Saturday, December 22, 2012

Humanities Project-This I Believe Essay

For humanities we had to write a This I Believe Essay. This I Believe is a world wide organization which you can submit essays for what are core values in your lives. I qualified to submit my essay and I would like to share it with you. This is my This I Believe Essay:

The Aspects of Resiliency and Persistance


I believe that if you falter or fail, you can always stand back up be, resilient, and persistent.
You could get a bad grade on a test, lose a game, or a competition. Yes, you would be extremely disappointed, frustrated and upset, but if you put that bad grade aside and grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down the problem you could ask yourself, why did I get this problem wrong? After you understand the problem, carefully complete and answer it. If you lose a game, you would know that the strategy would not work so you could just think of a better and improved strategy. If you lost a competition, you could always compete again except with better preparation. This behavior will help you lead the way out of the pit of failure or falter. This type of situation has happened to me.

After I just joined the swim team, I had a goal to be the best swimmer on team. However, there were kids who were faster than me. There was one kid who joined the team after me and was still quicker than me. This made me feel like I was not meeting my standards. I was disappointed but I realized, as long as I tried my best, I am still truly dedicated. In order to reach my goal, I started working on a single stroke every day following the coach’s instructions precisely. Then, I worked on my turns to make them as quick as possible. I worked on my turns ten, twenty and sometimes even hundreds of times. I felt exhausted. My body was sore and aching. There were times when I had a huge urge to stop but I resisted it and stayed strong. Eventually, I met my goal and, slowly inched my way out of the pit. I believed in myself. I believed that if you falter or fail, you can always stand back up and be resilient and persistent.

Truly, anyone can accomplish the hardest of things if they never give up. Thomas Edison, for instance, invented the light bulb. He tried hundreds of times and every time he stumbled into a pit. However, he never gave up. He always found a passage way out of the pits because he was resilient and persistent. One day, he finally succeeded and contributed one of the most useful tools to mankind.

Falter and fail does not mean disappointment, frustration, and sadness if you know how to climb out of the pit of failure. It only tells you that you are actually one less pit closer to success. I believe that if you falter or fail, you can always be resilient and be persistent.

Humanities School Work-A Roman Myth: Felix

For humanities I wrote a Roman myth. I wanted to share it with you so here it is, it is called Felix:

Felix


Felix was an average boy. Well, that is what he thought. He lived thirty miles away from school. Every day he had to get up at six in the morning in order to get to school by seven. From time to time, he would fall asleep on the bus to school. Today was one of those days…


A clap of thunder snapped Felix awake. The rest of the way to school, Felix was tired and gloomy. Billy and Bob were brothers and Felix’s only friends at Philadelphia Middle School. They never went to school by bus so Jack never had any friends to talk with on the bus.

When Felix got to school, he went directly to history class. In the classroom, the desks were aligned in a “U” shape. Most of the books were in the wrong bins and there were drawings on the whiteboard. There were many statements on the board like, “HI!” or “GOOD MORNING!!!” Suddenly, the bell rang and the teacher walked in. They were studying the unit, ROME. They had already learned that rich boys could have private tutors and poor children had to start working at age five or six. As soon as the history teacher set down her history books she asked the class to begin to recite the answers to the homework. Then they had an intense discussion about Roman meals such as during dinner time, the wealthy would eat snails dipped in milk, jellyfish, bread, and mice. The poor would eat beans and bread with water for dinner. They also learned that the baths were not only to get clean, but a social place were they could work out, read, and talk.  Rome also had many military achievements and built great buildings such as the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. When Felix’s classmate, Hank, asked why Rome was so important, lightning suddenly struck outside and Felix jumped in terror. He looked out of the window and saw rain battering against the window sill and a faint blink of light in the distance.

After school, Felix went to hang out with his friends Billy and Bob at their house. They played on the Xbox, PlayStation, and Hangman-the typical twelve year-old games. By dinner time, Felix got home. He wanted to tell his mom what he did today but he heard whispering in his mom’s room. It was Mrs. Amo, the history teacher. She whispered, “Jupiter has already claimed him as his son. You must bring him to Olympus.”

“No!!!” his mom exclaimed. “Jupiter never cared for him! Why would he now!”

“We need his help. He is our only hope.”

“Fine.” Outside, Felix was confused and startled.

His mom walked out of her room with teary eyes and told Felix that they needed to go somewhere in a calm voice. They got in the Toyota and drove to New York City. They were completely silent most of the way. After approximately two hours, Felix had the courage to ask his mom where they were going. His mom said somewhere grand. They got to New York Grand Central Station ten minutes after that question. Felix’s mom asked for tickets for the train Olympus Express. The ticket man responded, “What ma’am?” Then Felix’s mom said that they had an audience with Jupiter. It took a great deal of persuading to finally get the ticket. The ticket read, “Pillar between Gates 11 and 12-Olympus Express”. Felix’s mom pulled Felix there. She threw the ticket at the pillar. Instead of bouncing harmlessly off, the ticket went into the pillar. Felix was so startled that he blacked out.

