable, especially when they ignore their parents and teachers. Children can behave very badly – they can bully other children and break toys. They may be disrespectful to their elders, older siblings, or school teachers. Parents may do their best to try to convince a child that such behavior is inappropriate, but this gentle approach simply does not work. A child does not realize how his behavior affects other people. Nor does he see the extent of discomfort or pain he brings to them. Allowing a child’s misbehavior to go unpunished gives him or her confidence to do it again and again. Thus, this is where a coercive approach comes into place and nips the problem in the bud.

Secondly, people who advocate against the use of physical force often point out that physical discipline somehow may result in serious injuries to a child’s body and may leave scars or other lasting marks. However, you do not need to use a belt or a bat to punish your child. A few slaps would be enough to get the job done. You can use a rod, which is an effective way of making the punishment more memorable without inflicting serious injuries.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with using physical force to discipline a child. Physical force, of course, should not be the only means of correcting children’s behavior. It must be used only as a last resort, when words prove to be ineffective. Parents should also take care when using something to spank their children with.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TOEFL essay

It is not important to study history.

History is a discipline that, at first glance, has no practical application in our results-focused world. This is why some people argue that there is no point in studying history. However, I think that history is worth learning. It has a paramount significance to society and can teach us a lot. It also helps us solve day-to-day problems.

First, history is a very important subject in the education of youngsters. By studying the history of their own country, children learn many facts about the place they happen to live. Many countries have faced both good and bad times throughout their history. When children study their country’s history, they find out about a lot of mighty achievements their country accomplished in the past, achievements they can be proud of. To put it simply, it is a way of fostering patriotisms in the younger generation. It is obvious that history should be included in the curriculum at all high schools. You cannot really consider yourself a citizen of your country if its history remains an unexplored territory to you. This does not mean, of course, that governments should resort to using history as a ‘tool’ for manipulating the masses. Instead, they should use historical records in order to inspire people to understand the national values.

Secondly, history offers a great deal of valuable information that may help us to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. History gives us clues to understanding how we got to the point where we are now. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that history ensures continued progress. For instance, the social benefits that many people take for granted nowadays were not possible a hundred years ago. In some countries there were no such things as an eight-hour workday and minimum wage. People had to work up to 16 hours a day and were paid so little that they could barely make ends meet. This allowed businessmen to make more money and increase productivity. However, such an exploitive approach to workers was shortsighted and eventually resulted in revolt. The social institutions were destroyed and businesses suffered greatly. History may tell us a lot about how society functions and what human nature is. We should not ignore the lessons history presents but learn them to the benefit of society.

In conclusion, history requires our attention. History is indispensable when it comes to creating and nurturing stable institutions in society. Moreover, studying history is a useful way of preventing society from committing the same mistakes again. We must not downplay the importance of history; we should study it and use it wisely to make our life better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TOEFL essay

A successful life is a happy life.

It may seem easy to think of a successful life as a happy life. However, there are a lot of stories of people who worked their fingers to the bone to become successful but later found the success did not make them happy. Their seemingly successful life is far from happy.

First, we usually tend to see only one side of someone’s success and quite often overlook any psychological problems involved. There are people who are considered successful by others but, in fact, are still unhappy with their life. Some of these people are not satisfied with their achievements and simply yearn for more – more money, more popularity, or just more everything they already have. Their unrealistic ambition or jealousies of others’ success make them feel unsettled and moody. Their constant obsession with their neighbors’ achievements keeps them worried about their own status in life. They continue working toward reaching more ambitious goals at all cost. This approach to life does not allow them to enjoy life itself.

Secondly, when you become successful and popularity is thrust upon you, it can be difficult to continue living the way you are used to. It may be hard to retain privacy in your life, because everyone tries to delve into your private life. The public literally wants to have a piece of you, and the media shadows you all the time. All this may negatively affect your mental well-being. This is why we have heard so many stories about stars experiencing depression or emotional breakdowns.

In addition, some mighty achievements may create a false picture of a so-called successful life. With all that accompanies a successful life, such as public admiration and wealth, one’s private life may actually be full of tragedy and misfortune. People may find it hard to balance the pressure of being successful with a miserable private life that the public might not be aware of. For instance, Marilyn Monroe appeared to be very successful. Her personal wealth still pays five million dollars a year in interest. However, she failed in her attempts to create a happy family. Her widespread popularity, which so many people dream of, did not make her happy. On the contrary, it eventually killed her.

In conclusion, it is not always possible to equate a successful life to a happy life. In some cases, success often leads people to become obsessed with the thoughts of being more famous and having more money. Moreover, many successful celebrities simply have no freedom, and the scrutiny of the public prevents them from living a happy life. Sometimes people have to pay an immense price for being successful, a price that wipes out any joy and happiness that such success brings.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TOEFL essay

It's more important to study and learn than to do exercise and play sports.

It goes without saying that education is indispensable for achieving success in many fields. It is easy to assume that exercise and sports come second to studying and learning; however, we should not underestimate the impact which physical activity has on our life. Exercise and sports benefit us in many ways.

First, regular physical exercise helps prevent serious medical problems such as heart attacks, obesity, and diabetes. Scientists have proven that exercising on a regular basis may significantly reduce your blood cholesterol level, which reduces the risk of developing dangerous heart conditions. You can hardly live a happy life if your health does not allow you to enjoy the life around you. You may not be satisfied with an outstanding career at all if you paid for that success with your health.

Secondly, regular exercise not only keeps you healthy, but also keeps you looking good. No matter how many times it has already been said that we should not judge a book by its cover, our society places a lot of value on how we look. The fact of the matter is that an attractive appearance is blessing that makes life easier when it comes to private life or career development. Moreover, scientific research has clearly shown that physical activity is instrumental in prolonging life and maintaining mental acuity. In old age you will be grateful to your wise parents, who got you into the habit of doing sport and thus made your life healthier and longer.

Finally, our body needs strength to cope with everyday stress, and regular exercise helps develop this resistance. When, for instance, we are working out in a gym, jogging, or swimming the level of serotonin in the brain, the substance responsible for boosting your mood or reducing pain, increases. This is a natural way of preventing depression and adverse impact of stressful events that we sometimes experience.

In conclusion, sports and exercises let us lead a healthy life, keep our body in a good shape improving our appearance, and extend the lifespan.