Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

          The first sentences of this book made me cry. I have no idea what is in store for me. A china rabbit named Edward gets lost from his owner, sinking to the bottom of the ocean? This book is a huge downer so far, but I'm continuing because I love Kate DiCamillo, and I think that it will by a very engrossing read. The description of the ocean is fantastic, and it keeps me hanging on to this book.

          Okay. Now an old man fishes him out of the sea and keeps him to give to his wife? I have a feeling that this is not going to end well. His wife will probably end up dead, knowing how sad this book has been. However, I forgive the author because great books many times are sad and depressing, and I love how she writes. Every word she uses is perfect to describe with, but also meaningful to the story. I'm going to keep reading and see where it gets me.

          He's a scarecrow now. a sad, old, scarecrow. He was lost and found again by an old lady who put him in her garden. The whole book is so depressing, but I am in love with it. Throughout all of this horror that Edward is going through, there always seems to be a glimmer (previous vocab alert!)of hope in his eyes. That just shows you how descriptive the author is. Hopefully, he'll get out of this rut before I contemplate life.

          Today, Edward has been taken in by a homeless child. How depressing can you get? It gets worse. His sister is sick. The problem I have with this book is that it makes me so sad, but I can't put it down! Another thing that I love about this book is that it makes you like every character Edward meets, even if they're not a very likeable character. I also like the variety of people that Edward meets throughout his journey. Hopefully, he finds happiness with one of them.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Boundary of Quality

I think the majority of us can agree on one thing. The Giver book is way better than the movie. But, although the acting was pretty bad, and the scenes were really cheesy, the movie still does respect the book, in my opinion, for three reasons. They kept the important story line, they worked with the author, and most importantly, they used their imagination to change up the story a bit!


The movie of The Giver can be considered very “Hollywood”. The fact that they changed Jonas’s age to sixteen was terrible, according to some. However, I forgive them for changing his age because it would be hard to picture a twelve-year-old achieve everything that Jonas actually does in so little time. Also, it would be extremely awkward between Jonas and Fiona throughout the movie. I think that some of the changes taken in the movie were to make things easier on the audience, and although some do not respect the changes taken in the movie, they still kept the main plot and idea to the story. The movie still gave you the same feelings about the community and showed the pain between Jonas and his memories. Overall, the movie was visually stunning, and it was very fun to watch. It may not have been better than the book, but it was not disrespectful towards it.


The Giver is a classic book written by Lois Lowry. Some say that the changes in the movie version of this story can be disrespectful to its original storyline, while others say that the editors changed it for the better. I believe that although the book was considerably better than the movie, the film still respects the concept of the story because the author herself approved every change there was. She said that she has had a hard time budging with some of the changes, such as having such an obvious ending. The book left the story more open for interpretation, while the movie gives you an ending that won’t leave you thinking as much. Some say that this can ruin their opinions about the ending of the book, but keep in mind that this is just the producer's and editor's opinions of the story, which is one of the reasons Lowry accepted these changes in the first place. The way the movie changed the story should not change the way you feel about the story. Therefore, I feel that the movie still respects the main concept of the book.


Lastly, I would like to say that the film of the Giver respects the original book because they used their imagination to twist up the story a bit. They added some fun, entertaining parts to the story, which some might not enjoy, but they were being original. I would rather see this version of the film than a movie that was exactly like the book, frame by frame. In fact, according to several sites such as Business Insider, Lois Lowry stated that parts of the movie were “not, unfortunately, in the book,” proving that she herself respects some changes taken in the movie. Some changes she enjoyed was making the role of the Chief Elder, played by Meryl Streep, more significant to the plot. Also, a change that could have enhanced the story could have been the conflict between Jonas and Asher towards the end of the movie, when Asher drops Jonas into the river. This shows that Asher still cared for Jonas and that maybe the “morning injection” doesn’t take away all strong feelings. I thought that the movie added some depth to the story, and make me take a closer look at the book.

As a movie, I do not think that The Giver was better than the book. However, the movie respects the book because they kept the main plot and storyline, the author approved all changes, and lastly, They used their imaginations and had their own take on the story.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Waldorf Salad Incident

Linnaea Marks
Period 3
The Waldorf Salad Incident


My teeth chattered as I glanced at the buzzing telephone. My nervous fingers shook, not only from feeling uneasy but also from the vibrating of the phone resting on the table. I heard a quavering voice, “Hello?”
      My Nana, Jan Kaufman, grew up in Oakdale, California, the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” She lived in the country with her mom and dad, an older brother and two younger sisters.
She currently lives in Oakdale with her cat and dog. Her hair used to be dyed a red color, but lately, she has let it grow out into a silky, white, feathery cut. Her laugh is merry and shy. She has round purple-framed glasses that do not at all contrast with her round, rosy face. She wears floral collared shirts and matching cardigans with jeans. She has more dangly earrings then you can count. My Nana looks like a Nana, with a plump, jolly body that reminds one of Mrs Claus.
I glance at the phone, smiling nervously. “Hi, Nana. I’m sorry, but it turns out that this interview was supposed to be an hour long, so I should probably ask you some more questions.” My stomach was slightly churning. I didn’t understand why. I think I just get nervous talking to older people, especially because my conversation is being graded.
This was the second call with my Nana for this interview. The first one had lasted about five minutes. Now, understanding the assignment better, I dialled her number again, hoping to ask more questions and receive more answers.

