Friday, January 27, 2012


I finished reading The Fault In Our Stars today.

I have been anticipating getting the book. I pre-ordered it so long ago that I can't even remember, and I waited and waited and it was supposed to be released in May, but instead they decided to release it early because it became #1 bestseller on Amazon and it was still only on pre-order and that's so incredible and I love John Green and I am so happy for him and anyway.

I got it. And then I couldn't read it, because I had missed a week of school. I was busy. I was stressed. I really wanted to snuggle with my dog and stay home again and drop out of school and read TFiOS.

But I didn't. And now it's the end of term. I still have a few things to make up, but for the most part I can relax. So I got home yesterday, I let my dogs outside, and I gave them a snack because I was letting myself have a snack, and why not.  Then I went downstairs and sat in front of the fire, and read until I inevitably fell asleep because I have really only gotten 6 hours of cumulative sleep this week. And then when I woke up, I read again until it was bedtime.

Today I woke up early because my stupid alarm went off because it forgot that I don't have school today (alarms tend to forget these things, I have to remind it. But whatever). So I cleaned because my mom is having her work-friends over sometime today and I told her I would. And then I got showered and dressed and put a prettier face on because I am hanging out with my best-friend-since-first-grade-who-I-haven't-seen-in-ages today. And then I had some time to kill. So I finished TFiOS. And then I sat there for a while, just feeling incomplete.

That was a very long story. Especially because that is not at all the story I am trying to get at.

I just read Mrs. Cardona's blog post about it being the end of term, and being in love with Orwell, but really just the entire 50 Essays writers, and about how it's awkward to be sentimental, but she'll miss us and we should keep blogging etc.

And that's when it hit me: it's over.

Not in a dramatic and "everything is ending" kind of way. But it's done. And I think I felt a little more conclusion with Comp than any of my other classes, but in high school it's like: It's not like in elementary or middle school where there's a wind-down and you get the chance to realize everything's going to be over soon and you get to say everything you want like goodbyes and "I'll-miss-you" and "see you next year" type of things.

Sometimes things end abruptly: like the end of a book, or semester, or life. And you're left with a sort of cliff-hanger feeling. Like you've been spiraling toward something all of a sudden you stop. And it makes you feel sad and happy and emotional and strange. And you feel like nothing's ended really, but it has.

And you look at everything in a new way, but you feel like no one else does, and it's frustrating.

I don't know if any of this makes sense. I'm just rambling. But I wanted to do this because I feel something right now, but I don't know what it is, and I think maybe if I try to write it, I will understand.

I still don't. But that's okay.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Index to Chapter 17: AP Comp and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days (312-527)

Arguments 312-527
      logical fallacies 320
      Spoken 322
      Visual 34
      Written 312-314
Anxiety 312-527, 321, 340, 347, 356, 358, 360, 419, 422, 496, 527
      Power Writing 340, 356
      when I check Skyward 312-527
      from when I turn a paper in and it's final but I won't know my score for a while 321, 347, 358, 360, 419, 422, 496, 527

Baking 418, 482, 486, 491, 512
      rainbow cake of epicosity (see Fatima and Jenna) 418
      toffee cupcakes for end of term that took forever (see Fatima and Jenna) 512
      mentioned in Cardona's Weekend Update 482, 486, 491
Bridget 333-345, 341, 392, 418, 477
      does not think Amy Tan is funny 477
      makes me laugh 341
      is awkward 333-345
      should've baked our rainbow cake with us (see Baking) 418
      What are those sounds she is making? Oh, she's just saying hello 392

Fatima 312-527, 355, 418, 500, 512, 527
      Baking 418, 512
            rainbow cake 418
            toffee cupcakes for end of term 512
            see Sarcasm 340
      Can't live without her (see Jenna) 312-527
      is my mother 355
      is my wife 500
     Silly Songs With Fatima 527
Freewrite Friday 366, 422, 516
      are embarrassing to read  422
      is my favorite 422
      I wonder what Dwight writes in his 516
      theme song that I've only heard twice but it gets stuck in my head every time 366

