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.

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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!

Everything is a Remix: Food Edition

Hi everyone!

So recently, I watched a video called everything is a remix. The video is by Kirby Ferguson and it is available on Youtube.

The video talks about how ideas are copied, transformed, and then combined to create something new. Just about everything steals ideas from predecessors, then changes them by some sort of transformation in order to create something that appears to be original. I mean that’s how the chocolate chip cookie was made:

The lady that made it was trying to create chocolate cookies (which are divine by the way), but because at that moment she didn’t have any in hand, she used chocolate chips instead.In this way, she was able to create chocolate chip cookies, that we all know and love today. The chocolate chip cookie, is a perfect example of what a remix is.

After watching that video, I felt inspired! So I wanted to write this blog post on a few ways you can remix food, simply by adding different ingredients, to bring a whole new kind of flavor to the table.

This looks like your average cornbread, but it has a little hidden secret. This cornbread, actually has just a hint of vanilla in it. Wait….what?! I know right! When I took home ec. in middle school, I remember one day we had to make cornbread, and he put some vanilla in the dough. At first, our whole group thought he was trying to mess up our project, and discouraged him from doing so. But the cornbread turned out delicious, it had just a sweet tinge to it (we didn’t put much in, maybe a teaspoon), and our teacher gave us and A for being adventurous, trying new things, and how the end product turning out delicious!

In my house, rice is considered a staple food and is eaten almost on a daily basis. I don’t mind, I find the food comforting and filling. However, once in a while my mom likes to mix things up a bit.Sometimes, my mom buys a batch of wild rice and mixes it in with the white rice. The wild rice adds a little color, and a little more flavor. Plus, wild rice adds a bit more protein to the meal! Hooray for a nutritious remix! In this way you can make fabulous rice mixes like the picture above, that look great and taste great. For even more flavor, you could always add edamame and soy sauce. Yum!

Please comment below if you eat scrambled eggs, like I do. I know everyone eats them differently, but I was surpised at how many people did not eat eggs like I do. When my mom or I makes scrambled eggs, we make them with eggs, add a dash of salt and pepper, a splash of milk, then add cheese! Usually shredded cheddar cheese, and then eat them with ketchup! So good! So few people eat scrambled eggs with cheese, but I think that its the best way to do it, it just brings all the eggs together by the very fabric of the cheese! Eat your way into cheesy goodness! Don’t forget the ketchup! 🙂

I’m not really sure if these count as remixes, but I just thought I would include them. I absolutely love strawberries! I think they are delicious red goodness! However, I am a firm believe that they must be paired with something!

In my house, we eat strawberries with sugar, because thats the way I’ve been eating them as a kid. It’s sweetens up the fruit, and creates that fruity sugar coating, if you eat the strawberries after they’ve been washed (and are still wet) then pair them with sugar. Or I know other people who enjoy thier strawberries with powdered sugar, personally I prefer eating them with coarser sugar, but I suppose its all up to preference. Yet I know other people that eat strawberries with cool whip! Everything’s good with cool whip! It’s light and frothy, a perfect combo with with succulent strawberry!

However you eat your food, I encourage you to take risks and try something new with food. I use to think some combinations were gross and never meant to be, but never doubt the powers of pairing flavor! Happy eating! 🙂

Thinking Makes it So (Animation)

Hi everyone!

So today I wanted to talk about another thing that could be considered a really fun activity! Sorry for all the fun posts lately, but I’m really big into having fun, and I to be honest I’ve been kind of busy, so I haven’t been able to cook or anything. However, I wanted to introduce something that could be really fun, especially to the artistic person! So I have been taking an animation class, and it has been really time consuming but so fun. It wasn’t until I got into the class that I realized it doesn’t take much to create animation in your own home. You can always create character developments:

ratdevel

This is an example of a typical character development. In a character development you’re suppose to create a character and display them using different emotions and in different body positions to get a feel of what the character is like in different situations.

Or, you can do hand drawn animation, and actually watch drawings to come to life! What you’ll need is:

lightbox

a lightbox, which you can either buy from an art supply store (then can get a bit pricey), or make from taping together a clear material like glass, or using a turtle tank with a light bulb underneath. Or you can always tape drawings to a sliding glass door that is facing sunlight. However, if you really get into the hobby, I suggest you buy a lightbox because it will line up the paper in exactly the same spots so the animation doesn’t appear to move, and your arms don’t get so tired after a while such as drawing against a sliding glass door. Then you need paper, pencil, a camera, and an editing software (you can use toonboom like my class does, or something simple like windows movie maker (which will take a while if you really get into this)).