  1. Did you like middle school more than elementary school? Why or Why not?


  • There was a hesitation, until she said, “Yeah, I guess so.” Her reasoning was that in elementary school, “you weren’t meeting all of your potential friends.” She said that there were three grammar schools in Oakdale, and she didn’t meet many of her good friends until middle school. She also said that middle school is the age where you really find out who you are. People mature and begin to understand who they want to be in middle school. “I don’t really remember the years of kindergarten through sixth grade as much. I had many more memorable experiences in middle school.”


  1. What was your favorite outdoor activity when you were my age? Why?


  • She responded without hesitation, “Horseback riding.” She then explained that her family always worked with horses, and they had to feed and care for them, so horses were always a part of her life. She thought of horses the same way that someone would think of a dog or cat. “We had our own little horses, too,” she continued, talking about the horses that she had owned personally over the years. Her Grandfather had bought her first horse, Nipper, which she shared with her sisters. Nipper was a Hackney pony mix who competed in races until her family bought him. Later, her family bought another horse, and Nipper was given to her sisters while the new horse belonged to her. She named him Kris because he was white like snow. Her third horse was Shawnee, named after the Native American tribe.


  1. What was your favorite thing to do to celebrate an occasion? What were some holiday traditions that you had?


  • I could tell even from the other end of the telephone that she liked this question. “Well, on holidays, our family from out of town would come to Oakdale.” She told me that they always came to her family’s house because they had a pool. Cousins from Sacramento to as far a Washington D.C. would come for family reunions. She talked about how her cousins from the city knew so little about life in the country, and how they went horseback riding for the first time with her family. They definitely were not used to staying in a town that only had one traffic light. She joked about how when one of her cousins refused to drink cow's milk because she thought it tasted bad, her and her sisters poured the cow’s milk into a jar used for store-bought milk. Her cousin couldn’t tell the difference! “I don’t know why she didn’t like cow’s milk. We always put it through a pasteurizer so it was safe and it tasted the same.” I could hear her jolly laugh through the speaker. Her relatives would always make lots of food, and they would gather and say grace before they ate.


  1. What were some of your daily or weekly chores?


  • She laughed as soon as I asked this question and said sarcastically, “Oh boy.” She listed some of the numerous chores that she was required to do daily. Feed the horses, pigs, and goats twice a day. Make sure that all the chickens have food and water, and are laying eggs. Take all of the recycling to put in a barrel of oil to burn to ashes. Leave the extra garbage in a meadow to decompose. She explained each chore in detail. Feed the compost to the pigs, check all animals for injuries, and much more. She and her sisters were also required to sew. Their Nana had taught them to sew, and the majority of their clothes were homemade. One of the “fun chores” for her family was making ice cream. They would take the cream from the top of the cow’s milk and put it in a metal cylinder with a handle, and they would all take turns turning the handle. “Inside the ice cream maker, where we would pour the cream, was ice, and we put rocks in with the ice, because, as hard as that is to believe, the rock would keep the ice cold.”


  1. What was it like sharing a bathroom with four children and two adults? What was a typical morning like?


  • I hear a sigh from the speaker, “Not very much fun.”  She said that in the morning, it seemed like everyone had to use the bathroom. I asked what happened if someone was in the bathroom when someone else had to use it really badly. She simply said, “Then they would have to go behind the barn.” She told me that during family reunions, a whole lot of people would have to go “behind the barn.” There was an assigned day and time to use the shower for every family member on a shower schedule. “That kind of stuff you just had to deal with,” she said. She said that one time, her family’s thermostat wasn’t working on Thanksgiving, and the oven could only work if it was set on ‘high’. Her family resolved this by turning the oven on ‘high’ for a while and then turning it off. They repeated this process until the turkey was cooked.


  1. When did you learn to drive? Could you explain the experience?


  • I heard a pause. “Um, I was probably about ten when I learned.” Shocked, I asked her to tell me how she learned to drive. She said that her dad taught her by using an old pickup truck that would “just barely creep along”, and she would drive it through the fields. She said that it wasn’t that unusual for someone her age to learn to drive in the country. She talked about how she would have to drive when her father needed a lift through the field to throw hay to the cattle. Sometimes she would prank him and break while he least suspected it, or drive right as he was laying down the hay so he would fall out of the truck. “I remember driving before I could see the top of the steering wheel!” She tittered.


