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Capstone - Natalee Schiavoni

Science Leadership Academy - Senior Capstone 2013

Student Name: Natalee Schiavoni

In school Mentor: Ms. Dunn

Link to my Capstone website:

Cover Page -

The goal of this project was to create an artistic portfolio of my most recent sketching and drawings to show my understanding for the techniques artist use to produce successful artwork. I want to mold together an artistic view point and practical techniques to create functional blog/website to help others find great resources.

Abstract -

My sketch portfolio is a collection of my best and most recent artwork that highlights my love for art and shows my experience throughout the year. It is a visual archive of my artistic accomplishments that demonstrates my ability and potential as an artist.  My finished portfolio documents additional work that demonstrates an awareness of formal visual organizational principles and experience with a variety of tools, media, styles, and approaches. You will be viewing still life, landscape, figure drawings, portrait, perspective, and diagrammatic drawings.

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Blubber Island

I am Lindsey Jones and I’m going to take you through a thorough and thoughtful review of the dark comedy, philosophical thriller, Blubber Island. Blubber Island is written by Ismael Galvan. An author known for encrypting his stories with characters that are at the bottom of the social food chain and putting them in the oddest situations and eventually letting them flourish. Galvan, currently resides in Japan with wife an English teacher. He most famous work is in fact Blubber Island and writes in a Gutter Surrealist style.    

Elis, a social outcast sits in his small hut by a fire drinking tea. He is then abruptly affronted by a man in a business suit who tells him that he has torn a hole in his head. Elis is taken back by this and asks what exactly does he mean by this. The businessman continues on and Elis defensively drives to attack him with a spear when all of a sudden his world is turned inside out. Zombies come from nowhere and begin eating Elis. As his flesh was being torn apart, Elis is eventually saved by a tribe of gorillas summoned by an old man. Elis meets the old man, who tells him the zombie virus is spreading rapidly throughout his body. They both begin to argue, ending in the old man's home being caught afire. The old man urges for Elis to go inside the fire and rescue the antidote, or else he will become a zombie. Elis opposes to this, and expresses that he'd rather be a zombie than deal with such a nasty world. The both suddenly wind up in a forest, meeting an old samurai, and man named Casper. Casper takes Elis to a ballroom filled with awfully cheerful souls. The party is ambushed by a group of ninjas and gorillas. Everyone begins to oddly want Elis to dance with them. At random moments, the people begin shooting themselves. A man named Suit tries to keep Elis hostage as the chaos resumes and zombies appear. Elis is able to free himself and escapes the party with Casper. They both end up falling down a dark tunnel.

    A homeless girl named Jamie attends a prestigious university with her best friend, Green boy. They blend in with the students, who are the same age. However, they are different from them. Jamie expresses her dislike towards the students that come from affluent families and could pay their way through anything. Green boy, her ambitious best friend, convinces Jamie to help him break into an experiment laboratory within the university’s boundaries. Green boy attacks the scientists inside and runs off campus with Jamie. They are almost caught by security but stow away in a van and drive to a local pharmacy. Green boy holds the pharmacy at gun point. The victims inside begin fussing with Green boy, some even attempt to escape from through the front doors only to get gunned down police. The boy and girl somehow are able to avoid the police and leave with the upper hand down into the sewers. Inside the sewer realm, Jamie and Green boy accidentally meet an aggressive homeless man. The man scolds Jamie for dropping a bottle on him, but also tells about him getting tricked into selling his drugs. He needed the drugs to communicate with “aliens”. The homeless man tells Jamie the story of a suited man coming into the sewers offering the homeless food. The people that ate the food would quickly fall asleep and were pulled into the shadows the man. Later, they would turn up with their eyelids missing. The people then tried to the homeless man to cut his eyelids off as well. The strange conversation continues until Jamie and Green boy tire and descend back into their resting place.

    Jake, a man imprisoned sits in his cell. Blank. His failed attempts at suicide were told, and he ends up giving up. He is then approached by a small cockroach that quietly invaded his cell. Jake is blithe at this notion and attempts to claim the cockroach as his own. He was afraid of the roach leaving, and him being alone and abandoned. Jake begins to fantasize about falling in love with the roach and the endless literature that he would write on his/her behalf. When Jake attempts to befriend the roach, a toxic smoke enters the room. Jake refuses to give up the insect and shouts in despair. The room overfilled with smoke until a woman in a green suit is presented strapped to the ground. Jake realizes in order to save his roach friend and leave the room, the woman must be the key. Jake brutally rapes the woman until her true face is revealed, Jamie. The doors of the prison cell open and Jake and his roach are able to escape.

    The continues as the initial main characters are introduced. Each scenario revolving around Jake, Elis, Green boy and Jamie connecting another to piece to the puzzle. Green boy and Jamie realize their worth in the world and attempt to make another tear in the universe similar to that of Elis'. They do so, but the tear is not large enough for them to escape entirely. During this journey, they come of up with an idea to do a “take-over show”. This show involving gathering mass amounts of people in hopes of helping them stretch the tear so they can escape. They call this plan, Blubber Island. After Jake's escape from the hospital, he stops in the middle of nowhere on a highway. He captures of group of Indians and is invited to join their activities. Jake comes in the middle of a ceremony for an infant that had died early. The tribe was mourning the child's death and attempts to explain the meaning of the celebration to Jake. The death of the baby was compared to that of a bird's death by tourists and it's children starving. Jake gets high with the Indians and eventually leaves them.

    Elis is reunited with the old man at random. Elis tells the old man that he had forgotten who he was, but then realized it was the same man from dream. The old man tells him the reason for him invading his dream was because of the danger humanity was in. Elis still doesn't understand what he means. The man explains that the evolution of the universe is now conscious of it's existence, therefore defying the law of physics. The mind is merely a building block and is now attempting to evolve into something else. He tells Elis of the tear that is slowly altering and ripping apart the reality around him. Elis interrupts the old man and tells him he has lost the dream. The old man is bewildered and attacks Elis for dooming the entire existence of the human race.

    Once their intense battle subsided with a rainstorm, the old man tells Elis of “collective unconscious”. A psychic universe in which human experience connects everyone. A place that he prefers to call, Blubber Island. The old man longs to go there, as the mind is in it's most fragile state and highly unpredictable. A spiritual realm that has its own demons as well. A place that also interacts with the real world. If violence occurs in the real world, the event manifests itself in Blubber Island. This is the same for Blubber Island as well. The positive and negative things that happen there, also come to light in reality. The old man had found Elis' tear, as it was so big it made his own journey unnatural. The tear grew larger and larger until the old man had to interfere. The tear had become so big that corrupt creatures not only exist in Elis' mind, but his reality as well.

    Jamie and Green boy began their take-over show. A large band began player, accompanied by hoards of punks and other bystanders. The music suddenly turned angry and sour. Jamie was confused. The audience began going mad. Stomping to death those who accidentally were pushed into the crowd. People smashing into each other. Punching, kicking. All out chaos ensued. Mounds of blubber globs arose and began being thrown around the crowd. Everything and everyone was being destroyed. The police attempted to handle the event, but were pummeled to death. Jesus appears and tells the audience of how he has given up and wants time for himself. He then leaves, and random pedestrians attempt to claim the title of the All Mighty. Suit appears and summons a horde of zombies on the crowd. Chaos continues until of Green boy, Jamie and Elis all meet face to face. Elis attempts to let a bomb off in order to “fix” everything, but is stopped by Green boy. Jamie realizes that Green boy was drunk with a sense of invincible power and gives the bomb back to Elis. As Elis is about to set the bomb, he is eaten whole by a giant. Suit captures Green boy and attempts to eat him as well, but is stopped by Casper who appears at random. Suit tells Jamie he will give her back Green boy if she gives him the dream. She refuses and shoots Suit whilst receiving Green boy. Suit begins laughing maniacally as he slowly dies. Casper is in distraught. Green boy is bleeding through his neck. Jamie is left in shock of what she has done. This triggers the end of the world.

    Blubber Island has a wide variety of characters whose own stories are told every few chapters. Somehow, these stories are all connected. Each of the characters come from different backgrounds, but all have a similar goal. The reader is unable to tell which character knows who, or if they know each other at all. In the beginning of the book, it can be assumed that the stories are completely different between chapters, but as the book carries on, the connections between each character is known. These links are either made known between dialogue or through hints until the very last chapter.

    The initial main character is Elis. A science professor at a university who seems to be unsure of himself. He maintains a cocky attitude on the outside while having endless reflection in Blubber Island. Elis is the root of Blubber Island. His decisions in life affect the realm, and could possibly doom of all humanity. The book centers around his own selfish needs and how he takes to being the most important piece to the complex world of Blubber Island. Upon his supposed death, his importance his highlighted.

    Green boy could be seen as a younger, reckless version of Elis. He acts on his own terms, not thinking about the consequences of his actions. Green boy is another player in the game Blubber Island hosts. The boy gets thrills from the harmful chaos his tear in the universe causes and doesn't seem to mind it. The bigger his tear gets, the madder he becomes. His sociopathic ways are seen upon the uprising of the take-over-show.

    Jamie is the only relevant female character of the cast and seems to be the most sane despite her condition. Her origin is of an abusive home on the countryside. Jamie ran away from home after becoming fed up with her drunkard father and nonchalant mother. She was able to fend on the streets for herself, creating new names and stories for her upon each meeting. She meets Green boy and is instantly attached. They become two halves of a whole.

    Jake, an oddly written character with an indefinite background. His reasons for jail time are unknown. But his disparity for human contact give hint that he was a resident in prison for a long time.When he escapes from prison, his personality is seemingly normal. However, he is the most absent character out of the main quad. This could be because of his need to establish himself from once a mentally insane prison occupant, to a normal acceptable man.

The main conflict in this story is person vs. self. The four main characters are constantly in battle with their need for self pleasure. They take drugs in order to enter Blubber Island in an escape from the real world. This is shows the character's true selfishnesses. As they continually sin in the real world, they are affecting Blubber Island. The tears they created only get bigger and bigger, causing humanity to become potentially extinct. The characters do not seem to care how their actions affect a mass majority and do as they please.

    Green boy seems to be my favored of the vast majority. Despite being a very selfish and arrogant person, his actions are what really drew me into this book. Green boy always had a goal and would stop at nothing to reach it. He was unbreakable and stubborn at most. The plans and ideas he came up with most likely would have not worked in the real world, but it was nice being able to use my imagination through Green boy's. Green boy isn't a perfect character. He has nooks and crannies and open wounds that would usually make a reader look in the other direction. But his annoying imperfections are what makes him a roughly lovable character.