Important Authors  313-315, 322, 326, 327-328, 347, 413-415, 422, 461, 476, 510, 514
      Alexie, Sherman 315
            First reading and CRJ 332
      Ascher, Barbara 510
      Bitzer, Lloyd 313
            Intimidating start of course 313
            What the heck is this guy talking about 314-315
      Cooper, Bernard 415
      Didion, Joan 326, 347
      Eighner, Lars 422
      Liu, Eric 461
      Mairs, Nancy 467
      Orwell, George 327-328
      Sedaris, David 514
            is hilarious 514
      Swift, Jonathan 412
            Can I get some BBQ sauce? 413
            eats babies 412
            Yum 415
      Tan, Amy 422
            is not funny (see Bridget) 477
Important Concepts 315, 327-328, 360, 326, 488
      Burke's Pentad 488
      Form, Audience, Purpose 326
            Starting point for Rhetorical Analysis 326
      Orwellian writing 327-328
      Rhetorical Triangle 360
      Toulmin Model 315
It's The Little Things 313-315, 322, 326, 327-328, 347, 413-415, 419, 422, 461, 476, 510, 514
      CRJs 313-315, 322, 326, 327-328, 347, 413-415, 422, 461, 476, 510, 514
            good practice for quizzes 419
            I was not good at them 419
            were tedious 313-315, 322, 326, 327-328, 347, 413-415, 422, 461, 476, 510, 514
      Font 314
            as an argument 314
            Comic Sans (see Things We Hate) 314-315
      Quizzes 313-315, 322, 326, 327-328, 347, 413-415, 422, 461, 476, 510, 514
            on which I got embarrassingly low scores 342
            Urgh I had that answer and I changed it, WOT. 342
      Shitty First Drafts 312-527, 325, 347, 258, 422, 496
            Funny article 325
            Oh yeah, I have plenty of these 312-527
            What, you mean this isn't my final finished product? 347, 358, 422, 496
      Vocab 318, 401
            My group's presentation was so messed up 401
            My water broke, a harbinger of my baby! 401
            skits 318, 401

On-Going Projects 360-362, 512
      Blog 360
            Blog study 360-362
            Nomadic Matt 360-362
            Lots of travel blogs 512
      BLA 312-527, 410, 487
            Fast Food Nation 410,
                  WHAT goes into fast food?! 410
            SuperFreakonomics 487
                  was super freakin interesting 487
      Learning! 312-527
            Bad, Kira. You're being cheesy. 312-527

Jenna 312-527, 322, 355, 412, 418, 512, 519
Baking 418, 512
            rainbow cake 418
            toffee cupcakes for end of term 512
      Can't live without her (see Fatima) 312-527
      is a puppy 355
      talks to herself 322, 412, 519

Mrs. Cardona 312-527, 349, 412, 462, 519
            see Sarcasm 312-527
      hates advisory 349
            what? I mean she loves advisory 349
      I will miss her 527
      is intimidating 412
      is snarky 519
      is wonderful 462
Purely Evil 321, 347, 358, 360, 419, 422, 496, 527
      BFR 347, 496
      Finals 419, 527
      Power Writing 358, 422
      Rhetorical Analysis Paper 360
      Speech Analysis 321
Pieces to Study 312-327, 313, 327-328
      50 Essays 312-527
      Everything's An Argument 312-527
            yes really, everything 312-527
      Politics and the English Language 327-328
      The Rhetorical Situation 313

Rhetorical Appeals 350, 351, 352
      Based on character 352
      Based on emotion 350
      Based on logic 351
Rhetorical Devices 323-326
      Diction 324
      Style 326     
      Tone 325
      Voice 323
            gives your writing power 323
Rhetorical Modes 371
      I am bad at distinguishing these 371

Sarcasm 312-527, 355, 418, 500, 512
      Fatima 312-527, 355, 418, 500, 512
      Mrs. Cardona 312-527

That's Humerous 460-461
      Genres 461
            Caricature 461
            Parody 461
            Satire 461
      Horatian 460
      Juvenalian 460
Things We Hate 314-315, 327-328, 342, 412, 510
      Abbrevs 510
      Cheesy or banal language 327-328
            of which Ryan always used 412
      Comic Sans (see It's The Little Things) 314-315
      Emoticons 342
      "Ethos", "Pathos", "Logos" 350-352

Monday, January 16, 2012

Freaky, eh?

Have you ever wondered what a street prostitute and a department-store Santa have in common? Has it ever occurred to you that suicide bombers should buy life insurance? Do you think altruism is part of human nature, and do you think it could be measured in economic terms? Ever thought about how some of the simplest things are part of the biggest solutions? Do you ask yourself, "What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?"

Yeah. Me either...
But you're curious now, aren't you?

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore these ideas in Super Freakonomics. After much success with Freakonomics, they decided to do some research and put together another collection of strange-but-true findings.

I found Super Freakonomics to be interesting, but it wasn't the best book for this assignment. Being a "Book Length Argument", I don't think there was a very strong argument that ties the whole book together. They wrote in the Explanatory Note at the beginning that the theme for both books was that humans respond to incentives. This argument is prevalent, but they do not blatantly tie that message in to each chapter, so it's not a very obvious theme.

