Last Post

After 2 years, the required blog post are finally coming to an end. I can’t say I’m upset. Being forced to write is not something I have ever enjoyed. They’re not straight up torture, but they are a nuisance. However, this is my last post (like there is a 1% I’ll keep this up) and I can honestly say this is kind of sad. And that is only because of what that really means: school is ending.

Four years ago, all I thought about was getting out of that school. I’ve never hated (strongly disliked at some points) coming to high school. But I was ready to go to TAMU and start my ‘adult’ life. And now, literally standing on that threshold, it is really bittersweet. I’m really excited to go to college and be have my own responsibilities and study what I actually want to. But I’m also sad to leave behind this routine I’ve followed for four years. To leave behind everyone but a few close friends. To leave behind my teachers. To leave behind the familiarity of high school.

I know whatever is in store for me next year will be great. I’m still really excited to go to college and start my life. I’m ready to meet new people, move to the dorms (that’s still nerve-racking though), and begin classes. However, that means saying goodbye to the people who have spent 4 years with me, moving out of my house, and ending relatively easy classes. I suppose any time like this in life is going to have two sides; this is definitely no exception.

Thinking back on the time I have spent in high school, I’m really proud of the things I accomplished: academically, socially, athletically, and everything in between. And while it is sad and upsetting to close this chapter on my life, I’m ready to. I know it’s time to move on and I’m okay with that. I’m ready to see what life has in store. Hopefully the next chapter in my life is as good, if not better than my time spent in high school.

Thanks for the memories AMCHS

*cheers*

 

Speech

So I am graduating from high school in two weeks. Time has definitely flown by. I was told to write a valedictorian speech that I might have given had I been chosen (thank goodness I wasn’t; speech giving is not in my area of comfort). But if I did, I would keep it short and to the point. This is a relatively rough version of what I would say to my fellow classmates graduating if I had the opportunity to:

“To start off, I would like to begin with a disclaimer. I’m not entirely sure why I out of everybody else should be giving you advice. I don’t feel like my grades or really anything gives me the right to tell you what you should do in the coming years. I’m just like the rest of you. A teenager about to start life, making decisions that will affect the rest of that life. Standing in this arena like the rest of you, wearing this rather unflattering gown, waiting for that piece of paper that tells the world: “hey! Look at me, I’m not totally incompetent.” But back to the speech, though I am no different from you, I hope you will allow me this time to talk about the things that I think are important to remember in the coming years.

*Pause*

[Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome blah, blah, blah]

I feel honored to stand up here and talk to my fellow classmates and their families. Looking back on the last four years at AMCHS is bittersweet for me. I see all that I accomplished, yet I also see the struggles and stress that was induced during because of those accomplishments. I know most of you see that too. I know the old saying that high school is a mere stepping stone to the thing called ‘real life’ and it’s actually really easy, but in all honesty it was hard. It was stressful. I personally had many obstacles to work through during my time here. But, I also had great times too; like when I actually managed to write that paper or figure out that math problem. My point is, there were so many different emotions and stages and all kinds of things that I felt during my time spent in that school.

And I suppose that is what life is about. There are always ups and downs no matter what you choose to do with your life. There are going to be great times when you’re cloud 9 and there are going to be times when you don’t even want to get out of bed. But that’s life, and one way or another we are all going to have to come to terms with that. After all, we only have one to live.

But I guess the reason I’m even giving this speech is tell you something. And I thought about saying something eloquent that will impress you all with my speaking abilities and intelligence and vast life experience. But I realized that in all honesty, most of you won’t remember what I said 2 weeks from now. That’s fine, I wouldn’t either. So I’ll keep it short: it is okay.

It is okay to have ups and downs in life, to make mistakes. None of us are perfect and that is okay; we are not supposed to be. Now is the time to make those mistakes. You never know, those things you think might turn into mistakes may actually be the best decisions you make in your life. And remember, it is okay to fail at things, to succeed at things (hopefully you know what I mean) or to land somewhere in the middle. You will survive and though it is a cliché, you will be better from it. It is okay to be the true, authentic you no matter where that leads you.

