Decide to Be Undecided

Decide to be Undecided

                Would I rather be a visual or non-visual or visual minority?  This is a question that we were asked in our English class.  We were supposed to decide which we’d be and create an informal talk on it with an intro, 3 body points complete with supports from 3 different places and a conclusion, the whole shebang.  Sounds like tons of fun, right (note the sarcasm)? (Actually, once we got into it, it wasn’t that bad, I guess.  I always enjoy assignments where I can share my opinion.  One of the many reasons I like blogging.)  Now that I have successfully gone off topic for a while, I will redirect my focus to what I am actually supposed to write about.  I’ll start a new paragraph to signify that I am beginning the actual assignment.

                When we were asked this question, our teacher made us stand in the room depending on our decision; visual on one side and non-visual on the other side.  Everybody but one person, (a friend of mine who also has a blog that everybody should read) chose to be visual minority, including me.  For the next few classes, we compiled our thoughts into a way where we could create an informal talk.  We had to have a reference from our research on the definition of race, a support from the movie School Ties starring Brendan Fraser (if you haven’t watched it, you really should.), and a support from a podcast we listened to about race.  For the next few classes I worked on my talk to defend my decision that visual minorities are the way to go.  I was all ready to go.  At about 12:30 AM, the night before I was supposed to present, I completely changed my decision.  I decided that I couldn’t decide whether I’d want to be a visual or non-visual minority.  There were just too many things to consider.  Quickly, I completely redid what I planned to say with totally new information, although it still covered the required criteria.  Our teacher gave us one extra class to work on this, (with some extra pleading from a majority of the students) so I felt pretty prepared about this assignment.   What did I end up saying?  Keep on reading. (Everything that is written in a different color below is similar to what I said to my class.)

                Would I rather be a visual or non-visual minority?  At first I decided that I’d rather be a visual minority, where people could see exactly who I am right up front.  But then I decided that I couldn’t decide.  Ask yourself this question.  Would I rather be a visual or non-visual minority?  Now imagine yourself as whichever one you chose.  If you said you’d rather be a visual minority, picture yourself as a visual minority and the same with non-visual.  Look at that person and ask yourself, is it you?  If you answer no, than how can you decide which you’d rather be when you can’t even picture what it is truly like to be in that position.  In the movie School Ties, David Green chooses to hide the fact that he is Jewish, so he is a non-visual minority. (For those of you who haven’t seen School Ties, it’s about a boy named David Green (played by Brendan Fraser back in the day) who is invited to a Catholic boarding school to play football, but he is Jewish.  He chooses to hide this about him when he hears his new friends making comments about Jewish people.  This decision ends up biting him in the butt when his friends find out and he is constantly bullied because of it.)  Can we really blame him for doing what he did?  True, if he did tell his friends right up front that he was Jewish; they could accept him or hate him; right?  But what if they didn’t, (which is more likely).  He’d have to face that hate every day of his school year.  He’d see it in his dorm room, on the football field, and in the classroom.  All of that hate could potentially endanger his schooling and himself.  Would it really be worth it?  David Green had a lot at stake, and that is something we all should keep in mind when answering the question of minority.  What is the situation, and what is at stake?

                In our classroom, everybody who chose to be a visual minority is white, and my one friend, who is Asian, chose to be a non-visual minority.  The majority chose to be a visual minority, and the one person in our room who is a visual minority, chose to be a non-visual minority.  What does that tell you?  It tells me that being a visual minority must not be the greatest thing ever, and people who are part of the majority are too naïve to see what it is like.  How can we as a majority decide if we want to be a visual-minority when we have no idea what that is like?  The only person in our class that can actually fairly answer this question is my friend who is a visual minority because she actually knows what it is like.  Before you answer this question, you have to keep in mind that you may not know what it is like to be a minority. 

                My final point is that it really depends on who you are.  Some people are okay with keeping secrets, while other just has to tell other people.  Would you be confident enough to tell people who you really are, and then tell them off when they make fun of you for it?  You have to remember that there will always be discrimination, whether people like it or not.  “The stomach will take any food, yet one food [will be] better than another”.  I am quoting the Bible when I say that; Sirach 36: 23, under concerning discrimination.  Whether or not we can help it, we will always discriminate.  True, if you were a visual minority, people would see you in your fullness, but if you were a non-visual minority people would see your personality before they judge you.  There are numerous pros and cons of each scenario, but you really have to think before you decide. 

                Many of you will have chosen one side.  This may be for obvious reasons, or some of you may not have thought much about the other side.  You may just know that you’d want people to see who you are. 

