Monday, December 19, 2011

The Death of Kim Jong Il

On December 18, news of North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Il's death flooding news channels all over the globe.

North Korea is a country shrouded in much mystery, and its leader much the same.

Kim Jong Il was 69 when he died and reportedly passed away from a heart attack on a train in Pyongyang.

He was often referred to as 'Dear Leader' and controlled his country for 19 years.

It is said that his son, Kim Jong Un, will succeed him and become the next dictator of North Korea.

Not much is known about his son, but many say that he is approximately 28 years old.

Does the Government have the right?

A couple weeks ago, I was reading an article about the government taking a young boy away from his mother because he was overweight at only 14 years old. The government took the child from his home and placed him with a foster parent.

This makes me question their judgement. Did they ever think that the boy was happy with his weight? Was it right from them to take him away from his only family?
According to the article, the boy ate when he got home from school when his mother was away at work. She didn't allow him to eat certain things so he waited until she wasn't home. Yet, the government accused her of abusing her child with food.

Honestly, they can't blame her for his own decisions. I can understand suggesting that he goes on a drastic diet but to bring him to another family was taken overboard!
The government is starting to get involved in everything going on that doesn't necessarily need their help... What else will the government do??

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why's this Happening?

I like to describe myself as a producer of video and written content with a creative focus. In other words, I make online video, I write articles for my blog; all stuff like that. It follows logically, then, that being assigned a video project whether for school or for a friend would be welcome news and that I would spring on the task at hand.

But for some reason, that barely happens.

I like to think that it happens because I'm a teenager who gets distracted easily, or maybe because even  though I have a passion for all things, I don't really have a good workflow set up when things get serious ... but I feel that all these excuses are scapegoats at best. They don't satisfy the guilty conscience that rears its ugly head when it's time to turn in a video to a friend or for a school function and I've barely laid down the timeline.

For one thing, it's frustrating because I know I love this stuff. But moreover, it's perplexing why it always ends up happening like that. I genuinely fail to see the reason why the same chain of events always repeats itself, and to be honest, if I can summarize it, years from now, as just one of the many hardships I had to overcome in the path to becoming a professional video producer, then by George, let it be that!

At least I'll have a reliable perspective on it.

Hannukah on Winter Break? If only that was more than a coincidence.

Latkes frying in a pan is always a fresh start to my favorite holiday. Around this time of year, many of my friends are setting up their Christmas trees but I anticipate a delicious Hannukah dinner, a fun game of dreidel, lighting the menorah, and opening the gifts surrounding my family's Hannukah bush. But one thing always wrecked what I consider the best holiday of the year. This thing would be school.

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with attending school. But why is Hannukah not considered a national holiday? I mean, it's a once in a lifetime chance for Hannukah to coincidentally occur during Winter Break. But Winter Break isn't planned around all the holidays. It's planned around Christmas and the New Year. Hannukah isn't nationally recognized so as I'm looking forward to that first night of Hannukah, I'm sitting in my classroom taking a rigorous test.

Besides Winter Break, it's a lucky coincidence if the first night of Hannukah lands on a Friday or Saturday. Looking at my school calendar the other day, I jumped up and down in joy when my eyes landed on the first week of break. Hannukah, for once, lands on Winter Break.

Excitedly, I told my family I would have off of school on Hannukah. Their response was"Really?" Then it dawned on me that we shouldn't have that sort of reaction to such a thing. Yes, although majority of America is Protestant, I say that people who are Jewish should not be deprived of this wondrous holiday. People vacation on the holidays. They visit relatives. They can't visit if work or school is tying them down.

I could be wrong. But I feel that if we get Christmas off, we should get Hannukah off. They're both of equal importance to different religions. I'm not requesting a total of 8 days off, but I say the day before and the day of Hannukah should be off of school. I don't see any issue with that.

Winter Break in AZ!