When Felix woke up, he was laying in the throne room of Olympus. He saw all the Roman gods and goddesses staring at him. He was too alarmed to speak. Finally, he heard a thunderous voice booming around the room. “FELIX IS FINALLY AWAKE.” When Felix looked straight forward, he saw the enormous figure sitting on the largest throne. He had cloudy eyes and held a lightning bolt brighter than the sun. He was wearing a toga. The figure then started speaking to him, “FELIX MY SON, I AM JUPITER, KING OF THE GODS”.

Felix was shocked and could only say one thing, “Did you make our history room shake?”

“YES”

Another voice then spoke, “WE CANNOT TELL YOU EVERYTHING YET, BUT YOU MUST STOP PLUTO, LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD.”

Felix blurted out “What, why?”

“HE IS TRYING TO OVERTHROW US. WE ARE NOT SURE WHY AND WE NEED YOU TO HELP US FIND OUT AND STOP HIM. WE BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING MORE POWERFUL THEN EVEN US IS TRYING TO CONTROL HIM.”

“Why do you need me?”

“YOU ARE THE ONLY CAPABLE DEMIGOD FOR A CENTURY. THERE IS NO MORE TIME TO TALK. WE MUST SEND YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY.”

Jupiter, then spoke to Felix and told him that he had a gift for him. It was a paperclip. Felix didn’t understand why he gave him that. When he bent it, it grew in to a full sized three foot long sword. Under the sun, it gleamed so bright, he had to cover his eyes. It was perfectly balanced. After a few minutes of admiring this deadly weapon, Felix was teleported to his house. Felix thought it was a dream, but he reached into his pocket and the paperclip was there. Felix knew what he had to do. He had to go to the Underworld.

***

Felix packed briefly. He stuck his paperclip in his pocket along with his wallet and threw a few wooden sticks in his backpack. Felix went downstairs to the kitchen and told his mom his quest. His mom nodded at everything. As Felix walked out the door, his mom kissed him on the forehead and said, “Good Luck.” Felix walked out the door in silence. He didn't want to look back but he did. He knew he wouldn't be seeing his mom for a long time. For some unknown reason, Felix sensed where the entrance to the Underworld was. It was near the ancient Pantheon in Rome. Felix would have to catch a plane…

The airport was the size of a bug compared to the throne room at Mount Olympus. Felix took some money from his wallet and casually walked through the sliding doors of Terminal A. He bought tickets to the earliest flight to Rome. As he walked through security, he placed his wallet and paperclip in his bag. When he walked through the gates, he wondered how his paperclip sword could ever go through the detector without being noticed. Right after picking up his bag, he took his paperclip out and stuffed it into his pocket. He ran towards Gate 3, where the plane awaited him.

The flight to Rome was not the greatest. The wind kept tossing the plane around as if the wind was juggling, and the food was stale and slimy. Felix managed to eat what he could without throwing up, and tried to get some sleep. Though the sudden jerks of turbulence kept him awake but fatigue finally overtook him. Felix awoke to babbling sounds produced by the intercom as the captain was preparing to make an announcement. "We will be landing soon so fasten your seat belts." Felix looked out the window and scoped cars zooming on the freeways and glaring windows on tremendous skyscrapers. He looked a little more closely and saw the little dots of tourists crowding around the famous Pantheon. Suddenly, the plane hit the ground and a jolt went through Felix. After Felix got out of the airport, he took a deep breath of sweet fresh air. New energy surged through him and he sprinted to his destination.

The streets were filled with people going in and out of shops, alleyways, and houses. As he ran past the Circus Maximus, he saw tourists funneling up into the single file line that led into the arena. Finally, he got to the Pantheon. He walked through the main gate and out the back, going to a high hill in the distance. As he climbed up the hill, he noticed that the grass was withering and dyeing because of the faint Underworld aura. When he reached the top, he spied the boulder he was looking for.

 Felix touched the boulder and muttered “Aperire,” which means “to open” in Latin. The boulder sank through the ground revealing a secret passage way that seemed to have no end. Felix walked down the passage way…

The tunnel had pictures of monsters. They looked like they were going to walk straight out of the wall. It seemed like hours until Felix got to the bottom. When Felix reached the end of the tunnel, he started to hear growling. He continued to walk forward and then he saw the source of the growling-a monster! It was the gigantic three-headed mutt, Cerberus. Luckily, Felix was prepared. He took three wooden sticks out of his backpack. He fiercely threw them all at the same time at Cerberus (as all dogs like sticks and Cerberus was a dog). Felix ran as fast as he could through the enormous legs of distracted Cerberus and straight to Pluto’s Palace.

As he got closer to the palace, he saw two skeleton guards of Pluto, Spartus’s, were standing at the front door, holding three foot long iron swords. They caught sight of Felix, and swung their swords. Felix jumped back and took out his paperclip. He was hoping that he would never need to use it but he couldn’t worry about that now. He parried the Spartus’s swing and lunged. He hit one Spartus in the chest and it exploded into a pile of dust.  Then he quickly slashed at the other Spartus but it parried. Then he tried aiming for the head. Still, there was no luck for Felix. Finally, when Felix was pushed to the banks of the River Styx, he threw his sword. It plunged itself deep into the monster’s neck and the Spartus staggered back and forth. Felix heaved his sword out of the Spartus’s neck, and pushed the Spartus into the Styx. The Spartus slowly dissolved away.

