Sunday, June 1, 2014

SIGNING OFF

 Open Source Learning: is it a network? a tyranny? mutiny?  Is it just a bunch of crazy kids and their teacher who don't like tests?  Are they the vigilantes of the educational world?  Are they the past, present, and the future?  Yes, and as my last post in regards to this course, it's time to reflect a little and dream a lot.

From beginning to end, Open Source Learning never ceased to interest me, yet my interests never exactly got the best of me until the year came to a close.  I don't know what it was, but at first, I simply could not accept the way things were running in the class.  I've never ran without direction before.  I've never been the adventurer of an Odyssey, I've never been the king of my own castle, I've never been the Siddhartha in my own journey to find myself.  All my life, I had others to influence me and make decisions for me, but now I realize that I have no right to an opinion.  I simply have a beginning, a middle, and an end, such is the catch-22 of all life, but that doesn't stop people like me from making a difference, changing an environment, leaving a mark.  Open Source Learning helped all of us do that, not just me.  Being one of the first guinea pigs to this next-generation style of education, I am the hero of this story, but I did not work alone.  All great things have never been accomplished completely in solitude, and if there's one thing I learned in science camp, it's about the connections we make with others.  If I'm going to be the hero, my colleagues assemble the rest of this "Justice League" we call students, with reality playing the villain; something we overcame as we tossed away fear and doubt and redeveloped that hint of youth that we were missing for a while now.  Open Source Learning creates dreamers and doers from the same mold.

In the end, it was the beginning of something great.  We, as students, found something that couldn't have been attained through anything "normal," and that something was passion.  We, as seniors, don't know what lies ahead.  We don't know for certain if Open Source Learning will continue with us on our journeys, but it was a heck of an adventure.  Whether we find ourselves "mobbing" to new heights or reading a new book or baking a new cake or even building a new nation, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, will do things with the compassion and the burning intensity that founded the "adventures of us" and the newer, braver world.  According to the mobbers of the dunes, "people just help you when you're stuck, and that's how life should be right?"  According to the bakers, "it's not about the food you bake, but about the love that goes into it."  According to the spirit squads, "change is possible."  According to "Classy U", "never go in alone."  And according to Open Source Learning, "two plus two makes five."  

It worked.  We found a passion.  We reached for the sky and jumped out with a parachute.  We built nations and conquered others.  We're just kids.  If Open Source Learning can do this for one group of kids in one year, who knows what could happen next?  And with that inference left hanging in the balance, I sign off.

Monday, May 5, 2014

POETRY ESSAY

2006B Poem: “To Paint a Water Lily” (Ted Hughes)
Prompt: Read the following poem carefully. Then write an essay discussing how the poet uses
literary techniques to reveal the speaker’s attitudes toward nature and the artist’s task.


Ted Hughes possesses a Darwinian, artistic admiration for nature in his poem, "To Paint a Water Lily."  Using an imperative, paradoxical approach, Hughes personifies the dragonfly and the water lily while teaching his audience how to paint the nature of the pond.  To romanticize nature's beauty even more, he shifts the tone of the poem into a metaphorically brutal analogy of a battlefield that helps him to convey nature's beauty in two lights.

Personification was the earliest utilization of Hughes's literary sine qua nons.  To bring about the beauty of the dragonfly, he personified the bug to be a lady.  "Lady" being an actual connotation for the word "dragonfly," Hughes allowed himself to easily point out his true admiration for nature, because if a man in reality were to compare a beautiful woman to anything, the essence of beauty radiates throughout the analogy.  Hughes then goes on to describe the "two minds of this lady" - the Darwinian mindset where the fly hunts swiftly to survive, and the calm mindset where it settles in the air for a passersby to capture a glimpse of its still beauty.  The latter is what Hughes tries to capture and teach to his audience.  To paint the dragonfly, one must not only respect its rainbow, metallic arts in its stillness, but one must also capture its warrior-like attributes and killer instincts that take effect in the battlefield above the pond, as indicated by the "death cries" and "battle shouts."

After establishing the background of the painting that Hughes paints with his words, he moves on to the foreground where the pond is every so still.  The second lady of the piece, being the water lily, takes on a much more serene and harmonic personality.  After moving from an imperative, harsh tone, Hughes uses an imperative, sensitive tone toward the water lily.  No matter how beautiful the dragonfly's brutality may be, its horrors could not touch the water lily's elegance according to Hughes.  