                I’m not trying to change any opinion.  I just am trying to make you think.  Just think, before you answer this question, about what the situation is and what is at stake, remember how much knowledge you have on this subject, and think about who you are.  Just remember to think!    

 

PS. The Hobbit is coming out December 15th!!!!!!!!!!!

               

 

 

Today is a Good Day

This journal entry is completely fictional as are the characters and scenarios depicted. It is based off of the short story “The Michele I Know” by Alison Lohans. It is a response to what happens afterwards to one of the characters.  If you want to read this story, go to this link: 

http://iblog.stjschool.org/stories/2011/09/13/the-michelle-i-know/

 

Rob’s Journal

May 3, 2012

Today was Michelle’s funeral.  I hated today.  I hate that I knew Michelle. If I didn’t know her I wouldn’t be sad right now   I hate that Michelle had to die.  We all thought that when she was on remission, that this hell would be over, but I guess not.  Why did she die?  She had been free of cancer for 6 months.  We were back together.  No more awkwardness, just me and her, no stupid cancer between us.  This would be easier if we’d of never met.  It wasn’t her fault.  It was the stupid cancers fault.  Why can’t things be back to the way they used to be?  She’d come to my football games, we’d hang out for hours, we’d be a couple.  Not anymore.

They asked me to give a eulogy or something like that. I said no.  Why the heck did I say no?  Why’d they ask me in the first place?  It’s not like we had anything in common.   We were in love, I think.  I was in love.  I thought things would be fine by now.  The cancer would be gone, and my Michelle would be back.  Even if she didn’t have hair.  I hate myself for not seeing her more.  I hate her!  I hate the cancer that took her from me.  Why can’t I have a normal life?  I don’t want to be one of those dweebs they interview on Oprah who cry for an hour after their girl dies.  Why couldn’t I just meet a girl and be with her forever?  Everybody does it.  I’d have a normal life if I’d never of met Michele.   I’d have a normal life if Michele never got cancer.

Everybody won’t leave me alone.  The teachers pity me, the principal keeps talking to me, and the stupid counselor won’t leave me alone, and half the class tears up when they see me.  My life shouldn’t be this.  If it weren’t for Michele it wouldn’t be like this.  If it weren’t for Michele’s cancer, my life wouldn’t be like this.  Nobody gets it.  Maybe her parents, or that guy down the street who’s sister died of some disease or anybody else who had really lost somebody to a disease.  Not just knew them, but knew them as a person.  What they liked, their favorite animal, what made them cry.  My friends don’t get it.  The teachers absolutely don’t get it.  They lie and say they do, but they don’t.

People get over this crap, but how.  The counselor what’s-her-face says it’ll be easier if I talk.  Talk about what?  She wouldn’t care.  I’m not that stupid.  She’d sit in a chair and just nod every once in a while.  Stupid cancer.

Why did Michele die?  She didn’t do anything wrong but be an angel.  She was perfect.  Maybe God is punishing me?  I don’t go to church, but does that mean I’m damned or something like that?  Is that a reason to kill somebody?  Because of my life?  Maybe things are better this way.  Maybe she is better dead. She should be alive.  Alive and with me and her family and her friends.  Not in the ground.  The funeral was nice and all, but that’s all.  There wasn’t anything about who she was; only that she was dead. Dead because of stupid cancer.  Why can’t the doctors do something?  Where does all that money go that we fundraise?  Why didn’t Michele try harder?  Michele was defenseless.  The cancer took her.  Took her from me. Why!

August 15th, 2012

I didn’t graduate.  My marks were crap anyways. I quit the football team a week after the funeral, and I dropped a few classes.  One month later the teachers started to stop pitying me.  Two months later I dropped out.  My parents are mad, but they don’t get it.  Nobody does.  Michele wrecked my life. Michele’s cancer wrecked my life.  Today I’m staying home, again.  That’s all I do lately.  I’d be a sight to see if I ever left.  My hairs grown out and I’ve gain 15 pounds.  Or was it 16.  I only leave to get food when I’m out and to hang out with the gang.  I met them about a month after Michele died.  They understand, especially Rick.  He’s never met anybody who had cancer, but he just gets it.  He dropped out of school 3 years ago.  I got to call him one of these days.  He cares about me and what I’m going through.  He does some drugs, but I really don’t care.  He’s happy, and I’m happy, I guess.

