Impressive Improvement

Area of focus: Speed and tone quality in staccatos

Materials: I chose an exercise piece named Clarinet Polka because it’s apparently a famous piece for clarinet and it features a lot of fast staccatos and also a wide range. Clarinet_Polka_Dziadunio

Practice routine: 15 minutes of Staccato scales and 10 minutes of Clarinet Polka everyday

First 3 weeks

I did not practice often over the summer, so getting adjusted back to playing and fixing my embouchure was my top priority. However I still got sore often during the 3 weeks so I need to continue working on that. I had no trouble bringing my music and pencil during the first 3 weeks.

Photo Paragraph

     I think there are two different moods in this picture. The dominant element, the man in the middle/foreground, is probably in a troubled and stressful mood as we can see from his facial expressions and his looking-down posture. In contrast, the rest of his family looks like they’re in a bright mood. They have their heads up, and seem to be smiling. This might be because of the social context at the time, where men were the dominant ones in families, and all the responsibility were on the men. The man is faced with problems like finding a new job, finding a place to live, etc. The rest of the family just has to follow him. I think this extra stress is what causes the man to look less happy.


The Innkeeper

A young man named Tyler stays at an ancient-looking inn at the end of a long day in their road trip, along with his two friends. The innkeeper is very welcoming, serving them great food and always putting on a warm smile. The three enjoys the meal, then head back to their own rooms before hanging out for a little longer. Later that night, Tyler decides to go out for a walk to clear his mind, but instead finds something that puts a stop to their road trip once and for all.

The Innkeeper

Tyler sat on the ground with his back leant on the creaking bed. His weary eyelids dropped yet again, exhausted from the long ride.

Tyler and his friends; Brian and Jake, were four days into their road trip, traveling across the continent. Currently, they are staying in an ancient-looking inn, placed on the tip of the mountain top.

The innkeeper was a friendly looking old man, and was extremely welcoming, they were served fresh food and drinks, and treated well. The inn was empty at night, apart from the innkeeper and the guests. They would be alone tonight at the inn, as ‘business is tough around these places, we only get guests every once in a while’, the innkeeper said.

Tyler jolted his head back to stop himself from falling asleep.

“Alright guys, it’s getting late, I’m going to my room now.” Brian puffed out a breath of smoke as he got up from his crisscross seating position. Tyler slipped his phone out of his pocket and took a quick glance. It was 11 P.M.

            “See you tomorrow.” Said Jake as Brian stood tall and stretched.

            “I think I’ll go as well; We have to get up early tomorrow.” Tyler decided, coughing and wafting the smoke out of his face. “And stop smoking, the smell of whatever brand you use sticks around forever.”

            “Yeah, and it’s my room you’re smoking in.” Jake complained.

“Alright, alright, shut up.” Brian stubbed his cigarette in the ashtray, “These aren’t the strong ones I usually use, actually. I ran out, and the innkeeper offered to give me a couple of loose cigs. Real nice guy by the way, that innkeeper.”

            Tyler walked out the room after Brian and gently closed the door behind him. He stretched his limbs and yawned, and started heading down the hall, leading to his hotel room.

            Lying on his bed, Tyler was wide awake. He was taller than most people, resulting in his feet extending over the tiny bed when he stretched his legs. He tried his best to go to sleep, but failed to keep his eyes closed.

He seemed to almost fall asleep a couple of times at Jake’s room, which makes it strange that he wasn’t able to do the same in his own. He was changing positions every few seconds. He could feel his muscles throbbing, his head aching, yet still he stayed awake, his mind racing like a processing computer.

Finally giving up, Tyler decided to go for a walk, and possibly grabbing a snack or two from the vending machine.

            Tyler removed the blanket and stepped off his bed in one quick, clean motion, then immediately felt nauseous from it and came to a halt. He then went for the door and carefully peeked his head around it. The hallways were dim, the only source of light from the side lamps, flickering constantly at random. He held his breath. He could hear no sound, see no movement, feel no presence.

            The walls were made of wooden blanks, and there were many missing chunks in the wall. The carpets on the floor were heavily worn out, the original red color fading noticeably and the fabric torn.

He held his phone out as he walked down the hall. He clicked the power button. The sudden bright shine made him jolt his head away and pause his footsteps, eyes stinging from the light. He shifted his eyes back after a while. 12 P.M. Tyler struggled to make his way down to the first floor, leaning on the wall the entire trip and groaning at every step.

            Just like the hallways, the lobby was empty and dark, with no one to be seen. The dim lights from inside the vending machine were in contrast with the background. He went towards the vending machine, and bought himself a can of coke.

