Anxiety of Influence: Frankenstein style!

Hi everyone!

So for English, we had to conduct a project about anxiety of influence. The definition of anxiety of influence is how an author feels pressure from authors before them. In order to combat this feeling, they take ideas from the preceding author, tweak and change the ideas a little bit, and then combine all these different ideas to create their own novel.

This idea was first brought forth by Harold Bloom. When I first heard of this idea, I really didn’t understand what it meant. However, from certain activities, and tons of times being proven wrong, I finally understood what it meant! So for my group and I’s final project, we held an activity to help people truly understand what anxiety of influence is.

First we baked giant sugar cookies!

The cookies looked like these! Then our group bought ingredients in order to decorate the cookies. Each group received green frosting, black icing, and M&Ms. Each group’s goal was to create a cookie that best looked and represented the creature. However there was a catch! Each group received a special item that was suppose to represent anxiety of influence. They got an “odd ingredient” that was suppose to symbolize the other great ideas of predeceasing authors. The groups had to incorporate the odd ingredient and transform it, make it their, their own creature.

Here’s the picture of the group with the raisins:

frankI really like how they utilized the green frosting to fully cover the face, as well as use the raisins for the lower part of the jaw of the creature, and a little bit for the hair. It made the presentation of the cookie cute, ass well as unique.

Here is the picture of the cookie from the group who had to use white chocolate chips:

frank2From this group, I was honestly a little surprised they didn’t use the green frosting. I feel like the creature is usually typified as being green, but I love how they incorporated the white chocolate chips to sort of act like the smile for the creature!

Here is the picture of the group who had to use pretzel sticks:

frank3I honestly thought that this odd ingredient would be the hardest to incorporate, I told them they could break the pretzels apart, but they seemed to keep them mostly whole. However, I really liked how they used the pretzels to poke through the creature’s head, as well as get the true face shape of the creature I like it.

I felt that this activity really helped students to understand the difficulty of anxiety of influence. They felt pressured by these great ideas (the yummy ingredients), so instead they had to incorporate them into their creation (haha punny), to make even a more beautiful masterpiece. Viola! Lesson to be learned here: sometimes food just really helps the learning process, plus its fun to eat ! 🙂 Happy eating!

Not all who wander are lost

Hi everyone!

So today I wanted to talk about a fun activity that I hope you haven’t bypassed. Hiking! Recently, I visited Joshua Tree National Park, which is famous for, of course, the Joshua tree (which isn’t exactly a tree!).

I know right?!

At first glance, the place looks like a deserted wasteland, with nothing to do. I remember camping here as a child, and my friends wondering why this was a national park. It’s just a big flatland of dirt, with some dead looking plants, what’s so special about that?! Well, Joshua Tree is really special because of the fact that it hosts so much biodiversity. It really takes a while to look at all the woody plants, and dirt to truly appreciate the nature that surrounds. Joshua Tree is a host to multiple different animals, plants, and people who love to visit the area.

The place is also famous for these giant mountains containing huge boulders. Even though unseen to the naked eye, the boulders continue to grow.

My point is that sometimes it’s really important to ditch the overcrowding of city life and really get in touch with nature. I mean, why spend so much money on environmental friendly products, and never actually spend time with nature (I don’t mean to discourage from environmental friendly shopping). The serenity drains away the stress of deadlines, work meetings, practices, or anything else.

Ahh, nature at its finest. also wanted to tie into the title: not all who wander are lost. Sometimes, I like to wander away from inner stress, and get back in touch with the outdoors. The creature in Frankenstein didn’t have any initial stress to begin with, but when he obtained knowledge through books, he realized what he was missing out on. Then, nature became his serenity and his monster, because he was lonely. He became lost. I know I’m not lost, because I differ from the creature in that I welcome nature with open arms. The creature tried to welcome the inner workings of the world, but it didn’t accept him. I have been accepted, as well as many other people, however, I feel sometimes I really need to escape.

This view is my escape. Truly.

I’m really excited, because I know my next adventure will be going to the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s about a 5 mile hike over rugged terrain, to travel to this huge bridge. At the bridge there is bungee jumping and zipl ining! But it’s kind of expensive…so I’ll just be there to enjoy the water and scenery. I hope this blog post inspired you to become more in touch with the outside world.

Coincidental Returns!

Hi everyone!