Phew! I don't know about you, but I am super pumped for winter break. I'm espcially excited because my break starts early- I'm flying out to Tuscon to visit family early Thursday morning. I cannot wait for several reasons:

1. I get to see my new baby cousin, who was born in October!
2. I get to visit with all of the family that I havent't seen in a while!
3. I get to see snow!

Yes, it's true. Yours truly has never seen real snow before. (Remember those big piles of ice that different events would have in the winter? Doesn't count.) We are going to go up to the mountains (that's where the snow comes in), go horseback riding, and many other fun things. 

Only two more days 'till I leave this sweat factory.   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

C.R. Sparkles

A couple of months ago a family friend asked me if I could do her a favor. Her son's Kindergarten class is doing a Flat Stanley like project, where they created their own character, named C.R. Sparkles, and is sending him to different places in the nation to learn more about those particular states. I gladly told her I'd love to participate in the project.

Now, that was a few months ago. This past week I finally received Mr. Sparkles in the mail. At first when I opened the mail box and found the package, I was wondering what it could be, because i had completely forgotten I volunteered! Since the day I did volunteer, it's like my life was on fast forward: i had to finish college applications, take my standardized tests again, study for and take piano lessons weekly, study for my advanced placement classes, meet newspaper deadlines, stay healthy and make appointments for the gym, and on top of that work! I was totally busy and I even started forgetting to change into my pajamas at night! It was honestly crazy, and I received Mr. Sparkles in the middle of all that chaos.

This weekend i finally got time to write about Florida in the eyes of C.R. Sparkles for the kindergarten class. I mentioned Disney world, Saint Augustine, the state capitol Tallahhassee, and even the Everglades, oh, and Cape Canavrel! I figured the boys in the class would get a kick out of hearing about space shuttle lift offs!

In about an hour I was done with Mr. Sparkles' diary. I was super invested in writing about all the great things about Florida, it truly made me wish I could have visited all those places, and it made me proud of our culture-filled, interesting and tropical state I live in.

Afterwards, I thought more about the project itself. Many people say that the future generations will never have grown up the way we did; how technology with take over schools and there will eventually be no physical books but only readers like the Kindle, and how teachers will no longer be needed through online classes. C.R. Sparkles, i thought, is so much cooler than the boring projects we got to do in elementary school. The closest we got to learning first hand facts from real people about the United States was the ten year old worksheets we were filling out. Mr. Sparkles is a totally original idea put into effect in real life! It's so cool so see how teachers today are introducing the wonders of geography and literature to these very young children, even if it is in the most simplest form. Technology, in my opinion, is no evil to the upcoming generations: it's the complete opposite. Children all around the world have the privilege to experience it first hand, and it's obvious that with C.R. Sparkles, that kindergarten class will have a head start.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, Go Away!

I hate Mondays. I don't know if it's because it's the beginning of the week or because I have so many assignments due, but I really can't stand Mondays anymore. From screaming teachers to annoying classmates, it seems like everyone waits til Monday to unleash all of their anger. The end of the year is supposed to be one of the happiest times, due to all the holidays and of course winter break. Lately, however it seems like everyone has chosen to be in a cranky mood, especially on Mondays! I don't understand why the beginning of the week always feels like this, but let's hope with colder weather and vacation approaching, people will be in better spirits.

It's NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"... NOT!

About a week after Thanksgiving is the time most people start getting into the holiday spirit, setting up their Christmas trees, stocking up on gits for friends and family, and decorating their houses with multi-colored lights.

However, this is the time most high-schoolers refer to as exam time.

Most high-schoolers have to start cramming for upcoming semester exams, however for the few of us, we have to cram for not only semester exams, but also quarter exams.

These notorious tests are worth the majority of our grade, and a small blunder on one of them can cost a huge drop in our GPA (grade point average).

They can also range from 1 hour up to 3 excruciating hours long.

Luckily, all of us have one thing to look forward to... WINTER BREAK!

Winter break is inching, but still moving towards us.

So let us all high-schoolers, chant "winter break" as our battle cry, fight till the end, and be victorious against the exams.