Also, it is okay to change your mind. I’m almost positive everyone in this room has changed their mind regarding something relatively important and look! You are still here, sitting in that chair with your gowns and caps about to earn your diploma. It is okay to change your minds 2, 3, even 5 times in college, on different jobs, on just about anything you can think of.  It is better to make those decisions now and find where you are supposed to be then to look back 40 years down the road and realize you should have done it differently. Change your mind, your appearance, your lifestyle and your views; now is the time.

Live life how you want it. Now, that doesn’t mean throw your life away on things that you know are dumb. But to change your mind, meet new people, go new places, do new things. Even if people are telling you that you will fail, do what you know will be best for you. Sometimes you have to be a little selfish. It is okay. Life will go on. Now is your time. The next couple of years are for you, to figure out what you should do, what kind of person you will be, (and admittedly cheesy) what mark you will leave on this earth.

So be you. Be proud of the person you are, of the things you have accomplished to get here. Be happy to close the pages on this chapter of your life. Be sad to leave behind the memories. Be excited, and scared, to venture into this next section of your life. Be anything you want. Do everything you want. It is okay.

So class of 2016, be true to you and remember graduation is only the beginning.”

A Needed Word

So I think the English language is lacking an important word. I could be wrong; maybe there is a word for it. I know there is one in other languages, just (not that I’ve heard of), English. I’m thinking of a word that describes the certain laughter that accompanies a bad joke. Like I mean such a dry, poorly told joke that you just cant’t help but laugh. Because that moment happens frequently in life.

I am not particularly sure of what word there could be that would describe that (I’m not creative enough to think of a new word without it sounding like total gibberish). But, there is a word that describes it in Indonesian that I propose we use: ‘jayus’. The English language has adopted plenty of other words, so I think we could do the same for this one.

In a real life scenario it would go like this:                                                                                               Your sitting around with your friends. You all are just conversing and then someone decides to be funny and tries to tell a joke. It actually is pretty bad. However, their demeanor and just being in the moment, all of you  can’t help but laugh. It’s a mixture of laughing with them and also at their very bad humor. Like it’s so bad, it’s good.

I feel like that particular moment happens often enough in life that the English language needs a word to describe it. So therefore the word ‘jayus’ should be used in the English to describe this moment in life.

Flower Fiction

This week I chose a painting to write some fiction about. The painting that really appealed to me is “Two Calla Lillies on Pink” by Georgina O’Keeffe.

two-calla-lily-on-pink

I think it is very beautiful and simplistic. In a nutshell, my fiction is about a man and a woman and takes place outside a flower shop.

Everyday, he boarded the train at 8:00 am. Everyday he sat in the same seat clutching his old briefcase. Everyday the same people talked around him, ready for another long day at work in the city. It was always the same, people drank their coffee and hastily checked their appearance in the reflective windows before getting off at their stops.

On one of these occasions, he decided to watch the outside world wiz past him. When the train began to slow down at a stop, he almost turned away, but not before he caught a glimpse of something. There she was, the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She was standing in front of a flower shop, chatting with a shop worker. The worker handed her a bundle of white flowers, which she took with a smile. Turning around, she continued on her way. He realized that he had been staring at her and quickly looked away as the train rolled forward again.

The next day, he followed his same routine and boarded the train. As the train slowed down at the stop in front of the flower shop, he felt his heart beat faster. Straining his neck, he looked for her. There she was! Buying the same flowers and turning to walk down the street. From here on, he continued to see her every morning.

After a few days, he decided to try and meet her. So the next morning, he got ready extra quickly and arrived to that same stop 10 minutes early. He wanted to look nonchalant, but he kept trying to find her in the crowd of people walking past. However, she never showed. He arrived early 2 more days and again he didn’t see her. Feeling disheartened, he went back to his normal routine and gave up on it.

However, a couple of days later, she reappeared! But it wasn’t the same, she didn’t look happy or smile and laugh with the shop worker. Confused, he thought about it the rest of the day.