Felix crept into the palace looking for Pluto. Pluto was the last person he wanted to see because he was tired and scared. Felix threw that thought away. After what seemed like ages, he came upon the dining hall of Pluto. A sharp screeching voice was talking. It wasn't like monsters, nor was it like his father’s. “PROSERPINA, PLEASE BRING ME THE ROASTED POMEGRANATE. I AM HUNGRY. THE SOONER WE GET RID OF THE OTHER GODS, THE MORE TIME WE WILL HAVE TO RULE THE WORLD.”

Then a sweet mellow voice spoke, “Yes Pluto, your food will be there in a minute.”

 Felix courageously jumped into the dining hall and shouted, “Pluto, I have come here to stop you. You will not overthrow the other gods and goddesses”

Pluto jumped back in surprise. Then he replied, “AH, ANOTHER ONE TO DESTROY. I REMEMBER WHEN JUPITER SENT ONE LAST YEAR AND I DISINTEGRATED HIM.”  Felix thought, disintegrated? Without thinking, Felix got a firm grip on his sword handle and charged. He jumped up stabbing Pluto in the knee. Then he rose up causing Pluto’s robe to tear. As he came in for another attack, Pluto snapped his fingers and Felix couldn't move. Pluto then screeched, “I HAVE LEARNED A FEW TRICKS FROM MY FATHER, SATURN. SINCE HE IS IN TARTARES, I RELY ON MY GRANDFATHER, OURANUS.”  Pluto clapped and his robe sealed itself up and all his wounds healed. Then he snapped his fingers and Felix was running again. Felix then stopped in his tracks. Crack! The floor split open suddenly.  Felix jumped over the crack and stabbed Pluto in the stomach. Then Felix had a huge urge to try something he didn't even understand. He tried to unleash his secret power, lightning. CRACK SNAP WHACK. Pluto was thrown back to the edge of Tartares. Then Felix threw his blade, hoping that Pluto would disintegrate. Instead, the flat of the blade hit Pluto in the face. Pluto tumbled into Tartares screaming. “AGHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh…” After a few minutes, the screaming ceased and Felix was left alone on the flat Underworld plateau. Felix picked up his sword and trudged away. Near the exit, a Spartus started chasing him, but Felix spun around and quickly chopped its head off.

He was tired, hungry, and cold, but he managed to crawl into the real world from the tunnel. He checked the time. It was 10:43 PM, October 4, 2012, three days after he had left.  He pulled out his return ticket and headed towards the airport.

***

As soon as Felix opened the front door, his mom smothered him in hugs and kisses. Tears of joy were dripping from her face like rain. After getting herself together she asked Felix to walk to the kitchen. His mom opened the door. There, it was the Pegasus! Felix jumped with joy and happiness. She told him that he needed to go to Olympus by Pegasus. He jumped on the magical beast and kicked his heels. Pegasus flew out the window and zoomed to Olympus. As soon as the horse landed Felix looked around. He was bewildered by the spectacular sight! There were golden statues and marble buildings. A fountain sprinkled water to the trees and flowers. There were many minor gods and goddesses walking around in milky white togas. He knew he didn't have long so he walked to the throne room and knocked on the door. He heard the familiar booming but now friendly voice. “HELLO FELIX, I SEE THAT YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED. PLEASE TELL US EVERYTHING.”
Felix told them everything. A goddess with misty gray eyes-Minerva started to speak. “PLUTO WAS NOT ACTING BY HIMSELF THEN.”

“Yes.”
Jupiter then looked at Neptune. They exchanged nervous glances. “WE MUST GO” boomed Neptune. In a clap of lightning and thunder, they disappeared. Minerva then sternly told Felix, “YOU HAVE DONE WELL, DEMIGOD. WE WISH YOU WELL. THANK YOU FOR DOING AS A GOOD DEED. WE WON’T FORGET YOU. GOOD BYE!!!” Mars, the god of war who liked all the glory for himself than spoke in a rude manner, “GO. SHOO. I HAVE PREPARED A RIDE FOR YOU.” Felix rushed out the entrance. Outside was a crimson red chariot drawn by a fiery horse! Felix jumped on, and was whisked away.

Felix was proud of what he did and had more self-confidence. He started making new friends. Gradually, he started to talk with his new friends on the bus. All his worries were carried away...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Party

My family and I hosted our annual Christmas party last Saturday evening. We invited many friends, including Arnet. My friend Seyer could not come because he had to visit his grandpa in the hospital. Although Seyer didn't come, my friends and I had a blast! We played Minecraft at the beginning of the party until it was time to eat.

Every year, the party includes a cooking contest. This year's contest was for the appetizers. Last year it was a Christmas cookie contest.

Our parents were just about to start the appetizer contest when our doorbell rang! We opened the door and jumped in joyful surprise! It was my fifth grade teacher, who was the surprise guest of the night.

