Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reading Log #7

This week I did pretty bad with my reading. I did finish the 2nd Spellman Files book but I did it in 1 day instead of reading it a little bit each day like my goal told me to do. I also read a little of all the other books I was reading but I still didn't do Wish You Well. Someday I hope I will get to reading it but now is just not the time. Perhaps I will try again this summer when I have more time to read. I also read some of Lord of The Files for English. Im excited to read more of it because it is a lot more fun than most books you will read in English. It's a lot more modern. This summer, I hope to carry on with all my reading goals that I had for the 4th quarter this year.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Reading Log #6

 This week I did a pretty good job at keeping up with my goals. I read for about 30 minutes 
every night of a book of my choice and quite more for my book for English class and I have 
actually been enjoying my book. I am now reading the second Spellman Files book of the 
series. It's called The Curse Of The Spellmans. I have given up once again on Wish You Well 
because it so so boring. And since there are only a few weeks of school left (!!!!)  i'm quickly
 running out of time to finish it. It might be one of the goals i'm not going to complete. I did try 
though. I'll try again this week. This week I also finished The Tale Of Two Cities for English 
class. It was actually pretty good. I spent a lot of time reading it, but it didn't really bother me. 
This week I will probably spend my time trying to read Wish You Well. I'm determined to give
 it more of a chance this time. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reading log #5

This week I did really awful on my goals. I tried to start Wish You Well and yet again I failed. I got through the 1st chapter and then I stopped. And I started ANOTHER book. I need to slow down and read one book at a time. The new book is called Shrinking Violet and I don't even think I will read the whole book because it is totally corny and kind of boring. I also did awful on my reading goals because I did not read every night. Instead I read like 3 times this week and just read a lot those nights. I have mostly been reading The Tale of Two Cities for school (but I  actually enjoy reading the book) but I also read more of Royally Crushed. I would like to say that this week I am going to do much better on my goals and read a lot every night of books that I want to read but I think that will probably not happen because I feel that this week my teachers are going to go all out on projects and tests and homework. With that said, I will still try my best to read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Note #6

Smile Is A Sign Of......

A smile is a sign of love
A smile is a sign of care
A smile tells how much to others
You are important and also dear

A smile is a sign of cheer
A smile is a sign of trust
A smile shows how you can
Be happy even in hard crust

A smile is a sign of joy
A smile is a sign of hope
A smile teaches you how you can
Remove the clouds of mope

For nothing but only a smile
Takes away your pain and trial
And pick your trouble's pile
And let you smile, smile and smile.

by: Seema Chowdhury
Seema Chowdhury writes with a comforting yet extreme repetition of the phrase, "A smile is a sign of..."  which emphasizes what a smile is worth.  She forces each "smile" upon readers as though if she said it enough, each reader would smile too. She does this genuinely although in an abrupt manner. Chowdhury uses rhyming to help make the poem sound musical and it adds to the happy tune. The last line of each of the first three stanzas stand out the most because they don't start with " A smile is a sign of." This makes these lines seem more important and focuses in on the bolder meanings each has. Each show how smiles affect certain situations like removing "the clouds of mope" or being happy "even in hard crust".  The poem ends with, "And let you smile, smile, smile" showing the author's never ending optimism. 

Note #5

           1,003 Reasons to Smile by Elizabeth Dutton is one of those books that simply has what the title says: 1,003 reasons to smile. Most of the things the book lists are little things like finding some money in your pocket or holding a baby, but the best part of the book is the introduction. “When life is painful or even simply boring,” which seems to happen to everyone at some time or another, “we need to be reminded of the weird and the wonderful.” Just from the diction of the introduction, it is obvious that the rest of the book is written just a s straight forward and matter of fact as the introduction is. “The weird and the wonderful are what make us smile, and those smiles keep us going,” is as exact as her first statement. Because smiling infers happiness and happiness is what people live for. “Smiles are pretty much universal,” which implies that everyone can relate to it at sometime or another. The introduction passage is written in a relaxed and lighthearted tone that automatically draws people in. The book itself is as positive and uplifting as the title and introduction chapter says it will be. It state the simple truth, even if its somewhat embarrassing, like how it makes people smile to sing in their shower. It is lightly written as though someone was talking to you in person, and has just enough humor that it is endlessly interesting.