The next morning she hurried down the street, worried she would be late again. She hadn’t been herself the past couple of days and didn’t want it to affect work. She had decided that morning she would not get flowers for her work space, even though she loved them. Walking towards the flower shop, she still looked for the calla lillies she usually bought. But there weren’t any and she felt a little disappointed. Just as she was about to walk past the shop, someone stepped into her path. She took a step back and looked up. He appeared a little sheepish and his smile was lopsided.  He held up two beautiful calla lillies toward her.

She looked up at him confused and then back down at the lillies wrinkling her forehead. After what felt like forever, she looked up again and smiled.

Fiction

 

So I’m going to write some fiction this week. The scene starts with a man and an older woman talking in a train cart having an animated discussion. He’s holding a large box, she’s got a map that she doesn’t seem to understand and wearing a weird hat.

‘There she goes again, yelling about my ungratefulness’ I think while she continues to talk too loudly. Nobody seems to notice what’s going on between us. Yet. Interrupting her, I say once again “If you would just listen to what I’m doing, you would understand. I’m not going to ‘dishonor’ the family. And Henry can take over the farm when he gets older.”

“No! That is not the point. We have tried to give you everything and yet you continue on with this ridiculous dream of yours! It will never work!” She exclaims. “Look at this map. You don’t even know what it is saying. You are not from here. You don’t even speak the language!”

“Well how do you expect me to learn? Stuck on the farm? I’m doing this and you cannot stop me. And of course the map doesn’t make sense. You are holding it upside downI say angrily, snatching the map back. Looking down I search for the place I’m going. According to the map, it should be the next stop. Glancing out the train cart’s window, I accidentally make eye contact with a person who was looking at us. Embarrassed, I turn back to her. “Oh!” I gasp. Standing there, she’s letting small droplets of water run down her blotchy face. Her angry seems to have quickly evaporated.

“I know I can’t stop you. You’ve always been like that: stubborn. But, you’re just a little boy,” seeing the look of contempt on my face, she quickly corrects herself, “man”. Sitting down opposite me, her eyes meet mine. “I’m just worried about you. Look at me, I don’t know anything about living in this society. We can’t help you at all if you decide to do this. I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Well, the hat does look funny” I tease. Lowering my voice, I say “Mama, I know I can do this. I have always wanted to do this. It’s my dream and nothing is going to stop me. I believe in myself. I know it will be hard, but can you and papa just trust me?”

She barely nods her head. I look out the window once more and her sniffle. We stay silent at the train pulls forward.

Other Blogs

I recently went and viewed some other peoples blogs and what they had to say on them. These were a few I found interesting:

Poem Comparisons

The two poems Mezzo Cammin by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1842)  and When I have Fears by John Keats (1818) have much in common. Both poems address what the passage of time means to them; they both do not feel they have enough time to do the work they can. Each poem starts with the the desolation of time and what that means for them. Keats describes the sadness and fear that comes along with those thoughts and Longfellow uses a more melancholy tone; yet, both convey the same message. At the end of both, while Keats describes what he feels at the prospect of wasting away into nothing, Longfellow is saddened by what little he has done and worries about an uncertain future.

If I were to write an essay comparing and contrasting these two poems, I would organize each by the literary devices the poets use to convey their messages. I think imagery played a large role in each poem as well as the repetition and contrasting ends.

An outline of the essay I would write:

  • Thesis sentence: While each poems begins with the sadness each poet feels at not accomplishing everything they want to, they end on a different note: Longfellow’s prospect of the future is grim, whereas Keats is accepting and realizes the wonder of life no matter the ultimate end.
  • Topic sentences: In the beginning of each poem, the disappointment felt by each poet at not doing enough in the time they had is present.
    • In the opening lines, Keats expresses his fear of dying “before [his] pen has gleaned [his] teeming brain.” Similarly, Longfellow realizes that he has let “the years slip from me and have not fulfilled / [his] aspirations.”
    • Each poet uses the image of some large item as to convey how consuming their fears are. Keats says that his are “high-pilèd books, in charactery” and Longfellow describes his as a “tower of song with lofty parapet.”
  • Topic sentence: However, in the end the poets have different views on the future they have in store.
    • Each poets does similar actions; Keats goes to “the shore / of the wide world” and Longfellow goes “half-way up the hill” and sees a city.
    • In the end, Keats recognizes that “love and fame to nothingness do sink.” But, Longfellow reminisces on the past, thinking of it as “a city in the twilight dim” and his death as a giant waterfall ready to descend.

