Friday, April 16, 2010


it's always been my dream to go skydiving
to make it to the ground still surviving
tandem jump, what does that even mean?
oh, i wish i was eighteen.

hands by my side, eyes straight ahead
maybe i should be a doctor instead?
join the military, be a marine
oh, i wish i was eighteen.

so much more that i could do
i can vote, put in my own view
someday it will happen, right before halloween,
October 24, 2012, ill be eighteen.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life or Death

What's the difference between life and death, the thing that can make you or break you? An obstacle. These obstacles could be a minor bump along the way, or they can be more straightforward and hit like an earthquake, and change your life forever. More important than the actual obstacle is how you choose to overcome the obstacle. You can be calm about it, and handle the situation, whatever it may be, as calm and collective as possible or you can chose to completely tweak out over the situation and just get lost in the rumble. The reaction an individual has over their obstacle is based on not only the person, but the obstacle itself. If an obstacle is more challenging, the person that faces the obstacle may choose to take a different route than they may usually take.

In the book, The Old Man and The Sea, Santiago faces multiple obstacles that he has to overcome. Some were minuscule, such as the pain he faced in his hands, while some were life-threatening, like surviving with only one bottle of water and limited food that he had to catch himself and eat raw, which left the reader feeling suspenseful throughout the book, not knowing if Santiago would live. Even though Santiago was forced to face these harsh obstacles, he handled them well and in a way, came out victorious. Even though his fish got destroyed, he got the joy, excitement, and accomplishment of know that he, by himself, caught a ginormous marlin.

What is pain? The correct definition states that pain is "physical suffering or distress" ( I, however, don't agree with this. Pain is an obstacle; a life or death situation. In the book, Santiago suffers extreme pain in many places.

Catching a Marlin today isn't easy or without pain even if you have all of the proper tools. All that Santiago had was his physical being, bait, and string. Obviously, this couldn't have been enough. Failure was almost guaranteed. The book quotes, "...and his left [hand] was taking all the strain and cutting badly" (82). This quote shows what exactly was happening to Santiago's hands.

As the rope got pulled out by the marlin, he tried to hold on with all of his might but it didn't work as planned. The rope dug into his head, like a paper cut, but worse. Almost to the point where skin is beginning to detach from the rest of the hands. The way this quote describes the situation, I picture large, deep cuts that slash right through every inch of Santiago's hands. This just describes one of these numerous situations that occurred throughout the book.

An obstacle that each one of us faces everyday is one that we cannot see, and it's questionable whether or not we can feel it. It's on the inside, in our minds. Your mindset controls your everyday life. If you tell yourself that anything is possible, you are correct. Your mind is one of your biggest obstacles, you can't be pessimistic.

In The Old Man and The Sea, Santiago has to face his mind, and his endurance. If he didn't believe and have faith in himself, he never would have achieved catching the Marlin. He needed to convince himself that he could, so he would. For example, one quote that describes mindset perfectly is: "Mine does not matter [pain]. I can control mine." The most important part of this quote is the sentence, "I can control mine"(88). Referring to his pain, Santiago knows that is he convinces himself that there isn't any pain and that he can catch the marlin, he will and this showed with the success that Santiago had while catching the fish. I believe that if Santiago kept this faith throughout the attacks of the multiple sharks, he could have salvaged his fish, and ended up elated in the end of the book instead of disappointed. If he told himself over and over that he could achieve success in bringing home his well-deserved marlin, he could have arrive at shore with a marlin strung to the side of his skiff.

Being the only one around can get lonely. Especially if you're in the middle of the ocean, with no one but yourself. You can begin to act fretful and nervous knowing that if anything were to happen, there is no help for miles and miles.

Santiago was alone out in the ocean while catching he Marlin. He was lonely and helpless and admitted to it many times. "I wish i had the boy" (45). Santiago knew that if Manolin was there to help him, he would have had a better chance of coming out victorious. Manolin was admiring of Santiago and would have been anxious to help, and Santiago would have been approving of Manolin's work because Santiago taught him everything that he knew. Also, since Manolin was a young boy, he would have been more energetic, which would have helped Santiago when he became tired and tense in the hands. Help would have made everything easier for Santiago, but that wasn't an option. He had to do it all on his own.

Do you like when you're about to score a goal and out of nowhere comes a defender who slide tackles the ball away? No one does. It's the feeling of success that is taken away. You think something is yours, within reach, and out of nowhere, it's gone.

Santiago faced a similar situation in the book. He caught his fish, but deep down inside, he knew that it was too good to be true. The second he harpooned the marlin and the blood seeped out of its torn flesh, Santiago knew that sharks were to come. It was natural instinct. Blood equals sharks.