Note #4
Baby Micah is a youtube sensation, or close to it. Micah laughs at just about anything from a book to a burp. But the best of all, is his video of when he helps rip up his fathers job rejection letter, which received more than 40 million hits. Micah laughs for at least a few minutes straight and he probably laughed even longer.  This baby is adorably innocent and hilarious. In between gasping for air, Micah finds unbelievable joy in watching his father rip the letter piece by piece. Although it is his dad's rejection letter, Micah seems to find just as much, if not more fun shredding the paper to bits. His excitement and amusement towards a simple activity is absolutely admirable.  His nonstop laughter and sheer joy is completely amusing. The sound of his airy and musical laugh is contagious and at the least, makes people smile. It's as harmonious and sweet-sounding as a soft song. The laugh of this baby is so heart warming and cheerful that it seems to light up the room.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reading Log #4

I'm still working on the Spellman Files series. This week I did a pretty good job keeping up with my goals. I forgot to read one night but besides that, I read for an hour every night. I finished the 1st Spellman File book and now I'm on the second one. I also thought a little bit about what my next three Notes for the anthology project are going to be. I will probably do another book and another poem, and I would also like to do a song. Next week for sure I am going to read to force myself to read Wish You Well. No matter what, I am going to finish that book before the school year ends.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Note # 3

Elf- I just like to smile
As a jolly Christmas song plays in the background and workers are dressed like elves, a cherry and playful mood is interrupted by a slightly annoyed manager. The energetic and enthusiastic elf, Buddy, annoys the manager obliviously and in a lighthearted manner. This clip of Elf shows a silly yet oddly uplifting section of the movie that can bring smiles to everyone's faces. The store worker is irritated by all of Buddy's jolliness. "I just like to smile! Smiling is my favorite!" shows how he is adorably cheerful, while "SANTA!!!!!!" expresses his childlike and innocent attitude. He always has a positive tone and expresses curiosity and excitement for everything. His free-spirited soul and playful attitude depict him as though he was still a kid. His friendly and eager smile expresses his passion for Christmas and for life.

Note #2

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!

"We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a poem that supports the idea of "Don't judge a book by it's cover".  Unlike the popular saying, the poem uses the metaphor of a mask and how we hide our true feelings and project ourselves differently to the world. "Nay let them only see us, while We wear the mask." suggests that  people put smiles on their faces to disguise their true feelings.  "With torn and bleeding hearts we smile" is saying that we all have pain and suffering inside yet we hide it all with smiles. The poem seems to except the pain in life but has hope for something more for all souls. "Beneath our feet, and long the mile; But let the world dream otherwise," portrays a sense of hope despite the suffering in the world. People let themselves dream of something bigger and better although in the inside they may be tortured souls. He infers that people shield themselves with forced and fake smiles in order to hope for the best and shield themselves from society.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reading Log #3

Over spring break, I read a lot. I didn't complete my goal of reading every night, but I did read when I felt like it. I completed Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares, and part of Out of My Mind. And I also started The Spellman Files again because the first time I tried to read it I was unsuccessful. I once again failed at trying to read Wish You Well, but I will read it before the end of the year. I also started another book called Mostly Good Girls. I think I should add to my goals to finish all the books I start. I have a really bad habit of starting like 5 books at once and then only finishing a few.  I really need to slow down and read 1 book at a time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Exercise #3

Black Boy White School
Miles from Ordinary 

1. All these book seem to have a hook that draws readers in and makes them want more.From the very first paragraph of each of these reviews, I have already decided that I am going to read them.

2. Talk about the book and give a summary or the main story. They all seem to give me an idea of what it is I am going to be reading about. They give a sneak peak of the problem that the book is going to be about overcoming which is why I think the books sound so interesting

3. All the book reviews have a strong and bold ending paragraph or statement that concludes what the review is talking about. It also keeps me interested in the book, so usually they talk about what the characters are going to have to do to overcome the problem.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reading Log #2

This week I was really proud of myself for sticking to my goal of reading 30 minutes each night. I probably read about an hour every night. I read 400 pages of a new book called Royally Crushed, the rest of The Summer I Turned Pretty, which was at least 100 pages and I read a little bit more of the Tiny Fey book. I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to read her book. Sometimes I just need a new setting I guess. I don't think biographies or autobiographies are my favorite genre to read. I find them to actually be quite boring which doesn't help me complete my other goal of reading different genres. At least I can say I tried to read it. Next week I will probably start my slow and painful journey of reading Wish You Well. Maybe and hopefully this time i'll finish the whole thing. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Note #1