 

 

Hamlet: parent-child relationships

Throughout the play, relationships between parents and their children played a pivotal role in the outcome. The entire plot line develops from Hamlet seeking revenge for his father’s murder. The relationship between Hamlet and his father would seem to be more loving and respectful at first glance. However, when looked at further it is the opposite. It is obvious that Hamlet respected his father, yet it does not seem like it was a loving relationship between father and son. When the ghost appears, it is not a joyous moment but more of strategic. After all, some of the first words the Ghost says is “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.v.25). Hamlet then seems to be avenging his father more out of duty rather than emotion driven revenge during the rest of the play. If it was emotion-driven then he would have taken the multiple chances he had to kill Claudius, but he didn’t. Hamlet waited until the opportune moment giving it a more calculating feeling; a more dutiful act. Then when looking at Fortinbras and his ‘revenge’ is seems less thought out and unorganized. Which can be translated to more emotional meaning that Fortinbras and his father’s relationship could be a foil to Hamlet and his father. With these two relationships, the roles of children seeking revenge for the parent, could even be considered political. However, there are different motives involved. Still, when looking at any family with power throughout history, most actions taken are political and are done to further a family’s power.

When looking at another relationship between parent and child, Hamlet and Gertrude, it appears completely disconnected and negative. Hamlet despises his mother and what she has done. His famous line regarding his mother is “frailty, thy name is women;” that sums up his feelings towards her (I.ii.146). However, those this seems like a negative relationship, it could be considered more positive because it could be argued that Gertrude is looking out for her son. He is nowhere near ready to be king, and Gertrude probably knew that and stayed Queen to allow him more time to grow up. So with that in mind, this relationship (in a very simplistic sense) is more of the ‘normal one’; with a protective parent and a child who basically ‘hates’ her.

When looking at step-parent roles, the relationship in the play is very unhealthy and paints step-parents as these bad, evil people. With the plot line though, there is not many other options for Shakespeare to explore different types of roles for step-parents. Claudius has to be ‘evil,’ he killed the king. So in this instance, I don’t feel like there is much wiggle room for Shakespeare to write the different relationships kids can have with step-parents and vice versa.

Also in the novel, Polonius and his two children serve to show a better, ‘healthier’ relationship. Whereas the other is more political, Polonius seeks to better his children’s lives. He does not act maliciously towards his children nor controlling of their lives. Some could argue, and have, that the opposite is true; after all, he does send Reynaldo after Laertes and tells Ophelia not to marry Hamlet. However, I feel like he did that more out of parental love for his children. Looking at modern society, many parents track their children’s whereabouts from their phone or check their child’s social media to see what they are up to. No, it is not the same as sending a servant to trail the child, but the premise can be considered the same. Also, regarding Ophelia, Polonius did tell her not to marry Hamlet. But, it seems more likely that he told her that with protecting her in mind. He tells Ophelia “do not believe his vows, for they are brokers / not of that dye which their investments show” (I.iii.127-128). Most parents would give their children the same advice if they didn’t like the person their kid was dating. Also, some argue that Polonius is a ‘bad’ person and takes after his kings ‘evilness.’ And if that were the case, it is also probable that Polonius wishes to rise in station and what easier way then marrying his daughter off to the prince. Yet, he does not do that. He explicitly tells her not to and knows what that means: his daughter won’t be princess. In this particular parent-child relationship it seems like Polonius truly cares about the well-being of his children. And his children love and respect him in return; that is why they both react so strongly to his death.