My dad is trying to get me to go back to school this fall.  That’s likely.  Who needs school anyways?  Rick and the gang have their own business of some sort, and they’re making a lot of cash.  I’m not sure what kind of business it is, but if it pays good, than who cares?  And why should I go back to school?  I’ve been through crap; I’ve lost my girlfriend for Pete’s sake.  I should get a break.  I’m 19 years old; I still have my life ahead of me.

I hate this house.  I got to get out, but I have nothing to do.  I don’t want to do anything.  It’s all because of Michele. It’s all because of Michele’s cancer.  Stupid cancer.  I haven’t talked to anybody about the whole cancer stuff except for Rick.  My parents are worried, but they don’t understand.  They don’t care.  I really don’t care anymore.  All I really cared about before was Michele and football.  Now both are gone. I loved Michele.  Then she got cancer, which I hated. I hate her! I hate the cancer that took her from me. Today is a bad day. Any day that I remember Michele is a bad day.

January 13, 2013

I found out what Rick and the gangs business was about a month ago.  He’s been selling crack for about a year now.  At first I wasn’t that cool with it, but then I tried it.  I forgot everything.  I forgot about Michele, and her cancer, and the hospital, and football, and my parents, and this hole that I’ve dug my life into.  It was all gone.  I forgot about my pain.  My parents don’t know.  I told them that I’m doing some extra courses online to get some credits or something like that, but I’ve just been doing stuff.  It’s not like they care.

Michele has been dead for at least a year now, and I’ve accepted what happened.  She’s dead, and I’m dead to the world.  Everything is pretty much good, especially now with my new best friend.  The bad part of these good days is that it doesn’t last long.  I remember about half an hour after I’ve forgotten.  Luckily my college fund is full.  I can keep on forgetting.  Thank God.  When I think about it, I really could turn my life around, but what would be the point?  Michele had the best marks in our class, she was captain of the cheer squad, and she was mine.  But she’s dead.  God didn’t save her, or whatever it is that our neighbor is always trying to talk to me about.  She’s dead.  If her great life didn’t save her, how is it going to save me?  We’re all going to die in the end anyways.  What’s the point in creating a life where you succeed when it’s all going to go to waste anyways?  Michele’s gone, and I’m trying to forget.

Rick just walked in.  He’s got some more stuff.  Today is a good day.  Any day that I forget is a good day.

The Teacher

It’s not that I don’t like my student

In fact, I’m sure he’d be okay if he tried

It’s just that he doesn’t

Try, that is

I don’t understand why this is so

Maybe it’s just a phase, or perhaps something else

But the fact is he’s failing

 

On the last test, he answered three questions right

And there were thirty questions in total

The three he answered were true and false

And I’m sure those were just a guess

It was an easy test as well

Open book, just read and copy, easy

If you took down the notes

Which he didn’t

 

How am I to teach one who doesn’t desire to be taught?

The very center of my being knows that I can help

But I have a job, things to do

I can’t devote all my time to one student

And even if I did offer assistance, would he take it?

Or would the shackles of his pride prevent him from pursuing help

When it is essential

 

I want to reach out to him, give him a hand

Give him opportunities not yet seen

That won’t even be glanced at if he continues on this path

It is my job to teach him, is it not?

To teach him the curriculum that is

I want to help him though

But I can’t

I have a job to do

 

I should, no, need to decide

I will have failed if I don’t try

But only he can determine his fate

What can I do if he sets his mind?

Nothing

I’ll offer him help, just give him a chance

I can’t say I didn’t try

 

 

For the other side of this poem, go to Mike’s blog from this page.

Go Figurative Language

Performing in front of your class is a thing most students dread, or at least I do.  Performing poetry is worse.  You have to memorize the poem, figure out how to present it, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Our teacher gave us an assignment to choose a dark and mysterious poem to present to the class.  At first it was boring.  As we went along in the assignment though, it got pretty intense.  We got to perform it in any way we like to set the mood of the poem.  We could perform it in the girls change room, which when the lights are off is completely dark.  We were able to have sound effects, lighting, and the whole shebang, anything that would make the poem creepy, dark, and mysterious.  We chose the poem, The Darkening by Philip Roberts.  It’s about the apocalypse. (Speaking of which, is anybody else looking forward to the 2012 end of the world?)  We performed it with sound effects of wind and bats all over the place, and in a completely dark change room, with only one tea light candle in the middle to provide and eerie glow (and so we wouldn’t run into anybody).  The rest of the class sat around the candle as we walked around them, performing our poem.  The result was pretty awesome. 