We went upstairs after dinner and played hide and go seek in the dark. it was fun because you couldn't tell if someone was a shadow, or if they were the actual person. Then we got called downstairs to perform the music pieces we practiced. After playing our songs, we ran upstairs to continue our game.

All parties end and this one did too. Every one left the party at eleven, although we were planning for them to stay until two. Well, there will be other times...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Latin Ludi Festival

A few weeks ago, I went to the annual Latin/Roman festival at the Harker School in the Bay Area. It is a festival and contests for all the schools in the Bay Area who offer Latin as a class. This is only for middle and high school students. I am in 6th Grade, so I can participate. The tests were mythology, history, derivatives, grammar, vocabulary, and daily life. The workshops were: The Evolution of Ancient Money, What Makes Books Dangerous, Ludology of Certamen, The Philosophy of Certamen, Rapio, The Senior Classical League, Mycenae vs. Knossos, the Ancient Showdown, Gladiators, Vinco Bingo, Dux Femina Facti... or Maddened Queens, and House of Atreus.

Everyone had to choose two tests to take. I chose History and Mythology. I chose these tests because I had the most practice with them and because I like them. Although it was a long time ago, the scores came out last Friday in front of the whole middle school. I was very nervous but it turned out, I got first place in History at my level and second place in Mythology at my level! I was startled, shocked, surprised, and extremely happy and proud when I heard the good news. During the day many people congratulated me. I was proud of myself and I gained more self-confidence. It was fun to participate at the Ludi Festival and I hope to go again next year.

Ego Laeta

Monday, November 19, 2012

Microsoft's Windows 8 Pro (very techy)

I got Microsoft's Windows 8 Pro for my Dell INSPIRON laptop a few weeks ago. I think it is better than past versions because it is more efficient and you can fit more things onto your desktop but it is more confusing than other versions.

It is all about the corners. If you move the cursor to the bottom left corner, the start menu will appear and you will need to click on it. The top left corner shows what programs you are currently running on the computer. The top and bottom right corners show the options menu which include search, share, devices, settings, and another way to get to the start menu. I think the design is pretty cool because it is easier to use, but it is still hard for me to adjust from having Microsoft's Window 7 Home Premium. It is confusing because sometimes I forget which corner does what or, when I am typing something in the search I accidentally move my mouse off the corner and I type something completely random.

Windows 8 has many different versions; Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8 RT, Windows 8 Home, and Windows 8 Home Premium. I have the Pro version, which is used more for business but it can run most games too. Although Windows 8 is modern, sophisticated, and high tech, it can not play my most favorite computer game, Minecraft! I think the problem is that the makers of Minecraft haven't updated their product's software, so it only works for lower versions of Windows and Macs. This is a problem because Minecraft is not compatible with Windows 8.

Overall, I like Windows 8 a lot. It is cool, high tech, and fun to play with. Although this may be true, I still think there is room for improvement.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Historical Games: The End?

Both sides are weakened but they continue to fight. In the end, history might not be altered, but is there hope for the AXIS?

In historical games, we had our last session for this semester. There was one battle worth 0.5 point, one worth one point, and Overlord which was two points. The AXIS went all out bloodshed. We terminated the enemy in the 0.5 battle, crushed the enemy in the one point battle and defeated the enemy in Overlord.

I played the one point battle and the end of Overlord. At the beginning of the session, the cumulative score was 10-12. The ALLIES had 10 points and the AXIS had 12. When I won my game, the score was 10-13. The strategy of my friends and I, worked well. We were to maneuver around forests and hills and killing soldiers from every direction. One tank unit was trapped in a forest hex and we wiped it out completely in one roll. When we won the battle, one of the AXIS generals playing Overlord got "killed" (he had to leave) so I took his place.

I killed one enemy unit and wounded another. Then one of my colleagues captured a town hex. We had won the game! The score was now 10-15. When we saw Asher smiling, we knew what he had done. He won the 0.5 point battle. The score was 10-15.5 now. We were so happy, that we started dancing, Gangnam style. I ranked up to a private first class. It is the end of Historical Games, for now...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Historical Games: Overlord

In Memoir '44, there is a special way to play. It is called Overlord. In Overlord, two game boards are put together and made into one. Now the flanks are expanded in size. Overall, it is a blood fest when the games begin (not literally). In Overlord, a new position is created called, the Overlord. The Overlord is like the general of generals. The AXIS team's Overlord is Asher. He commands two other people and me. We are not allowed to look at the cards unless he gives one to us. The Overlord is allowed to give out three cards, give out two cards, or give out 1 card. He may also give one card and play one card himself or give out two and play one. It is possible to give the same person more than one card.

I controlled the left flank. My enemy general was Max. Unlucky for him, he got really bad rolls. Once I had a solo tank next to his infantry unit and he rolled three dice. The problem was, he didn't roll any tank dice. Then Asher gave me a Medics and Mechanics card, which heals the unit you play it on, and a Recon, which allows you to give one order to a unit. I healed my tanks, then I destroyed the infantry. I got a flag for our team.