So, guess what ?!?! I found Timmy! Today I was at my computer, perusing the internet. My dog Finley (the jack russell terrier mix) would not stop barking. I yelled at him to be quiet, but for some reason he didn’t listen. (He usually does). I walked outside, and Finley was circling and barking around the planter. I peered into the planter and it was Timmy! My long lost tortoise! I was so happy, this was my facial expression:

I couldn’t even believe it. He was right there! I can’t even count how many times, I have searched every single crack and crevice in that planter and could not find him. He’s been missing for almost FOUR months! I think he must have found a super secretive hiding spot to hibernate. He looks like he hadn’t grown that much, and he was still alive! Thank goodness!

I found this string of events so creepy. This is because at the same time, I was reading Frankenstein, and I arrived at the part where Frankenstein and the creature meet once again. Just like how Timmy and I became reunited!

See we are reunited! Best buddies forever again! Don’t you think these events are just too coincidental? I kind of feel weirded out when stuff like this happens to me in real life. However, my story is a bit happier, because I don’t think Timmy is unhappy to see me (well I hope not). The creature doesn’t seem too excited to see Frankenstein, since he decided to just abandon the guy. I didn’t abandon my pet, I continued to search, even when hope seemed lost, put out signs and everything! Also, I don’t think Timmy is going to ask for a companion, he already has one, that he doesn’t really hand out with…

Well sorry guys, I know this post is pretty short and kind of just goes off on a tangent, but I really wanted to share with you all the news! Timmy is home! 🙂

Motchisuki in the Community

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had some happy holidays, and a happy new year! I know it’s a little late to say….but I hope all is well. Every year around New Years, I go to this event called motchisuki and someone told me that they wished they had known about it, because its such a well kept secret. So I thought, I would share to you all what it’s about! On New Year’s Eve I was at Tanaka Farms, celebrating motchisuki.

Tanaka Farms is located in Irvine, California, and hosts multiple events every year. They are the home to seasonal pumpkin patches, wagon rides, and basketball leagues, and are in fact the largest organic farm in Orange County. It is Japanese tradition to eat mochi on New Year’s because it represents good luck. So every year before New Year’s Japanese people gather around in order make the delicious mochi to enjoy, to ensure a prosperous new year. First, they make the mochi. That’s right, make it. No cheating. No buying it from the store, or using those cheap machines to make it. They make it by hand!

First, they cook the rice in these big rice makers:

rice maker

They put tons of rice in these earns and steam it, in order to ensure the rice is hot when it’s time for pound.

poundingkine

The rice is then pounded in huge granite like bowls called an usu. People gather around the usus and pound the rice using kines. Kines are these huge wooden malletes, that weigh about 5 pounds. Everyone circles the usu, and proceed to beat the rice continually, until it develops a sort of pasty/doughy consistency. The excercise is great for ridding all your problems, and stress in the world. After the rice is pounded, it is thrown down a huge table covered in flour, to help roll the rice dough in, so that it becomes ready to make.

flourtable

The event also has Japanese dancers that come in and do a traditional Japanese dance. Also, one of the BEST parts about coming to motchisuki is the HUGE buffet table they have.

buffettable

This year they had 3 long tables, filled with all kinds of food that you could eat! Absolutely delicious! Usually everyone comes and just brings one dish for some people to eat, but there’s still so much food! So you receive a reward after all that hard pounding in the usu! After the buffet and everything is about over, you can go to a table to buy the mochi. The profits help out the farm. After making the mochi, everyone gathers around and has a flour fight with the rest of the flour! It’s really fun! Over Christmas, I had to read the first four chapters of the book Frankenstein.

In the original book by Mary Shelley (if you haven’t read it). The creature (yes the creature is the monster, not the scientist, the scientist’s name is Victor Frankenstein), is forced to strut the Earth alone because he has been abandoned by his creator. I’m not that far in yet, so I don’t really know what is yet to happen, but I wonder where the creature went, but I feel he must be sad, because he is forced to be alone. I feel if he had a companion or a sense of community, he wouldn’t feel so lonely.

I think that motchisuki at Tanaka Farms creates a sense of community, that the creature needed, as well as others. It creates a great environment for getting to know each other, and build an appreciation of all the sweat and energy that goes into making mochi. I hope you all had a great New Years! Come by next year for some delicious mochi and fun! 🙂 Happy making mochi!