    Readers should definitely feel a sense of entertainment and a “thirst for more” after reading Blubber Island. Yes, this book isn't perfect, but if an author is able to make me reread a paragraph and go “What exactly did I just read?”, then the book was written right. For future writers, Blubber Island is a great introduction into figuratively writing gore and physiological scenes.

    A theme that isn't major, but is surely relevant is friendship. Jamie and Green boy stick together through thick and thin. They treat each other as family despite having contrasting personalities. Towards the end of the book, when Jamie realizes the trouble Green boy has caused, she still sacrifices the entire planet for the sake of him. Friendship isn't a big topic isn't this book, but is surely alive in between the lines and in small parts of the story. Between the gunshots and gore, there is still affection and love between the characters.

     The characters in this story weren't exactly the most relatable human beings. But they did have moments, even if they were split seconds, that I could connect with. In the very beginning of the book, within Elis' dream, he says “I'm sick of humanity. This is why I came here-to get away from everyone...”. After finishing this book and seeing the type of person Elis can be, I was able to spot a contrast in this quote and his further demeanor. Elis is in a extremely fragile state with in dream. He expresses not his hatred of humanity, but of his dislikes towards the people who wronged him. It clearly angers him, but at the same time, saddens him. Throughout the entire story, there is not a moment when Elis is emotional except at this point. I never like to be seen in a vulnerable state, like Elis. Our true personalities are completely different than what we portray to the rest of the world. However, when we get in a comfortable state within ourselves or someone else, our true thoughts come pouring out.

    On another spectrum, it was rather difficult to relate to anyone else in this book. The situations and characters were so goofy that it was hard to try and create a true connection with any of them. One of the main genres in this book is comedy and action, and these aspects outshined the rest of the characters. The small moments in the book are what when the components of reality come in and the reader is able to make a true connection.

     In all honesty this book was breathtaking. It had it's weird moments, events that even made me question what the author was thinking about when writing. But overall, it was a book that really made me question myself. Sure, it definitely wasn't what I was expecting when originally reading the summary on the back. But I guess that's what made me appreciate the book much more after all. However, this wasn't a perfect book. Yes, it is one of my favorites, but there are small aspects that left me confused.

    The main weakness that this book has is character development in my opinion. The characters weren't terrible, but it seemed as though the author mainly focused on writing a face paced, action-packed, psychological thriller that kept the audience engaged. The character's weren't given much depth or background for the reader to feel connected or interested in how they should be perceived. Jamie was the only credible character that was given a background story, despite being a second main character. The rest of the character's seemed to be almost identical in personality’s and how they dealt with their lives. In my opinion, characters should have dimension. Within each chapter of a story, the layers of their being should be unfolded. With Blubber Island, I never felt that.

    I wouldn't change much about this book. But I would definitely change the way in which the rest of the characters are gradually developed. This book would have been just as good, or even better, if characters like Elis and Green Boy were seen not just as faces for each situation they are in, but individually. Also, it seemed that there was a ridiculous amount of bloodshed and detailed gore. This aspect was fine at first, but became repulsive as the story progressed. Most situations, in reality, wouldn't have required loads of blood to seem as gruesome as in Blubber Island.

I do not recommend this book to those who prefer books with deep meanings, long journeys, and characters that have a deep past and connectable personalities. This book is more targeted towards readers that have a wide imagination and a little bit of immaturity to them. Blubber Island is a fun book with entertaining characters and doesn't really have to make an effort to impress the reader. It makes one raise an eyebrow just by existing and being included in a genre of books that most don't necessarily run to read. Discovering this book was a challenge, it was that far down the food-chain of book types that most would look over in a heartbeat. I wanted a specific type of book that was out of my element and could possibly introduce me to a new genre I had not previously explored. This book did exactly that. Every scene and moment was unexpected and kept me engaged. I devoured this book and wanted more after reading. Blubber Island is a great book for those wanting to start out reading a “different” genre of books.

​For the creative portion of this project, I decided to illustrate my own depiction of the four main characters. (From left to right) Jamie, Green boy, Elis and Jake all sit in Blubber Island. A place where they finally feel at ease from the stresses and pressures of the real world. Their escape and use for selfishness. The same place that brought about their doom.
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Rburenstein Process Paper

Capstone Process Paper

Ruben Burenstein



For my senior capstone I worked privately with students in the Spanish 2 class I assistant teach as well as research teaching techniques. At the end of the first quarter Don Marcos and I sat down to choose students that I would help. We chose the students that seemed to be struggling in the class. During the warm ups of class I would take the designated students out of class and give them a worksheet to complete, or an activity. The worksheets would cover things like conjugations of different tenses, and the activities would be based on conversation and practical uses of what they’re learning in class. The second part of my capstone was researching teaching material to help me look back on my experience teaching these kids, and seeing what I did right or wrong.

I chose this project mainly because of my history with teaching. My dad used to teach classes at Drexel so I was first introduced to teaching at a very young age. I didn’t really want to be a teacher until 8th grade. In 8th grade I had an amazing Spanish teacher that made me love the language and the class. It was from this moment until half way through junior year that wanted to be a Spanish teacher. In the middle of junior year I had a crisis where I completely lost my faith in teaching and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. This is what inspired me to do my capstone. I found out that I would be SAT’ing Don Marcos’ Spanish 2 class, so I thought that this would be a great opportunity to see if I enjoyed teaching as much as I thought for three and a half years. I used my capstone to see if education was something that I could envision myself doing in the future.

My capstone addresses the “Inquiry” core value because I had to ask myself what I already knew about teaching. I also had to ask what kinds of different teaching methods are useful for different situations, like does a language require a different style than math? The research I had to do mostly revolved around these questions, and then occasionally refreshing myself on the material that I would prepare for an activity or worksheet. I collaborated with my peers and teachers during this project. I had to collaborate with the kids that I was teaching because there would be on capstone without them. I also had to collaborate with Don Marcos and Mr. Sanchez. Don Marcos helped me organize my capstone, as well as being there as a mentor and support throughout the process. Mr. Sanchez helped me when I needed a book to help me analyze my work, providing several that were exactly what I needed. For the presentation core value, I had to present activities and worksheets to the kids, as well as do the capstone presentation during the last week of school. For the reflection part of capstone I read a book The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong in order to see what I did correctly, and what I could have improve on. I compared the techniques discussed in the book to ones that I had used in order to see how I could improve as an educator.

To complete my capstone I first did some preliminary research on basic education techniques. I then made a timeline to make sure that I actually planned worksheets or activities. Next I started creating or planning the work that the students would complete. This sometimes required me refreshing myself on the material they were learning in class incase I had forgotten since I took Spanish 2. I didn’t take the kids out every day, and stopped creating worksheets and activities around the middle of April. At this point I got a book to read so that I could learn more about teaching techniques and compare them to what I did.

The main obstacles that I encountered were complications with planning and lack of motivation. The second problem seemed to stem from the first problem. There were many days where I had something planned, and then the kids didn’t have a warm up in class. If they had to work on a project I didn’t feel that it was fair of me to take them away from something that was significant to the real class and replace it with practice. There wasn’t really a way for me to overcome this because I just had to accept that there were days they definitely couldn’t come with me, and that I would have to find other days. This caused the lack of motivation because sometimes I would make a worksheet and then the students wouldn’t have a warm up for a week. After this week was up there was usually a new topic introduced so all of the things that I planned kind of seemed outdated. This made me feel like the work I was doing wasn’t being useful so I would get demotivated and stop creating ideas for a while. I overcame this at several points by realizing that I had to continue working, but it continued to be a problem throughout the process.

The main resources I used were my teachers and father. Don Marcos helped a lot in identifying the students that I needed to work with being a large reason that I wanted to teach Spanish. He also provides his Spanish 2 students with links to help them improve Spanish on their own time, which are the websites that I mostly used to refresh my memory on topics. Another teacher that was extremely helpful was Mr. Sanchez. He was there to help me as an advisor whenever I was stuck on something, and also provided me with the book that I used to reflect along with several other useful books. Getting information from Mr. Sanchez and Don Marcos was much more useful than information from a library because they have been teachers for several years instead of a book that could be inaccurate.

The thing that I’m most proud of in this capstone isn’t my final result, but little moments that happened along the way. Whenever a student I was helping said “oh I understand that now” because of something I showed them it made me feel really good. I also liked seeing their progress after they said this to see if they actually understood it, and if they did I was very proud. I also liked seeing the kids that I was helping perform in class and do better than they were before whether it was on tests or simply their accent.

From this process I learned a lot about how to interact with other kids as a teacher. I realized that it’s hard a lot harder for a teacher that is close in age to the students because they are taken less seriously. I learned the most about teaching techniques and ways to be a more effective teacher. The book that Mr. Sanchez gave me clearly talked about several problems that first time teachers could have and I could see myself having them if I continued in the style that I had been. This project helped me realize that even if I feel something might not be used, I have to do it anyway for my own self-improvement.

If I could do my capstone all over again I would first write down every mistake that I made this time and try to fix them. I think that if I fixed all of the mistakes that I made in teaching this time and work prepared for the students more often, then I could have made a greater impact on their Spanish speaking skills. I also think that I could then look back at that process and see what I was still doing wrong. I would also try to thoroughly document the process of the kids that I was helping in the class to see if my lessons were helping. I think looking at their grades starting from when my lessons began and looking again every week would be interesting to see, as well as provide information on how I could be more effective.  I would also try to make a larger variety of lessons, or make sure that all of my lessons were as effective as possible.

My capstone made SLA a better place because of the people that I helped. Although the kids that I helped didn’t completely change around their act and start doing great in Spanish, they did improve a little. I could see when they started to understand something because of my lesson, and then use it without my help in class. I also helped because I will now be able to share my information of teaching methods to other people. I can tell them the basics of how to progress a students learning, instead of just giving them busywork. SLA is better because I helped students learn material that they didn’t understand, while improving my knowledge of teaching.


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Wynn Geary Q4 Art


This quarter in art I focused on a range of things both digital and physical including my website and a ceiling tile tie painting. 