Asher's strategy was to stay on defense. The opposing team had good defensive positions so we didn't want to attack them. If we forced them to go on offense, they would be crushed by our defense. We managed to tie the battle instead of winning because the enemy Overlord played air power and messed up our plan a little bit. He destroyed my second line of defense causing the front line to have little support. Later, Max got a couple of good rolls and wiped out the middle of my front line. Then he moved he soldiers through the gap and started attacking. He wiped out another unit but missed the rest. Then Asher gave me an assault card and I brought all my soldiers to Max's and surrounded him. Then I fired at them. I wiped out three units.

No matter what, in the end, a team will victoriously rise.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Theme of HERO

The theme of HERO is discovering you inner talents. Zach needs to be alone in order to discover his hidden superpowers. This happens many times in Central Park. Throughout the book, Zach begins to understand things better and that the world is more complex than what he thought when his Dad was alive. He becomes tougher and more independent as he discovers his powers. The more he understands his powers, the more responsibly he uses them. At the end of the book, he is ready to take on adult responsibilities and follow in his father’s footsteps.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Historical Games

One thousand Nazis and seven hundred Americans hide in the forest, waiting for an order... BAM! Gunshots go off and the Americans prance out of the woods trying to secure Toulon.

This is a battle in a game I played in an after-school program. It is called Memoir '44. It is a World War 2 game that tries to recreate the war as much as possible. I am part of the AXIS team. This consists of the Japanese, Germans, and Italians. About half the people in the historical games are on the AXIS. The other side is the ALLIES. The ALLIES consist of the rest of the major countries. So far, the ALLIES have had a three year killstreak, but this year our captain, Asher, is going to change that. The AXIS are winning by two. Memoir '44's rules are complicated.

I have not won a battle yet but I haven't lost one either. On Friday I managed to tie the battle by wiping out an enemy unit. I was lucky this time because the enemy had three groups of tanks and infantry units. We only had one artillery unit and infantry units. Our artillery unit was our main hope because terrain didn't block it and it was in a town, reducing the chance of getting hit by two. It also had sandbags protecting which meant they didn't need to retreat. We killed one enemy tank with it, one infantry unit, and three infantry soldiers. One infantry unit consists of four soldiers and a tank unit consists of three tanks. The single infantry unit I wiped out made a big difference. If I didn't tie the battle, I would have let my team down.

Memoir '44 is where the action really happens.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Setting of HERO

The book HERO takes place in Manhattan and in Montauk, New York. The most action happens in Central Park where Zach fights three bad guys and a giant. Zach needs to be alone, without help, in order to discover his mysterious super powers to help himself. In Montauk, the tall grass is a big part of the setting because the crazy and mysterious Mr. Herbert can pop in and out of places without being seen. There is also the part at the beach where Zach fights the teenagers that are trying to steal their bikes. The setting can take place anywhere Zach is alone and in danger, which forces him to discover his super powers. Another setting could be in the Arizona Desert or Golden Gate Park.
Get the book "Hero" here

There Is a Book Review Series Coming

I am starting a "review summary series". It is about a boy named Zach in the book HERO by Mike Lupica. My humanities teacher wanted my class to write a paragraph on the setting. In this review series I will be writing about the setting, character, and a finally a summary about the whole book.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting My Locker

My school started on Thursday. On Friday, I got my locker. Our lockers are blue and black and for some reason have an air vent. The eighth graders got their lockers on Thursday, the seventh graders during Friday’s advisory, and we sixth graders got ours at lunch on Friday.

Before I got my locker, I had science. I got out of the classroom a little late and discovered that the line was super-duper long. Literally, the line looked like an enormous spiraling worm. I decided, I’ll eat lunch first.

After lunch, I waited about thirty minutes. I decided to check on the line. The line had not changed in length, and most of the people were still standing there not eating lunch. As I cheerfully walked down the stairs, I asked them, “why you don’t eat lunch first. The line will barely move.” They misinterpreted that and thought I was just trying to trick them so that I could get to the front of the line faster. After another thirty minutes, the line was only half way gone.

After about another fifteen minutes, I got my locker assignment. I rushed to the locker and tried to open it. At that moment I remembered I didn’t learn how to open these types of lockers. I was very frustrated because I couldn’t find anybody to help me. First I tried to put the code in by trying to push in the twisty lock. It wouldn’t open. Second, I tried the exact same thing except turning the twisty lock in different directions, but it still wouldn’t open. The last attempt was when I spun the lock in different directions without pushing in the lock, but I had no luck. I felt very depressed because I waited in that long line and still couldn’t open my locker. I was also late for Latin class.

One of my friends saw me failing every attempt and walked over to help me. He opened my locker. I looked inside, put some binders in, shut the locker, and said thank you. At that point I was already running to the Latin room. It wasn't until the next Monday that I learned how to open the lockers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 6)

I am sad to say that this is my last part of my sequence “My Trip to China”… I am now in the ending periods of visiting my grandma in Beijing, China. I will miss my grandma and my other relatives dearly. I never will forget the awesome times we all spent together: we went to the Great Wall with one of my uncles and grandma, playing and riding pedal boats with my friend, eating delicious- 小笼包-steamed dumplings- with my aunties, playing cards, laughing, chatting, and encountering super-hot garages at the airport. Most of all, I will always remember just being here with my grandma. It is hard to say goodbye…




On the sunny side, I will be home soon; my friends are in America waiting for me. There will be no more Chinese food every single meal, and no more three meals a day. Trust me, Chinese people love to eat. Oh, I forgot to mention the merciless mosquitos will surely starve to death once I’m out of China. I will definitely leave all the heat here and am desperately looking forward to the sea breeze in the Bay Area. The problem is, none of these will cheer me up because I won’t see my grandma for a long time.
Goodbye Grandma.

