A Year of Progress

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Photo ©2007 by Reza [CC-by-2.0]
Well, the school year is about to come to a close. I am definitely going to miss coming to Room 306 on a regular basis. I already had three other AP classes this year and having a fourth would have been very difficult. I was also really worried how much different an AP English class would differ from a regular Honors class.

To my surprise, AP English did not turn out as I expected. My teacher, Mr. Ziebarth, voluntarily decided to give us less homework every day. The difference in workloads compared to other AP English teachers is striking. I know some peers who have to work at least two hours a day on homework for their English teachers while for me, I usually only take up one hour a day. This really helped me a lot for my other classes because I could focus more time on finishing their larger assignments.

Ironically, despite being called English Language and Composition, compared to last year’s English Honors class, we did fewer writing assignments. I remember that most of the time the kinds of writing that we did in English Honors last year was literary analyses of books we read. I know for certain that we did not have diversity in the types of essays we wrote. AP English this year offered more of that variety and helped advance my knowledge in the kinds of writing that are very fundamental.

The essay that I feel changed me the most was the very first one we did, which was a personal narrative. Being the first essay, I felt very confident about it. I had done a ton of narratives in the past and received high A’s on them, so I decided to write one in the exact same way as I always have about my graduation from elementary school. My initial results for my first draft were not as I expected. One thing we have done consistently with every essay is having our fellow peers in the class look over our work and peer edit. They would “bless” the good parts of our essays and “press” to us the faults and problems. One thing that was very well-noticed by my peers was how vague certain details I wrote were and how I was constantly repeating words with weak word choice. Even after revising my first draft, my results were not as good as I had hoped, which made me realize how I have to change the way I perform my writing and make it more like an AP.

Writing turned out to be not as easy as I hoped and I learned through all the critique I experienced in many later essays. One was an argument essay where we had to pick a side as to whether we should make our school days start later in the day. I picked the side that was the minority in terms of choice and I found myself struggling. It was probably one of the hardest essays I could write because there was barely any research that could truly support my side and arguments. Regardless, I would take the advice from my fellow peers and receive a grade that I felt happy about. The last essay we did was a descriptive essay where we had to describe a member of our families through one personality trait. I chose my dad and tried writing as good of an essay as possible. Despite various edits suggested by my peers, it still had many problems. According to my teacher, despite it being a descriptive essay, there were a lot of places where I am lacking details and specifics that could actually improve my essay.

After writing all the different types of essays that we have been assigned this year, I have begun to understand how words could structure the connections between individuals. Holden Caulfield of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is a very sarcastic young man and has an internal desire to not grow up. His choice of attitude negatively affects his relationships with just about everyone around him. Whenever he attempts to strike conversations with others, he tends to get so passionate in his thoughts that he would randomly switch topics and make his speech jumbled and messy. This leads to people being unable to comprehend his chain of thoughts, and most of the characters do not have the tolerance to sit there and listen to his rambling. In these kinds of cases for Holden, words generally break apart the relationship he has with others.

The only person that can really tolerate Holden is his little sister Phoebe. While Holden claims that Phoebe should not be able to comprehend what he rambles on about, she is able to tolerate it and listen passionately. In this one and only case, Holden’s words are what truly connects himself with his sister. Phoebe regularly experiences Holden’s habits with language and his overall tendency of mixing his jumbled ideas, and she accepts him for who he is unlike any other character who regularly conflicts with him.

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Wasting Food

7159545832_27da719d0c_z.jpgPhoto ©2012 by Mark Turnauckas [CC-BY-SA-2.0]

I watched a video last week from the LA Times and focusing about the expiration dates that are on food products, more specifically, milk. The video also provides a small survey on normal supermarket shoppers to see if they understood what the expiration date was. Turns out that not many of them actually know. Another topic that is brought up in the video is that the expiration date that is written on the product is not actually standardized. The date that is given is not actually when the product becomes bad to consume. Even so, the market distributors are forced to take those “expired” products off the shelves and dispose of them due to state laws. This means dumping dozens of milk jugs into dumpsters or into the drain. It pains me to watch gallons of milk being wasted just because a random date on the container says it is when it is best. Obviously milk does go bad, but it does not on the day the container says. I drank milk a little past the expiration date before, but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. It almost tasted perfectly normal. Going a few more days afterwards, it did taste more off than usual, but it was still fine. A solution must be made to this issue with expiration dates so that other people in the world that need food can have these often-times perfectly good food isn’t put to waste.