Having essentially finished building my website, I was able to sit down ad take a look at how people used my site. I noticed that a few changes had to made to the prioritization of different sections of art. I also realized that A new homepage could make the site significantly easier to navigate. After re-designing the homepage, I made minor tweaks to the site that made the visual experience both easier to use and more pealing. 
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​Painting/physical art:

I often work with a lot of my art on the computer and when I get a change to actually work with my hands I love it. A really popular project this quarter for our class was painting a drop-down ceiling tile. I took a cartoon-like image of a cat that I doodled in my journal and drew it out on a ceiling tile. I used white paint and india ink. 
Another project that I worked on this past quarter was a mason jar light. Ever since my family has started bee keeping, we've needed a lot of mason jars (to feed the bees sugar water with). After we stopped feeding the bees, we had an excess of jars, we've been drinking out of them and even making lighting. I essentially just cut a hole in the to of the jar lid and pulled the light bulb socket through and hung it from the ceiling. 
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Bread And Roses

El propósito de este proyecta fue a ver una película y prestar atención a todos los derecho que fue roto. También fue importante aprender algo información sobre la luchas y historia de personas que ven a este país y tener problemas con sus derechos y sus habilidades a vivir. En general la película es sobre una lucha por igualdad. 

En la película una mujer con la llama, Maya va a los Estados Unidos a ser con su hermana, Rosa y conseguir un trabajo. El años es 1999. Cuando ella se hace el trabaja, ella trabaja duro y construye un relaccion con sus colegas. Cuando cosas comienza a ser rutina, acontecimientos extraño comienza a suceder. Ella reúne un hombre con la llama Sam quien da ella sobre los injusticios en su trabajo. Ella y el intentan a hacer los trabajadores de el trabajo de ella a protestar en contra de el trabajo. La problema es que mucho de ellos son ilegales entonces no pueden tomar el riesgo a ser deportados. Ellos quieren derechos pero no pienso que pueden luchar por los. Con persistencia, palabras con potencia, y acontecimientos emocionales, los trabajadores tomar acciones en contra de el trabajo. Ellos protestan mucho por teniendo mítines, discursos públicos, y por acosando las personas con la potencia a cambiar sus situaciones. 

En la primera escena, Maya viene a los Estados Unidos pero su hermana no tiene todos el dinero que ella necesitaba por los hombres quien traído ella encima entonces ellos intentado a raptar Maya. Este fue un violación de su derecho a ser tratado con dignidad. Ellos la trataba ellos como una cosa. Un otro parte en la pelicula que fue un acontecimiento emocional a los trabajadores fue como una mujer viejo fue despedido porque ella fue viejo y porque el jefe de su trabaja estaba mal humor . Este fue un violacíon de su derecho a ser tratado equal y tener la seguridad que ella no lo perderá su trabaja. El mayor articulo que fue violado fue el derecho a expresion y el derecho a ser reconocidos como un persona con un mente y derechos. En la pelicula el jefe de su trabaja no queria los trabajadores a protestar porque el no los vio ellos como personas con derechos. 

De este pelicula, apredia que muchas personas no saben tus derechos y no saben cuando ellos son experimentado un injusticio. El razon que ellos no saben es porque ellos pueden hablar la idioma de la pais. 

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Independent Reading Book Review

Sattera Mark

Book Review

Orange Stream


In Mrs. Dunn’s freshman class everyone is required to do an independent book review. The book can be could be anyone’s reasonable choice. I decided that I wanted to read “The Absolutely true Diary of a Part Time Indian”. I made my choice based off some of my classmates’ comments. One of my classmates told me that the book was hilarious and they enjoyed reading it. You don’t really hear teens saying this about books. That’s why I knew I just had to read it.  

The book was about a fourteen year old Indian boy named Junior. Junior had many complications growing up. He was born a hydrocephalic, meaning that he had extra water in his brain and had multiple seizures until the age of seven. He also had an odd appearance. He was slim, had forty-two teeth, big feet, and was slim. On top that, he was poor and lived on a reservation. At school he is picked on hurt, even by his friends. Junior wants better for himself and his family so he transfers schools. At the new school he join the basketball team. Through basketball Junior copes with his lost of loved ones and reconnects with his old friend Rowdy.

I loved this book. It’s by far my favorite book. The pictures in the book were interesting and gave me a visual of what the author was describing. I learned many life lessons from this book. One of those is that anything is possible and not to let your situation define you. Junior is a prime example of this. He could have said he was handicapped but instead, he played basketball despite of his health conditions. He furthered his education to new heights and took risks. He did what he had to do even though his friends and community didn’t completely agree.

This book is perfect for mature teens. It’s funny, inspirational,  and keep me on the tip of my seat. I wouldn’t recommend this book for kids 13 and younger. The book talks about some things that younger kids can’t handle. I think that their should be an edited version of this book that’s suitable for elementary kids. Overall the book is still great.

Poem Get Up

In this world there is so much pain.

Some people think in dieng they might gain.

By taking the easy rode out they might be released of their sorrows,

Not caring that tears will be in the eyes of their loved ones tomorrow.

The ups and downs the rises the fall

lead to a tragic downfall.

And us stuck in stubbornness can’t hear the cries and calls

of those people.

Those people who need help and support love and care.

So will you come to the rescue of someone who’s hurting out there?

So if you’re one of those people, please don’t give up.

You are amazing and your time isn’t up.

You may be in a tough place.

Thinking that you can’t win this race.

But just keep a good pace.

Don’t go too fast but not too slow.

Life is a process, you’ll learn as you go.

Once you come out everyone will see your glow

You just got to know.

Keep you to the sky.

and maybe one day you’ll fly

soaring like an eagle accomplishing your goals.

If you’re listening please let these words infortrate your soul.

Your more that than your past mistakes

and your future awaits

new beginnings and new doors.

it’s just up to you to get up and explore.

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Monisha's Q4 artwork

This quater I did artworks from Drawspace, again. This time it was focused more on details and dogs. With that I also did a outside art project, which is a collage about "Hero". I picked music as my hero and made a collage based on that.
I finished my Collage a few days ago but unfortunately I don't have a picture of it yet because I had to hand it in for a contest. I'll try to get the picture later on. ​
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The Fault in Our Stars Review

For my independent book I choose to read the critically acclaimed The Fault in Our Stars. This fantastic piece of literature was written by John Green. John Green has won the Michael L. Printz Award, has had a book make it onto Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults, and has written five books and counting. The Fault in Our Stars is currently being made into a movie. This particular book was #1 on New York Times bestseller list.

This book tells the journey of Hazel Grace and Augustus. While it is a story of young love, it is not your typical love story. The reason these two teens meet is because of a cancer support group that Hazel attends weekly. One time she happens to meet Augustus and their relationship blossoms from there. An Imperial Affliction is a peculiar book that Hazel Grace re-reads constantly and feels that she can relate to completely. She considers the author her third best friend, yet she has never met him, but she has many unanswered questions about the book. Hazel Grace and Augustus bond over this book and it ultimately brings them even closer. The two main characters of this book are Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Hazel Grace is a 16 year old who has cancer; more specifically thyroid with mets in her lungs. Up until she meets Augustus a normal day for her consists of either sleeping late or taking her courses, watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model, and thinking of death constantly (which she says is a side effect of having cancer which is a side effect of dying). She’s not too optimistic about life and tends to only interact with her parents. Augustus on the other hand is dashingly handsome and very charismatic, even though in the past he has suffered from cancer. In Hazel’s words “His every syllable flirted.” Augustus’s adventurous spirit really brings Hazel out of her shell. The main conflict in the story is cancer vs. cancer patients. Throughout the story it shows the struggles people go through and the toll it can have on a relationship. My favorite character in this story would definitely be Augustus. The reason to why he is my favorite character is that I feel that he brings out the best in Hazel and makes the story interesting. I feel that everyone wants their very own Augustus Waters because he seems almost too perfect. Hazel is not a very lively person but it’s like Augustus gives her a real taste of life. Augustus is charming and gallant; what’s not to like? I’m pretty sure John Green intended for all readers to fall in love with not only the book but the characters, too. I feel that readers should take a few ideas from this book. The most important idea is to go out and enjoy life. No matter what your situation is, don’t stay cooped up in your house with a negative attitude. If you think nothing will ever improve, well then that is what is going to happen! Hazel starts out all mopey and sad, but then she takes a leap of faith with Augustus and her life gets 1,000,000 times better. This advice should be given to everyone because it applies to everyday life and can really determine if you’re happy or not.

I feel that I can relate to some of the characters during this book with emotions. Hazel constantly talks about how she is a side effect of life and feels misplaced. While I cannot say I have cancer I can relate to feeling outcast and misplaced. I think it’s something that most teenagers go through, and I’ve definitely been there and done that. I have also been in a bad mood and moped around my house like Hazel in the beginning of the book. I would say I also relate to Augustus in the way that when I see a friend that’s bummed out I try to get them to have fun and enjoy themselves.

I absolutely love this book! I feel that you get a unique point of view from Hazel as she tells a life that seems to have its downsides but she makes it worth living. I enjoy how it tells the story of Hazel but inside that is the story of Hazel and Augustus. I think that the passionate love that Hazel and Augustus share is a feeling that everyone wants and is searching for so when we read about it, it makes the book even better. The characters are very detailed and are so complex that they could actually be real people! The main characters are the type of people who everyone would want as their best friend (or boyfriend), and you really get a feel for who they are. The main strengths of this book are the characters, love story, and the genuity. As I said before, the characters have very rich details and you get the feel that they were based off real people. The love story between Augustus and Hazel is very captivating and I couldn't put my book down. I feel that the book is very genuine in the sense that you feel that this story could have really happened. The characters are always rational, the plot has its twists and not everything is a happy ending. I don’t feel that there are any weaknesses within the book. There might be a few tidbits that I would change, but I don’t feel that anything takes away from the book. A small change I would make is giving Augustus a voice. While I find Hazel’s point of view both entertaining and insightful I would really like to know what’s going on in Augustus’s head.

I would most definitely recommend this book to another person. Not just one specific person either, I feel that everyone who reads this book will thoroughly appreciate it. This book is a love story coupled with tragedy which leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth after reading. This book is one of a kind yet it suits all who read it. If you see this book it is in your best interest to pick it up and read it!