     In the book from Ron Gutman's Smile: The Astonishing Powers Of A Simple Act, Gutman goes on a journey, exploring what makes different people, in different areas in the world smile. In the opening chapter of the book Gutman wrote that when  "It was time to pull out the special power," he smiled. He explains that while traveling around the world, he wasn't always able to understand the many languages, so he would smile at everyone. The cheerful and positive tone of his language is both inspiring and admiring. It suggests that smiling is a type of language that all people are born knowing. Gutman starts this passage off, "Amidst the unknown, in a unfamiliar place, confined on the bus with nowhere to go and with no apparent way to communicate..." which suggests a sort of hopeless and lonely atmosphere but goes on to say, "Whether people looked at me or not, I smiled at them. Although no one responded to my smiles, I started to feel better." which shows his unbelievable optimism.  He writes with a lighthearted and down to earth passion as he humbly proclaims his love for smiling and how it makes him feel better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Exercise 2

[1] "Who can't even CONCENTRATE TO WRITE this because her little sister will NOT shut up," announces the narrator

[5]: The road "bubbles up very weird smells that evil genie themselves up through the cruddy dark rain."

[7]  Not only is a bitterness tone expressed, but also pure anger with some words and even sentences being capitalized such as "...because her little sister will NOT shut up she will NOT shut up SHE WILL NOT SHUT UP and Roberta is about to BASH her little sister's HEAD IN IF SHE DOES NOT SHUT UP.

Best post: More Cowbell Please

Monday, March 19, 2012

Exercise 1

Lynda Barry's writing in her passage "Cruddy" is plain, down to earth and straightforward. The passage starts off, "Once Upon a cruddy time on a cruddy street on the side of a cruddy hill..." and as shown, it is hugely emphasized that her life is "cruddy" through her silly and unbelievable repetition of the word.  Barry's character, Roberta, develops a unique and expressive attitude toward her overbearing sister who "will NOT shut up SHE WILL NOT SHUT UP...". Her frustrated and childish attitude brings life and an energetic atmosphere into the passage and leaves readers wanting more.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Personal Goals for Quarter 4

  1. Read Wish You Well  by David Baldacci- this might not sound like a big goal but, for me it is. My dad tried to make me read this book in 7th grade but it was so boring that I never got passed the 1st page. I've been trying to read this same book for 5 years and since he loved it so much, I decided that its time that I finally read the whole thing.
  2. Read 30 minutes a night- Sometimes I feel like I don't have time to read so I'm going to make some time this quarter
  3. Try to read a variety of genres- I would really like to read a biography or a memoir. And maybe I'll try a nonfiction book too.
  4.  Read at least 50 pages a night

Anthology Theme Statement

I'm going to do my project on Smiles because smiling is one of my favorite things to do. And I love the idea of  if you smile, the world will smile with you. I think its uplifting and is my favorite saying.
A few poems that I found that I would like to include in my project is "The Smile" by William Blake, and "The Song of Three Smiles" by W. S. Merwin. I have a few more ideas for the poems but this is just my start so far.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


This week I decided to read 3 books at once. So I read a little bit from Out of My Mind and Bossypants, and more then a little of Jane Eyre. I'm finding it hard to keep reading Out of My Mind. It's a really good book but it doesn't have much of a plot so I find myself wanting to read the other 2 books first. Bossypants is Tiny Fey's new book and it is absolutely hilarious. She is one of my favorite authors, so it's really cool to read her book.  A lot of people wouldn't like to read Jane Eyre because we read it in school and its old, but i'm liking it a little more every time I read it. It really is a great book.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jane Eyre

For English class we have been reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. So far I have read 140 pages plus the intro. At first, I thought that this would be just another awful and boring book that we are forced to read in school, but I have come to actually enjoy reading it. It's written almost like old English, but not quite because its pretty easy to understand. It's actually a good book. The first few chapters were really slow but the farther into the book, the better. I'm excited to read more and see if the book is really as good as I think it's going to be.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Strong Claims vs.Personal Reviews

 Strong Claims

"His high sing-song voice shouting his heart to the rushing cars on a lost street transform him into a toy monkey slamming the tambourine in a worried insanity to block out the craziness that destroyed his father." --- Reading, Reflecting, and More Reading

"The black wall serves as a reminder that death is imminent, while the colorful chalk etchings cast a light of hope for all dreams to come true." ---More Cowbell Please

Personal reviews:
"As for the style of the book, I am very impressed.For an informative book, my attention is so well grasped." 