                There is a difference between performing a poem and presenting a poem.  When you present, you just read or recite the poem in front of people with somewhat of an expressive tone in your voice.  When you perform a poem, you consider everything.  Lighting, tone, music, sound, and the area you perform in.  Figurative language also changes the poem.  Metaphors, similes, alliteration, etcetera, etcetera.  It can add flow and rhythm to the poetry and it can also create a better picture in the readers mind.   

                Next time you have to do an oral assignment, see how creative you can get.  Try to perform it, and most of all, have fun, (even though the majority of assignments we get as high school students are immensely boring)

                 

Brad Pitt: Actor and Activist

               We’ve all heard of the hot, film-star, Brad Pitt, right?  Did you know that he is also an activist (On top of being an amazing, super awesome actor)?  He is active in supporting political candidates, environmentalism, the use of alternate fuels and energy-efficient vehicles, and global issues like poverty and AIDS.  In 2006, Brad joined Global Green USA and promoted the rebuilding of homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  He became a member of the group that selected new, ecologically sound designs for buildings in the rebuilding of New Orleans.  In 2004, he teamed up with fellow celebrity activist, Bono as a spokesman for The One Campaign’ to stop AIDS and poverty in Africa and other poor countries.  The media attention that Pitt attracts really makes what needs to be said, heard.  Thankfully, he is not a hypocritical star who only supports a cause to gain fame.  He has traveled to poverty filled countries and spoke to real people in devastating situations.  Also in 2004, he supported political candidates that he thought messages needed to be heard.  Through press conferences and interviews, he also rally’s Americans into thinking about how people view Americans.  “I’ve had the luxury to travel around the world for the last 15 years, and I’ve seen a real shift in the idea of what America is and how people define America. The [idea] is growing that we are opportunists; we’re only there if it serves us. But this is not the complete picture. This is not who we are, and it’s certainly not our history,” says Brad Pitt at a 2005 press conference for One Campaign.   Everybody in Canada and other countries are well aware of how the media and entertainment portrays Americans.  The fact the Brad is sticking up for his country is really an amazing example of loyalty and pride to his country.  It’s pretty deep stuff.  He’s married to Angelina Jolie, fellow actor and activist.  In conclusion, he’s a great actor, (and not bad to look at), with a noble quest that we should all take as an example. 

                If I had all the time, energy, and money in the world, and I had to support a cause, I would support kids in poor countries like Africa.  Not only would I support them with food, water, and schooling, but I would also get a group and speak to the government of that country so we could figure out how to stop their poverty altogether.  I could donate money through the numerous programs that support kids in third-world countries, (you know the ones that they always show on TV).  I’m not sure how I would speak to the government, but hey, if I had all the time, money, and energy in the world, anything is possible.  Perhaps if I was successful kids in countries around the world could not go to bed sick and hungry, they could always be safe, no matter what happened, they could go to school, and they could get a better life now so that they and their families have a better life in the future.  If the all poverty filled countries in the world figured out exactly why their countries are in poverty, I think it would just about solve the problem.  The children are the future.  We should support them so they have a future.

 

                If you want to find out how Angelina Jolie is an activist, go to my friend Lynne’s blog at www.vballgirl97.edublogs.org

Analyzing Myself

            Analyzing yourself in any aspect of your life is risky and cautious.  Nobody wants to admit their faults, their flaws, and their mistakes.  Our English teacher has asked us to analyze our writing and our writing process, so I am going to attempt to maneuver this risky road.  We have just finished a terrific novel, and we were then asked to write an essay on it.  Several topics were offered to us, and we all selected a suitable topic.  For two weeks, we went through several different layers of learning, lettering, and looking at literature in order to fully understand the essay writing process.  In the end, we all handed in a complete, five paragraph essay that we had worked on for a week.  It was satisfying finally handing in the final product.

This writing process was very new to me, especially since we did very little analytical writing in past years.  At first the entire process was crazy to me, but as the classes progressed, my understanding of essays grew and flourished.  I found that I was fairly effective when it came to the actual writing, although I did have difficulties in the planning and brainstorming process. I felt that I was also effective when it came to editing other peoples essay drafts, although when I edit I make a lot suggestions and corrections that other people may not like, even though I find it effective in my own writing.   