Another obstacle that the Old Man had to face was the numerous sharks that wanted his gold. "One came, finally, against the head itself and he knew it was over" (118). This quote was the turning point for Santiago. This one obstacle, beat him. He didn't let his pain win, he didn't let his mind give up, but he couldn't beat the sharks. The destroyed him, and his fish.For a while, Santiago was tolerant of the sharks by killing them, or hurting them to a point where the wouldn't come back.When darkness came, he was became carelfree and became uninvolved is the saving of his marlin. Santiago knew that if a shark, or more, was to attack in the darkness, he didn't have a weapon or any light. There was nothing the he could do. All odds were against him. He had to let it be, and deal with the fact that he did let one obstacle overcome him.

Whether you are Santiago, Manolin, or whom ever you may be, you face obstacles. The Old Man and The Sea had so many obstacles. Pain, mindset, and sharks were just a few. Life, however, is a never ending line of obstacles. They never go away and the only thing you can do is to learn how to cope with them. This can be the difference of life and death; win and loose; success and failure. There's nothing you can do to get rid of these obstacles, but those that will come out victorious are those who will stand up tall, and face the obstacle. Those who strive for success, knowing at anytime, failure can be lurking.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Third Quarter outside Reading Book Review

Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin and Beth Carson. Zondervan, 2008.
Genre: Autobiography

Multiple Blessings is an autobiography written by Kate Gosselin about the challenging life of her family with two sets of multiples. Her family consists of Kate and her husband Jon, their twin girls, Cara Nicole, and Madelyn Kate, and their sextuplets, Alexis Faith, Hannah Joy, Aaden Jonathan, Collin Thomas, Leah Hope, and Joel Kevin. The book begins at John and Kate meeting and getting married, and documents their life up until the book was published, with two healthy twins and six healthy sextuplets. The story tells the ups and downs of life with two sets of multiples and gives outsiders a look into the Gosselin’s everyday struggles and accomplishments.

A reviewer says about the book: “The book was a light, easy read. It gave me more of an understanding of how Kate thinks and why she does things the way she does.”

The best way to describe Kate Gosselin’s writing style is that she tells it as it is. With Kate’s main job being a mother to her numerous children, writing a book must have been difficult. You can tell that in her writing, she isn’t trying to make her life seem perfect or “pretty”. She is telling the readers the truth, as different and weird as it may be. She also admits to flaws that her and her family have. She knows that she has flaws, and she isn’t afraid of admitting it.
Also, I liked how Kate added her journal to the back of the book. This shows her writing before it was edited. It shows what she just jotted down whenever she had time, knowing that she wanted to make a book about it.

“The chill of reality washed over me as I watched my husband – my best friend, cheerleader, and storehouse of strength – slowly drop to his knees at the count of five. Fear stricken and nauseous, he couldn’t bear to look anymore.” (35)

I chose to read this book because the television show, Jon and Kate plus Eight, used to be one of my favorite shows until it was canceled. The book was also a little sad because I am reading it a few years after it was published and things have changed for the Gosselins. Jon and Kate are no longer together. I really liked the book because compared to the show; it gave a different view of the family. The show sometimes showed a bad side of Kate or Jon but the book explained the stress that they were going through, which explained the way that they sometimes acted. Overall, I thought Multiple Blessings was a great book.
Third Quarter outside Reading Book Review

In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeline Blais. Warner Books, 1995.

In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, is a true story about the girl’s basketball team of Amherst High School. For the past few years, the team had some of the best players making up the best team but would loose before finals. This book takes a look at each player, the town, the problems, and the victories that this team faces. The book was inspirational and interesting for anyone, especially a female basketball player.

The back of the book reads, “Engrossing….better that the best pep talk, this book will kindle your pride in your own unique, feminine strength.” – New Woman

The writing by Madeleine Blais was very relatable. She wrote like she was actually on the team and was inside the heads of each player and coach. I enjoyed this because it gives you a better feel of how each player was feeling at that time, and keeps you interested in the book.

One specific thing I noticed about the author’s writing was the way she would stop at points in the story and give more information. Blais would stop what she was talking about during a game or a bus ride, and give background information about where the team was or why they were discussing that specific matter.