The shifting diversity of tone, the personification of the two ladies, and the metaphor of the battlefield all depict Hughes's aspect of the pond.  Like many things in life, there are two points of view to everything - one of harsh realism and the other of beauty.  Hughes gives instruction on how to paint the two aspects in his poem, but never did he mention what types of paint brushes or colors to use.  Like how Hughes leaves it up to the painter to decide which path to take when painting the water lily, it is up to us to also decide which point of view on life we choose to see - beauty or beast.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

LITERARY ANALYSIS: MACBETH

All of us have (hopefully) read Macbeth to some extent, but with Dr. Preston's permission, I was able to hack the literary analysis outline and turn it into something different, because while I was reading Macbeth, I found it to be quite humorous and enjoyed the plot's irony thoroughly.  So on a act-by-act basis, I'm going to hopefully share with you a different point of view on the story of the ambitious traitor of Scotland.

ACT I:

ACT I begins with the "weird sisters."  If you don't already find the fact that they're called "weird" somewhat humorous, you have to take another look at it.  When these sisters encounter Macbeth and Banquo later on, their reactions to these sisters are priceless.  "Speak, if you can" is how Macbeth addressed them.  They basically called these witches animals or beasts, because these witches had beards and looked disgusting.  Later still, once Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth about King Duncan's eminent arrival to their land, Lady Macbeth enters a soliloquy in which she basically asks the gods to "unsex" her so that she could murder the king herself.  Although back in those times, women weren't supposed to commit acts of treachery, she seriously wished to be a transvestite so that she could kill somebody.  Today, the reversal is, "if you weren't a girl, I'd slap you," or something of that nature.  Not to mention, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth's relationship throughout the play is comical, because Macbeth, who is a big strong captain of the Scottish army and a ruthless killer at that, succumbs to the will of a senile woman who wears the pants in the relationship.  Shakespeare literally wrote a story about a tough guy who's secretly insecure and whipped.  There's some irony in that.

ACT II:

When Macbeth kills the king, he freaks out.  He's killed so many people before, but he freaks out this time and totally forgets to leave the evidence in the room.  With blood on his own hands, he starts blubbering and makes his wife go back in there and finish the job.  Shortly after, someone's knocking at the door and the Porter answers half-drunk and half-asleep because it's still the middle of the night.  Macduff enters and wishes to see the king while he is sleeping - in the middle of the night.  Did anybody else find that weird?  Macduff is ultimately a creeper and discovers the murder and starts yelling, which gets Macbeth all worked up, which makes him kill the watchmen.  I thought it was weird.  From the words of Ron Burgundy, "that escalated quickly."

ACT III:

The story becomes slightly more serious from this point on.  Macbeth becomes king and decides to have Banquo killed due to his insecurities about the witches' prophecy.  That part is easy to understand, but later at the feast, the ghost of Banquo haunts Macbeth, and his own wife again has to cover for him.  I think it's funny that the king of Scotland who's killed a hundred men in battle still needs a female figure to hold his hand because there's skeletons in his closet.  His wife later scolds him and questions his manhood.  Fleance's escape only takes on relevance to the point that some people blamed him for the murder of Banquo.  The witches' prophecy about Banquo's sons becoming kings gets completely left after Banquo's death.  Thought I'd point that out.  Fleance never substantially re-enters the play.

ACT IV:

Let's skip to the part where Macduff, the creeper, flees to England, which leaves the paranoid Macbeth room to kill his wife and family, because that's what civil people do when somebody leaves the country.  There's of course other reasons for Macbeth's doubts on Macduff, but having his family murdered honestly had no point other than to introduce Macduff's wife and son.  His son, by the way, is a sarcastic kid, and he is funny in his conversation with his mother where they just go back and forth about his father.  In the end, the child's sarcasm and witty remarks result in his death, which is ruthless to say the least, but I bet it would be a pre-teen's dream to say something really funny and cruel right before they get shanked to death.  Later, as Macduff visits Malcom, Malcom tests Macduff by first making himself look evil.  Ross shows up and tells Macduff that everything back home is all good only to tell him shortly after like "yeah, about your wife and kid, yeah they're dead..." as if that wasn't previously important information.

ACT V:

Everything just goes wrong for Macbeth in ACT V.  His wife is just crazy from wearing the pants too long, then Macbeth prepares for battle against most of his old friends.  Then, his wife kills herself, and he receives this news from one of his allies, Seyton (which sounds phonetically like Satan).  When your new best friend is Satan, you might be doing things wrong.  Then, one after the other, the witches prophecies come true to the very bone.  As Macbteh fights with the insurance that nobody woman-borne could hurt him, Macduff the creeper announces that he was a sesection, and Macbeth freaks out!  It was the ultimate SIKE of medieval times.  Macbeth dies, Malcom becomes king, then boom "the end."  Everything happened so fast.  It was like a climax and a resolution in two pages of reading.