Although I adapted very well to this process, I overcame several challenges that arose.  In the past, I would never have taken an entire class to plan what I would write about and then take another class to find all of my quotes.  When I reflect on it now, I realize how important that entire process is, especially in an analytical composition, although after a while it got kind of repetitive and unnecessary, especially for somebody like me and my very short attention span.  I wrote my paragraphs very quickly, so I did a lot of editing and drafts before I began to type.  The most difficult part of this writing process for me was the seven sentence structure.  Each body paragraph had to have seven sentences, and each sentence had a specific purpose in the paragraph.  Sentence one had to be a topic, sentence two had to be background, sentence three had to be this, sentence four had to be that, ya-da-ya-da blah, blah, blah. Usually when I write, I tend to write a lot. I thought this essay would be easy, until I heard ‘seven sentences’.  A bell immediately went off in my head since a common comment I get in my writing is to summarize more effectively, and I always hate it.  As we learnt how to go about summarizing your paragraphs with the seven sentence structure it got easier and easier.  Soon I didn’t have to think about what each sentence meant, I could just write it. 

The most challenging part of this essay, and it is a problem I still have now, is that you have to always write in present tense. You are speaking about a novel; it’s hard to speak about it as though it is still happening right now.  I also had no idea how to make my essay in present tense.  I think I did this somewhat in my composition, but as I have not received it back from my teacher yet I don’t know how effectively I conquered this task, but, I think I did okay… I hope.  In the future, I will make a better effort in involving present tense in my first draft so that I don’t need to correct it later on.

I felt very good about my essay, and I am hoping we get it back soon, but as it is the first day back from the Christmas holidays, we probably won’t get it back for a while.  Hopefully I get a good mark!  Whoever is reading this probably notices how uninspiring and boring this is, but hey, it is an assignment.     

Letters to a Sister- The Chrysalids

Letters to a Sister

Dear Emily

November 2, 2011

            How are you, dear sister?  I have heard that your new child is healthy and completely normal.  I too have had a child, and healthy she is, but, I am grieved to say, normal she is not.  She has a small growth on the inside of her foot, almost like another toe.  Please sister; this is my hour of need.  Help me.  If the Inspector finds out that she is not normal, I will surely have to leave Waknuk, and my child will surely die.  Please, let us switch children, only till I get a normalcy certificate.  All babies appear the same when they are freshly born.  Nobody will notice, especially the inspector.  This is my third mutated child, and I couldn’t bear to lose another.  If my husband finds out, he will surely leave me, and I will be left with nothing.  Please, help me.  I will repay you!

From, Your Own Dear Sister

Harriet Strong    

P.S. Don’t tell Joseph.  He won’t understand and will surely take it wrongly.

 

Dear Harriet

This is my response to your letter written on November the 2nd.  I am shocked!  How dare you even imply that I help you house a Deviation, a thing that is not in the true image of God Almighty?!  I am thoroughly disgusted and ashamed that you are my sister.  I have told Joseph, and he is going down the road now to tell the Inspector then your husband.  If you dare come into my house, you will be beaten along with your Blasphemy sent by the devil.  You disgrace our family.  I say again, I will not help you.  You are no longer my sister.

From

Emily Strorm

Faithful follower of God, and wife to Joseph Strorm

 

Dear Emily

If you will not help me, than there is nothing left for me here.  Good-bye.

Forever Your Sister,

Harriet

Wanted: The Perfect Climx

Have you ever been forced to do something that you had to do, against all odds?  In a short story that I recently read, this was the exact situation for The Great Armando, an escape artist, and the main character in the string of this plot.  Armando is a well-known escape artist who is given a challenge that could possible claim his life.  Driven by reputation and romance with a forbidden lover, Armando accepts the Houdini was a famous escape artist like Armando in this story. challenge.  On the day of the challenge, he finds that the trap is impossible, but it is too late.  He plunges down to his definite death, never to return.  And he never does return, but he is never seen again, nor is his body ever found. 

Houdini was a famous escape artist like Armando in this story.
 The author, Paul Gallico, used very vivid vibrations in the climax to enhance suspense, creating an outcome of ongoing exhilaration throughout the entire tale.  Where is the climax though?  Is it at the moment when they see that Armando is gone? Or perhaps it is at the moment when Armando accepts the challenge?  Our class had an in-depth debate that lasted for over an hour in order to pinpoint the exact climax moment.  We had to end in a draw.  I still have no idea where the climax is, and here is why: because there is no climax.  The entire tale is an ongoing mountain of suspense and thrill.  At no point does the intensity cease and the conflict gets solved.  Just when you think no more action can appear, something intense happens once again to puzzle you.  

            All in all, this was a fantastic story that will remind you of the power of true love, and the intensity of reputation.  Next time you want to read something, think ‘Death Trap,’ by Paul Gallico.