A little APES-inspired poem

APES: AP Environmental Science. The headache of every junior (and the occasional senior). Despite the endless projects, the pages upon pages of data and dates and laws, the lists of geological and ecological terminology, the people and places... APES is truly a valuable class. We don't quite appreciate the relevance and urgency of such studies; we live in a changing world, we need to learn as much as we can about it NOW before everything as we know it disappears. A recurring theme in APES seems to be the fragility of the planet and the most unfortunate occurrence in its history; the appearance of Man. Hence this little poem I wrote... It's APES in a poetic nutshell.

First, there was nothing

And then there was life

Life in her seas, the land and air

Breathing, changing, singing,

Then came He who Spoke

With flames in His hands and purpose in His eyes

His steps were heavy and the earth trembled

As it met its Master

Now He cannot hear her speak

His head is full of air

And his eyes clouded with the dust

Of trees forgotten

Her hands tied with cords

Artificial lights rival her stars

Weaving a gray canvas,

The dark milieu of His half life

Fades to black

Now He is need of help

He has lost sight of His purpose

To live as the grass that never forgets to grow

Let your inner spirit nurture Him

Keep your mind as open as the sky

Step even, step light

Help Him wake up inside

From His half life

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LIGHTS: Siberia

Elecronica artist's LIGHTS' latest album is FINALLY here! After months and months of waiting and growing weary of her cute brunette self waving apologetically in her video blogs, saying "I wish I could tell you when my record is coming out...", Siberia arrived about a month ago! I think the concept of A NEW LIGHTS ALBUM thrills me more than the actual music, only because I (and thousands of devoted fans) have been waiting so darn long. Any assessments concerning her synth-pop sounds and high-pitched vocals that I made on the day it was released were be fogged up by the hazy, excited stupor cloud encircling my head. So I gave myself a month for the excitement to settle before really attempting analyzing her latest work.
Her newest sounds are simply a hybrid. LIGHTS meets Icelandic warbler Bjork meets British singer/pianist Imogen Heap meets rap. It's a far cry from her original sounds, which were humble, unique and all very similar. Her style remains completely her own; there's still no artist quite like her anywhere. But as Picasso said, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." LIGHTS has borrowed the sounds of so many other genres and artists, but has meshed them in a completely new way, adding her own inter-galactic, comic book nerd touch. Her original lyrics are, as always, simple, refreshing but underlain by dark whispers.

"I would sail across the east sea, just to see you on the far side.
Where the wind is cold and angry, there you'll be to take me inside.

We'll find ways to fill the empty, far from all the hysteria.
I don't care if we suddenly find ourselves in Siberia."

Noticeably grittier than anything she's every done, Siberia kicks off with the title track, where a distorted bass groove drives the tune straight into her flirty voice. The pop sophisticate’s alluring inflections balance soul with restraint on the next track, “Where the Fence Is Low”. Blown-out rhythms pulse against her demure coos, sounding slightly like a Daft Punk production. "Toes" is by far my favorite track; she braids dubstep with electronica and good old-fashioned radio pop.

"Oh, you capture my attention.
Carefully listening, don't wanna miss a thing, keeping my eyes on you.
Got me on my toes."

Anyone craving a new dance floor anthem need look no further than “Everybody Breaks a Glass,” where overdriven beats and a throbbing oscillation of sonic static perfectly contrast LIGHTS' silky voice. I love everything about the song until the rap verses begin, which unfortunately kill the vibe. It sounds forced; someone needs to tell LIGHTS that she doesn't need to combine pop with rap in an attempt to appeal to the amasses. She simmers down on the hushed "Heavy Rope,” serenading under skittering beats and sheets of icy synthesizers. The soft and demure sound is perfect- this is LIGHTS I've always known. “Flux and Flow" and "Fourth Dimension” work in hip-hop phrasing in the verse and R&B melodies in the chorus, featuring rap artist Shad. It's an interesting mix. The heavier drums, the dubstep influence and the more complex sounds indicate LIGHTS' musical transformation. As she said in "Heavy Rope", she's now "a little bit on the edge". And I love it.