“When they were really little, someone tried to shoot President Reagan, and was before they were born he played a dying football player in a movie that people liked to make fun of.” (186)

I chose to read this book because I am playing basketball in high school. Personally, I thought this book was great because I could relate to it in many ways. Besides also being a basketball player, I live near the town of Amherst and knew what was going on and what the author was talking about when she talked about places and events that occurred around the town. Overall, I would recommend it to many of my friends.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'Forever and Always'

" and and 8." Anabel listened to Kerri, her dance instructor count aloud in an austere tone as she moved her body to each beat. A bead of sweat dripped down her forehead and didn't disappear until Anabel wiped her wrist through, stopping the sweat in its tracks.She moved her body as her head tried not to confound the steps she'd rehearsed many times before. Anabel had been dancing for as long as she could remember. Her mother said that since she could walk, Anabel had been twirling and tapping away. "OK girls, take five. Come back ready to prepare for the concert. We only have two months!" Kerri echoed through the mirror coated studio. Anabel walked over to her bag and took a long sip of refreshing, cool water. She checked her phone. Three missed calls and five texts, all of which were from Luke. Luke and Anabel had been dating since the beginning of Anabel's freshman year, and Luke's sophomore year. The two seemed perfect for each other. Anabel was a competitive dancer and Luke was a competitive athlete. All the messages were Luke complaining because he and Anabel only hang out in school, because their both so busy, especially Anabel. Anabel had been spending all of her spare time at the studio. This concert was really important for her. It could get her into the dance school shes been aiming to be at for years. Anabel decided she would call Luke back after dance, and jogged back to the mirrored room, ready to dance.

"Luke, I want to hang out with you as much as you want to hang out with me. It's just that dance is taking over my life right now, and this concert is extremely important to me. I wish you would understand." Luke and Anabel went on for hours. Luke didn't get that dance was as important to Anabel as football and lacrosse were to him, dance was just more time consuming. In the end of their conversation, they concurred that they would stay together, and spend as much time as possible with each other.

In the next few weeks, dance got even more time consuming for Anabel. Her life consisted of school, dance, and sleep. Occasionally she got a salutary dinner or lunch added into her schedule as well. Luke was just getting more and more frustrated and Anabel didn't understand why he didn't understand. One day as Anabel walked to her locker, Luke grabbed her arm and turned her to him. "Anabel, this isn't working for me. I never get to see you and I can't be in a relationship like this. We're over. I hope we can still be friends." That was it. The dreaded line, "I hope we can still be friends". No girl ever wants to hear that. Luke didn't even seem sad about it, the acrimony rolled out of his lips as if it had been rehearsed. She had never pictured Luke saying this to her, he was the most genial person Anabel knew. Anabel was laconic, she didn't know what to say. This was unusual because many people told Anabel that she was the most taciturn person they knew. Before she could speak, her body took action and ran as fast as it could until she relegated out of Luke's site. This didn't happen until she arrived at the park a mere three blocks away. She was panting when reality finally hit her, it was over. Her and Luke were done, and there was nothing she could do about it. She had never had her heart broken before. I mean, sure there were those boys she thought she loved who acted as though she didn't exist, but that was nothing. This was real. Anabel felt as if Luke ripped out her heart and threw it to the ground. She felt that he wasn't even kind enough to just step on it, but trample it. The tears streamed down her face. She couldn't stop herself. She snatched her i pod out of her pocket and began scrolling through the menu until she hit 'shuffle'. The music began to flow through her body and as much as her heart wanted to curl up in a ball and cry forever, her body wanted to dance. It's like a disease. Every time she hears music, Anabel can't hold her self back from the uniform pirouetting and swaying that she did daily to the beat. I must look like a fool, she thought to herself. Who dances in the park?

Finally, when Anabel had that familiar bead of sweat dripping down her forehead once again, she remembered she had class tonight. Kerri was going to kill her if she was late! She checked her phone which read 5:45. Anabel had to be at dance in 15 minutes and had no way of getting there, since she ran to the park from school, and left her car in the parking lot. All she could do was run. She ran and ran as fast as she could about four blocks to the dance studio. What a workout I'm getting tonight, she thought to herself.

Dance was miserable. Every song somehow made Anabel think of Luke, and all the good times they had together. She forced herself not to cry. What would the others have thought if she cried? She was supposed to be the paragon of dance at this studio. She couldn't break down. Not here, not now.

The next few weeks were all the same. Go to school, try not to stare at Luke, go to dance, sleep. Go to school, try not to think of Luke, go to dance, sleep. It was like a broken record. The one thing that kept Anabel going when she needed a break was North-East dance school. Every time her eyes began to water, she thought of the school, closed her eyes, and saw herself dancing through the hallways.