            He took a sip from the can, and a sizzling sensation immediately filled his mouth. The sugar soothed his head from aching, the sting woke him up, and the cold cleared his mind of thoughts.

Now with zero chance of going back to sleep, Tyler decided he would kill time until the morning. Tyler continued his walk, heading out of the building.

            He let his mind rest, and followed wherever his feet lead him. The sky was pitch black, and the stars obscured by the fog. The moon reflected just enough light for Tyler to scantily see his surroundings.

He closed his eyes; The only sounds he could hear were the shrilling of cicadas and the sizzling of his can of coke. He reopened his eyes, and followed a path of missing grass, leading into the forest.

            The trees were tightly packed. The ground was very uneven, with roots crawling all across the ground. He kept walking mindlessly, hoping to find something interesting.

            A sound. Tyler’s rhythmic footsteps came to halt. It was the cracking sound, that of a twig. He shut his eyes tight, held in his breath, and tried his best to not move a muscle.

Another sound. This time, of a rustling noise. He reopened his eyes and looked around. No movement to be seen.

He started to go towards the direction of the noises. He consciously walked on tip toes, trying to stay silent. He kept walking, slowly and carefully. His eyes kept darting, desperately trying to find any clues.

            All of a sudden, he caught a glimpse of something yellow. The yellow flashed white under the moonlight, like a beacon in the sea. Tyler came to a halt.

            The corners of Tyler’s lips curled, as he let out a breath of relief. It was Brian’s hair. Tyler continued taking slow and steady steps towards it. He could see the yellow again, behind the thick layer of leaves.

            Then he saw Brian.

He was lying on the ground, eyes staring into the sky. His mouth was half open, his arms are spread wide. Next to him, was an empty pack of cigarettes, with the cigarettes scattered over the ground. Most importantly, he saw something, and that something made his stomach churn. Brian had a gigantic gash in his neck. Blood was still flooding out of the wound, seeping into the soil and forming several streams on the ground.

Tyler stared at the corpse as he stood still. His muscles were stiffened. He could feel the blood from his face quickly draining, and a tingling, freezing sensation crawling up his back.

            A slight gust of wind blew by, making Tyler shiver.

            Crack. There was a sound, and the feeling of being stared at by a pair of eyes. Tyler spun around in panic, frantically searching for dangers.

Before he knew it, Tyler found himself running for his life. His legs had started moving before his mind. He ran, between the trees, over the rocks, and under the branches. He didn’t look back, he couldn’t look back, he wouldn’t look back. The horror fueled his body as he ran. He could feel the adrenaline inside him releasing and the cold sweat on his neck.

            He passed trees by trees, the distant lights from the hotel coming closer and closer to him. He kept accelerating, until he came to the front doors. He hurriedly pushed the heavy doors open, and sprinted for the stairs.

He leapt up the staircases, heading for Jake’s room. The entire way, he kept his back against the wall, not allowing his back to be exposed to any danger. He anxiously darted his eyes around, maximizing his field of vision.

            “Jake! Quick! Open up!” Tyler yelled uncontrollably as he swung his fists at the door, not forgetting to twitch his vision everywhere. Sounds of footsteps came through the door, then the sounds of keys, then the sounds of unlocking.

            “What’s going on?” Jake pulled the door open, looking genuinely concerned.

            “Close the door!” Jake did.

Tyler suddenly collapsed onto the floor after he heard the door shut tight behind him. He was still catching onto his breath. He fixed his eyes onto the floor as he attempted to compose his words.

“I, I saw, He,” Tyler closed his eyes and whispered.

“Okay, take it slow.”

Tyler pressed his palms to his forehead, and took deep breaths.

“Brian. He’s dead.” Tyler looked at Jake weakly, trembling as he whispered.

“What?” Jake’s eyebrows scrunched up.

“He’s dead. Killed. I found him in the forest lying on the ground, with a huge cut in his neck and there was blood coming out of the cut and flowing everywhere.” Tyler’s voice was cracking; His body was shaking. “Then I heard a cracking sound, so I got scared and ran all the way back here. He was killed, I tell you! There’s a killer around here!”

Tyler could tell how Jake felt just by looking at his face, turning pale. That was exactly how he was when he first found the body.

“How… What…” Jake broke the silence, struggling to find his words. “I mean… We have to do something…”

“We have to go tell the innkeeper. Then we call the cops. Then we better pack up our stuff and leave this place immediately.”