  1. What was your favorite music? Did you ever play any instruments?


  • “I guess I liked music from the sixties, like the beginning of rock n’ roll. I don’t know, I wasn’t really into music” As the subject turned to school dances, I could hear her voice start to grow softer and more hesitant, informing me that school dances were distasteful to her. “I guess that sort of goes with not being into music. I just didn’t get the rhythm.” She told me that she played the guitar for eight years and that not one bit of it paid off. She sounded engaged in the topic again, talking about how the children had to play music for the older members of the family, and how they always resisted or played for the shortest amount of time possible. She talked about how they had a lovely piano that no one ever played but Aunt Jeanette, and how the whole family would watch the children play the music together.


  1. What was your favorite class in middle school? Why?


  • Before I even finished my question, I heard a simple “Art.” This made sense to me because she is one of the most artistically gifted people I know. She told me that she could never grasp the concept of math or English. “Math and reading classes are always too structured. Art was the only class where I felt that I could do my own thing.” I asked her if she had attended Home Economics class in middle school, and she responded, “I better not talk about that.” with some coaxing, she finally told me that she had been “kicked out” of Home Ec. class. Apparently, she disliked her teacher with a passion, because when the teacher told her to put her completed Waldorf salad on top of the refrigerator, she perched it on top of the refrigerator just so it would fall as the teacher opened the door. In addition to some other small transgressions, my Nana had “been a complete brat,” to put it in her words. Consequently, she was “kicked out” of Home Ec. class.


  1. How could you compare people from when you were a child to people now?


  • “People had fewer things put in front of them to do,” she told me, “We had to find, build, and create things.” She listed all of the toys she and her siblings would create. They built a tree house out of scrap wood, make tents out of gunny sacks and shrubs, and build stilts out of two-by-fours. Otherwise, they would roll in the dirt or wrestle, play with marbles, and yo-yo. This was when she informed me that she was a local yo-yo champion. I was shocked. “I competed in school and county competitions. Yeah, I did all of them.” She compared these activities to those of modern twelve-year-old sister, someone who would probably spend the majority of the day inside or the screen of a computer. “We never wore pants, either,” she added, ”The only time we ever wore pants was at home or on Western Day.” She explained that Western Day was a day celebrated by her school usually a week or two before the Oakdale Rodeo would open. She concluded that there were both advantages and disadvantages to living in the late fifties.


“Thank you so much for giving me all the information that I need,” I said, glad that I had reconstructed my interview.
“Well, no problem! If you need anything else, please, ask any time” she replied, sounding just as glad as I was. We said our goodbyes, and I hung up the phone.
I sat there looking at my notes. It felt like I had asked my Nana more questions now than I ever had, and I learned so much about her life. I learned that my Nana was a lot more spunky and mischievous than I had thought. I learned that even though girls had to wear skirts, and technology was limited, children would ride horses and play jacks, and be more productive than any modern day child that I know. I sat there, thinking about all of the information that I had just soaked in, how these questions helped bring me closer to my grandmother, and helped me understand the life of the children in her generation.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Forming an Empire

I am reading about Ancient China. Here is what I have learned. An Empire is a province or a group of countries/states that are controlled by one emperor. This is one of the reasons  why you would not want to live in a place like ancient China. Because, if you did, the likelihood of you being an emperor or even one of his thirty kings, more or less, is very  slim. And, if you are not either of those things, you are most likely a peasant farmer. If not, a merchant, artisan, silk maker or other less difficult yet still very labouring, time-consuming careers. But before any of these occupations were necessary or invented, China was made up of small villages scattered about, typically close to rivers and springs for water resources.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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Keep in mind that while David Bowie was known as a "musical chameleon," he won many awards for creativity and his style varied so that it was fit for everyone. I think of David Bowie as one of the most innovative people in history.

Glory, Hallelujah!

     The summit of David Bowie's soul inspiration was with his album, Young Americans, produced in 1975. It made it to the American Top Ten. His creation of this album prompted his first number one hit, "Fame". This was a song that he wrote with John Lennon and Alomar. After this, he migrated to Los Angeles where he portrayed his first role as an actor in the film, "The Man Who Fell to Earth" in 1976. Then, in the same year, he produced the album Station to Station, which had a darker style but also was a complete success.

It Ain't Over Until Big Brother Sings

      After the effort given in 1972-1973, David Bowie broke up his band and took a break from his career, attempting to create a musical adaptation of the book 1984. Failing to possess the rights of the classic, Bowie was determined to write his new album, Diamond Dogs, which was possibly inspired by this unfortunate activity. The album was not highly regarded by critics, although it produced the hit song, "Rebel, Rebel". Later, he was to be inspired by soul music.