I also found this book to have a sort of jumpy nature. It was difficult to follow the thought process occasionally; it all came together by the end of the chapter...but there were times when I had completely lost sight of the message. The chapter titles are sometimes a bit misleading as well, because the question the title asks is only briefly answered. However, it is necessary that they spend time giving background information and research findings before they come to the conclusion, so I think it's appropriate that they only briefly address the chapter's title directly.

What makes the book so interesting is that the author's cover topics and answer questions you've never really asked yourself, and they make strange connections. They make use of statistics and figures to demonstrate how their research was conducted and how they went about composing experiments. This is good for their credibility, but it is also interesting to see how the process works and what types of results they get back. I would also say they use the fact that their first book, Freakonomics, was so successful, to build on their character and credibility.

The book is split up into five chapters, covering the five topics I mentioned at the beginning. You could probably read the book backwards, if you wanted, because they do not connect each chapter to one another in a way that would limit the order of you reading them. This is because chapter covers an entirely different topic with entirely different research and background. It's almost like five mini-books bound into one.

And even though it's about economics, it's not the type of economics that typically comes to mind. It's also easy to understand; sometimes they use "economic jargon", but they always clarify what it means, and they put it in friendly terms that makes it understandable by anyone. They also have a tone that is direct, and that makes it humorous at times.

Overall, I would recommend this book. There were times when I laughed out loud reading it, I found myself being kind of impressed by the processes, and surprised at some of the outcomes. I haven't read Freakonomics yet (kind of like the chapters, it's not necessary to read them in order), but it's sitting on my bedside table next to The Fault In Our Stars, and I plan on reading it soon.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dear Sophomore Kira,

This year sucks. And it's pretty much inevitable. But there's a few things you can do to make it less sucky. Ready?

First of all, DROP ASTRONOMY. Really, I know you've been thinking about it. I know you've been thinking, "I should really drop astronomy, but it'll probably get better". It won't. It gets worse, believe it or not. Out of all the classes you've taken in high school, you will regret taking Astronomy the most, if you continue with it (imagine that: you're taking freaking Euro right now). It's awkward, and it's lame, and you don't learn anything. Leave.

Speaking of Euro, I know it's terrible...but you're going to make it. And the work is hard, but the class is fun. And you have an awesome class. Third term is a little exhausting, but just hang in there. I won't tell you what score you get, but study study study. You won't regret it.

So advice for next semester.

Math. So you're going to ask Mr. Lindahl you should take 3x next year. And he will say you probably can't handle it. And then you'll ask Landy if she thinks you would do okay in it. And she'll say it's pretty big jump. Don't listen to them. Regular math is SO TERRIBLE. You know that it's terrible. You know you shouldn't be in regular math. Even though you have to do summer school to transfer....please. Power through it. You don't want Math 3 with Cade next year, and you don't want to sit through your dumb ass Math 4 class. But don't try to jump to 2x this year, because you have Valerie in your class. And Brady and Reed. It's funny.

Honors Communications. Switch. Switch switch switch, you can't handle Mrs. Van Horn. I know May Ling is in your class, but she's your only friend at lunch, and she ends up getting sick and is never at school. And then you're awkward and lonely. Ehhh.

Also, don't try to drop band. Mr. E won't let you. I know you reallyyyyyy want to. But stay for Marching Band; you meet Grace, and she's hilarious. And you get to know Abby, and she will invite you to a Lady Gaga concert later (I KNOW! FREAK OUT).

Rugby: don't let it getcha down. I know this year is pretty lame and you wish you were on First Fifteen. But you have Anna, and your team is actually a lot of fun. Drama happen in the First Fifteen. Also, try to really enjoy next year. I won't say what, exactly...but a lot changes.

Also, when you meet Fatima at the Euro Practice Test, talk to her. She's also in your advisory; you don't realize that because you always sit on the right side of the room and don't talk to anyone. Go sit with her. She's awesome.

Well, that's about all the advice I can give you for this year. I'm actually risking my life to tell you this. Because I'm trying to get you to change things about this year to make it easier, the "me" that exists now will cease to exist if you follow my advice. So I'm pretty much committing suicide. But sophomore year was the worst. Change it; make it better.

Okie doke. Peace.

- Senior Kira (and yes, you still hate high school in the future and are excited to escape this place. Almost there...).

P.S. Stop procrastinating.
P.P.S. HA. That's a joke. But I thought I'd give it a try.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Power: Visual Essay

Works Cited (in order of appearance)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Power: Process Analysis

The Video

  • Claim: Power can be destructive.
  • Reason: That which has power over us desires control, and forces us into submission.
  • Warrant: I focus on the government, money, fear, abuse, words, and the media.
  • Audience: This is intended for anyone; power affects us all. 