Vocabulary from the book:

  • hamartia: tragic flaw          

  • dysmorphia: malformation; an abnormality in the shape or size of a body part    

  • sobriquet: a nickname

  • coterie: a group of people who associate closely, an exclusive group; clique

  • nihilism: nothingness or nonexistence... an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or possibility of objective basis for truth

    My creative portion of this project was creating a "medicine" called Life. Hazel is constantly talking about how she is a side effect of life. Inside the box are society's idea of perfection; Nina Dobrev, Scarlett Johansson, and Blake Lively. On the back of the "medicine" it shows the sides effects which are Hazel and Augustus with their additions that are necessary for them to live. Below the side effects are the items "no longer available." These items are the people that were listed to be dead at the meeting where Augustus and Hazel first met.

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Independent Reading Project- The Perks of Being A WallFlower

Perks Of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, is a teen novel that tells the story of a young boy. The plot is a man/woman themselves vs. the world. The book begins before his first day of high school. He is a nervous nelly, anticipating the beginning of the school year. He has no friends and doesn’t really look for any. He walks the hallways with his head down, to avoid eye contact. 

The main character’s name is Charlie. He is the youngest of three kids, with a mother and father. They have a pretty normal family from the outside, but once you go on the inside you realize they have as many problems as the rest of the world. One day at a football, game Charlie meets his new friends that he will be with until they graduate. The two kids introduce him to an entirely new group of kids that he had never known before. They call themselves the wall flowers. Charlie is a complicated person on the inside. He can’t always control his mind and that can get him in trouble, not with anyone in particular but mostly himself. He has to see a psychiatrist. There are many things that can trigger him to become wary or emotional. 

This is a common thing that can often be linked with anxiety. It is a normal thing to have going through high school with projects or tests or even friends, but this is not the same thing. I have sometimes experienced something of the sort. It has a lot to do with being able to control your mind and wanting it to stay calm, but while doing that, all you do is think about what is bothering you more. For Charlie, this issue comes up when he is thinking about the past (if you read the book you will know what I mean). 

I think this book, though could be debated with others, is actually a really good book. I read it and it made me think about how I was feeling more deeply and how I could relate to this book. Being a teenager in the same time period that this book was written, I can relate to most of the things that happened in the book, whether it is me personally or via someone else. 

I would recommend this book to mostly young-adults and the grown-up that likes to relive their child hood through a book. I think it gives a lot of truths that some books like to gloss over because of trying to paint teenagers as their stereotype, or even trying to go too far the opposite way. For example, I think Perks does a very good job as telling the life as it is, at least through the way  I have seen it so far. Over all I thought this was a really truthful book with a very well detailed story. 

My Creative Portion  

For my creative portion of this project, I chose to show the main character Charlie’s development throughout the story through the books that he reads. Throughout the book, Charlie reads 12 different books. Each one he reads at a different point in the story. For each one I wrote one word the described how he was feeling while reading that book. I wrote it on the back of a book that I put paper over and wrote the title and author of the book on to give it the affect that it was actually the book that he had read. Below is a picture of the books he read all stacked in order of when he read them. 

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Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

book review by Lauren Thomas

Looking for Alaska is a young adult novel written by John Green that revolves around anguish and grief. The book has received much controversy on its contents. People have claimed the book has sexually explicit content that is not suitable for the intended age group of readers. Also, many people have challenged that the book is “disgusting”, “pornographic”, and will cause immoral thoughts and actions in children. The main characters of the book drink, smoke, have sex, and use explicit language and certain people do not think this book should be a young adult book. The author John Green has a joint YouTube channel with his brother. In one of his videos he defended his book saying he was not a pornographer. The scene in question isn’t supposed to be physically intimate, it’s awkward and empty of emotion which contrasts with the scene that follows after it where there is no physical intimacy, but emotional closeness. I agree with John; his book had a complex structure to it with meaningful quotes and messages. This book didn’t make me want to go out drinking or smoking, it made me think about how teenagers can be independent, but still needing a shoulder of someone close to lean on.

The book follows main character Miles “Pudge” Halters, a biography reader and last-word-memorizer, to his new high school, Culver Creek Boarding School, where he tries to find a Great Perhaps. Miles used to be an inept, shy wallflower; however, the moment he meets his new shrewd roommate Chip “The Colonel” Martin everything changes. Miles is thrown into a world where has fun, where he has friends, and where he can do what he wants to do. He continues to meet more of The Colonel’s friends: the mysterious, bipolar Alaska Young and the Japanese adept rapper Takumi Hikohito. Alaska intrigues Pudge the most. Now Pudge is on a mission, shoveling through layers of clues and anguish, to understand Alaska and what her actions mean.

Looking for Alaska revolves around the topic of grief and sadness. It also explores the aspects of friendship, self-discovery, and identity - perfectly fitting into freshman year at SLA. I loved this book. This book left me fraught with emotions. It had me in tears, laughing until I turned red, and it left me thinking about what the power of friends and love really means. The author of this book, John Green, is so talented. I love his personality and writing style. In my opinion, there is nothing I would change about this book, and there is no weaknesses to it. I don't relate to anyone in the book; however, Pudge and I do share being shy. I would recommend this book to anyone who read The Fault in Our Stars (John Green’s most current book). In fact, I would recommend everyone to read any John Green books. His books are filled to the brim with deep, meaningful quotes such this one from Looking for Alaska:

“...if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

My creative portion for this book includes a movie trailer full of quotes & important scenes, as well as a movie poster/new cover for the book. The canvas has “looking for” written on it and the shape of the state Alaska. I chose the state of Alaska because it is one of the main character’s name and when I first saw the book I thought it was the actual state, not a girl. Inside the state of Alaska there is a road-map-like trail with important icons from the book. For example, the first icon is a book that says “YOU” standing for Pudge’s love of biographies; the second icon is the state of Alabama which is where Culver Creek is.

Please watch my trailer and provide feedback! Thanks to the help of my fellow classmates Miles, Dillon, Jesse, Lauren, Joseff, & Anna for being in it!

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Independent Reading: Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is #1 on the New York Times Bestselling Author, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 1998, A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, 1999, New York Public Library Book for the Teenage, 2001, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, 2003. She has written many books two of which I have already read. All her books focus on teenage girls and she usually will tie in different characters that have a small role in one book, but a large role in another. The book I chose Keeping the Moon was published September 1st, 1999 it was her third novel she now has ten books, one novella, and the current book she is writing. In 2003 the film how to deal with Mandy Moore was based off of Someone like you and That summer both written by Sarah Dessen.

Keeping the Moon, also released as Last Chance is about fifteen year old Nicole Sparks or Colie. This books narrates her summer that she spends her Aunt Mira in fictional Colby,a small beach town presumably in North Carolina. Each Sarah Dessen book has some sort of theme, some are simple and some can be more complex. This book is a very simple theme, friendship, a theme that evolves to be very complex. Colie was once overweight so was her mother, however her mother started aerobics and they both became very skinny, Colie evolving into a small case of anorexia.

When she arrives in Colbie she is very hesitant to make friends, she always had been however when she starts work at The Last Chance burger joint she makes new friends.

Her main best friends are two girls who have graduated from high school, it is never made clear how old they are however. Morgan is very tall and very welcoming of Colie, Isabel however is very rude and difficult towards Colie. The two only become friends when Isabel meets one of Colie’s arch enemies, who calls her a slut and a bitch.

Norman is the young man, probably seventeen or sixteen who lives in Aunt Mira’s basement, he is the cook at the Last Chance and takes an interest in Colie, the two start out as friends but become involved near the end.

Aunt Mira is very eccentric and reminds Colie of who she used to be, more of what she and her mother used to look like. Colie is somewhat afraid of Mira in the beginning but the two become good friends while talking. Colie learns that Mira’s life is very difficult, she is made fun of all over Colby but when Colie confronts Mira with this, she learns how strong Mira is.

My final view on this book is that Sarah Dessen finds a unique way to catch attention of young adults and enrich their minds. I love Sarah Dessen books and want to continue reading her novels because her style of writing really catches my eye.

Click Here for my Creative Portion     
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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

by Jesse Shuter

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was an extremely well written book with a plot that has many interesting twists and turns. The Great Gatsby is one of America’s most popular books, it is assigned to be read in school all across the United States. The Great Gatsby was also turned into a movie four times (1926; 1949; 1974; and 2013) and was even briefly a television program (2000). The Great Gatsby is a timeless classic, on USA today’s website The Great Gatsby is currently number three on the best seller list, and it has been on the best seller list as one of America’s top ten books for 407 weeks. It is clear that The Great Gatsby will be one of America’s favorite books for a very long time.

    In The Great Gatsby the narrator is Nick Carraway. Nick moves from his home in Minnesota to New York to learn about and get a job in the bond business. He moves to West Egg, New York right next door to Jay Gatsby. Nick introduces the reader to Gatsby and the reader meets Gatsby through the eyes of Nick. Nick is also cousins with Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom Buchanan attended Yale with Nick. Jay Gatsby was an extremely young wealthy man who lives in an extravagent mansion where he throws outrageous, huge parties every saturday night. The interesting thing about Gatsby is that no one seems to know about his past. Through getting to know Gatsby, Nick discovers that born James Gatz on a small farm in North Dakota. He then went to train to be in the army, and while training to be an officer he met Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy and wanted to gain wealth in order to impress her. He became wealthy by participating in the illegal act of bootlegging alcohol. After being in a relationship with Daisy for a while, Gatsby had to leave to be in the army. Meanwhile after Gatsby left Daisy met Tom Buchanan, whom she married and started a life with. Tom is your average arrogant jerk. His is rascist, sexist and even a hypocrite. Tom also has a mistress, her name is Myrtle Wilson. Daisy had a close friend named Jordan Baker who is a professional golfer, she begins a relationship with Nick in the story. In the story Gatsby befriends Nick and then uses him to reunite with Daisy. It is then that they begin an affair. When Tom finds out he is outraged, which is interesting because he is having an affair of his own. Gatsby and Tom start to get in a fight with each other over Daisy. Later in the book Tom discovers that Gatsby kills Myrtle Wilson while driving in his car with Daisy, what he did not know was that Daisy was the one driving the car. Tom immediately tells Myrtle’s husband, George Wilson, and because of this George begins to believe that Gatsby was the one having an affair with Myrtle. George goes mentally unstable because of the anger and kills Gatsby and then himself. Even though all that Jay Gatsby wanted was love, all he got was betrayl and death.