It might have sounded like a narration, but certain things just stood out to me while reading.  Although I didn't quote instances because I'm trying to condense my thoughts, there's really a lot to look at while reading from Macbeth.  Some characters may have very well been likely created for the sole entertainment of the audience due to the dry humor that they produce.  I simply thought that the idea of a tough soldier who lets his wife run his life let three ugly hags control his fate, and where there was any doubt, he killed it... literally, until his actions consumed him.  I'm sure anybody could parody this, because throughout the play, there were plenty of behind-the-scene raunchy jokes (such as the witches reference to the sailor's wife who had nuts).  Many clever things were brought to the table on this one, and I got a few chuckles out of it.  If you didn't read these parts closely, you should read it again.

P.S. I know that this literary analysis was slightly confusing and only addressed a few areas, but I had to hijack it in this way in order to avoid telling you guys too much of what you already know.  Plus, all of the deeper literary elements and obvious seriousness of the play was avoided for you all to discover on your own.  There were numerous allusions and various double meanings within the play to keep track of as it is.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW

Since I've been absent of late, I wanted to make sure that I received credit for an assignment that has been given me.  Danny Luu can vouch for me, but as you can see from the video, he's just a wonderful camera-man - of course with no sarcasm included.  But really, if you haven't seen Danny's real work on Youtube, you should check it out for all of its different flavors.  Danny missed a couple of lines from the soliloquy, so I'll start it off.

"She should have died hereafter/
There would have been a time for such a word/
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in such petty pace from...

The video is pretty funny and it was filmed in my AP Biology class today.
Also my apologies to Dr. Preston for having missed the class so frequently.

video

Sunday, April 6, 2014

MACBETH ACT 2 READING NOTES


  • Macbeth's senses seem to fail as he wields the dagger of which the blood of the king will later be spilled
  • His soliloquy in Scene 1 makes it a performative utterance as he shapes his thoughts to bend the future reality of his actions to kill Duncan
  • Macbeth kills the king and gets scared that the chamberlains woke up
    • He found it hard to say "Amen" as the chamberlains prayed once more before they went back to bed
    • Religion plays a huge role again and juxtaposes the murder that happened just before
  • Macduff enters the castle and finds the kind murdured
  • Macbeth and lady Macbeth act shocked and Macbeth kills the chamberlains which adds suspicion to Macduff that Macbeth may be the killer
  • Macbeth becomes named the new king and has his coronation in Scone
  • Malcom and Donalbain leave the country in fear that they may be killed next

Thursday, April 3, 2014

LOOK AT MY BATTLES

Warrior Nation meant more to me than the average student.  Those happy few of us who constructed it also took on many other challenges that we did not foresee in its creation.  Not only did we have to create cheers of which the student body could participate in saying, we had to somehow find a way to make the rest of the skeptics believe that what we were doing was "the cool thing to do."  In this generation, re-creating the idea of "cool" is probably one of the toughest things to do.  Factors like popularity, image, and judgment all came into play on our masterpiece, and if we didn't collaborate with the more popular seniors and make them "spirit commanders," we wouldn't have lasted a day.  All in all, it worked out.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LITERARY ANALYSIS 5

I'm collaborating with Kylie Sagisi:

PLOT:
- Yet another dystopian novel, Brave New World takes place in London, where the generations of man are artificially created in hatcheries and bred to become who they are destined to be through a caste system that works much like the educational grading system.  Through following Henry Ford's "assembly line" lifestyle, the character, Bernard tries to break away from his society.  He meets John at a "savage" reservation with his mother.  John is brought back to the World State to cope with his ancestry, but cannot change who he is and adapt to his new environment, making him immoral in the eyes of his peers and Mustapha Mond, their district leader.  He falls in love with Lenina but cannot express it the way he wants to.  John eventually freaks out, which causes disruption to the society's happiness, which then forces Mustapha Mond to exile Bernard along with his friend, Helmholtz, and John exiles himself some distance from the World State.  People visited the "Savage," Lenina visited him later, they had an orgy, John lost himself to the society and killed himself the moment he realized it.

THEME:
-The major theme of all dystopian novels is the imperfection that arises from perfection.  On the surface, societies of a dystopian novel functions perfectly, but there is everything wrong in the eyes of a free thinker.  Society will crumble through systematic routine.  It is unnatural to suppress free thought or action.  With perfection comes a human life that isn't worth living.

TONE:
- Huxley's tone is very scientific and hypothetical throughout.  A very factual and straight-forward science fictional author, Huxley gave the mechanical World State a type of truthful reality that almost broke the fourth wall while reading his work.

5 LITERARY TERMS:
- Allusion: "History is bunk"
- Metaphor: Mustapha Mond's pipe metaphor about human pleasures
- Pun:  the "World State" can be read as the "World's State" of being
- Motif: Ford serves as a motif to remind the reader of where the World State's vision comes from.  It works hand in hand with the allusion but plays along in religious context such as "Year of our Ford" instead of "Year of our Lord."
- Symbolism: Soma symbolizes artificial happiness