The Pictures

  • I started with a picture of a weak arm and a strong arm that are wrestling. This is to demonstrate power in general, which is often associated with strength.
  • The next series focuses on the Government and Corporate America. It can have a negative influence because money becomes the driving force behind decisions, and we become "puppets" to it (4th pic).
  • Next I focus on fear. I use dictatorship and terrorism to demonstrate this. The easiest way to achieve this is by using well known cases: Hitler and 9-11. They both demonstrate how power through fear can be destructive because they led to the Holocaust and the falling of the World Trade Centers. 
  • I tie the 9-11 attacks to war, which is what followed. This shows how the effects terrorism are powerful, but also how war is often associated with power (wanting dominance in some way) and is destructive (shows the deaths, and the emotional turmoil).
  • Domestic violence is the next focus. Sometimes in relationships when men think they are powerful or want to prove they are powerful, they revert to abuse. A parent may do the same to a child. I really like the of pictures with the arm coming out of the screaming man's mouth, and the child being choked by a hand made up of hurtful words, because they are a representation of how powerful words can be. There is also physical abuse represented in the pictures. 
  • Media can be powerful as well. I focused on its influence on girls, mostly. The media portrays what "beauty" is and how a girl should look, even though it's generally unattainable. This forces girls into eating disorders and depressions. I portrayed this by showing girls looking at different media sources, followed by the effects it can have.
  • I concluded with two pictures. The first one is a picture of a man who looks like he has ill-intentions and is holding a city. He has power as he holds the city like he owns it, and can change/mold it, but he is power-hungry which can be destructive (since it seems he will change it with only himself in mind). The very last picture is a word cloud representing power; I thought this would be a good way to sum up my video because it gives words that mean power, words that can lead one to power, and words that describe the effects of power.

  • I put the picture sequences in this order because it starts out big with corporations and the government, and ends with more individual effects. 
  • Some of the transitions I use were more thought out. For example: the picture of the Twin Towers gets transitioned away from with a "torn" look to demonstrate the strain it caused. From the war picture to the dead soldier pictures, I use a transition that mimics a clock motion to show time lapse. The sequence with the arm coming out of a man's screaming mouth all have a different "dissolve" transition to show how words can deteriorate a person. Also, after the magazine picture, I use a "page flip" transition. These hopefully give a subtle extra effect as you view them.
  • For the structure, my goal was to first portray the source of power, and then elaborate on what the effects are (how it's destructive).

The Song

  • I chose the song War Machine by Fightstar.
  • One reason this song is effective is that it builds: power is something people (or things) rise to, and its effects are often climactic. This song gives that feeling because it starts off quiet and there are few instruments. By the end of the video, it's stronger because there are more instruments and the singing is more intense (the chorus is more wild but the video never gets to it. I feel like that worked out for the better because I don't think you can ever be fully satisfied with the amount of power you have, and thus it never fully builds...).
  • I also chose this song for its lyrics. War Machine is about how some people go to the extreme and put themselves in harm's way to attain something, but they are never happy with it. This describes power. There is such a want to attain it, that extreme measures are taken to reach or keep matter the destruction on the way. And yet, despite all of it, it's never enough.
  • Here are the lyrics of the song (just the part that's included in the video):
  • Some of us will die alone.
    Some of us will never reach the end of the road.
    It isn't enough.
    Some of us will never know the meaning of trust.
    Some of us will feed off all the people who give.
    It's never enough.

    Are we a race of animals who beg, steal, and chew on the bones that are left
    from the people who cared?

    We'll beg the kids forget your lessons, raise up your guard, protect your honor.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Open Letter To My Dreams

Dear Subconscious Brain,

I don't understand how we're connected. Where does this come from?
Why are you thinking about Jessi, I haven't even seen her since 7th grade. And why is there shaving cream all over the floor? Why can't I do anything all of a sudden? Do you think this is amusing? Because you are controlling everything.

It's true. You can do whatever you want. You could let me own a country. You could give me the power to stop time. You could make me the Doctor's next companion.

Oh no, but this is so much better, isn't it? Me sitting on a slide listening to a princess ramble on about not being fourteen anymore. Me running through a library with a bunch of people doing a coordinated dance. Me being in the middle of a baseball field trying to find a good bottle of hairspray.

That totally makes sense.

I just want to know where these thoughts come from. Why do you think of random people while I'm asleep? Why do you make me incapable of running or screaming at the most inconvenient times? Are you on drugs?

Seriously, kid. This stuff is crazy. Nothing makes sense. Calm down.

I hope you understand: I don't want you to go away, I just think you should be a little more like me. We are connected to the same person, you know.

Conscious Brain