    In the book I would say that there are two kinds of conflict. The first is person vs. person. This is because throughout the book there is a tremendous amount of tension and fighting between Tom, Gatsby, and Daisy. Gatsby is even murdered because of this anger and tension. The type of conflict is person vs. self. This is throughout the entire book, especially in Jay Gatsby. Ever since Gatsby met Daisy all he wanted was her apporoval and her addoration. He did things that he did not necessarilly want to do in order to earn her love. He throws all of these parties not because he loves to party, but because he needs this kind of excitement, approval, and even support to replace the emptiness he feels from letting the girl he loves get away. The life of Jay Gatsby is sad and that is why he deserves sympathy. That is also why Jay Gatsby is my favorite character in The Great Gatsby. He is such an interesting character, who is viewed by some as a celebrity, yet all he wants is for the woman he loves but can’t have to love him.

    I can relate to Jay Gatsby. I have never done anything illegal to gain money, but the aspect of Gatsby of which I identify with is the aspect where he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach a goal. He is admirable for his perseverance because he always succesful in his endeavors.

    I liked the book but I did not love it. I found that throughout most of the book there are rising actions which are boring after a while. I found myself waiting and waiting and waiting for the climax of the book which I personally felt did not appear until late in the book when Tom discovered the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. By this point the author had left himself very little time for the plor to resolve so I felt that the final big things were rushed at the end of the book. If I could change something in this book it would most likely be that the climax begins closer to the middle of the book, and this way there is more time for the falling actions from after the climax to pace themselves and occur in a way that does not feel quite as rushed. I would not recommend this book. It takes a very high vocabulary to truly understand the plot of this book, and also the book was tedious in many parts.

Quote Analysis:

    “‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had all the advantages that you’ve had’”. (Page 1, Paragraph 2, Chapter 1, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald). This quote happens almost immediately in the book and yet it is my favorite quote in the whole book. This quote sets the tone for the entire story. It does multiple things at once to help the reader. First of all it introduces the reader to Nick Carraway who will be the narrator throughout the story. Secondly, it explains Nick’s views on life and his back story. Finally, It foreshadows the rest of the book it lets you know that later in the book there is going to be a time where the reader needs to set aside the views and understand that a person may have done their actions for a reason that the reader does not understand because they have never needed this thing. I personally believe that the moment this quote is leading to is the point in the book when we learn that Jay Gatsby illegally shipped and distributed alcohol which is also known as bootlegging. What the reader needs to understand is that Gatsby felt the desperate need for wealth because first of all he was raised in a poor household and he wanted to have a better life than his parents, and second of all, he wasdesperately in love and he wanted to earn the girl he loved’s heart by becoming wealthy.

Vocab (Difficult words throughout the book):

Commensurate- Adj, corresponding in size or degree.

Hauteur- Noun, disdainful pride

Convivial- Adj, friendly or lively (of an atmosphere or event)

Corrugate- Verb, contract or contract into wrinkles or folds

Apathetic- Adj, showing ot feeling no interest, or entusiasm

Privy- Adj, sharing in the knowledge of something secret ot private

Sauntered- Verb, to walk in a slow, relaxed manner

For my creative piece I made a combined commercial for both the movie and book (below)
The Great Gatsby Commercial - Medium
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A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones 

By George R. R. Martin

Andrew Roberts

Recently I had the pleasure of reading the first installment of George R. R. Martin’s series   A Song of Ice and Fire.  I enjoyed A Game of Thrones greatly, and will read it again, along with the other books in the series.  A Game of Thrones was written in 1996, and won the 2004 Locus Award as well as being nominated for the 2004 Nebula Award and the 2004 World Fantasy Award.  There are five books currently in the series, with twi more to be written, A Game of Thrones being the first, and then A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with DragonsThe Winds of Winter, the sixth book, is currently being written.  A Game of Thrones is the base of the first season of HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones, the other books being the bases for the other series.

A Game of Thrones is not a simple book.  It consists of three separate plot lines that do not interact in the book itself, but it can be foreseen that they will affect each other greatly in future books.

The first plot line includes most of the main characters save two.  There are eight Great Houses in a kingdom called the Seven Kingdoms (which is kind of ironic, because there are actually eight) or Westeros.  The story focuses on House Stark, which rule one of the seven parts of this kingdom.  They rule the northern part of the kingdom, and are constantly warning that winter is coming (their slogan is, in fact, that).  After some character development, the King comes to Winterfell, where the Stark family resides.  The King wants Lord Eddard Stark, head of the family and also a friend of King Robert (who is from another of the houses: House Baratheon) to be his new Hand.  The Hand is the second-in-command to the king, and handles matters of money and organization and such (there is a saying: “The King drinks, the Hand buys the wine”).  The King’s previous Hand was mysteriously murdered, and Eddard decides to go to King’s Landing, the capital, to become the Hand and also to find out what exactly happened.  He leaves his son Robb in charge at Winterfell along with his wife.  Just before he leaves, his son Bran falls off the castle roof while climbing.  His wife, Catelyn, learns that he did not in fact fall; he was pushed.  While visiting her son in bed, she is attacked by an assassin with a knife she finds belongs to Tyrion Lannister, a member of House Lannister, which is always vying for power and is feared by many.  Lysa arrests Tyrion Lannister, and in retaliations his brother Jamie attacks Eddard in King’s Landing and kills his guards.  A Civil War erupts.

The second plot line follows Jon Snow, bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark.  Jon, being a bastard, has never fit in, and decides to ‘take the black’, or go to serve on the Wall, a monstrous wall built over centuries to protect the Seven Kingdoms from threats in the north.  He goes to the Wall, and shortly after he arrives his uncle Benjen Stark goest on a scouting trip beyond the wall and never comes back.  The Others (the name for the creatures beyond the wall) are stronger in winter, and winter is coming.
The third and final plot is one that tells the tale of Daenerys Targaryen, the daughter of a king King Robert unseated.  Her and her brother Viserys go out of the Seven Kingdoms to a land to the west where the Dothraki live.  Viserys weds Daenerys to Khal Drogo, in return for an army that he will use to take back the Seven Kingdoms.  That army is never given, and Viserys dies  soon after.  Daenerys becomes pregnant, and Khal Drogo promises his future son the Seven Kingdoms for his rule.

The book does not follow one specific person, so there is not an obvious favorite for the reader.  I personally liked Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Catelyn Stark, and Tyrion Lannister.  Arya is a rebel; she refuses to be made into the stereotypical “lady”, unlike her sister, Sansa, who is very ladylike, but also sides with the enemy because she loves a prince.  Arya does not care what people think she should be, but does what she wants.  She gets trained to fight with a sword her half-brother Jon gives her.  Jon is the bastard of Lord Eddard Stark and another, unknown woman.  He ‘takes the black’, or joins the Night’s Watch, a group of people who defend the kingdom from almost mythical monsters in the far north.  He has, being a bastard, always struggled to fit in, but he does so at the Night Watch.  He earns his peers’ and his superiors’ respect, and, though he struggles, finally finds a home.  Catelyn works behind the scenes to carry messages and to generally assist in ways that others cannot.  She is also a comfort to others and, though discouraged by things such as lying friends and ignorant sisters, is a strong person assisting her son in doing what he needs to do (which is something I will not spoil).

One thing that reoccurs (but is perhaps not the best of messages) is Eddard’s want to do the noble thing, but then that noble decision turns out bad for him.  The message I got from that is this: while the noble thing is seems right, it will not necessarily benefit you or the people around you.  You must not let nobility get in the way of the right choice.

In this story, there are many examples of kids taking the responsibility of adults; Robb becomes Lord when Eddard becomes Hand, among other examples.  I cannot relate to this, and hope not to have that much responsibility ever on me at that age.  I can imagine the feeling of this, and do not think I want it.

I love this book.  I will most definitely read the next books.  A Game of Thrones was a thrilling tale of politics, treachery, and war.  I loved the plot twists and the cliff-hangers and the action.  There is one significant problem I had with the book: there are several vivid descriptions of sexual activity.  While George R. R. Martin could have gone into much more detail, he still passed the line.  I ended up skipping parts where this happened simply because I did not want this in my mind.  When I finished the book, I went back to one occasion and read it for the specific purpose of getting a taste for what the author was trying to convey.  While these incidences do provide a sense of realism, there is no real need for any of them.  The TV show stays true to the book, and visual images are much worse than mental ones.  That is what I would change in this book - I would take these incidences out.

I would most certainly recommend this book to others, but not anyone below high school, because of the things I described in the last paragraph.  This also has a high reading level and is a little slow in the beginning, and weaker readers may find it less enjoyable because of that.  But overall, this is a series I will follow until it ends.

In my creative portion, I changed some of the House Sigils to better reflect the characters of those houses.  You can see it by clicking on the PDF below.
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The Girl Who Played with Fire - IRP - Berg

Josh Berg

Independent Reading Review

The Girl Who Played with Fire was written by Stieg Larsson before his death in 2004. The Girl Who Played with fire is the only novel in the Millennium series that has its title unchanged. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is originally called Män som hatar kvinnor before translation, in English, Men who hate women. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is called Luftslottet som sprängdes, in English, The air castle that was blown up. A prominent  theme for the series in general, is violence against women. This theme is quite visible and present in the plot of all of the books due to a gang rape that Larsson witnessed at a young age. He felt guilty for years after for not being able to intervene and it would seem that the books in the Millennium series were partially a form of retribution for Larsson. Not only did these books do well for Larsson on a personal level, but sold fantastically as well. The novel I read for this particular Independent reading, The Girl Who Played with Fire, is the first and only translated novel to be number one in the UK hardback chart. It spawned movies as well as graphic novels, which are for the most part still in the works, however I am in the process of trying to acquire The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo graphic novel which is the only one complete at this point.  It is a shame that Larsson never really got to see the impact that these novels he crafted had on people. 


I am trying to not divulge too much information that could potentially spoil this book if you have not read the first one, however you have been warned.