 

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 5)

Today I went to the Great Wall of China! Man, the site was exquisite. The Great Wall looked like an enormous dragon, zigzagging over the mountains. It is much over the wow factor on a scale of boring to infinitely impossible to be true. The Great Wall was over ten thousand miles long. It was made out of millions of big chunks of yellow stone, turning tan brown over the ages. What most amazes me is that this most famous sculpture was literally made by human hands thousands of years ago.  I felt like I had accomplished an excellent achievement standing on the Great Wall for the first time! There is a Chinese saying – 不到长城 非好汉 - Unless you climb to the top of the Great Wall, you are not a hero.

At the foot of the mountain, I couldn’t decide whether I should take the gondola up or to walk up. I figured that if I walked up, I would have to take the gondola down, because I would be too tired to walk down. However, I had to remind myself that I am afraid of riding on gondolas because I don’t want to fall. Finally, I decided to take the gondola up. When we got off the gondola I got a very good view of the Great Wall.

Wow… I have never seen that many people in one place in my whole life!! When we started our descent, an army of tourists pushed us all the way back to the tippy top. We tried to take pictures many times. It was very difficult because when we got in position, a horde of people pushed us to a different place. When I had enough of this cycle, we chose to walk beside the Great Wall, on a little pathway. This was much better. There weren’t many people on the pathway so it felt super peaceful and beautiful. After an about an hour, we had successfully climbed down the GREAT WALL of CHINA!!!

This was a life-time experience and I felt like I was a hero and was super proud. I now understand what the Chinese saying really means. 不到长城非好汉


Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 4)

My trip to China is not totally a blast. I got the flu! At first, my mom thought it was just my allergies, but later we found out it was the flu. My symptoms on the first day were an itchy throat and some coughing. The day after that, my throat felt better but I started having pounding headaches. That is when my mom took my temperature. It was thirty-nine degrees Celsius. Normal body temperature is thirty-seven degrees Celsius.  At night, my temperature was so high, I started shivering. My mom had to put three heavy blankets on me even in the hot summer. The day after that, my mom took me to the hospital.

At the hospital, I told the doctor my symptoms, and the doctor said I had the flu. He wanted to make sure so he told my mom that I had to take a blood test. My mom agreed and we waited about ten minutes in the laboratory. One nurse came over to me and led us to the blood sampling room. I felt very anxious because I didn’t know what the procedure was. Then I saw the needle on a ring that the nurse was wearing!!! The needle was smaller than the thickness of the edge of a piece of paper. It was probably a little bit longer than the screws that hold glasses’ frames together. I was relieved. The nurse poked my ring finger and used a straw to sip out the blood. She put it in a measuring vial and asked us to wait fifteen minutes. After what seemed like an eternity (at least to me) the results came. Everything was fine except my upper respiratory system had an infection. In other words, I had the flu. The doctor prescribed some medicine and we went to the pharmacy to get it. After taking the medicine for a couple days, I was cured. This whole drama lasted ONE WEEK. What a bummer.

After that, my grandma started sneezing and my 3rd Auntie’s throat started itching. Uh Ohhhhh…

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 3)

Today I played with my friend who is visiting family in Dong Si Beijing. We go to school together. He also came to China to visit his grandparents. I had a very fun time playing with him. He lives very far away so my Mom and I had to take the Chinese Subway to get there. There were ten train stops between my house and his house. We also transferred trains once. After we got there, he showed me a few magic tricks using cards. The magic tricks he showed me were all about cards disappearing. Later, we played a game called Mushroom War on the iPad. We were just about to win when the iPad ran out of batteries. We both felt disappointed and glum. Then we went out to eat.

While we waited for our table and food, my friend and I played Egyptian Slap. In Egyptian Slap you try to get all the cards by slapping them. I can’t believe I epically FAIL every single time whenever I play it! 

After lunch, we went to a dinosaur exhibition in Jing Shan Park. We saw many dinosaurs we never even heard of in the States. Some of the plastic ones moved and screamed. The dinosaurs that moved and screamed were powered from an electronic timer inside a power box. The electricity boxes looked like lunch boxes.

The highlight of this play date was when we went to a lake nearby and rented a pedal-boat.