California and its Farmers

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Photo by: LA Times.

An article I read by Natalie Kristoeff and Geoffrey Mohan of the LA Times made me realize that the job issues in America isn’t so great as it seems. Even though wages are rising in California, not many Americans want the jobs. California has a situation with its farms and owners that the Trump administration has not supported. Though it is true that wages are increasing and jobs are in high demand in the farming industry, the farmer owners are not benefiting. They just cannot find workers for their farms in order to gain success.

Before the Trump administration, many workplaces have had a slower rate of hiring workers due to the tightening of the country’s borders. Now with the promise of Trump to deport illegal immigrants and build a wall across the southern border, California is facing the threat of losing more workers than they can hire. While some people may agree that deporting illegal immigrants and the wall could benefit the country, there are many people that rely on these immigrants in order to maintain their business. The rise of wages in California along with the demand for jobs does not help the fact that not many people want to possess these jobs. Yes, while it may be true that some of our nation’s jobs are taken by illegal immigrants, we must remember that some of these businesses need these workers to fulfill a job that many others would be unwilling to perform. Though I would rather not reveal my position as to whether or not I support laws and policies regarding illegal immigration, I still feel sorry for the employers and businesses that could potentially decline due to the lack of workers that want them.

Zines

17431737_1847437392193249_210010777_o.jpgLast week, I had the opportunity in class to listen to a friend of my English teacher talk about zines. Zines are booklets that aren’t as big as books and also more unique compared to magazines. Through zines, we are able to express ideas and thoughts without limitations. Using drawings, printed pictures, or even snippings from a newspaper or magazine, we can create a book without any limitations and designed by our own imaginations. I like the idea of making booklets that we can put just about anything inside (with a specific topic of course). The way we design the zine along with the content inside of it, in my opinion, is what makes zines enjoyable to read and memorable.

What is it with my house and birds?

17175948_1840856252851363_384919451_o.pngMy mom opened up the front door this morning to open up some fresh air into our home. The problem was that it opened the path for a hummingbird to enter our house. It flew all the way upstairs and into my mom’s bedroom. Her room has a very high ceiling, which is almost impossible to reach because we did not have a tall ladder. The hummingbird then proceeded to 17148684_1840856232851365_1524038627_ofly around and linger at the ceiling for nearly 3 hours. During that time, we had no idea what to do to get it down except to close all of the doors and open up the window, hoping it would fly out. We even left out some food in case it was hungry while it was in there. After waiting for 2 hours, I decided to check back in the room to see if it left. Sure enough, it did.

17175896_1840777442859244_1215135565_oHalf an hour later, I decided to go out in the backyard and I noticed something unusual lying in the grass and decided to check it out. It was the hummingbird that was in my mom’s room, and it wasn’t breathing. By the size of it, I would have to say that it was a baby. I guess it tired itself out by flying so much in my mom’s room and was starving by the time it left the room. It probably passed out either in the air or on the ground and died sometime later. I am disappointed that there was nothing my parents and I could have done in order to evacuate the hummingbird from the room sooner so that it could probably find some more food. Birds have such bad experiences near my house every year, and I hope that their luck improves.

Celebrity Activism

C2noE5WXcAAGiei.jpgWhile most people like me are unable to make ourselves heard to thousands of people, the celebrities are able to do so due to their prominence and fame through their works. A prime example of this kind of celebrity was Shia Lebouf. Back when Donald Trump was inaugurated, Lebouf and some other artists set up an exhibit in front of the Museum of Moving Image in Queens, New York. The exhibit consisted of five simple words: “He Will Not Divide Us.” Not only is it a sign of Lebouf’s opposition to Trump’s presidency, but it is also believed to have the intent of resisting the immense conflict of groups in today’s society regarding Trump supporters and opposers. This exhibit caused hysteria from street brawls to even bomb threats. Though the exhibit was eventually removed for the general safety of the public, it is still amazing to me how far a celebrity can go to try and express their views and send out a message despite the amount of harm it may have on their popularity and reputation.