This novel follows the same main characters and introduces many new minor  ones and a few new major ones. Despite how impressively crafted the main characters are, it is really the minor ones that make the book for me. They draw comparisons between themselves and the main characters in interesting ways, as well as provide sometimes quirky personalities, but most of all, they are human. These characters minor and major alike are not black and white. It is the minor characters more often than not that are the glue that holds the book. At the beginning of the book, Lisbeth has cut ties with her beloved journalist Mikael Blomkvist. This is most likely due to her inability to go back to the world where they did not know each other. It is most certainly difficult because Blomkvist has not had as hard of a time with the whole transition and has resumed his relationship with Berger. I am glad that Larsson did not just drop the whole idea of how difficult this is for someone, especially someone who is a bit emotionally imbalanced like Salander. Salander is strong in many ways, but as stated before, she is a human being and is susceptible to certain things which is really what draws her apart from many stereotypical female characters in stories. A fair amount of the time you will usually have a character that is very much a mere archetype. You might have the stereotypical vulnerable female character or a usually noble attempt to make a strong female character that often falls short due to exaggerations and falling into a femme fatal emotionless object. That is really what makes Lisbeth special, the details that do not pertain too much to the main story as they may be eventually resolved. These things make the characters and situations seem real.

Salander has left Sweden for Grenada. She soon establishes a relationship with a young boy named George. The relationship soon becomes a bit questionable and it is unclear if the author had the age in mind too much when writing about their relationship although I imagine he did. I think that this relationship was a bit of reminder about Salander’s disregard for the law for things that she perceives to be OK. Salander soon becomes aware of a scheme involving her neighbor Dr. Forbes. The Dr. wishes to dispose of his wife in order to take her wealth. She attacks Forbes and he is killed in a natural disaster. Salander returns to Sweden and purchases a new apartment with some illegal money. She gives her old apartment to her partner and simply requests that her mail be given to her. Meanwhile her legal guardian, Nils Bjurman, who hates her and vice versa with an perhaps stronger passion, due to events from the last book I shall not disclose, is looking for a certain item damning to him that is in Salander’s possession. Soon enough our protagonists meet again after Mikael manages to help deal with someone assaulting Salander. Who this is, or their affiliation with others will be important later as are many other seemingly small details mentioned here. Despite his efforts to reconcile with her, she wants nothing to do with him. She feels rejected by him, so it is only fair that he have a turn at being the rejected one. Mikael soon comes into contact with journalist Dag Svensson and his girlfriend Mia Johanssen. The pair speaks of research they have done about the sex-trafficking of underage women in Sweden. Interestingly enough, Lisbeth seems extremely intrigued by the repeated mention of the leader of the operation, “Zala”. All this information is made clear to Lisbeth through hacking. Soon the couple Dag and Mia are found murdered and Lisbeth will later find herself in a less than ideal situation. Why could these things have happened? What does it all mean? I suppose you should read the series and find out. Even after finishing this, there is still much that is impossible to understand. You should only read this given that you are interested in a series that from the two I have read, are not beach reads by any means and are dark. When I say dark I mean DARK. Unless you are prepared to read about evil things that are described vividly to a somewhat stomach sickening point. One of the biggest things made more clear at the end would have surprised me except for the fact that I pride myself in guessing twists for a reason. 

My favorite character despite my obvious enjoyment of the more minor characters is probably Lisbeth Salander. I feel like a bit of a plebeian writing that, but so be it. She really does have a lot going for her character that really makes her compelling. The hopelessness that she feels is a theme throughout the book that is only made to feel more real through the other times that she feels strong. She is a real person that could exist, but she still remains interesting in so many ways. 

I did enjoy this book quite a bit, although I think it is only fair to note that although I enjoyed Larsson’s writing style throughout the book, it did lose a lot of its novelty and freshness that made the first book so amazing to me. It still has that complexity yet lack of stuffiness that I really enjoy. These books are the opposite of books that talk down to you in the way they talk to you. I recommend the first book to anyone who thinks they can handle a lot of the themes and the actual writing itself. I recommend the second to those who loved and hated the characters from the first with a passion. 

For my creative piece I drew a book cover. The cover is supposed to have art that resembles the room Salander is in during the prologue as I found this part to be extremely powerful, not to mention well-written and important to the rest of the plot. I omitted many of the details for the sake of artistic interpretation and to make the rest of it pop and not have a lot of jumble. Not to mention I couldn’t draw the details so well and I had already put forth a lot of effort into other areas of the creative piece such as the flaps.

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Independent Reading

Book Review
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​Creative Piece : Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a book by Stephen Chbosky. Charlie is the main character and he writes to an anonymous person. This book is written as a letter format and it's told by first person point of view. I decided to respond to all of his letters, writing only one letter to Charlie. I made the paper look old and added minor touches so it looked like it was written in 1992. 
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Into Thin Air IRP

Mitchell Berven-Stotz


Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is an adventure and tragedy novel. The thing that makes it different from most books of that kind, however, is that Into Thin Air is a completely true story. It is about the 1996 mount everest disaster, in which many people died during one storm, at or around the summit of Mount Everest. Even more interesting is that the author of the book, Jon Krakauer, was a part of the event. Into Thin Air was a bestselling nonfiction book when it came out in 1997.

About the Book:

In Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer is assigned as a reporter for Outside magazine, an outdoors themed magazine. Krakauer is a climbing enthusiast, and had wanted to attempt to summit Everest since he was a child. He got assigned to summit everest with a New Zealand based guiding organization called Adventure Consultants, led by an extremely skilled long time climber named Rob Hall. Along the way, Hall’s team worked with the Mountain Madness organization led by American climber Scott Fischer, and several other groups, including a group shooting an IMAX film, led by world renowned climber David Breashears.

While starting as a seemingly average climb, a surprise blizzard storm kicks in. This blizzard will go on to kill over seven people during the course of a single night, from the many dangers that can arise at high altitude, away from immediate assistance. There are a huge amount of things that can kill you during mountain climbing, from frostbite, blood clots induced by altitude, and brain effecting illnesses that remove almost all common sense or judgement and puts a clock on one’s life.

The primary conflict of the story is that of person, or in this case, people vs nature. These people go up against one of the largest natural dangers on the planet, Mt Everest. In that sense, you could say that their conflict is with themselves, since they are putting their own lives in danger. However, the main expeditions of this event were prepared and practiced to the utmost degree, and, in all honesty, should have survived easily. It was the natural forces of a storm and altitude illnesses that caused the disaster, not a significant human error.

My favorite character in the book was Rob Hall, the leader of the primary guide group, Adventure Consultants. He was extremely reliable, a good person to be friends with, and he just seemed like a good guy to be around. His power over most of the people during the event inspired me, and showed me what it meant to be a true leader, something I joined Science Leadership Academy to do.

I think that it is important for readers to realise that this is a true story. These terrible and shocking events actually happened, and they killed real people, with real families. I think that it is extremely important for people to realise that the events that take place in fictitious tragedies can also take place in real life, and that people should honor the life they have. If you plan on risking it, make sure it is worthwhile. I’m not even sure if I would risk my life even if it was worthwhile, though.

Personal Experience:

In an odd sort of way, I can relate Jon Krakauer’s Everest expedition to when I joined high school. I entered high school and judged those who were around me, just like Jon judged the people who climbed with him. I thought of some people as below me, wondering how they made it into the school, whether they were up to the challenge. Some people I thought of as above me, with skills I couldn’t even compare to. However, as I went through my freshman year, I got to know a lot more about the people around me, and started to realise that, they were all capable people to various degrees, though they all had their own personal pitfalls. Not everyone was as skilled at everything, but everyone had their own special skills.

However, unlike the people in this book, I have never been in a life threatening situation. Sure, I was nervous and scared during my first few weeks of school, but then I got used to it. I was in an overall safe environment, and I knew this. The people on that fated mountain were not so fortunate. They were dropping like stones as nature and faulty judgement threw them under the bus. They had no way to ensure their own safety, and they lost those that they could believe in, such as their guides.


I believe that Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is an exciting and interesting book, for a niche audience. I found it intriguing, but it is not the type of story that caters to most readers. Due to the fact that it is a work of nonfiction, written by a journalist, it is full of detail. Those who like detail will love this book, but those who just want action, or romance, or comedy will find this book lacking (It does have a lot of suspense though). It is a book that aims to give as exact an account of a terrifying and traumatizing experience. It was written as a form of personal healing for Jon, adn it is not a book for the weak hearted.

The problems I have with the book would be hypocritical, and go against what I said previously. I personally do not like the slow speed of the book, which, at 305 pages, does not seem like it could possibly fit so much detail into the pages it provides. I would have liked for a bit more visualization and action, but I take what the book can give. It was completely gripping, and I found it highly interesting. It was absolutely worth the read.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy facts, suspense, and those who want to come to grips with the true terrors of nature. This book is not for the weak, but it provides a story that will interest all who can stand this type of tale.

My creative project was a custom Minecraft map that highlighted key features of the mountain highlighted in the book. Also, if YOU want to get a small experience of what it is like in high altitude conditions, breathe through a straw to simulate high altitude oxygen levels.
Correction: Steppe, not step.
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Element Project

In Mrs. Hull’s art class we created a drawing based on an element in the periodic table. During this process many things were difficult, but I was lucky enough to overcome them instantly. When I first started this project, I had many questions. Like, how I was going to create the print into the paper, the history behind the element, in order for me to create a unique picture so that it somewhat related to the element. I stated some inquiry. I then researched the history behind the element and found out that the element Ruthenium is a very rare, hard, lustrous, brittle, silvery-white metal. It is one of the top 6 rarest elements in earth. Therefore I decided to draw a unicorn. Unicorns are rare. That was my second idea, but it was my best. In order for me to make a decision I had to collaborate with my colleagues to help me pick the best idea. I had three ideas, and the unicorn idea was the one they encouraged me to do. I also liked that idea, so I choose to draw the unicorn. Since I’m an artist, I always mat my drawings. I really enjoyed matting this particular drawing because I’ve never done this type of drawing. Presentation came in, every artist has to present their drawing the best way possible, matting this drawing presents the drawing in a professional way. Like I said, I never did a project like this before. The process of this element drawing, has taken a long time, but it’s been worth it. I learned many things. Including a combination of science and art. It’s been great. 