Knock knock. Tyler knocked on the innkeeper’s door.


Tyler and Jake waited at the door.

“What is it, lads?” The old man appeared behind the door, wearing a warm grin.

“We found our friend dead, in the forest right outside.” Tyler said, getting straight onto the point.

The innkeeper’s smile twitched a bit, presumably from shock and confusion.

“I’m terribly sorry, could you say that again?”

“Our friend, Brian, we found him dead in the forest. He has been killed.” Tyler repeated. “What do we do? Do you have a working telephone here? We can’t get any signal. We have to call the cops.”

The innkeeper’s grin faded completely, now looking worried.

“Ahem, well, there’s a telephone in a building near here, I could take you there.” The innkeeper gulped.

“Great. Let’s go.”

“I think you should stay here; You look like you’ve had a long night.” The innkeeper said, looking at Tyler. “I just made some tea, coincidentally. I found trouble going to sleep. Drink some and settle down. Of course, I will lock the door if you are worried.”

Tyler looked at Jake, who shrugged.

“I guess I will.”

Tyler sat on the couch, his fingers tapping nervously. The innkeeper and Jake has been gone for around ten minutes now already. The door was locked tight with an old fashioned lock on the other side of the door.

Tyler stood up, and started observing the room.

Everything in the room, the walls, the floor, the furniture, was wooden. The room was quite large, and very polished compared with the other rooms in the inn. There were many cabinets and cupboards, and Tyler could not resist the temptation to look inside them.

Books, spices, food, drinks… He went through the cabinets quickly. Whenever he found something interesting, he would stop and look at it for a few moments, then move on.

            He opened yet another cabinet. They were filled with cigarettes.

            Tyler stared at them blankly. There was something about them, that It reminded him of something.

            Then he remembered.

            They were the same cigarettes Brian had smoked.

            Brian only got a couple of loose cigarettes, he never got a pack.

            There was a pack of cigarettes next to Brian’s corpse.

            The innkeeper owns the cigarettes.

            What could this mean?

            Crack. A sound from the outside cut off Tyler’s train of thought.

            Tyler spun his head around and looked out the window.

            The innkeeper has returned, with no Brian, but a knife in his hand, flashing bright red under the moonlight.

Wool, by Hugh Howey, Exposition Blog Post

[Some spoilers ahead]


Wool, written by writer Hugh Howey, is the first book to the Silo series. The book is set in the apocalyptic future, where the air outside is highly toxic and can kill a man within seconds. The land is dry with sand, and life is nowhere to be found. The “inside”, are the insides of thousands of silos buried underground. Inside each silo is fresh air, hundreds of people, water, and a sustainable food source. The people in the silos did not dare to express will to go outside, as they will immediately be punished for doing so.


The main character in the book is a girl named Juliette, who is elected as the new sheriff in silo 18. The previous sheriff, Holston, had gone mad and decided to go to the outside world, from the loss of his wife, who had gone mad herself wanting to go out of the silo. Holston’s wife had decided that the silo officials are hiding the truths from them, that the outside world is actually beautiful and harmless, and she should go outside and explore it, then coming back to take her husband with her. But she never came back. Three years after, the sheriff could no longer bear himself, so he decided he would go out himself, but like his wife, he died shortly after going outside too. Shortly after election, the mayor and deputy sheriff both died, mayor from poison and deputy sheriff from suicide.


One of the themes this book has is uncertainty. Most of the book there aren’t any answers to anything. Holston’s wife had secretly discovered some previously deleted data from official databases that might answer all their questions. Why is the outside world destroyed and toxic? How did they get here? Only possessing bits and pieces of information, Holston and his wife were blinded from the truth, and are then led to believe the outside world is safe, and had slowly gone mad. The couple were truly deceived and mad, making statements like “Nothing you see is real”, “It doesn’t have to be real, none of this, any of this,”(Howey,26). The people in the silo were so desperate for answers, they would believe just about anything.


Just from the first few chapters, we can already tell that this story is set in a heavily depressed mood; Insanity, suicides, murder, the book is full of it. With no family left, his partner and close friend dead, the deputy sheriff had nothing to live for and took his own life. He was so given up he managed to kill himself somewhere that usually wasn’t possible: “There wasn’t much space to hang oneself in the small apartment, but Marnes had figured out how.” (Howey,147) Almost every main character has some sort of mental disorder; Depression, insanity, megalomania, you name it.