Finally, the day was near. It was Monday and the Concert was on Friday. Anabel knew this was going to the be hardest week of her life. It had been about two months since Luke and Anabel split, and even though it was still hard for Anabel, it was getting easier. The week went just as the past few had, except everyone at the studio seemed nervous. Finally on Thursday, they got a pep talk from Kerri. "OK girls, this is it. We've practiced all we can and now we need to put ourselves to the test. We've all performed before, so just think of this concert just as all the others. Get everything off your mind except dance. Just promise me you'll give it your all when your out there so none of us regret anything." An echo of 'I promise' twirled through the studio, just as the girls did every day. "I'll see you all tomorrow night ready to perform. Take care of yourselves!" Kerri finished. The girls all packed up their bags and exited the studio, something they could do with their eyes closed.

That day at school, Anabel couldn't concentrate no matter how hard she tried. Oddly, Luke couldn't either. He knew Anabel's concert was today, and how nervous she was about getting into North-East. She had been talking about it forever. He missed her. He couldn't go much longer without talking to her. Luke thought as though he didn't need her, but now he was realizing that even though they didn't see much of each other, he needed that time they did spend together. He was thinking about not talking her today, because he knew she had enough on her mind. The problem was that he couldn't wait any longer. He decided that right after school, he would go directly to parking spot 65, Anabel's spot.

As he leaned against her Black Camaro, he saw Anabel approaching through the two willow trees that separated the parking lot from the school. When she noticed him, she stopped dead in her tracks. When reality sank in, she continued to walk towards her car. Anabel and Luke stood looking at each other, both speechless. It was awkward, but in a good way. Before either could say a word, tears sped down Anabel's face as Luke reached out and Anabel jumped into his arms. It was good to be back there. She felt safe, and loved. Neither had to say a word to determine that they were back together. They both knew it. Luke, as much as he would deny it, even shed a tear. Finally, after several minutes, Anabel released herself from the embrace and tried to wipe the tears, mascara, and eyeliner off of her face, while actually just smudging it all together, in a twirl of happiness. "I have to go. I have my competition tonight." Anabel released through sniffles.

"I know, I'll be there cheering you on. I know you can do it. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way." Luke replied. They both smiled as Luke closed the door behind Anabel as she sat down into the drivers seat.

Three hours later, with her hair in a bun so tight that it gave her a headache, and enough make-up on to be in the circus, Anabel was ready. She was up next. This was it. It was her time. As she peeked out into the audience, there, she saw all of her family, and, of course, Luke. Anabel was elated to see him out there. She was beaming and ready to take the stage. Luke had been to Anabel's concerts before, and he was usually considered the zealot of the crowd. She was standing behind the curtain, trying to remain phlegmatic, even though her heart was ready to explode out of her chest. She listened as Kerri advocated her, knowing that the representatives for North-East were in the front row. "Up next, our very own shining star, Anabel!" A roar of applause filled the studio. Anabel took one last deep breath, plastered a smile onto her face, and appeared on the stage from behind the curtain. As the music started, Anabel flashed back to everyday in the studio and began counting in her head to the beat. ""

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2nd Quarter ORB

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. Penguin Group, 1998.
Genre: Fiction

Someone Like You is a book about two girls who have been best friends since Scarlet moved across the street from Halley when they were eleven. Scarlet was the more outgoing friend while Halley was quieter and kept to herself. The summer before the junior year of high school, Scarlet got very close to her new boyfriend, Michael Sherwood. At the end of the summer when Halley is away at camp, she gets a call from Scarlett explaining that Michael was dead. This loss fazed the whole school, but especially Scarlet when she found that she was carrying his baby. Just juniors in high school, Scarlett has to decide between abortion, adoption, and keeping her baby and Halley gets her first serious boyfriend.

“Dessen has a perfect ear for the immediate daily details of a middle-class teenager’s home, school, job, party scene…. Many teenage girls will find themselves in this story.” I agree with this quote because I did find myself, a teenage girl, in the story. It wasn’t that I have the exact same life as Halley and Scarlett or that I do everything they did, but there were a few things that stood out. Like being nervous around a crush, or always being there for my best friends no matter what.

Sarah Dessen has a very engaging writing style. I’ve read books by her before, such as Along for the Ride, and once again notice the same style of writing, which I can’t wait to dig into every time I open one of her books. Dessen writes like she is a teenage girl who wrote in her diary and is now taking her diary entries and creating a book out of them. It’s relatable to any teenage girl, whether they think so or not.