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian By Sherman Alexie

Miles Cruice-Barnett

A Review of

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian By Sherman Alexie

This book is about a boy who was born with too much cerebral fluid inside his skull. This caused brain damage that gave him a ton of medical complications. He had 42 teeth instead of 32; he was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other; he was super skinny; his hands, feet and skull were abnormally large; he had many seizures that just caused more brain damage; and he had a stutter and a lisp. So as you may guess, he was bullied quite a bit. He likes to stay inside and draw cartoons because it is “safer.” His name is Arnold Spirit, but most call him Junior. He lives on an Indian Reservation and goes to the local school with his best friend Rowdy. Rowdy is big, aggressive and very protective of Arnold. One day Arnold decides he is going to leave the rez school and go to Reardan, the white school 22 miles away, so he can get a good education. The book is about how he copes with poverty, bullying, death, and much more.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is engaging, funny and just overall well written. The main character Arnold only has one friend: Rowdy. Everyone else at his school makes fun of him and beats him up, but not Rowdy. Rowdy protects Arnold and they have a very strong friendship. They both like to read comics. Arnold like to draw cartoons for Rowdy. Their personalities really complement each other. I could really relate to this because I too have one really good friend that I do everything with. I am sure that many people have that one friend that is always there for you.

When Arnold tells Rowdy he is going to go to a white school, Rowdy is fraught with anger. He is upset that his best friend is leaving him for a bunch of white people. Arnold asks him to come with him to Reardan, but Rowdy refuses. I can understand how Arnold felt. When you have to do something for yourself, but your friend does not like it, it is difficult to chose between your own needs and keeping your friend. I think that if you must do something for yourself, do it your friend will get over it. If they don’t, they are not a real friend. For the rest of the book Arnold sticks with his decision but tries to get Rowdy to understand and to be friends with him again. I think that the writer did a really good job of showing how Rowdy seemed like he still wanted to be friends, but was too stubborn and insatiable to change him decision.

One of my favorite characters is Arnold’s Grandmother. She lives with him and has that old and wise but strong kind of personality. At one point in the book Arnold is being bullied by this giant guy Roger, and his friends. Roger finally pushes him over the edge and Arnold punches him in the face. Roger is stunned, and when Arnold challenges him to a fight he runs away. Arnold is very confused because where he comes from nobody ever runs away from a fight. He asks his Grandmother about it and she replies that she thinks that he respects him. Arnold thinks that she is crazy, but he trusts her anyway, and she turns out to be right. This and other things his Grandmother does make you lover her and respect her without even really knowing her. She does not have many lines or very important ones, but you will definitely lover her spirit.

As Arnold gains respect he falls in love with a pretty white girl and ends up sort of dating her. He also finds a new best friend of sorts. Never to be as good a friend as Rowdy, but certainly a good start. His name is Gordy and he is the smartest kid in the class. He is smart, friendly and gets metaphorical boners from reading. Arnold also tries out for the basketball team with no expectation that he will make it. He ends up surprising himself and making varsity starter as a freshman.

As I read this book I think about how now he has transferred to a white school, made friends, made varsity basketball, has a girlfriend, etc. So why is there still more of this book? You then realize that it was never just about fitting in at Reardan, but about making amends with Rowdy. The basketball team has their first game against his old school and Rowdy ends up knocking him unconscious. They only have one more game against them at the end of the year and Arnold is determined to beat Rowdy. He thinks that somehow if he does everything will be ok.

Besides Rowdy the book is also about his older shut-in sister, Mary, and how he inspires her; life as an indian; death; drinking; poverty; and much more. The book is very enjoyable and relatable, and emulates a story that could be very real. Absolutely real. Absolutely true.

Some Awards For True Diary

2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature

2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Fiction and Poetry

2009 Odyssey Award as the year's "best audiobook for children or young adults", read by Alexie (Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC, 2008, ISBN 1-4361-2490-5).

2010 California Young Reader Medal, Young Adult Book (eligible to win once during its first four years)

The Diary was also named to several annual lists including three by the library industry.

"Best Books of 2007", School Library Journal

2008 "Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults", Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

"2009 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults", YALSA

​Some of my favorite characters
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Lord of the Flies Book Review

Lord of the Flies Book Review
By Zack Hersh

Nobel Prize winner William Golding's classic "Lord of the Flies" explores and exposes the darkest parts of human nature, and the childhood desire of independence. Shield your eyes if you must, as insanity and gore take hold.

When a group of British boys crash land on a desert island, their first reaction is "Yeah! No Adults!". But when it comes time to govern themselves, that's when they start to head down a slippery slope and the tension starts to rise. 

Ralph, the main character, discovers a conch shell, and when he blows it, all the other boys that were on the island come to the sound of the shell. This earns him the spot as Chief, much to the other main character, Jack's, dismay. 

Ralph's goal as chief was to keep a fire burning all the time, so that if a ship passed by, it would see the smoke and come rescue them. Jack, however, could've cared less about the fire, and more about hunting, and his role as head of the hunters.

As the chapters progress, the tension between the two rises, and is ultimately pushed over the edge when a ship passes by, but Jack and his hunters had let the fire go out so they could go hunting. A furious Ralph calls Jack out in front of all of the boys, and Jack leaves to form is own tribe. 

But his new tribe didn't play by the rules. Each day, the members grew more and more savage in their hunting clan. Their only cares were the hunt, and trying to one up Ralph's group. They attacked them unprovoked, and stole from them. They were aggressive, and highly dangerous as more and more savagery was brought out in them.

The book also speaks of a "beast", whose existence is unjustified. The thought of it strikes terror in some, but challenge in others. The boys attempt to find it and kill it, but are never successful. 

But the "beast" also strikes respect, especially from the "savages". During a fateful hunt in the heart of the climax, the savage tribe hunts down a pig for their feast and pyretic dance. As an offering of respect to the beast, they cut off the pig's head, and put the bloody thing on a stick, and jam it into the ground. This "Lord of the Flies" represents the craze and bloodthirst in these boys, but also the so called "beast" being the humans themselves.

This boiling conflict can definitely be described as people versus people; Jack versus Ralph and their building tension that is ultimately set over the edge. But also, Jack's lot of boys versus Ralph's lot. It can also be described as person versus self, with Jack and Ralph both unaware of what this island has birthed and planted in them. This fast paced, high intensity, inter webbing conflict is exciting and engaging throughout the entire book.

Another significant character, and my favorite, Piggy, is also a boy on the island. As his name implies, he's fat, but as Ralph realizes, he's very bright and is an excellent thinker. This earns Piggy Ralph's respect, and friendship. They use Piggy's glasses to light the fire. This is a symbol of how someone may seem useless-- fat and lazy, but are more valuable then perceived. Piggy is also a significant symbol in the book. He represents civility, as he keeps this while everyone else is being subconsciously changed by the island and the lack of rules and civilization. His appearance, paired with his intellectual capacities and ability to stay rational justifies this. Much would be different in the book without him and his mind. 

As it seems every character and item is symbolic, there is much to take away from this masterful craft. The Pig Head represents the humans being the beast. The conch, I believe, represents order and something to go around or follow. Something sacred and divine, but fragile at the same time. Ralph represents order, and civility, while Jack represents savagery and primal instincts. This balance, or fight, between order and savagery is a main theme to take away, and how people's desire for power can bring out these primeval surges.

I think I, and many others can relate to this book and learn from this book. While I've never been stranded on a deserted island having to govern myself, I feel I can relate to Ralph. I have had many experiences where I have tried to keep everyone orderly but their "primal urges", or craze, was difficult to. Like Ralph, I got very frustrated by that, because when everyone is going nuts while your trying to keep things orderly, it's annoying.

I also feel that if some of my friends were in this position, they would be succumbed to the beckoning of the urges of savagery and human darkness, but in society, they're not. We never see what these boys were like before landing on the island, but we can get a pretty good idea from how they develop, evolve, and change when going through this.

Overall, I feel this craft of literature is stellar writing. From the deep symbolism, heart-racing conflict, and picture-painting detail, I loved the book despite the grossness of it, and despite the lunacy and bloodshed that took place.

The rich symbolism is a strong strength. So much can be learned and taken away from this story, from each character and item, and this quality is a distinct strength.

However, while I thoroughly enjoyed it and was thoroughly impressed, there were a few easy to spot weaknesses I would have changed. Golding uses the same words over and over, and it was slightly infuriating to read. There was too much word repetition, such as "savage" and "hunt" being way overused. In the same way, every time he said "Ralph's fair hair" was aggravating, like the word repitition. Also, I feel he included things that didn't matter or affect the plot. like four pages about a littlun crying.

Despite all this, I thought this was a phenomenal book. It's quick moving pace, deep symbolism, and powerful themes made it a keeper in my eyes. If you can get past the gore, the savagery, the killing, and the insanity, I would recommend this book because of all this. There is much that can be learned and interpreted from this book, and if you dare look past the present topics that make us nauseous, it will challenge your analytical capacity and leave an impact.

My creative piece was a paper mache Lord of the Flies, a Pig Head on a Stick. I decided to leave it uncolored so that it was up for interpretation and you could imagine what it looks like, the expression, the blood. It is like watching a movie, then reading the book. When you read it, how you picture it is set in stone because of the movie. I didn't want it to be set in stone like that, which is why I chose to do this.
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Wonder by J. R. Palacio at first seems like a book about a fifth grader with a deformed face. The main character August Pullman starts school in fifth grade, after being home schooled. His older sister Olivia starts high school the same year. The book is about August's first year of school, the struggles and discrimination he faces because of the way he looks. Throughout the book different characters tell the story, so that we soon get to know the thoughts of August, Olivia and all of their friends. I think that this is a genus way to write a book. There is no better way to get to know the characters, than to be put right inside their minds and see the world around them in their eyes.

It is hard for me to have a favorite character because all of the characters have such different views on what is happening throughout the book. However, the character I can relate to the most is Olivia, because of how she lost one of her best friends from middle school when they came to high school. I really enjoyed reading this book partly because of the way that I is told, but partly because this is such a different topic than I have ever read a book about. There is nothing I can say that I would change in this book, but I would also love if there was a sequel to the book, because I have become so attached to the characters that I want to read more about them. But in the meantime I will be sure to tell everyone I can to read this book, because there is no reason you should not read it.

In the story, all of the characters face various conflicts that span from losing one of  your best friends, to having people discover something about you that although is a major part of your life, it was nice to forget about every once in awhile, and those are only the problem that one of the characters has to deal with. Although everyone has their hardships throughout the year, the book is mainly about realizing who you are, and how you fit in with everyone else - even though everyone else is trying to figure out who they are aswell. This is a really amazing message to spread, it is important to figure out who you are, and where you belong, but also remember that everyone else is trying to figure this out at the same time. Most importantly that nothing is set in stone, and anyone can make a change.