"And by me playing that sport it allowed me to gather numerous of friendships that are partially still intact in high school."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Submission 4- The Beach

     I've always wondered what it is about beaches that everybody loves. Why is it that whenever people picture there ideal vacation, many choose to picture it on the beach? 
      Perhaps it's because it offers a sense of adventure. For this picture, the adventure lies beyond the large boulders on the far side of the bay and pushing past into a great sea. The boats are just waiting patiently for someone to hop on and travel far away. Far away from the habits and routines of everyday life. Perhaps the beach is ideal because of the scenery. The soft white sand lays hot on the ground while the water  gleams a soft sea foam green. The big boulders shoot up from the ground and seem to touch the big blue sky. Perhaps beaches are a symbol of peace and relaxation and everything "bigger then life".  If beaches are really "bigger than life", it also offers some inspiration to those lacking it. There's something about looking out as far as possible but realizing that  the other side can't be seen that makes people question what they think they know. Or perhaps people love the beach because of the sun,because the sun makes people happy. Maybe it's because the sun brings color and joy and hope to people. As someone once said, "It's impossible not to smile when your world is full of color."
There is more to the beach then the sand, and the palm trees, and the ocean. There's happiness, and relaxing, and adventure. Everybody could use a break from reality every now and then, and where is a better place to do it then on the beach?

Out of My Mind

My book for this week is called Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. This book is extremely interesting because it written from the view of a special needs girl named Melody. In the story, everybody assumes that because on the outside she has disabilities, that she is dumber then most children and that she can't learn. However, Melody is actually extremely smart but she can't express it to anyone because she can't talk. It's kind of hard to explain I guess but it makes sense once you've read it.  Anyways, the book is about her journey to finding a way to speak the words she was never able to say before. I really like this book because it's different then most of the books i've read. It makes me think a little bit harder that looks don't show you what a person is like and there is so much more to people on the inside. I would recommend this book to people looking for a new perspective on life and for people with an open mind. Not to sound completely cheesy, but I would say that it's one of those books that is life changing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Short List

The Book Surgeon
 Brian Dettmer carves sculptures using knives, tweezers and surgical tools and manipulates the pages and spines to form his own unique sculpture. He folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create them. I think this guy is unbelievably creative. It's just a really cool way to look at art and this is one of my favorites pieces by him because it is chaotic but clean and neat.

I really love the water. I think it's beautiful and relaxing and interesting and natural. Who wouldn't want to stare at something so beautiful? Who wouldn't want to be there? I know I do, but for now I guess i'll just have to daydream.

Stereograms are 3D images hidden within another picture that have the ability to turn your computer monitor into a 3D TV. If you look at this particular picture long enough, you will see dinosaurs hidden in it. Don't ask me how this works because I don't have a clue, but I have been obsessed with these pictures since I was a little kid.

Middle School

There are times where I wish I was still in Middle School. Middle schoolers,  don't have very many responsibilities yet. Their grades are important, but not as important as they will be in High School, and there isn't as much pressure to figure out what they want to do in the future. But after listening to This American Life's "Middle School" podcast, I realize that going back to Middle School wouldn't be nearly as fun as I envisioned before.

 The podcast started off with a girl named Annie who said, "You always wonder whether other people are going through the same things as you." She talks about why middle school was so bad for her. She explained how middle school is full of a whole bunch of socially awkward kids full of drama and are trying to figure out who they are. Her middle school experience was full of drama and pressure. She was made fun of for smoking, for not smoking, and for being bilingual. But when she was asked what she thinks could be done to make middle school better, she replied, " I don't think you can really do anything about it." She explained that everyone has to grow up sometime, so middle school would be a good time to get it over with.
Another segment of the Middle school podcast is Stutter Steps. In this segment, This American Life takes you though a typical middle school dance. It is explained that older kids will stand in the middle and younger kids will stand on the outside.The gym is full of tightly packed clusters of awkwardly jumping kids. Most kids just pray that the dance will be uneventful with no humiliation. When the slow songs come on, most kids leave the floor. The couples who choose to stay are accompanied by friends who stand only feet away and talk with them the entire time. When one boy was asked if he slow danced or planned to slow dance with a girl at the dance, he replied, " I just don't know how to do it. I just don't know if I'm ready." The stress and anxiety that these kids feel before the dances, suggest that they are scared about growing up and they don't know what to do or how to react. 

Middle school is that time in life when everybody is awkward. It's when kids worry about how others think of them, and they are trying to figure life out. Girls and boys stand on opposite sides of the school dance floor, and couples aren't yet comfortable standing alone. "This American Life" does a great job reminding people of the truth about life as a middle schooler and I'm certainly glad that part of my life is over.