Throughout the play, there are multiple parent-child relationships that each have unique characteristics and explore different things. Each one presents a different role for the parents, whether loving, protective, and dutiful. Whatever role is assigned to the parent reflects what the child’s role will be in return (like Polonius and his kids). And while this play is set hundreds of years ago, the variety of relationships and roles are still seen today.

No. 1

Jackson Pollock. I feel like everyone knows him; or at least his work. He is the artist responsible for the ‘splatter paint’ pieces (or at least that’s what I see). I was instructed to view his piece titled No. 1, created in 1948.

(As per instructed) I viewed the art work without any prior thoughts or instructions. First, it looks like splatter paint. I can appreciate art; I love walking around museums of art. But this seems like one of those pieces a child could have created at first glance. Upon further inspection, (and learning more details of the piece) its obvious how much detail and time went into making this. The colors overlap each other perfectly and I like the total abstact-ness of it. People can see it any way they want; that’s the point. It must have taken Pollock a lot of time and endurance to create such a piece, especially considering its 6 X 9 feet.  If I were to see this in person, I’m positive the sheer size would be impressive enough. That’s not even taking into account the intricacy of the oils.

After looking at the piece, I then looked at the poem “Number 1 by Jackson Pollock (1948)” written by Nancy Sullivan. I really like it and her assertions about the painting. Her poem sums up the creativity of it and the different views people can have of it. She opens with:

No name but a number.
Trickles and valleys of paint
Devise this maze
Into a game of Monopoly
Without any bank.

That seems to be saying that this painting is very complex without any solid reasoning; its only paint. Yet that paint holds a lot of meaning for people that view it. It can have a meaning that can be taken from any time or place and still make sense. The painting itself seems to be more of a vessel for the viewers imagination and what they want to believe. Pollock created something that people can see differently; and I suppose that is the point. After all she does end the poem with:

How to realize his question
Let alone his answer?

After looking at the painting longer, I do like it and appreciate the complexity and creativity Pollock used to make it. There is reason it is so famous and revered after all.

No. 1 :

http://www.wikiart.org/en/jackson-pollock/no-1-1948?utm_source=returned&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=referral

 

Hamlet Painting

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This is the painting Hamlet in the Queen’s chamber by William Salter Herrick. It was created in 1857 and is an oil on canvas. Its a very large painting (roughly 4 x 5 feet) and was housed in the London Royal Academy for some time.

This painting represents exactly what the title would imply: Hamlet in his mothers chambers. In Act III, Scene 4, Hamlet visits his mother and criticizes everything she has done. During his speech, his fathers ghost appears only to him. That makes him seem even more crazy as he talks to this apparition that the queen cannot see. It represents this conversation.

HAMLET

A king of shreds and patches—

                                                                Enter GHOST

Save me and hover o’er me with your wings,

You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious figure?

GERTRUDE

Alas, he’s mad!

HAMLET

Do you not come your tardy son to chide,

That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by

The important acting of your dread command?

O, say!

GHOST

 Do not forget. This visitation

Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.

But look, amazement on thy mother sits.

O, step between her and her fighting soul.

Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.

Speak to her, Hamlet.

Herrick paints an image that perfectly describes that scene. Hamlet looks crazy. The queen looks frightened and worried. Polonius is lying on the floor behind them with the sword Hamlet used to kill him next to him. And the ghost is there; barely visible on the right side, but there.

I really like all the detail the artist put into the painting. Having all the characters there is really important to portray the scene correctly. Also, the facial expressions of the characters is key to showing how a person interprets the story. In this painting, Hamlet really does look crazy (but who wouldn’t be if you could see something that others claim they cannot?). How Herrick painted the ghost interesting; rather than be fully present, the ghost is barely seen. At first glance, someone could easily miss the ghost and just see Hamlet looking crazed. But, I suppose that has purposefully done to show that maybe Hamlet was losing it. Maybe the ghost wasn’t really there. Or maybe it was; its all up to interpretation. Which this artist didn’t help by leaving it questionable.

Overall, I think this an amazing painting that has a ton of detail. Herrick was very talented and really portrayed all that is happening in this scene.