What a lightbox does is that it has a light underneath it so you can draw a character, then grab another paper to put on top and trace either the background, or have the character move. Have the character move in small increments, so that when you take pictures of each of the drawings and then upload and edit them, the character appears to have fluid motions.

Animation is really fun! But as I said before it can be very time consuming. One of my other favorite quotes from Hamlet has been, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” I feel that this quote can really apply to animation, because whenever I draw or animate sometimes I can get so caught up in the drawing that I never become satisfied with it. There needs to be a point in time after you draw, where you are really proud of your drawing. So proud, that you want to show it off to the world! Especially if you do this just as a hobby. So stop looking at everything wrong with your drawing, yes that will help to improve your drawing, but can take the fun out of the whole experience. Stop shredding apart your work, and look at how truly awesome it is and how awesome you are! I hope this post has sparked some interest and that you have now gained some new perspective on animation and maybe you’ll be willing to give it a try! 🙂 Happy animating!

Full of Holiday Cheer Fun

Hi everyone!

Sorry my posts have been a little staggered, my wifi has been going beserk lately, but I really wanted to post holiday cheer related things on my blog. I absolutely love this time of year, I think it’s a great time to bring everyone together, to do fun activities, and eat delicious food, and appreciate each other. I haven’t posted a “fun” idea in a bit, (or a food post for that matter…), but I wanted to offer an idea of fun things to do! This post is about going to DISNEYLAND! I know it’s a pricey place, but it has some great things to do over the holidays, and they start early.

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Here’s one of the Christmas trees decorated in Downtown Disney. Before you even walk into the park, (so you don’t have to pay to get into this part, besides paying for parking) is Downtown Disney which is beautifully decorated with twinkling lights, colorful lights, and all beautiful things imaginable. Then, you can always go eat, there are a few great places. If you’re into more music related places, you can eat at the House Blues or Jazz Kitchen. However, Jazz Kitchen plays live music in front of you, while you may have to pay to get into a concert at House of Blues.

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Here’s a picture of Jazz Kitchen from the outside. It’s a great place to eat. Then after eating and walking around, there’s other places to have fun; if you have kids there’s the Disney 365, or Build-A-Bear, for the adults there’s a bar, and the ESPN zone. There’s something for everyone! Then afterwards, the whole family can watch the fireworks, because the Disneyland fireworks are visible from Downtown Disney.

But, when you’re in the actual park, there is a bunch of stuff to do that is holiday related. There are shopping districts when you first enter, to go look at cute trinkets. As well as take pictures by a huge Christmas tree in the front. There are lights on Christmas trees everywhere, that look absolutely gorgeous.

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(Here’s the big Christmas tree). One thing for certain that you MUST do during the holiday season is go on the Haunted Mansion. This was the first year I went on Haunted Mansion during Christmas time and I was in awe. It’s all Nightmare Before Christmas themed, I absolutely love this movie, and the ride definitely brings it to life.

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Everything inside is so elaborately decorated and truly helps to bring the spirit of Christmas. Wait until it’s night time to go on, so the colors are more apparent, but I warn that the line can get kind of long since the ride is so popular this time of year, but it’s DEFINITELY worth it! After, you can go get a dole whip!

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If you haven’t tried one, then you haven’t lived yet. They are so good, it consists of pineapple ice cream in pineapple juice. The booth is right next to the Tiki Room in Adventureland, it’s usually a long line, but most people don’t know there is a second line inside the entrance to the Tiki Room that is MUCH shorter. If you wait on this side, then you’ll get your drink faster. Don’t wait in line during fireworks though, it seems the line is the longest then.

One of my favorite quotes from Hamlet (which I’ve been reading recently if you can’t tell) is, “Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it white as snow?” which Claudius says. I feel like this quote is definitely applicable to this time of year. When your family is all cuddled under a blanket watching World of Color winter version in Disneyland (which I suggest you watch, it’s at California Adventure), it really brings together family. What so many cartoons and movies have emphasized is that this time of year shouldn’t be focused on presents, or having the brightest house lights, but spending time with your loved ones. It’s the time to forget about what has happened thus far, and appreciate each other, because sometimes we only have each other. This can be seen in multiple Christmas specials, my favorite would be How the Grinch stole Christmas. This is what I think Claudius was talking about. Christmas is the time for the rain to come, to wash everyone’s slate clean. To disregard the past and look forward to the holidays. If you can’t afford going to Disneyland, then that’s okay, because it’s not the money you spend to please each other, but spending time with each other. I hope you all have a happy holiday, and a happy new year! 🙂