“Everyone seemed to be eyeing Scarlett’s stomach, as if since second period she’d suddenly be showing, the baby ready to pop out at any minute.” (139) I chose this quote because I feel like what the author is saying, is what everyone would be thinking, even if they didn't want to. It's the feeling of knowing a physical feature about someone and not wanting to be rude but still stopping to take a quick glance, to see what everyone is talking about. As much as everyone denies it and calls it rude, everyone has done it.

I think that reading this book will actually affect my life. Many teenagers think that reading this book is never going to help them and that reading any book is a waste of time. This is an exception to me. This book taught me about mistakes and decisions that every teenager has to deal with. It will cause me to think twice in the future before I do anything that my effect my life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let the Music Burn

In a world as crazy as ours is, how do we know what we value? What used to be a family dinner every night, chatting about the days events, has turned into the buzz and beeps of cell phones and the internet, with the sound of fingers tapping away on the keyboards. The time we spent with those who matter most to us used to be the most valuable, but is that true anymore? Everyone has their own opinion on value and what they value. I value my schoolwork enough to continue writing this paper but do you value my school work enough to continue reading it?

As I place the ear buds into my ear and the familiar music of my favorite artists fill my head, I escape into my own world. My iPod allows me to escape whenever I need or want to. It's a silver iPod nano. It's not new and it's not in the best shape, but it plays the music I want to hear and that's all that matters to me. To cover the scratches and scrapes from numerous drops, I made an iPod skin. It’s made of one of my favorite pictures I have, my friends Tess, Nicki, Hannah and I at our 8th grade step-up ceremony. We're dressed up out of our usual jeans and hoodies and into dresses and heels. We're all smiling, happy to finally be out of the middle school. Under the picture consists the words "Best of Friends". I see this skin and my friends and I every time I take out my iPod, which is very often.

I don't know how much my iPod cost because it was a gift. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas after she heard me begging to my parents. As I sit in the car listening to Taylor Swift, I remember opening the gift. I had an idea that it may be an iPod but I didn't want to get my hopes up and then not get it, so I tried to convince myself otherwise. Listening to my iPod makes long car rides and plane trips go by faster or relaxes me while I lie on the beach with the sun beating down upon me. To me it doesn't matter how much my iPod costs because the happiness it gives me every time I release the hold and press play is worth it.

The smell of wood burning and the crackling of the flames give me the most welcoming feeling. It's almost like the fire is pulling me towards it, begging for me pull up a chair, relax, and roast a marshmallow to perfection. Every time, I give in. It's getting cooler as I change into my sweats and a hoodie, and pull up a chair as close as I can get without possibly burning myself. This is what I wait for all year, the summer air; slightly cool when the sun sets, my family and friends, and a fire burning the night away. Without saying a word, I know what everyone is thinking. Can we get a fire bigger than the one across the lake finally?! Usually, we can't. We all have the secret hope that tonight may be the exception.

When the fire finally starts going naturally, it's time. As we all jump to the table to be first to grab a marshmallow and a stick, we each eye the chocolate and graham crackers awaiting our toasty marshmallow. I pull my chair as close as I can before I get yelled at to back up before I fall in.

Toasting the perfect marshmallow is about finding the right spot in the fire, being patient, and constantly rotating the stick. It's the second step that gets me every time, patience. I guess you could say it's not really my thing. Usually, when I can't wait any longer to eat my gooey marshmallow or delicious s'more, I give up on the patience, light my marshmallow on fire and then extinguish the flame with a breath. It may not taste the same as a golden brown perfect marshmallow, but it's the satisfaction that matters to me. I break the graham cracker in half, trying my hardest to make the pieces even. Next I grab the best looking pieces of chocolate, place it on my graham cracker, lay the marshmallow and the final cracker and it's done. For a second I see how good it looks and almost don't want to eat it. That thought quickly passes and the aroma of the flavors blending reaches my nose. Moments such as these, are one of the things i value most.

I value my iPod and my summer nights at the fire equally. It's not that I can't decide which I like better, it’s more that I like them for different reasons that it's too difficult to compare. My iPod may cost more than a relaxing night, but it can't take the place of the memories I have, enjoying the fire and its benefits. Neither value to me can give what the other gives.

My iPod and toasty warm fires both allow me to relax. When I’m listening to my iPod and when I’m sitting by the fire, I automatically forget about the things that happend that day, and just enjoy what I'm doing.. There’s something about the way they make me feel, like I’m the only one around and nothing else matters except that moment.

With everyone in the world questioning value and judging other people because of their own perspective of value, it’s what matters to personally to each other that means the most. So, what someone values most is based on their personal opinion of value. I know what I value, whether it’s listening to Taylor Swift, or it's a “Friday night beneath the stars”.