 The lake was bean shaped with a beautiful white stone bridge. We could see many fish. Surrounding the lake were willow trees. It was drizzling lightly and it was a beautiful view. I felt peaceful and happy. While my friend and I powered and steered the boat, my mom and his aunt were talking. Sadly, our time was up and we had to say good bye.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 2)

I have been in China for one week now. My Grandma and my Mom are busy most of the time. I am super bored. Surprisingly, my Mom is encouraging me to watch TV. This has never happened before in the U.S. This is because I can practice my Chinese. There is only one channel here that I like. It is called Kaku. Kaku is basically the Chinese version of Disney Channel, Disney XD, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and all the Power Ranger Movies mixed together. Weird, HUH? After a few days, my 3rd Auntie came from Australia to visit and to stay with us, I was happy. We could play cards and a new game called “Spot It”, and talk.

On the 6th day, Saturday, we had a big banquet at my Grandma’s house. I got to see my little chubby nephew and most of my cousins, aunties, and one of my uncles. The food was delicious. There was braised fish, roasted chicken, stir-fried shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, many salads, and soup. In total, there were at least fourteen dishes! My favorite was the braised fish. It was a whole fish but cut in half with the head and tail left on the fish. It was lightly browned on both sides and cooked with ginger, spring onion, with a touch of soy sauce sugar, and cooking wine. When I saw it, my mouth began to water! The texture was light and flaky. The taste was unbelievable. It was cooked through, very juicy, and tender. The fished smelled like the ocean.

I had an awesome time. I got to talk with my cousins, aunties, and uncle. Everyone was talking about the round little fellow. He is extremely cute, and likes to run a lot in the house.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Trip To China (Part 1)

Have you ever been to a place where the temperature can be up to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and about 20 degrees below zero in the winter? I have. I am visiting my relatives in Beijing, China this summer. It has been SUPER hot since we got here.  When my mom and I first got off the airplane, the temperature was 98 degrees Fahrenheit outside. When we walked into the airport’s parking garage, it was like walking in an omega steam room. It was hot and humid! Finally, we got in my Auntie’s car. I was hoping there was air conditioning, but the chauffeur didn’t even turn it on. I was in the back seat and thought a pyro was in the back heating up the car. It felt like the car was on fire! At last we got home. I greeted my Grandma and rushed to the air conditioner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Should all U.S. students meet a single set of national proficiency standards

Should all U.S students meet one set of national proficiency standards? I believe yes. This post will explain my choice. America has been declining when it comes to academics. This is especially true in math.

Schools should have a single set of national proficiency standards. This way, all students will be held to high standards and will try to achieve them. Thus, we can encourage students to work harder and study better in school. Over time, America’s world academic ranking has dropped from number one to thirty-two. America needs high standards to make their ranking much better. If we had high standards, students would be inspired to participate in class and study so they could be well prepared for the ERB* or STAR** test.

So far the ERB and STAR test scores have been lower than usual. This is likely because many children spend an enormous amount of time playing video games or online. They are encouraged to do that from TV ads. This is also because of new technology that comes out. Students play on these new devices and will not spend enough time studying. Furthermore, if the students had a standard they would try to achieve, they would develop a habit of studying, and would spend less time on games and online. These better habits will help students do better in school.

The national proficiency standards will help “B” students earn scores such as “A” or “A+”. When these students grow up, their expectations of their own children will be high, so they can help their children do better in school. From my own experience, over the years, my ERB percentile scores has been increased from around 80% to 90%. Each year I set a goal to improve my scores.
The national proficiency standards will help America improve its world ranking. This might persuade other countries to adopt similar programs. More students can go to good colleges and get a very good education. These standards can help the students’ career when they are an adult. Therefore, I believe that all U.S. students should meet a single set of national proficiency standards. The standards help students do a lot better in school. The national proficiency standards will help make the United States
a better place.


*The ERB’s standardized tests are for independent schools
**The STAR standardized tests are for public schools

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Playing with Friends

I love to play with friends. They cheer me up and are always honest. We usually play LEGO’s together. We created a LEGO nation. We even have a short history about it. The history is: After violent battles one nation rose out of the ashes. This was the United Republic! My friends and I are each in charge of our own city and our two or three jobs. My job is reinforcements and textiles. I reinforce our warfare master and our head of security. I have lots of spare LEGO body pieces and I pretend that they are clothes because the parts are made with clothes on them. We have already expanded our empire but it is not very large.

We might plan an assault on another nation to expand our empire. That nation’s leader is Austin. Although Austin gave practically all his LEGOs to my friend Arnet, one of the creators of the United Republic, Austin has gained stronger army men. For now, we fear his power. We have the choice to expand or to fall with the United Republic. My city, Brick Land, is the best defended and most likely to survive. The cities of my other friends, Gevan and Seyer will probably fall in ashes. Arnet’s city will barely survive but will be so weak it will crumble in a matter of time. No matter, I shall help them as best as I can! The United Republic must live on!!! We have decided to put our attacks on hold, but that is not the final decision. Despite the wars and battles we have had, our country is still thriving!