            By the end of the book, both moods persist. The depression is certainly still there, because many things that are depressingly wrong happen. Juliette gets sent to cleaning for contesting the power of the officials, there is a rebellion, and good people get sent to cleaning. The uncertainty still remains as well, because many questions still remain unanswered. The uncertainty part is normal for a book like wool, the first book to a series. Cliff hangers are important, to encourage readers to buy the following books that answers those questions, so those questions will remain unanswered until the next book or the end of the series.

Tibia&Height Equation Project Reflection

(1) Where do forensic equations come from and how do we use those equations in real life?

These equations come from massive amounts of data. You can use these equations to predict the y factor with the x factor and the equation.

(2) What are some possible sources of error in the use of these equations?

  1. Little amounts of data
  2. Mixed race/types of things
  3. Limited test group
  4. Calculation error

(3) How do scientists and mathematicians improve the accuracy of equations?

Get more amounts of data.

Steelheart Resolution

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Steelheart Rising Action

David has changed throughout this story, and I picked a few scenes that showed his character change. I picked the bank when he started young and innocent, believing the same things his father did. He too believed good epics will save them. ” ‘Where there are villains, there will be heroes,’ my father said. ‘Just wait. They will come.’ I believed him.”(Sanderson,8) I chose the hunt scene because that’s when it showed him hating the epics. I chose the end scene, because in that scene he had faith in epics once more. I thought a diary or journal is the best way to represent a person’s changes, so I made this fake journal for David.

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Sanderson, Brandon. Steelheart. N.p.: n.p., 2013. Print.


Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson, is about Superhumans. There was a burst in the sky (later known as the calamity), and ordinary people starting gaining special powers. These powers include the ability to fly, immunity to bullets, the ability to create illusions, and so on. The people started calling these people epics, and every epic and an epic name. Epics were originally thought of as super heroes, meant to help and serve the community. However, epics soon grow the desire to destroy, to rule.


This book has a desperate mood. Most of the citizens in Newcago, the new name given by their epic ruler, lived in the lower levels of the city, the understreets. The understreet were dangerous, because the security is horrible, even to the degree that “Carrying a rifle around the understreets was common practice…”(Sanderson,22). Even the epic government security forces never visited the understreets unless they had to.


This book also has a faithless, hopeless mood. Back when some people still believed there were good, heroic epics out there, an epic called Deathpoint came to Chicago and claimed it for himself. People were terrified, and everyone hoped that a hero would come. Then, Steelhearat came by. “I knew in that moment that this was what my father had been waiting for. This was the hero everyone had been hoping would come, the one who would compensate for the other epics and their evil ways. This man was here to save us.” (Sanderson,8). Except he was only here to claim the city as his own. “I have claimed this city, little epic. It is mine. And it is my right to dominate the people here, not yours.” (Sanderson,8).


Another example of hopelessness is the fact that nobody tried fighting back against the evil epics anymore, apart from the reckoners, which is part of the reason why he wants to join them. “The guard cursed, then did the smart thing. He ran too. He wouldn’t be expected to face an Epic —– indeed, he could get in trouble for doing it, even if that epic was working against Steelheart. Ordinary men left epics alone, end of story. In the fractured states that was a law greater than any other.” (Sanderson,210). Nobody except the Reckoners wanted to face an epic.


Despite starting with a negative mood, towards the end of the story the author gives this imaginary universe a bit of hope. Bringing in good epics. There are good epics after all.



Sanderson, Brandon. Steelheart. N.p.: n.p., 2013. Print.

“Legend”s Rising Action and Climax

Rising action and climax.

The book I’ve read is a novel called “Legend”, by Marie Lu. The novel tells a story of a young criminal named Day and a young officer named June. Day never kills in his crimes, but when officer Metias, June’s older brother, gets killed, Day becomes the prime suspect. Then a series of events follow and it eventually leads to June finding out Day is innocent, and decides to help him escape.

The key element in this book is the main character being blamed for something he hasn’t done, and this leads to a series of trouble surrounding the main character. Another key element is June trying to uncover the mysteries of this blame on her own and getting themselves further into trouble by doing so.

This key element reminds me of a film we are watching in my enrichment class, North by Northwest, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In this film, the main character Thornhill is mistaken to be a CIA agent Kepler undercover in a certain organization, getting in their way from committing crimes. Thornhill, clueless about what’s going on, decides to chase down this Agent Kepler and solve this problem. But searching being spotted in Kepler’s room and such just makes the organization further confident about him being Kepler.

Both characters are blamed for something they haven’t done, and they are both desperately trying to figure out the situation. After getting into further trouble, they decide to run away. They both get saved by 3rd party organizations in the end.

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