Photo by: Shia Lebouf

Problems with Spelling Errors

103577715_b048e6f9e8_mPhoto ©2013 by Mooganic [CC-BY-SA-2.0]

We read an article in class today regarding the prominence of spelling errors from major individuals and groups. The article started off with how POTUS Donald Trump continuously made typos in his tweets and minor spelling errors in other places. This led to concerns from the writer that the rest of Washington and important organizations like the Department of Education. The author believes that these errors breach the importance of the English language and feels that changes must be made so that these errors are more paid attention to before they are even released to the public. While the author does admit that everyone cannot be perfect and spelling errors are bound to happen, he still believes that there must be a prioritization of proofreading a work and check on spelling errors before it is even released for everyone in the world to be able to see.

In my personal opinion, spelling errors are uncontrollable. With the rush of society nowadays, it is hard for one to actually control whether or not they made mistakes. While I agree typos are annoying, it is hard to change the world as it is now.

Blog Reflection

categories-copyFor an assignment in class, my classmates and I have to review the content of all of our blog posts and reflect on how we wrote these posts. Here’s a fun fact about how we write our posts. We call our blogs “SQUID posts,” We we look at a Source and then Question about it, Unite it with our lives, Investigate and look more in depth to it, and/or give our sense of Delight or Disgust in the topic. Looking back at all of my old posts, I find that I tend to add a lot of investigation and talk about my delight in a majority of my topics. I guess the main reason why this is the case is because I write about sources we receive in class and whatever I find interesting in my life.

A majority of the time, my blog posts have related to some sort of failure I have seen in life. Though it may not be noticeable when I organize the tags I use in my posts as it can be seen below, it really is obvious if you read my past posts.
tags-copyFor example, my Mistakes and Replacements post talks about me accidentally breaking my favorite toy and my Failure post talks about an entire video about the importance of failure. There are a lot more blog posts I have written when I think about mistakes that were made. Thinking about the idea of failure, I notice how much of a major aspect it is in human life. If we really think about it, failure is what makes us want to grow into a better person and improve who we are. Though I still make mistakes today, and it haunts me wondering when the next one will come, I find optimism in thinking that I could learn from these mistakes and not let them happen again. I find a lot of interest thinking about the affect failure has in life and I guess that is what drives me to write a lot of posts about this subject.

Importance of Details

whycantyoudraw_2-2_stickmen.pngOne day in class, we read an article called “Let’s Get Specific” by Beth Johnson. In this article, Johnson talks about the importance of vivid details in speech and text. She brings up many examples of passages with lots of vague detail along with another passage of the same topic, but with more details. When comparing the two passages, it was obvious that the passage with more detail was much more vivid and interesting compared to the vaguer one. Normally whenever I write or read, I rarely ever pay attention to the amount of detail that is provided and notice how much interest or imaginings I receive when I read a passage with more or less descriptions. After reading this article, it makes me think back to thinking about every paper I wrote for an assignment in the past. In retrospect, whenever I wrote my past works, I rarely ever paid much attention to the amount of specificity and descriptions I put into my writings. The only times when I ever do is when the prompt or my teacher tells me to write descriptively. This article makes me really want to work hard in improving how I stylistically write my essays and become a better writer.

Another Weather Post

16251246_1820237524913236_2013231145_o.jpg2017 had an ok start; nothing bad particularly happened (besides the presidential inauguration to most people). The weather has turned quite peculiar. Friday had one of the hardest rain showers in years. The rain was pouring down so hard that just standing in it for an entire minute drenched my jacket. The winds were so powerful that it bent and snapped the frame of my umbrella. On Saturday, the weather turned relatively calm; the sky was sunnier and mostly clear and the winds turned calm. By the looks of it, rain would not come again for possibly a few days or weeks. Boy was I wrong. The rain came back today, Sunday January 22nd, but it was more aggressive and lasted longer than any rainy day in the past few years. If you want to know how long it has been raining, it has been pouring since last night and is still active while I am writing this blog post so late in the evening. While I appreciate the skies providing us with water that we desperately needed for so long, it makes me wonder what is happening to our world that is making the atmosphere give us more rain. I’m not going to complain about it and say its a bad thing, but it’s still a provocative thought as to how our world is changing.