Another game we play is “hide and go seek tag”. We usually go to the “Breakers”, which is a group of apartments, and run around. We have a “bonker” who decides which player is the tagger. We usually do “sky blue sky blue everybody is it but you”. The people who are bonked are not it for the round. The person who was never bonked is the tagger. The tagger must find the others and then tag one of them. The goal of the game is to never get tagged. If you are tagged, you are the new tagger. Arnet and I almost never get tagged. Our strategy is to think that we are in the hunger games. We want to survive so we stay away from everyone but ourselves. We almost always play all day long.
There is one video game that Seyer, Arnet, and I like. It is called Team Fortress 2 (TF2). TF2 is a game where you try to kill other people. The characters are a scout, soldier, pyro, demo man, heavy, engineer, medic, sniper, and spy. I like all of the characters. They have their own special abilities. I can sometimes see my friends on TF2 and hopefully be on the same team as them. You can voice-chat if you have a premium account. Otherwise you can still type-chat. After playing TF2, we compare our records with each other.

Then we go back to playing LEGOs with my friends Seyer, Gevan, and Arnet. This is our daily routine every time we can play. Finally, we go home. We all have something to do; take a shower, read a book, play piano, etc. Sooner or later, we go to bed. I sometimes dream of the next fun days to come.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sonnet 1

How shall I play thee
You seem so complex
If I were a flea
You would be at T-Rex

I took piano class
You can make high pitch noise
To thy deep sea bass's depth
Or a very fast koi

When you are on stage
You are very grand
How you stand on the stage of beige
Just like the color of sand

How should I play thee
THE GRAND PIANO

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A History of the Piano


The piano is one of the most historic instruments of all time. This paper will explain: what a piano is, the invention of the piano, what the piano did to the world, and how the piano became widespread. Although the piano could be an upright or a grand, this paper clarifies the history of all pianos. What is a piano?


The piano is a keyboard/string musical instrument that produces both loud and soft (quiet) sounds. It was originally called Pianoforte which means loud/soft. The piano has two main parts, the keyboard, and the case. The parts inside the case are the frame, soundboard, the pedal mechanism, strings, the action, and bridge. The frame supports the stress made from the strings tension and is usually made from cast iron. The frame is often called the harp. The soundboard is made of wood and it amplifies the sound from the vibrating strings. The strings are made of wire in varying lengths to make different sounds. The bridge raises the strings so they don’t touch the soundboard. The action is made up of keys, hammers, and the levers that activate the hammers when the keys are played. The pedals modify the sounds of the string. When someone presses a key on the piano, it moves a hammer. When the hammer is moved it hits a string. The string will vibrate and the soundboard will vibrate in resonance. The sound gets amplified and the music is heard. How did the piano come to be?

The piano was invented a little bit before the 1700’s.  It is unsure exactly when the first piano was built because many cultures made some during all of the classical period. Cristofori was the most credited for the making though. The Italians made the piano around the 1700’s and were considered pioneers.  The major countries that made the piano were mostly in Europe. The countries are Austria, Germany, and Italy. Pianoforte was an Italian music term. The piano was a great improvement in musical technology.

The piano was an evolution of previous keyboard instruments. These were the harpsichord and the clavichord. The harpsichord was the louder instrument and was used at concerts. It was more of an honor to play this instrument than the clavichord. This was because the harpsichord was expensive and was well made. The harpsichord produced very well-articulated sounds. The harpsichord made sounds by plucking. The harpsichord key would raise a bar above the string. When the bar went up it would pluck the string. When it came down the plucking mechanism would fall away from the string. This produced a louder sound. In contrast to the harpsichord, the clavichord made a soft delicate sound and the strings were hit by a hammer called the tangent.  The harpsichord could only play loudly and the clavichord could only play softly. The piano on the other hand, could make both loud and soft sounds. Later, pianos were made with curved hammers and the strings were made of steel to make the sound even more magnified.

During the classical period, composers wrote preludes and fugues on the piano. They sounded much better, but since the piano had better dynamic quality, different pieces were made. These pieces only sounded good on the piano, such as sontinas and sonatas. There was one composer named Bach who in a way influenced composers to learn and compose piano music. Bach was considered the father of the keyboard since he influenced many other composers to play the harpsichord and clavichord. Bach was still famous and influenced classical composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Czerny. The piano showed the harmony, elegancy, beauty, and magnificence of music.  One of Bach’s famous quotes was “There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” This simple code tells exactly how the piano should be played. Many musicians, music teachers, and students love to play Bach pieces on the piano not only because it is graceful but also because it is methodical and gets gradually difficult. The piano soon became very popular.

The piano was very common in the romantic era which is from 1825-1900. Many works were written for the piano or otherwise able to be played on the piano. The piano was used in almost all the concerts. Many composers and wealthy families started owning piano. Composers wrote especially for the sound of the piano. Frederic Chopin was one of these people. Frederic Chopin wrote many Nocturnes and other pieces. By the 20th Century the electronic piano was invented. This evolution to the piano influenced many pop musicians. The pianos were sold to all the countries in the world and became very well spread. Pianos are very exquisite instruments.

The piano has one of the most intriguing histories in music. It has played an influential role in history and now. It produced beautiful sounds and harmonic melodies. People love how it coordinates your mind and muscles so you play the right notes at the right time. The piano has played a great part in today’s society.

Bibliography
Book(s)
Snell, Keith and Ashleigh, Martha. Fundamentals of Piano Theory. Neil A. Kjos Music Company: 4380 Jutland Drive, San Diego, California, 92117. 1998







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