For the creative portion of this project, I made a playlist that August Pullman (the main character) might listen too. A few of the songs are mentioned in the book, a few of the songs go along with themes and events in the book, and some of them are just songs I could see August listening to based on his personality, and who he is in the book.

August Pullman’s Playlist

Space Oddity................................................................................................David Bowie

Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side...............................................The Magnetic Fields

Major Tom (English version)......................................................................Peter Schilling

Star Wars Main Title...................................................................................John Williams

Spaceman........................................................................................................The Killers

Lonely Boy.............................................................................................The Black Keys

Young Blood...............................................................................The Naked and Famous

I’ll Rise............................................................................................................Ben Harper

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Catcher In The Rye Review by Serge Mass

Catcher In The Rye by: J.D. Salinger

Review by: Sergei Mass of SLA

Catcher In the Rye is by far one of the best books I have read in a while. It has some very exhilarating life experiences that the main character Holden Caulfield. The book also has some pretty important life lessons that recur throughout the bulk of the novel.

The first thing that comes to people’s mind when they hear the name “Catcher In The Rye”, they probably think of “foul language” or “complete waste of time” or even just “boring”. Well, that was me before I picked up this book... Until I started to reading the book.

The book starts out with the boy Holden telling his story about how he ended up at Pencey Prep which is in Pennsylvania ( PA stand up!). He is failing all of his classes and he is not doing completely well in school. He has been asked to leave the school and to move out because it is a boarding school. From there he gets into a fight with his jock roommate that is going to go out with an old friend of Holden. Holden is a weak kid so he loses. Then he starts packing his stuff to leave the school then he hears that one of his old teachers are sick and he stops by to talk about what’s going with life and everything. Then Holden leaves for New York. He goes to a hotel and decides to stay there for a few nights because his parents are not home. It was a bad idea for Holden to stay at that hotel. He discovers that his neighbors across the hall are putting in work. So Holden goes into a slump of loneliness and does what all lonely men do and go to a club to find someone. He ends up meeting a hooker. He takes the hooker and pays her and spills his heart out to her. She leaves and the Pimp comes back and beats Holden. He did not bother trying to fight back. Now I don’t want you to know too much. You need to read the book!

Throughout the story the Author throws out a few key lessons in the story which I like and I think are helpful. One is worry about yourself before worrying about others. Now in the story Holden is a skitsofrantic and he is always worrying and having all of these connections to his dead brother and multiple girls that he loved at once. He is one of those people that thinks about others before himself. Now that is not a bad thing at all, but if you do it too much it can bend and change you. If you have not noticed, Holden is in a mental institution when he is writing this because he worries about others.

The other thing I picked up from this book is to worry about the present, not the past. Holden is writing about this years after any of this stuff happened and if you live in the past and not the present, you will get NOWHERE in life.

I honestly had a great time reading this book. It was a very twisted chain of events that happened to a school student. The high level of intellectuality of the Author is definitely at an all time high. This book is not your everyday novel of a kids life. This is deep shit. I really liked how the author used the time era as an advantage in this novel. It really set the mood and made it interesting to read. The whole 1950’s Manhattan set the book because I can picture most of this stuff in my head and I love New York.

Another thing I liked about the book is that Holden is a complete nut. It really gave a broad spectrum on the book and it shed light on the deeper parts of life, but in a crazy person’s mind. The little things that an author does in a story changes everything really.

I would really recommend this book to anyone. The reason I said it is for everyone is that this book is a mix of everything. Even if you don’t like it in the beginning, you will end up liking this in the end. The other reason it is for anyone is because the lessons that are taught are very good life lessons that will help you get far in life. The last reason I recommend this book is because I really enjoyed it. Even though I am not a book kind of guy, I really liked it and i’m picky. If I liked it, i’m sure you would like it too. Now pick up this book today and start reading.

Creative Piece: This piece of art signifies the title of the book “Catcher In The Rye”. In the story Holden identifies himself as the catcher in the rye, to save kids from their innocence. He has to stop them from falling off the cliff of rye and into growing up.

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Negative Space

 A. What is negative space (explain this concept to a fourth grader that has never heard of it)

Negative space is the space between the figure or object. It's not the object it's the areas around it. 

    B. Explain how you found negative space in 1. your cut out?, I found my negative space by cutting around the bird. all the access paper is the negative space. 

 2. in your still life drawing? I drew the objects first then shaded in the space around it. I also erased all the detail inside the objects. It should just be a shadow. 


  C. Why does it help an artist to see in negative space? It helps an artist to see in negative space because it's easier to see the entire picture not the small pieces of the drawing. 

    D. Does seeing in negative space enhance drawings, why or why not? It depends on the artist if they put specific detail in their negative space then it might look really nice. But for me, I pay attention to detail so negative space doesn't help me as much. 

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Neuromancer Book Review

Neuromancer Book review

Neuromancer was written in 1984 by William Gibson. It was one of the first major works in the cyberpunk genre, and won multiple award, including the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the Phillip K. Dick award. It inspired movies such as The Matrix and video games such as Shadowrun. The cult classic Johnny Mnemonic was based on a William Gibson short story of the same name, set in the Neuromancer universe. There have been numerous attempts to adapt Neuromancer to media such as video games, movies, comic books, and even opera. They have mostly been unsuccessful, but a movie adaption is rumored to be in the works.

Neuromancer tells the story of a computer hacker named Case who, after being caught stealing from his employer, has had his ability “jack in” to computers destroyed. He becomes a hustler in the slums of Chiba City, Japan, relying on hard drugs to keep going. After running up numerous debts to crime lords and nearly killing himself with drugs, he is picked up off the street by a mysterious woman named Molly. She pays off the the crime lord and takes him to her boss, Armitage, who repairs Case’s brain and liver, but with a catch. He has had toxin sacs inserted into his liver. If he does not finish the job in time, he won’t be able to jack in anymore.

In the first part of the job, Case and Molly steal a Flatline Construct from the company Sense/Net. The construct contains the consciousness of one of Case’s mentors, named Dixie.

Armitage is shown to have a mysterious past. Case and Molly discover that he served in the Battle of Screaming Fist under the name Corto, and went through a large amount of trauma.

The group heads to the colony Freeside, where an AI named Wintermute resides in the Villa Straylight, a massive home owned by the family/corporation Tessier-Ashpool.

It is revealed that Wintermute is only one half of the AI inside the Villa Straylight. There is one other, which is hinted to be much more powerful, but Wintermute is prevented from merging with it by Turing regulations. Lady 3Jane, a member of the Tessier-Ashpools, has the secret word that will allow them to merge. Molly and Riviera, a member the team recruited in Istanbul, go into the Villa Straylight to retrieve it.

It is revealed that Wintermute has been controlling Case and the others the whole time, through Armitage, Finn, and Case’s old friend Julius Deane. Wintermute took Corto’s shattered personality and rebuilt it into Armitage.

Case and Dixie, the flatline construct, unleash a powerful virus on the Tessier-Ashpool software defenses as tasked by Wintermute. Armitage’s personality begins to break down, and reverts into that of Corto. Responding to this, Wintermute kills him. While in the Villa Straylight, Riviera turns on the group, siding with a ninja and Lady 3Jane to capture Molly. Case and the Zionite pilot Maelcum go after her. Case jacks into cyberspace, and while the virus is destroying the Tessier-Ashpool defenses, retrieves the secret word. Wintermute is able to merge with the other AI. Case’s toxin sacs are removed, and Dixie also gets his reward by being destroyed.

Case has a conflict with himself. He loved cyberspace, and when his brain was sabotaged he lost it. Towards the beginning of the book, Case says that he “still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he'd cut in Night City, and still he'd see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void…” Case tries unsuccessfully to block everything out and forget, and it puts him in a vulnerable place for Wintermute to exploit him for his plans. While Case is breaching the Tessier-Ashpool defenses in preparation for merging Wintermute with the second AI, he loses contact with Dixie. Case starts to lose hope, but then Wintermute says “Hate'll get you through. So many little triggers in the brain, and you just go yankin' em all.  Now you gotta hate.” Wintermute has manipulated Case to the point where the only option is now for him to hate. Since Case has so many things to hate, such as Wintermute killing Armitage, frustration at the slowly dissolving toxin sacs in his liver, and others, he is able to retrieve the secret word and merge Wintermute and the other AI, Neuromancer.

My favorite character is Wintermute. In the beginning of the book, the job that Armitage has tasked Case to do seems so simple. But as the plot unfolds, you find out that Wintermute is controlling not just Armitage but other people that Case knows to fulfill his own goals, without much care for any of them. When the personality that Wintermute has built on top of Corto into Armitage starts to break down and revert, Wintermute kills Corto and sabotages one of the ships, knowing it is a sacrifice but it will cause less damage in the long run. It’s also fascinating to compare Wintermute to its counterpart, Neuromancer. Neuromancer is able to see patterns in behavior, similar to psychohistory in Asimov’s Foundation but on a much more detailed scale. While Wintermute can only directly interact with humans by changing things in the environment and manipulating certain people, Neuromancer can see patterns about to happen - such as that someone is about to die - and then make it happen to manipulate someone that way.

One of the important themes from Neuromancer is to not rely on something too much, because if it gets taken away, you can be ruined. Case thought he was invincible, so he stole from his company without thinking of the consequences. He ended up losing the most important thing to him, and trying to compensate, ruined his life.

I could relate in some ways to Case’s love of cyberspace. I love computers, and rely on them without thinking for many of the things I do. If I could somehow never use computers again, it would probably be a devastating thing for me.

In my opinion, Neuromancer is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. It is full of amazing details in scenery, characters, and plot and has many interesting inventions specific to its universe. I would strongly reccomend it to anyone who has an interest in sci-fi, especially cyberpunk - it practically invented the genre. It is an exciting novel with a lot of depth, and definitely worth a read.

Creative Project

My creative project is a scene from Neuromancer in video game form. Near the beginning of the book, Case asks Dixie if he ever tried to hack an AI. Dixie responds by telling him the story of how he tried, and ended up flatlining(dying, so called because of the flat EEG). To play my game, click the download link and decompress the zip file downloaded. Launch the application extracted from it. For best results, choose 1280x800 resolution, uncheck windowed, and choose “Fantastic” graphics quality, unless you are lacking in the graphics card sector(in which case choose a lower setting). To melt ice, click the mouse button. To move, use the WASD keys. To quit, press esc.

Download links:

Windows (x86_64)
Windows (x86)
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